Actor Matthew Modine has been left a changed man after visiting returned Iraq War amputees in Washington DC.

The FULL METAL JACKET star visited the amputees in hospital with a view to photographing them for a new exhibition, to show Americans the true horrors of the war in the Middle East.

But he admits the task shocked him more than he could imagine and he spent much of the experience fighting back tears.

He explains, "There are a staggering number of kids coming back from this war without arms or legs.

"I met one guy who had just come out of surgery, where they'd taken off both his legs. It was like I was looking at my own 18-year-old son lying in such a state of confusion."

Modine admits his initial aim to photograph the returning heroes quickly became redundant.

He adds, "I couldn't take my camera out of the bag. Some of those boys who lost their arms or legs believe that was the price they paid for being in a democratic society, so for me to use an image of them felt like exploitation, and perhaps something that they might not agree with and condone."