Tom Toles is easily my favorite political cartoonist...so I was intrigued when I read this yesterday...
US military chiefs denounce Washington Post cartoon
US military chiefs expressed outrage over a "reprehensible" Washington Post cartoon which used a soldier who has lost his arms and legs in battle to portray the state of US military readiness.
"We're all very upset about that," General Peter Schoomaker, the army chief of staff told reporters.
Schoomaker and the other military chiefs took the unusual step of signing a a joint letter to the Washington Post blasting the cartoon by Tom Toles, the newspaper's editorial cartoonist.
"Using the likeness of a service member who has lost his arms and legs in war as the central theme of a cartoon was beyond tasteless," the letter said, which the Post published Thursday.
It was signed by General Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the vice chairman and the heads of the army, navy, air force and marine corps.
The cartoon, which was published January 29, showed a heavily bandaged soldier with no arms or legs.
At his side, US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, dressed as a doctor, says: "I'm listing your condition as battle hardened."
The cartoon alluded to comments Rumsfeld made last week rejecting a Pentagon-commissioned study that warned that the over-stretched army was becoming a "thin green line."
The chiefs said the Post was free to criticize the state of military readiness.
"However, The Post and Mr. Toles have done a disservice to readers and to The Post's reputation by using such a callous depiction of those who volunteered to defend this nation and, as a result, suffered traumatic and life-altering wounds," it said.
They extolled wounded veterans as "brave men and women with a sense of purpose and selfless commitment that causes battle-hardened warriors to pause."
"While The Post and some of its readers may not agree with the war or its conduct, these men and women and their families are owed the decency of not having a cartoon make light of their tremendous physical sacrifices," it said.
"As the joint chiefs, we rarely put our hand to one letter, but we cannot let this reprehensible cartoon go unanswered," it said.
In a story about the letter, the Post quoted Toles as saying he never intended the cartoon to be read as a personal attack or a derogatory comment on the service and sacrifice of US soldiers.
He said that in thinking about Rumsfeld's remarks "what came soon to mind was the catastrophic level of injuries the Army and members of the armed services have sustained."
"I thought my portrayal of it was a fair depiction of the reality of the situation," he said.
Here's the cartoon in question...
Okay, here's my rant. First of all, anyone with a brain could realize that the cartoon isn't making fun or light of the TROOPS at all. The punchline of the cartoon is that Rumsfeld is an asshole. Plain and simple. So the idea that this liberal cartoonist is attacking the military is false and frankly soooooo "2003." People are getting pissed off (rightly so) of being accused of being Anti-Military simply cause they feel like the war is wrong. I think we've reached past the point that only "liberals" feel that way and slowly but surely the American People are realizing that the longer we stay in Iraq, the worse off we're going to be.
Secondly, it's a fucking cartoon. The fact that the joint chiefs of the military actually got together and condemned this cartoon by signing a letter pretty much shows why we're in this mess to begin with.
How about some body armor for the troops?
How about a clear set of ideals and stragegies to ensure some sort of victory in Iraq? (if it's even possible at this point?!)
How about figuring out the easiest and earliest way to get us the fuck out of Iraq?! (cough cough OURUPCOMINGELECTIONSINNOVEMBER! cough)
What's that? You're going to write a letter blasting a political cartoonist instead?! Well, at least you have your priorities.