Skip to comments.Joint Chiefs Send Rare Protest Letter to 'Wash Post' Over 'Reprehensible' Toles Cartoon
Posted on 02/01/2006 3:31:44 PM PST by RWR8189
NEW YORK A Tom Toles editorial cartoon published in The Washington Post on Monday and on its Web site has drawn a very rare and very strong protest letter to the editors from all six members of The Joint Chiefs of Staff, E&P has learned.
The letter, not yet published by the Post, charges that the six military leaders "believe you and Mr. Toles have done a disservice to your readers and your paper's reputation by using such a callous depiction of those who have volunteered to defend this nation, and as a result, have suffered traumatic and life-altering wounds. ... As the Joint Chiefs, it is rare that we all put our hand to one letter, but we cannot let this reprehensible cartoon go unanswered."
A Pentagon spokeswoman confirmed the contents of the letter to E&P late this afternoon. That the newspaper had received such a letter was first reported on the popular AmericaBlog site, which is run by John Aravosis, this afternoon.
The spokeswoman said a letter from all six joint chiefs to anyone, let alone a newspaper, is rare, but the cartoon so offended them, they wanted to let their feelings be known. "It was expressing their disappointment with the paper and outrage at using that image to make a political point," said Lt. Col. Diane Battaglia. "That is a rare occurrence, but the level of inappropriateness prompted a response of unanimous support."
Battaglia said Post editors told her office that the letter would be published in Thursday's paper. Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt declined to comment on the letter. "My policy is I can't talk about letters until we publish them," he told E&P. "If and when a letter runs, I'd be happy to talk about it."
Reached by E&P, Tom Toles said, "no comment."
The Toles cartoon shows a soldier, a quadriplegic, in a hospital, being visited by a Dr. Rumsfeld who is scribbling on a form. Rumsfeld says, "I am listing your condition as battle hardened." At the bottom a smaller figure of the doctor adds, "I'm prescribing that you be stretched thin. We don't define that as torture."
The letter, signed by Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Edmund P. Giambastini, Jr., the vice-chairman, and the four other military branch leaders -- and addressed to the Post's managing editor, Philip Bennett -- reveals that they were "extremely disappointed" in the Toles cartoon. "Using the likeness of a service member who has lost his arms and legs in war as the central theme of a cartoon is beyond tasteless," they wrote.
They observed that the paper is "obviously free to address any topic," even use exaggeration. But they added: "While you or some of your readers may not agree with the war or its conduct, we believe you owe the men and women and their families who so selflessly serve our country the decency to not make light of their tremendous physical sacrifices."
Aravosis from AmericaBlog told E&P: "Now that the Joint Chiefs have addressed the insidious threat cartoons pose to our troops, perhaps they can move on to less pressing issues like getting them their damn body armor."
Tasteless, but I can already hear the idiot on Larry King saying "Larry, I'm FOR the troops..." Because they're ALL for the troops, right?
I wish a returned Marine would pay a visit to Toles.
This is a lot further down the spectrum from DESPICABLE.
" Aravosis from AmericaBlog told E&P: "Now that the Joint Chiefs have addressed the insidious threat cartoons pose to our troops, perhaps they can move on to less pressing issues like getting them their damn body armor.""
What an a-hole.
scum-sucking gutter-rat heartless b*stards. period.
FYI in light of your earlier thread. Let the good Dr. Wasek know about this...
To any and all American Service Men and Women who might read this thread:
I'm disgusted with Mr. Tole's "cartoon" and if I was a Washington Post subscriber I would cancel it post haste. I am truly sorry you have been exposed to such disrespect and tastelessness from a supposedly legitimate news source. They seem to have forgotten that it is you who makes it possible for them to publish anything they want in a free society.
This just makes me ill. How on Earth could anyone with a conscience let this run?
And I don't *care* if it's the Post!
"This is a lot further down the spectrum from DESPICABLE."
The dems are killing themselves.
And he never seems confident enough in his cartoon to make his point ... that's why he always resorts to the little additional jabs at the bottom.
And the little "jabs" are usually even more cynical than the content of the cartoon. Even if he were more rational I wouldn't like his work because he relies too much on a gimmick.
That's disgraceful, absolutely disgraceful. I'm a big fan of free speech, but there should be some sense of decency. Using a depiction of a soldier who has lost his limbs in the service of our country just to take a cheap shot at Rumsfeld is truly offensive.
John Aravosis, a gay activist who led a boycott of Dr. Laura Schlessingers television show three years ago, recently started a petition aimed at stopping a constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage.
ohn Aravosis has promised to out gay members of Congress and gay staff members as lawmakers move closer to a vote on the Federal Marriage Amendment. (Photo courtesy of Vermont Law School)
2004 - Activist John Aravosis issued a call for the names of gay congressional members, staffers and their associates to publicly out them. If youre gay and you support making sexual orientation a political weapon, then your sexual orientation is fair game, and you will be outed to the rafters, Aravosis said.
It is time to exempt any of their property from the American defense perimeter.
Does Toles have any Muslim terrorist cartoons?
This place is filled to the brim with yuppies and "newsies".
Odds are the only Arabs Toles ever sees are standing out front of a couple of ME embassies he passes on his way down Massachusetts Avenue each morning to his office at the WashPost.
Washington political consultant John Aravosis sees evidence of growing dissatisfaction regarding the Abramoff scandal,
Gotta say, I'm a liberal who sometimes posts at Free Republic, and I'm shocked at the unanimity with which you all don't get this cartoon. The troops are being done wrong by their civilian leaders--as the cartoon suggests--just like in Vietnam. If you're not holding those civilian leaders to account, how can you respect the troops?
Amputee Soldiers Are Funny? Not To The Joint Chiefs
Political cartoonist, Tom Toles, thinks amputee soldiers are funny. He created a political cartoon recently that appeared in the Washington post (Mon., Jan. 30th) that showed a quadriplegic soldier, in a hospital bed. He was being visited by "Dr." Rumsfeld. "Dr." Rumsfeld says, "I am listing your condition as battle hardened." At the bottom a smaller figure of the doctor adds, "I'm prescribing that you be stretched thin. We don't define that as torture."
But the Joint Chiefs of US armed forces have sent a rare letter of protest to the paper to take artist Toles and the paper to task.
Editor and Publisher is reporting that the letter protesting this cartoon, the contents of which the paper has not fully disclosed, was signed by all six members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
It is being reported that the letter says, in part that, that the Joint Chiefs were "extremely disappointed" in the cartoon. "Using the likeness of a service member who has lost his arms and legs in war as the central theme of a cartoon is beyond tasteless,"
The letter goes on to say, "While you or some of your readers may not agree with the war or its conduct, we believe you owe the men and women and their families who so selflessly serve our country the decency to not make light of their tremendous physical sacrifices."
I couldn't agree more and it is heartening to see the Joint Chiefs finally speaking up against this kind of treatment thrown against our soldiers by hat-mongers and anti-war cretins such as Toles and the Post.
Now if only we could have something said to the "protesters" who parade out in front of the hospitals our soldiers go to for therapy. These protesters harass injured soldiers and their families routinely.
But remember, they really do "support the troops".
...in a pig's eye, they do.
Youve been listening to Kerry and Murtha too much.
Liberal blogger, Aravosis: "NBC confirms it's investigating whether Bush spied on CNN's Christiane Amanpour,"
If the JCS can distract the public from trenchant criticism by claiming it's disrespectful to the troops--and remember, the cartoon is about RUMSFELD, not the soldier--doesn't that give them a free pass to cover their butts and deflect ANY criticism?
Is it possible that what bothers them isn't the depiction of the soldier, but the sharpness of the criticism of the Pentagon civilians?
Not a quadriplegic, a quadruple amputee.
Please crawl back over to the DU sewer.
It's just a stupid, unfunny liberal cartoon but I see no reason to get all bent out of shape over it, especially since we are all laughing at the Moslems for being so outraged by the cartoons that appeared in the Jyllands-Posten.
Your response is shocking.
I have friends freshly back from the war who completely disagree with this statement.
This cartoon, your statment and the statment by the homo disgusts me.
Yes. Before we flush the toilet and send you there...
But this one crosses a line. It's in extraordinarily poor taste. As a former cartoonist myself, I know that not every clever idea deserves to leave the drawing board. This was one of them.
[The troops are being done wrong by their civilian leaders]
No Sir. It is you who does not get it. TERRORISTS!!! ...not our civilian leaders... are harming our troops, just like they harmed our civilians on 9-11. Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney and Rice are doing an incredible job of SUPPORTING our troops in spite of anti-American obstructionists like yourself.
Eaker, a dozen vets back from Iraq are running for Congress as Democrats. They would agree more with Toles than with you, I think.
But thing that get the libs upset is when they get reminded that free speech is a two way street.
Jo: they are being done wrong by their civilian leaders in our common fight against terrorism. It is not being handled well.
darkwing, free speech is great. But doesn't the idea of the JCS sending a letter, threatening in tone, to the Post before the piece even ran strike you as more like government intimidation? You can argue that the government intimidation is appropriate, but I don't think you can argue that it is the same as mere "free speech." Indeed, under color of uniform, military speech is quite restricted.
Like Murtha, Kerry and Gore?
Are they anything like the used food listed above?
The last President who tried to silence the military was Clinton...deal with it.
That's it, the Post has crossed the line. This is so far beneath contempt that I can't even imagine them being an American paper.
Further, politicians lie, especially liberal democrats.
My friends don't lie about things this important.
Iraq war is not being handled well. Really?
Did you know that 47 countries have reestablished their embassies in Iraq?
Did you know that the Iraqi government currently employs 1.2 million Iraqi people?
Did you know that 3100 schools have been renovated, 364 schools are under rehabilitation, 263 schools are now under construction and 38 new schools have been built in Iraq?
Did you know that Iraq's higher educational structure consists of 20 Universities, 46 Institutes or colleges and 4 research centers, all currently operating?
Did you know that 25 Iraq students departed for the United States in January 2005 for the re-established Fulbright program?
Did you know that the Iraqi Navy is operational?! They have 5-100-foot patrol craft, 34 smaller vessels and a naval infantry regiment.
Did you know that Iraq's Air Force consists of three operational squadrons, which includes 9 reconnaissance and 3 US C-130 transport aircraft (under Iraqi operational control) which operate day and night, and will soon add 16 UH-1 helicopters and 4 Bell Jet Rangers?
Did you know that Iraq has a counter-terrorist unit and a Commando Battalion?
Did you know that the Iraqi Police Service has over 55,000 fully trained and equipped police officers?
Did you know that there are 5 Police Academies in Iraq that produce over 3500 new officers each 8 weeks?
Did you know there are more than 1100 building projects going on in Iraq? They include 364 schools, 67 public clinics, 15 hospitals, 83 railroad stations, 22 oil facilities, 93 water facilities and 69 electrical facilities.
Did you know that 96% of Iraqi children under the age of 5 havereceived the first 2 series of polio vaccinations?
Did you know that 4.3 million Iraqi children were enrolled in primary school by mid October?
Did you know that there are 1,192,000 cell phone subscribers in Iraq and phone use has gone up 158%?
Did you know that Iraq has an independent media that consists of 75 radio stations, 180 newspapers and 10 television stations?
Did you know that the Baghdad Stock Exchange opened in June of 2004?
Did you know that 2 candidates in the Iraqi presidential election had a televised debate recently?
OF COURSE WE DIDN'T KNOW!
WHY DIDN'T WE KNOW? OUR MEDIA WOULDN'T TELL US!
Instead of reflecting our love for our country, we get photos of flag burning incidents at Abu Ghraib and people throwing snowballs at the presidential motorcades.
The lack of accentuating the positive in Iraq serves two purposes. It is intended to undermine the world's perception of the United States thus minimizing consequent support, and it is intended to discourage American citizens.
Somewhere beneath VILE.