The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, April 1, 2003 - 5
mages of war:
The eyes behind the front lines
en he came to the University in 1995,199 99graduate Warren Zinn shared the same aspiration as many other students - he
wanted to go to medical school and become a doctor. But something along the way changed his mind, and Zinn never went
to medical school. Instead, he became a photojournalist, spending the last three years working for the Army Times. He has
worked in Afghanistan twice before and spent a month in Kuwait before the Iraq conflict began this year. Because the Army Times is
owned by Gannett Company Inc., the moments captured in his photographs have been seen all over the country. Zinn, 25, is now in
Iraq, embedded with the soldiers of the Seventh Cavalry Regiment of the Third Infantry Division out of Fort Stewart, Ga. Although
they communicate with their son daily, Richard and Susan Zinn can only watch the war from behind their television sets in Miami,
Fla. "We are very proud of the job he's doing and the job the troops are doing, but we're worried," his father said, adding that this is not
the first time his son has been far from home. "It's a long way from the Big House to Iraq." On Day 10 of the war, Zinn, a former
Michigan Daily photo editor, talked with Daily Staff Reporters Emily Kraack and Maria Sprow via telephone from Iraq about life as a
war photographer, the dangers American soldiers are facing and missing home. Below are excerpts from that interview.
The Michigan Daily: What thoughts went through
your mind when you found out you were doing this?
Warren Zinn: I had been waiting to leave (Washington)
before everything started. I was the first one from our com-
pany out the door. I left in the first week of February and
was living in Kuwait for a month, waiting for the whole
thing tostart.... I guess we're on Day 10 now, and it's a little
different than Afghanistan. I've done Afghanistan now twice,
but this is a totally different ball game out here.
TMD: What makes it different?
WZ: The basic difference is the duration of the combat.
Afghanistan was these missions where you have fighting for
two or three days at a time and then you fly back to the base
and you hang out, relax, take a shower, eat some hot food
and sleep in a sleeping bag. ... The last 24 hours, they have
pulled our unit off the front lines and let everyone rest and
resupply. Since the beginning of the war, we have been going
nonstop pretty much 24 hours a day with sustained combat.
Someone told us, I don't know if it's true or not, that no unit
since Vietnam has had this much sustained combat. It's a
much more grueling schedule.
TMD: Are you with the troops at all times?
WZ: There is really nowhere else to go. You ride with
them, eat with them, sleep with them and get shot at with
them. You experience what they experience. That's the idea
behind the embedding process.
TMD: How often do you see your family?
WZ: I'm based out of (Washington) now, but I counted
and I was gone 250 days last year. This year, I'll be gone
half of January, pretty much all of February, all of March
and it looks like however long in April, however long this
goes on for.... It wears on my family. It wears on you, just
being out here. It's hard to maintain a social life. You go
home and you go out to the bar with your friends for the
night and then it's like, well OK, I'll see you in two
months. Then you are gone.
TMD: What is it like working with the media in Iraq?
WZ: Access has been wonderful. There is nothing off-
limits to us here. A lot of times, we are allowed to see the
battle plans for the next two, or three, or four days. We are
told we can't release this information until it happens, but
I knew the battle plan for the war - at least for our unit
- before the war started. ... I guess the military knows
that I am going to be riding with them, so if I give away
any information that could jeopardize their safety, I am
also jeopardizing my safety.
TMD: What photographs have you taken that have
really gotten to you?
WZ: That photo of the soldier carrying the Iraqi boy. But
there is another photo of a lady lying on a stretcher. She is
turned facing the camera, and screaming in pain, and there is
a soldier who is there holding her hand to keep her calm.
That moment was, to me, almost more tender than the
moment with the soldier running with the boy.
TMD: How do you separate yourself emotionally from
the things you are photographing?
WZ: The camera, when you put it in front of you, becomes
a wall between you and what is going on.... You like to say
that, but it does affect you. You are seeing human drama at its
best and at its worst.... But you have to deal with it and keep
on moving. There is a whole other day ahead with a whole
other set of photographs that need to be taken.
TMD: What do you see as the role of the media in
depicting the war in Iraq?
WZ: The media coverage of the war is just outrageous,
but in a good way. There is just so much coverage. People
are inundated with so many images all the time that they
can't even process them. It's wonderful that people have the
ability to see what is going on. Whether you are for or
against war, it doesn't matter - it's good that the American
people will now know what it means when you decide that
you are going to send 200,000 18- to 30-year-old boys to go
fight on the front line.
TMD: Do you worry about your safety?
WZ: You worry about your safety a lot. You try to put
yourself in the safest position possible, but some things are
out of your control and there is nothing you can do about it.
TMD: What do you miss most about home?
WZ: A nice, comfy bed. I don't know. Some good food
and a bed. Last night was actually the first night in 12 days
that I not only just took my shoes off, because I haven't taken
them off in 12 days, but actually got into a sleeping bag and
laid down to go to sleep. It was pretty nice.
TMD: Are you glad you are doing this now? Do you
think you could do this 10 years down the road?
WZ: I don't think I can. It's great now, but it's a tough
lifestyle. I can't imagine people having a family and wanting
to do this. Leaving a wife and kids back home, it's got to be
really rough, on multiple levels -just being away from them
for periods of time and the safety issue. You are putting your-
self in harm's way and you might not be coming home.
TMD: Can you describe what war is like - is the clas-
sic saying "war is hell" accurate?
WZ: I think people have a sense that, from watching war
movies, it is just nonstop and you are crawling through the
dirt and people are shooting from everywhere. But you
spend a lot of time waiting, a lot of time preparing, some
time fighting and then back to a lot of time waiting.
TMD: What is the general attitude among your unit?
WZ: Before we got the order to go, they were chopping at
the bit, ready to go. Then we spent the first seven days in just
nonstop combat.... The commander they were with, the guy
didn't sleep for six straight days. And I mean, people say
they don't sleep for six days, but he really did not sleep for
six days. He was commanding this battle nonstop.
TMD: How have Iraqi civilians responded to the unit?
WZ: That moment with the boy, what happened was, we
had spent the last 24 hours in combat.... We started getting
ambushed again very heavily and we were returning fire and
they were firing back. Air strikes were called in on the area.
The Air strikes came in, the explosions went off and the fir-
ing stopped.... There was a guy walking from the area
where the Air strikes were, to where we were.... There were
soldiers going over to where he was walking to stop him and
make sure he didn't have any weapons. There are situations
out here when people are looking like they are coming to
surrender, only to get close (and start fighting).... He was
telling the interpreter that his family was injured in the
shootings. But the soldiers didn't want to send a medical
team into the village where the fire had just come from, in
case it was a trap. So they said, 'If you bring your child out
here, we'll treat him here.' So he disappeared back into
where the village was. He comes walking back up the road
with the boy in his arms, and right then one of the soldiers
just darted down to him. He just very trustfully handed his
son to this soldier and turned around to get more people.
TMD: Was the boy OK? What happened to him?
WZ: He had taken a large piece of shrapnel to his legs.
There was a five-inch by two-inch hole below his knees. You
could see his bones.... An ambulance showed up. ... It was
just a white van with some blood on the floors, some people,
a rusty oxygen bottle. That was it, there were no medical
supplies. The only evidence that it was an ambulance was
that it was painted on the outside. I realized that the worst
thing that could have happened to that boy was for that
ambulance to show up. If the ambulance had never shownrp
... he would have been treated by the best doctors available,
at the best facilities available. And now, who knows?
WARREN ZINN/ ARMY TIMES/AP Photo
TOP: University alum Warren Zinn is currently a
war photojournalist in Iraq. MIDDLE: A soldier from
the U.S. Army's 7th Cavalry Regiment attends to a
young Iraqi boy who was injured during a March 25
air strike. BOTTOM: A medical platoon attends to
an Iraqi woman who was injured during a battle
near Al Faysaliyah, Iraq, also on March 25.
Hgh school students say parents, teachers
are obstacles to becoming politically active :
By Andrew Kaplan
Daily Staff Reporter
While University students have engaged in their own politi-
cal row over University admissions policies and the war with
Iraq, a second front for activism has flourished in Ann Arbor
public high schools.
But despite high school students' participation in walkouts
and University protests, many students said social pressures
pervading the high school environment make it difficult to
become politically active.
"Being in college, I don't have to worry about my mom
hanging over my shoulder and giving me limits on what I can
do," said LSA freshman Sarah Barnard, an organizer for the
Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action and
Integration and Fight for Equality by Any "Although
Means Necessary. "I think she was blown
away by the fact that I was doing stuff on teachers c
my own and that I had other mentors to encOUragi*
look up to." .
Barnard - who co-founded a BAMN activism c
chapter at Ann Arbor Huron High School oppressed
last year - said high school students
encounter obstacles to their demonstrations they don't
for University admissions policies, but are students ti
just as politically motivated as University ,,'
"High school students never really have a
chance to speak out, but they've always Community
been the most active and most vocal in the
Civil Rights Movement," she said, referring
to high school activism during the 1960s.
Barnard added that several students from Ann Arbor and
Detroit public schools have chartered buses to Washington
today, when the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments
over the University's use of race in admissions.
In addition to citing parental cynicism over high school
activism, some Ann Arbor students said high school faculty
and administration do not support student demonstrations
against the war with Iraq.
"I've talked to some faculty and the general rule is, 'Don't
talk about it during class,"' Huron High School senior Jenna
"I think they're not more supportive of pro-war or anti-war
people either - they're just trying to be as diplomatic as
"A lot of high schools don't encourage protests" said Com-
munity High School senior Ben Ayer, a member of a local
Students for Peace chapter.
Although Ayer said more than 300 Community students
participated in a recent citywide high school walkout to
protest the war,
an also be
o get too
- Ben Ayer
High School senior
he said teachers from other Ann Arbor
schools prevented students from rallying
by locking classroom doors and prohibiting
posters in hallways. "Although some teach-
ers can be encouraging, activism can also
be oppressed because they don't want stu-
dents to get too radical," he said.
On top of antagonism from parents and
administrators, Ann Arbor high school
activists said they must also face negative
stigma from their peers:
"Not a lot of students are getting into
(political activism) in the Ann Arbor area,"
said Huron sophomore Dorian Jordan, a
member of her school's BAMN chapter. "A
lot of them won't do it because it's not
cool, or it's not the thing to do."
"There's a lot of students who just don't
of Iraq war
By Taaha Haq
For the Daily
As the war in Iraq gathers speed, a
panel of experts gathered in Rackham
Auditorium last night to analyze the
international implications of the war.
History Prof. Juan Cole, an expert
in Middle Eastern and South Asian
history, discussed the pattern of
events in the Middle East from the
colonial era to more recent events.
He said people in the Middle East
view the attack on Iraq as the "impo-
sition of foreign rule" and as an "
attack on the Muslim world."
Political science Prof. Mark Tessler
argued against the widely-held Western
notion that the Muslim reaction against
the war was due to a clash of civiliza-
tions. "This is not a clash of societies,"
Tessler said. Rather, "They have a strong
dislike of the U.S. foreign policy."
History Prof. Geoffrey Eley spoke
about the "absence of international con-
sensus" with regard to the war in Iraq.
He also said the United States has made
no visible commitment to "democratize
Iraq" or to "liberate the Iraqi people."
He said that the lack of post-war
planning, as compared to World War
II - when the United States was
committed to bringing about change
in Germany and in Japan - made
him pessimistic about U.S. plans to
Also on the panel was political
science Prof. Meredith Woo-Cum-
ings, who said the United States was
"bound by the rhetoric of not negoti-
ating with rogue states." Referring to
the United States' decision not to
negotiate with North Korea, she said
that "We might have unleashed a
Golem upon the world" resulting in
an unstoppable conflict within the
Koreas. She insisted that further dia-
logue with Iraq could have averted
the current Iraq crisis.
When asedr h a memher of the aui-
A group of Detroit area high schoolers show their
support for affirmative action during a BAMN rally this
Americans for Freedom member Mike Phillips said, citing
University students' reluctance to express conservative view-
points amid a myriad of leftwing coalitions.
"If you look at this campus, you can't tell if there are more con-
servatives out there ... because they tend to be less active."
"At the University, sometimes people don't think they have
to be so committed," Barnard said. "High school students -
they're more loose, they're more extroverted and they're the
ones who have not been afraid to fight. Coming to college,,
there's a lot more pressure here for students to deal with" -
like schoolwork, she said.
care, Peters-Golden said, adding that many upperclassmen did not
attend the walkout because it occurred during their free periods.
But some University students said peer pressure against
student activism can be found at the college level as well.
"There is definitely more pressure on this campus to
express liberal views, in the sense that there's diversity advo-
cated at Michigan, but not ideological diversity," Young
U, students in Washington react to tightened security
By Michael Kan
Daily Staff Reporter
mon in Washington.
But many University of Michigan graduates
working in the Washington area have found that
living in the capital has not made life uneasy for
essarily talk about the threats of an attack
because they are unidentifiable and may not be
"A couple days ago the alarms went off in my
office and1 lthe nnnle were cramhling nut
the news everywhere you go, so the constant talk
of terror and security did take a little getting used
to. In the end, you just have to take reasonable
steps to feel secure," Johnson said.
She a id she has been taking these stens to stav
Earlier this month, two University students
were arrpcteA in the IT . Crtnitn1 hnildina for a