The magic mirror
Winds of Change has commentary on the "24-star" letter, signed by every member of the JCS, to the Washington Post expressing disappointment in an editorial cartoon by Tom Toles.
The WaPo cartoon showed a soldier who had lost both arms and legs. SECDEF Rumsfeld, portrayed as a doctor, tells him "I'm portraying your condition as 'battle-hardened'".
The small figures at the bottom of the cartoon say, "I'm prescribing that you be stretched thin. We don't define that as torture."
The JCS letter's tone was almost man-to-man; or maybe better, father to stranger. Unlike the reaction to the Danish cartoons depicting Mohammed, the letter did not convey the slightest shade of warning. In fact it went out of its way to affirm the right of the Washington Post to run the cartoon.
Editorial cartoons are often designed to exaggerate issues -- and your paper is obviously free to discuss any topic, including the state of readiness of today's Armed Forces.
What it did convey was disappointment; and in so doing appealed to the old-fashioned standard of taste and decency. The letter went on.
However, we 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.
But JCS may have been wrong to think that the cartoon was about "the state of readiness of today's Armed Forces". No. It was far more appropriately an unwitting yet brilliant commentary on the souls of Tom Toles and the Washington Post editors themselves. John Kennedy once observed that "A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers." One might add that people most clearly reveal their statures by what they choose to mock.