An American Face from the War in Iraq

by Genevieve Long for Media and Foreign Policy

There are few photos of the Iraq war as poignant and iconic as that of Marine Lance Corporal James Blake Miller. The photo, known as the “Marlboro Marine”, was taken by Los Angeles Times photojournalist Luis Sinco.

The war-weary Marine with a cigarette dangling from his mouth in  the battle of Fallujah in 2004 is more than an American face far from home. At some level, although it was taken nearly five years ago, it embodies the weariness of the American people and their military–set adrift in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, more than ever, they are two conflicts that seem to have no end, no solution, no happy road out.

Sinco’s photograph, and his personal connection with Lance Corporal Miller, gave birth to a series of engaging and at times breathtaking pictures that, when woven together, create a picture of a life after. After war, after killing, after trying to go back and realizing nothing will ever be the same.

A slideshow of Sinco’s photographs of Miller, post-Iraq, can be found here.

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