“Welcome Home: The Story of Scott Ostrom” Awarded 2012 Pulitzer Prize

Welcome Home, Soldier: The Story of Scott Ostrom

On April 16, 2012, Denver Post photographer Craig Walker was awarded his second Pulitzer, The 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography, for his photo-essay Welcome Home: The Story of Scott Ostrom. Previously, Walker had been named Newspaper Photographer of the Year in the Missouri School of Journalism’s Pictures of the Year International Competition for the collection of photographs he took over 27 months about soldiers engaged in the Iraq war, which included the stunning images documenting the struggles of PTSD sufferer Brian Ostrom.

After serving four years as a reconnaissance man and having deployed twice to Iraq, Ostrom, who is now 27, returned home to the U.S. with a severe case of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Since his discharge, Ostrom has struggled with the demands of daily life, from finding and keeping employment to maintaining healthy relationships. But most of all, he’s struggled to overcome his brutal and haunting memories of Iraq and his guilt for things he did and didn’t do, while fighting a war in which he no longer believes.

Read more about award-winning war photographers in the New York Times article and slideshow, Pulitzer Prizes: The Effects of War at Home (April 16, 2012) here.

Welcome Home, Soldier: The Story of Scott Ostrom

Slide Show: Welcome Home, Soldier: The Story of Scott Ostrom

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Welcome Home, Soldier: The Story of Scott Ostrom

Welcome Home, Soldier: The Story of Scott Ostrom

Welcome Home is a series of photographs about Iraq war veteran Brian Scott Ostrom, who suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, by Pulitzer Prize-winning Denver Post photographer Craig Walker. Walker has been named Newspaper Photographer of the Year in the Missouri School of Journalism’s Pictures of the Year International Competition for the collection of photographs he took over 27 months about soldiers engaged in the Iraq war, which included the stunning images documenting the struggles of PTSD sufferer Brian Ostrom.

After serving four years as a reconnaissance man and having deployed twice to Iraq, Ostrom, who is now 27, returned home to the U.S. with a severe case of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Since his discharge, Ostrom has struggled with the demands of daily life, from finding and keeping employment to maintaining healthy relationships. But most of all, he’s struggled to overcome his brutal and haunting memories of Iraq and his guilt for things he did and didn’t do, while fighting a war in which he no longer believes.

Update: On April 16, 2012, Craig Walker was awarded his second Pulitzer, The 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography, for Welcome Home: The Story of Scott Ostrom.

For further details about Walker’s 2012 Pulitzer Prize, please read “Welcome Home: The Story of Scott Ostrom” Awarded 2012 Pulitzer Prize.

Read more about award-winning war photographers in the New York Times article and slideshow, Pulitzer Prizes: The Effects of War at Home (April 16, 2012) here.

Welcome Home, Soldier: The Story of Scott Ostrom

Slide Show: Welcome Home, Soldier: The Story of Scott Ostrom

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Remembering Christopher Hitchens, 1949–2011

Remembering Christopher Hitchens, 1949–2011

The death of Christopher Hitchens on Thursday night, of complications from esophageal cancer at the age of 62, ended one of the greater intellectual careers of the last 40 years. Born in Portsmouth, England, and educated at Balliol College, Oxford, Hitchens started his career as a Trotskyite at The New Statesman, working along with noted authors, Martin Amis and Ian McEwan, who would become his lifelong friends. In the early 1980s, he moved to the United States, becoming a citizen in 2007, and began working for liberal magazine The Nation, writing some of his earliest attacks on the conservative government and American foreign policy.

A prolific author, Hitchens left behind a massive body of critical writing, with more than a dozen books and hundreds of essays targeting everyone from the British Monarchy to Bill Clinton to George Orwell to God, usually with wit and more often than not, vicious and cutting remarks. Even those who hated his politics could not help but admire his skill as a writer and ability to craft a sharp turn of phrase, and many called him a friend.

Perhaps his most famous book was The Missionary Position, a scathing attack on Mother Teresa and her Missionaries of Charity church, an organization that he called a cult. Hitchens described Mother Teresa as a “fraud” and accused her of glorifying poverty to enrich herself and the Catholic church, rather than truly helping the poor. The book infuriated Roman Catholics around the world, as well as politicians and celebrities who he claimed had used the charity and her reputation to mask their own evil deeds.

A later work, The Trial of Henry Kissinger, accused the former Secretary of State of “war crimes,” and argued that Kissinger should be prosecuted for “crimes against humanity, including conspiracy to commit murder, kidnap, and torture” for his involvement in atrocities in Southeast Asia and Central America. As a critic of the Bush administration’s use of torture, Hitchens filmed himself being waterboarded to demonstrate the cruelty of the practice. Hitchens claimed that, “The official lie about this treatment … is that it ‘simulates’ the feeling of drowning. This is not the case. You feel that you are drowning because you are drowning.”

Hitchens had an enviable career arc that began with his own brand of fiery journalism at Britain’s New Statesman and then made its way to America, where he wrote for everyone from The Atlantic and Harper’s to Slate and The New York Times Book Review. He was a legend on the speakers’ circuit, could debate just about anyone on anything and won innumerable awards.

Christopher Hitchens was a wit, a charmer, a troublemaker and was a gift, if it dare be said, from God.

Read much more about the life and enviable work of Christopher Hitchens in The New York Times here, in The Atlantic here and in Vanity Fair here.

The Immoral Rejoinders of Christopher Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens Gets Waterboarded

Photo-Gallery: Remembering Christopher Hitchens, 1949–2011

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Photos of the Day: Engaged Observers

Photography by: Walker Evans

Photography by: Leonard Freed

Photography by: Larry Towell

Photography by: Larry Towell

Photography by: Mary Ellen Mark

Photos of the Day: Engaged Observers

Documentary Photography: Engaged Observers is a collection of photographs by photographers who  created extended photographic essays that delved deeply into topics of social concern and presented distinct personal visions of the world.  Following in the tradition of Walker Evans and other Depression-era photographers, this series of works focuses on the tradition of socially engaged photographic essays since the 1960s.  Engaged Observers includes photographs from the following projects: The Mennonites by Larry Towell, Streetwise by Mary Ellen Mark, Black in White America by Leonard Freed, Vietnam Inc. by Philip Jones Griffiths, The Sacrifice by James Nachtwey and Migrations: Humanity in Transition by Sebastião Salgado.

Walker Evans: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men

Mary Ellen Mark: Streetwise (1984) Part I

Larry Towell: The Mennonites

Slide Show: Documentary Photography/Engaged Observers

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An Angry Obama Relieves Runaway General McChrystal of Command

An Angry Obama Relieves Runaway General McChrystal of Command

An angry President Obama removed Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal from his position as Commander of American forces in Afghanistan on Wednesday, and named as his replacement the architect of the 2007 surge in Iraq, Gen. David H. Petraeus.  President Obama said he had done so because an article in Rolling Stone featured contemptuous quotes from the general and his staff about senior administration officials, threatening to erode trust among administration and military officials, as well as to undermine civilian control of the military.

War is bigger than any one man or woman, whether a private, a general or president,” President Obama said.  “As difficult as it is to lose General McChrystal, I believe it is the right decision for our national security.”  “I welcome debate among my team,” he said, “but I won’t tolerate division.”

President Obama Relieves General Stanley McChrystal of Command

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The Runaway General: Gen. McChrystal Summoned to Washington Over Remarks

The Runaway General: Gen. McChrystal Summoned to Washington Over Remarks

President Obama’s top commander in Afghanistan was flown to Washington on Tuesday to find out whether he will be fired, after an article in Rolling Stone quoted him and his staff members speaking critically of top members of President Obama’s team.

With the war effort faltering, the comments by General Stanley McChrystal illustrated the disarray and spitefulness that exists among the Afghanistan team, as well as the tensions between the president and the military.  In the magazine article, General McChrystal or his aides spoke derisively of Vice President Biden, Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, National Security Adviser General James L. Jones, Richard C. Holbrooke, the special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and even President Obama himself.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs refused to say outright whether General McChrystal would lose his position.  Gibbs questioned the general’s judgment, calling the comments an “enormous mistake,” adding that military parents need to know that “the structure where they’re sending their children is one that is capable and mature enough in prosecuting a war as important as Afghanistan.”

Gen. Stanley McChrystal Summoned to Washington Over Remarks

White House Calls Back General McChrystal

President Obama Comments on  General McChrystal

Read the full article The Runaway General in Rolling Stone here.

Read more about reactions to General McChrystal’s remarks in The New York Times here.

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Video Released of US Military Helicopter Pilots Slaughtering 12 Iraqi Civilians

Video Released of US Military Helicopter Pilots Slaughtering 12 Iraqi Civilians

Yesterday, WikiLeaks released a video showing U.S. military pilots, shooting from an Apache helicopter, slaughtering twelve Iraqi civilians in 2007, including a Reuters photojournalist and his driver. The dead included several Iraqis who showed up at the scene a few minutes later to carry away the dead and wounded (including two of their children).  The video is truly gruesome and difficult to watch even for the most cynical person, but it should be seen by everyone with responsibility for what the U.S. has done in Iraq and Afghanistan (i.e., every American citizen).  Reuters had been trying to obtain obtain this video for two years through a FOIA request, but had been met with stonewalling by the U.S. military.  The video shows that military officials made categorically false statements about what happened  there and were clearly engaged in a cover-up.

Video Showing US Military Apache Helicopter Pilots Slaughtering 12 Iraqi Civilians

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