Best Defense

The standard photo: So. Af’stan edition

When I looked at this, I thought, “Oh, this is the standard war photo from southern Afghanistan.”

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When I looked at this, I thought, “Oh, this is the standard war photo from southern Afghanistan.” A guy jumping over an irrigation ditch — that is, a little physical movement on a boring patrol.

Think of it. Every war, or part of a war, has a basic image. WWII Pacific: Guy hunkered down on beach, maybe a palm tree in the background. WWI: Guy peering over parapet, maybe a machine gun in the background. Civil War: Some sort of charge. Vietnam: Anything involving helicopters.

So there you go. And here you are.

U.S. Department of Defense

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. @tomricks1

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