In the rules of land warfare one of the principal tenets is care and protection of the helpless. Commonly this refers to non-combatants, civilians, innocent bystanders, and even enemy combatants who have been wounded. There are instances – far too many historically – of the enemy killing wounded opposing combatants. Cases of combatants killing their own wounded are extremely rare and done only in the most extraordinary circumstances. Leave it to the media to turn the moral aberration of shooting friendly wounded into a casual editorial statement.
In the Washington Post of January 29, a most repugnant editorial cartoon appeared, drawn by a Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist named Tom Toles. The cartoon depicted an American soldier – a quadruple amputee – propped in a hospital bed attended by a figure labeled as “Dr. Rumsfeld.” The doctor says “I’m listing your condition as ‘battle-hardened.’” A characteristic sub-caption along the bottom (Toles’ signature cartoon-within-the-cartoon) says “I’m prescribing that you be stretched thin. We don’t define that as torture.”
Clearly, Toles is reflecting a current leftist view, expressed in Congress by Rep. John Murtha, that the military is “broken,” morale shattered, that the army in particular is stretched too far to meet current mission taskings, and that our military uses torture as national policy. A concomitant distortion is that we have suffered unacceptably high casualty levels. It is a pack of lies.
In reaction to the cartoon, the ranking members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – six four-star general officers – sent a strongly-worded letter to the Post on January 31. It is circulating around the internet with the subject line “24-star letter.” Read it. The letter is a rare instance when all senior members of the JCS combine to sign the same document. The letter properly takes the Post to task for publishing a cartoon it describes as “beyond tasteless.”
While acknowledging the Post’s free speech rights – which American soldiers are defending – the Chiefs point out the hurtful, disrespectful nature of the cartoon and the sentiments that lay behind it. Whether or not the Post or its readers “agree with the war or its conduct” the Chiefs say, “we believe you owe the men and women and their families who so selflessly serve this country the decency not to make light of their tremendous physical sacrifices.” Well said.
Tom Toles’ and the Washington Post’s ideological perversions along with the Left it supports, have jumped the rails. Ironically, cartoons like Toles’ reflect more honestly what these people believe than any hypocritical sentiments about “supporting the troops,” because they do not. Leopards would change spots faster than liberals would genuinely support combat soldiers. The time of spat-upon soldiers returning from Vietnam are their glory days.
It would be much more a true reflection of the Washington Post’s view – a view shared by Senators Durbin, Kerry, and Kennedy, and Representatives Pelosi, McKinney, Murtha, and McDermott to name but a few – if they acknowledged their support for the cartoon’s core meaning: they have nothing but contempt for the military. A list of the Hollywood leftists who “support the troops” by denigrating them and from like-minded academia would fill volumes. Toles at least had the courage of his convictions.
It is time we take the offensive with these people and challenge their pretense of supporting the troops. They hope America fails, preferably with all the ignominy possible, thereby opening a door to political power for them.
America’s military is far from broken. Those who think that 2,000 or even 20,000 casualties are enough to “break” this military are wrong. The American military has been all-volunteer for 35 years. Our troops arguably are the best ever fielded by the U.S. in any war, any time. Morale is high, as evidenced by re-enlistment rates in combat units that exceed quotas quarter after quarter. Even new enlistments are rising, something the left-wing media prefers to ignore.
America’s military is a tough, smart, highly skilled force capable of taking war to an enemy with deadly efficiency while exercising extreme care to reduce civilian casualties. It is a force of which all Americans can be proud. A military that has through sacrifice and spilled blood earned respect from all, not lampooning by a bunch of leftists.
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