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.