For many, Army Pfc. Joseph Dwyer was the face of the United States invasion of Iraq: captured in a famous picture carrying an Iraqi child to safety. He has now become the face of the tens of thousands of walking wounded. This week he was found overdosed in an apartment after spending years struggling with post traumatic stress syndrome and poor military health care.
The March 2003 picture became a symbol of the benign U.S. intentions for the war and was a counter-image to the later pictures of torture at bu Ghraib. What the picture did not capture was Dwyer’s inner injury after searching in a unit with the 3rd Infantry Division called by a commander “the tip of the tip of the spear.” He would return home with nightmares of being attacked by Iraqi gunmen and, in 2005, he fired shots in his El Paso, Texas, apartment. He only surrendered after holding police at bay for three hours.
He was found in his apartment shortly after his wife left him with his daughter. He had overdosed with a computer cleaner aerosol, Dust-Off.
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