War Shock
In war, truth is the first casualty.
Like the politics implicit in these photographs, we first glimpse patterns that demand our scrutiny if we are to gain deeper understanding. Armed forces fighting, frenzied and jagged, shadowed, merging with the muddy earth, fading into ashes. The names of thousands of American soldiers dead in Iraq, crumpled, torn, hung out to dry. The faces of the dead haunting the memories of those left at home. The wasting away of vibrant young lives, the destruction of American values.

War Shock is a protest: a protest against governmental deceptions; against the reckless loss of American soldiers; against the needless deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians. It is a protest against the desecration of the Constitution; against the dismantling of American freedoms, the disrespect for our law; against the toleration of torture.

Read the names of the dead, see their faces. As Americans we are all responsible, we are all complicit. In a democracy, the country's policy is the policy of the people; our government acts in our name. Can we sit idle, constructing excuses about how powerless we are to initiate change?

There is no alibi to standing by in silence. As a country, we voted for the people who started this. Volunteer. Protest. Write a politician. Vote! We must care enough to exercise rightful influence on our government's actions. We cannot become numb as more lives are tossed along this ill-considered path.

Please honor these men and women by demanding a path to change. Cry the names of the dead until everyone sees our tears.


The military don't start wars. Politicians start wars.

General Westmoreland


notes on the images:
Images were shot 4 x 5 and 8 x 10; they are printed large. Perhaps difficult to discern online, details of the soldiers' names and faces are apparent in the prints.



by bill west
intro page
view images