Wednesday, February 01, 2006

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.


Blogger Doug said...

Well Put.
Such a sad slice of our society.

2/01/2006 07:19:00 PM  
Blogger rhhardin said...

A lot comes from a general confusion about what is being honored, when those who go are honored.

They're not honored for dying, or for getting wounded, but for being called on and going, every one of them.

That's the movement of morality in general, and we honor it because we recognize it in ourselves.

Response to a call that addresses you is morality itself, the address making you unique and irreplaceable for the first time.

That's the opposite of being a victim, which is what it's confused with, worst of all in patriotic speeches and ceremonies.

Veterans need not get anything at all out of it, as to honoring or remembering, and they will have nevertheless triumphed.

It is to deny that that they are portrayed as victims.

2/01/2006 07:25:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

Even with all the disclaimers about the WaPo's freedom to print the cartoon, the leftoids of Kos and the like characterize the letter as a threat.

Oh Sayang.

2/01/2006 07:52:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Nice post.

The left is now in auto-hypocrisy mode. Mock the supposedly callous by exploiting the tragedy the callous are allegedly indifferent to? What? This is the movement of Reason & Compassion?

2/01/2006 07:59:00 PM  
Blogger Meme chose said...

It's wonderful to see the mental Berlin Wall constructed by the media, which has constrained constructive thought for so many decades, being dismantled brick by brick in this way, by an ad hoc alliance of everyone from bloggers to generals. It's a dream come true.

The process seems relentless from our side. Imagine how frustratingly irresistible it must seem from theirs.

2/01/2006 08:05:00 PM  
Blogger Kyda Sylvester said...

Michelle Malkin has the cartoon which I gather is no longer available at the WaPo.

Ted, you're a tool. And you're no Herblock.

2/01/2006 08:17:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

I wish I was missing a limb - I'd go visit the Wapo editors personally.

2/01/2006 08:26:00 PM  
Blogger otherwhen789 said...

meme chose,
You gotta remember that we spent 50 years impotently screaming at the TV back when Marxism was "the wave of the future."

They are not the first ones to be on the wrong side of 'frustratingly irresistible.'

2/01/2006 08:44:00 PM  
Blogger Brett L said...

I worry about near sociopathic narcissism when it is displayed so often. 'Tis one thing to disagree, even vehemently, with one another. Mr. Toles' cartoon displays a startling lack of empathy. It seems as if Mr. Toles cannot imagine that a "person" (as defined by Mr. Toles) would find himself or a loved one in the position of that soldier in the cartoon.

It's the same symptom that allows humans to strap on belts and kill civilians, or justify slavery, or stone witches. The Fascists went down this road, too.

All members of homo sap deserve the chance to prove their humanity - individually, and failing to do so at least deserve to be put down quickly and painlessly. I am NOT suggesting that Mr. Toles or any one else specifically deserves this treatment. It's just an observation.

Every time a society or subculture decides to assign personhood by a group trait rather than individual performance, all atrocities become possible. After all, those aren't really "people" we're marching to the gas chamber - they're doppelgangers.

2/01/2006 09:01:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

I thought at first that Mr. Toles was surpassingly tone deaf -- insensitive if you will -- then I realized it was possible he was just keyed to a different pitch. There's a story told about a duchess in the 1930s who was approached by a hobo while she was waiting for her Rolls. He said, 'madame, I have not eaten for three days'. She replied, 'you really must make an effort. Force yourself to swallow if you must'. Despite the similarity in language they were beings from two different worlds and there was no possibility of communicatio between the two. Likewise there's the chance that Toles is not tone deaf; just that in his world there really are people who laugh at such things. With knee-slapping, hee-haw laughter.

2/01/2006 10:01:00 PM  
Blogger Joan said...

I believe Tole is another champion of that segment of society, also inhabited by lamentable Joel Stein, who has no understanding of the concept of honor (as evidenced in the Hewitt interview).

These people do not understand sacrifice, nor do they have any appreciation of how difficult it is for men like Bush and Rumsfeld to order our country's brightest and best into harm's way.

Of course what we're seeing both in Stein's column and in Tole's cartoon is the fundamental disregard that the Left has for the military. Ironically, the Left was upfront about declaring how evil the military was when there was a draft and service was mandated. Now that the military's all-voluntary, they've wised up to the fact that they can't overtly show their hatred for "the tools that sign up to go kill babies."

Stein's column and interview are anomalous in their honesty, but Tole's cartoon is a fine example of how they reveal their own feelings about the military while supposedly making a scathing commentary about the Administration's conduct of the war. You'll never see a cartoon depicting wounded soldiers this way over on Cox & Forkum; no one who understands and appreciates what these men and women are doing for us would ever treat them so shabbily. It's only those who hold the war wounded -- in fact, all the military -- in contempt that don't give a moment's thought to using them to try to make a point.

2/01/2006 11:47:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Wretchard, I think you're right: Toles & Co. live in a different world. Theirs is a Gnostic empire; the American military and most Americans still live in a nation. A nation is something given; it comes down to us in a form that seems to have a reason and purpose, something we can come to know, explore, love. The Gnostic empire is just a network of power, less concerned with bounded spiritual consciousness than with worldly domination. The liberal left think they are against the American empire, but America is not an empire and the lls are the nasty imperialists who build power through victimary means, as this cartoon exemplifies.

The empire is not good at irony; it's a perennial problem. Only free people have the higher forms of humour. The Washington Post are would-be palace slaves.

2/02/2006 12:43:00 AM  
Blogger Das said...

The moment the left starts mocking maimed soldiers to make its point it has essentially given up on the idea of making a point. The left reveals that its foundation is nihilism, its only goal power.

Making points presupposes a communtiy that talks, exhanges ideas and argues, perhaps vehemently; but in taking the Sacred off the table the left reveals they would rather there be no table (no discussion, no community) in the first place.

Thus we get Koz saying, "screw them" about 4 murdered contract workers in Faluja; we get Ward Churchill comparing 9/11 victims to "little Eichmans".

I suspect the Post is not a little proud of this display of nothing-is-sacred-to-us hard nihilism; "Look (the Post must be thinking) what a bunch of sentimental old softies those JCS are."

2/02/2006 01:13:00 AM  
Blogger Das said...

Or put it another way: think of what monsters we would be if we allowed our minds to be changed or opinions altered by such a cartoon.

2/02/2006 01:31:00 AM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

I've been exchanging messages with a well informed acquaintance in Europe who says that constant MSM bombardment has got the average man half convinced that the Danes are fouling the poor oppressed Muslims.

We may be very close to a crisis that nobody expects. Of course, things could die down; but I believe only for a while. There's precious little surplus buoyancy left; the ship may right itself but slowly, sluggishly and only until the next wave breaks.

2/02/2006 01:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In reaction the letter from the Joint Chiefs, the left is accusing the military of a menacing form of censorship.

2/02/2006 02:25:00 AM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Making sarcastic, snide or belittling comments about others says little about THEM, and much about MY NEED to belittle, criticize and backbite.

That's one reason I allow myself some pleasure in making caustic but accurate observations about the thugs and thug-enablers in our world!

2/02/2006 02:43:00 AM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Friends, I must respectfully call to your attention some factors not mentioned by ANYONE else so far:

The ID Chart at the foot of the patient's bed identifies him a 'U.S. Army', (NOT and individual IN the US Army) and further,

the snipe at the bottom says, "...that you be stretched thin..." which is a state of affairs applicable to an ARMY, but not a living individual.

Its STILL a tasteless, disgusting drawing, but it IS more understandable as a criticism of the collective state-of-affairs of the army, rather than a comment about the Army's treatment of or attitude towards our heroic wounded.


2/02/2006 02:51:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Do you really feel the intent of the cartoonist was to mock wounded soldiers? That the cartoonist’s purpose was to score a cheap laugh at our maimed soldiers’ expense -- to insult the US Army?

Were the European cartoons of Mahomet also produced just to get a cheap laugh -- to insult Islam? Or were there perhaps deeper messages being sent?

Surely had Mr. Toles set out to mock injured soldiers, he would not have identified the patient the “US Army” but would have worked in some more laughs by labeling him “Johnny WorkingClass” or something similar for his elite media buddies and readers to chuckle over. The fact is though that the patient’s chart is clearly marked by the words “US Army”. That would lead a reasonable person to conclude that the maimed soldier on the bed is serving as a symbol for the entire US Army.

If we examine the cartoon further, we see the Doctor, whose job it is to “care” for the “patient” (labeled the US Army) is portrayed as Secretary Rumsfeld. Since in the United States, civilian politicians control the military and the Secretary of Defense has the most immediate responsibility for the military’s care, it seems reasonable to infer that the Doctor symbolizes civilian political leadership, particularly the Defense Department, and more generally the Commander-in-Chief along with Congress. Read this way, it is clear that Mr. Toles is deploring the fact that the civilians leadership seems to be oblivious to the seriousness of the US Army’s condition. Instead of confronting reality, the Doctor resorts to euphemisms; instead of saying, “maimed”, the patient is referred to as “battle hardened”. The cartoonist furthers this interpretation by having the Doctor prescribe that the patient be “stretched thin”.

Is this cartoon a uncompromisingly vicious attack? Clearly it is. But who is the target of the attack; the patient (US Army) ? -- or the Doctor (Secretary Rumsfeld, the Defense Departmen, the Commander-in-Chief, and Congress)?

Normal people feel sympathy for something that is injured. Normal people fell outrage at the authority who not only caused the wounds, who not only refuses to recongnize the wounds, but also refuses to heel the wounds.

To me the answer is clear. Mr Toles is attacking the civilian leadership of our country for letting the US Armed Forces get into the “maimed” state that they are in today. Now one is perfectly solid ground in asking whether the US Army is really in as bad a state as Mr. Toles says it is. One can also argue as to whether the civilian leadership is to blame for the military’s state, if it is indeed bad.

Nor should the US military be wasting valuable time responding to an obvious attack on their civilian masters. The military has no right to publicly criticize the civilian leadership; by the same token they should not be involving themselves in the political leadership’s skirmishes with the press. That is the job of the US Defense Department.

And to argue that Mr. Toles is looking for cheap laughs at the expense of injured soldiers is to use the exact same mental processes as the Jihadis are using against the European press.

2/02/2006 02:53:00 AM  
Blogger Karridine said...

Kevin, you say, "Read this way, it is clear that Mr. Toles is deploring the fact that the civilians leadership seems to be oblivious to the seriousness of the US Army’s condition," but such a state of 'seriousness' is ASSERTED and ALLEGED by various parties, few of whom are the soldiers in the field!

This type of criticism is of the same tenor and having the same aim and purpose as people who loudly decrie 'the terrible state of affairs in Iraq' while alleging 'we're losing the war and losing the peace'...

The training of volunteer Iraqi police, coupled with a home-grown constitution, within a matrix of increasing refusal of Iraqi citizens to shield, tolerate or refrain from turning in foreign jihadis; and underlined by 3 scheduled VOTES happening on-time as planned, ALL show the hollowness and speciousness of claims that 'we are losing in Iraq!'

2/02/2006 03:00:00 AM  
Blogger truepeers said...

"Do you really feel the intent of the cartoonist was to mock wounded soldiers?"

-of course Rumsfeld is the primary target. But to depict soldiers as victims of DR is in fact to mock them, as pawns in a game under the control of the evil doctor. It is to deny the soldier's capacity for sacrifice in favor of the victimary mindset (with a macho touch of armchair generaling) that sees an army "stretched too thin"; and it is to play yet again the self-righteous game that is the left-liberal tranzi move to criminalize war, here symbolized by their "no blood on my hands" attitude to the torture debate.

We are all implicated in some evil in this world Kevin. Those who would implicitly paint themselves as clean, not having to make the necessary choice to do the lesser evil, are the really evil people you need to look out for.

2/02/2006 03:30:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2/02/2006 04:00:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Bill Bennet has a radically different view, Carridine:
He sees the shmoo-like character with no mouth and an x for a nose as a chilling depersonalization of the soldier, and all that implies, compared with the exact opposite treatment of the handsome Mr. Woodruff, with his visage plastered everywhere, and the extreme *personalization,* empathy, care, and concern of the MSM for THEIR fellow human being.

Amanpour even going so far as to essentially blame Bush for Bob's fate. (surprise)

Imagine the outrage if the right started poking fun of that whole incident with complete disregard for Bob Woodruff, his family, and most of all his sainted fellow *journalists.*

2/02/2006 04:02:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Those who would implicitly paint themselves as clean, not having to make the necessary choice to do the lesser evil, are the really evil people you need to look out for."
Those are the very individuals Kevin chooses to associate with.

2/02/2006 04:05:00 AM  
Blogger 49erDweet said...

Well said, W. Again!!!!

And Kevin chooses to not see what is obviously lacking in Mr. Toles judgement and character. Sad.

2/02/2006 04:14:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Right you are, 'Peers--"Not In My Name" say the Nameless Ones.

Kevin, you're technically correct--as Carradine pointed out, Toles climbed halfway back up outta the mud via his own labeling of his work. But you should've mentioned in your otherwise exhaustive defense that many of us proles missed the labeling exercise altogether, and saw only the faceless soldier with bandaged stumps for arms and legs.

2/02/2006 04:14:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"...their civilian masters.

...the authority who not only caused the wounds,

by the same token they should not be involving themselves in the political leadership’s skirmishes with the press.

And to argue that Mr. Toles is looking for cheap laughs at the expense of injured soldiers is to use the exact same mental processes as the Jihadis are using against the European press.
You should be gettin paid for arguing Saddam's case, Kevin, and blaming everyone but him in the process.
Amazing and perverse in the extreme.

2/02/2006 04:16:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

And I might add, Buddy, that one man's inference is another man's Bullshit.
Likewise for "logic."

2/02/2006 04:17:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

What evidence is their in Tole's past work and commentary that their might be ANY substance to Kevin's argument whatsoever?

2/02/2006 04:20:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Well put, 49er.
Kevin CHOOSES to do that with all his sick compatriots on the left.
DESPITE their obvious intent and lack of compassion.
(so that he may project same on the evil other)

2/02/2006 04:24:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Was Giuliani "the authority" that caused all that human suffering on 9-11?
Sure as heck wasn't them earnest Arab Flyboys.

2/02/2006 04:27:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...


2/02/2006 04:28:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

And yes, the Gnostic Empire can be expected to shriek over the unexpected interjection from the JCS. Despite the fact that WaPo is the hometown newspaper for the individuals who comprise said body, the letter is an emblem of the very anti-gnosticism, the growing refusal to be "sidestepped", that the recently-discussed Ralph Peters essay calls for. An emblem, and delivered in the Empire's own emblematic fashion: with energy, without irony. A thrown gauntlet indeed. Halleleujah!

2/02/2006 04:30:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Kevin's the kind of guy who will throw the word "racist" at someone like Dave Horowitz on the flimsiest of "evidence," while ignoring the extreme injury inflicted on millions of Black children by the largest, most corrupt political organization in this country ...and biggest patron of the left:
The Teacher's Unions.

2/02/2006 04:36:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2/02/2006 04:40:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Well, in Kevin's defense--and to his everlasting shame (whether he'll ever know it or not), he doesn't see it that way.

2/02/2006 04:41:00 AM  
Blogger Starling said...

Joan, I agree that there are certain people that neither understanding nor appreciate the concept of selfless sacrifice, either in concrete or abstract terms. I wonder whether this dynamic is at work here, however. I think Toles and his fellow journalists do understand sacrifice, but only when made by those whom they respect, by those belonging to the same pretty and tight circle they inhabit.

Such a sad state of mind permits them to, at the same time, diminish (if not ridicule) the sacrifices of others while extolling their own. In practical terms it affords them the luxury of placing the sacrifices of war journalists along side those of the warriors who protect them and the freedoms they hold so, so dear.

This state of mind allows certain members of the journalistic fraternity to see themselves as heroic and brave, as War Journalist Action Figures, and equally, if not more, worthy of respect and admiration than the fighting men and women. It indulges their conceit that they, not the grunts, are the best and the brightest and that their own deaths and maimings are the ones that are tragic, rather than merely sad or pathetic. In the final analysis, they mourn their own more.

2/02/2006 04:42:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2/02/2006 04:50:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Now perhaps Mr. Toles is a Jihadi-loving traitor, or maybe just maybe he is a patriot and was responding to this recent Pentagon report. (Link to follow, I’m having trouble with it).

Stretched by frequent troop rotations to Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army has become a "thin green line" that could snap unless relief comes soon, according to a study for the Pentagon.

Andrew Krepinevich, a retired Army officer who wrote the report under a Pentagon contract, concluded that the Army cannot sustain the pace of troop deployments to Iraq long enough to break the back of the insurgency. He also suggested that the Pentagon's decision, announced in December, to begin reducing the force in Iraq this year was driven in part by a realization that the Army was overextended.

However, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on Wednesday disputed suggestions that the U.S. military is stretched thin, asserting "the force is not broken."

With all due respect to the expertise of the commenters on this thread, who it seems have made a different choice; it seems likely that Mr. Toles has chosen to take Dr. Krepinevich’s study seriously. Is this evidence of latent Jihadi tendencies on the part of Mr. Toles? Or is it a sign of his extreme patriotism that Mr. Toles has decided to take on the awesome power of our military’s civilian overlords – some of the most powerful politicians on this planet – because he is that concerned about the institutional health of our nation’s armed forces.

2/02/2006 04:52:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

2/02/2006 04:54:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...

Yes Buddy, I agree, the intent of the cartoon was not clear at first glance. The USArmy label is not obvious enough.

(I'm rushing out of here so I haven't read all the comments, I got a flat tire this morning and I'm trying to find a tire store!)

2/02/2006 04:58:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

The secretary of the Army did not demean the author of that report Kevin, but he did not agree with it either.
One powerful piece of evidence he pointed to was that the re-enlistment rate for soldiers that have served in Iraq is above target.
...and the 3rd ID, going back for their 3rd tour or some such is 18% above target as I recall.
But I'm sure Mr. Tole has a keener insight into what's really going on than those poor victims.

2/02/2006 05:01:00 AM  
Blogger Kevin said...


Let's not open that Horowitz can of worms -- you got really pissed off last time!

(I found the tire store and I'm waiting for a taxi, I took my tire off earlier)

2/02/2006 05:02:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

When you get back, Kevin, try defending Tole's past works.
That should keep you busy for a while, "proving" what an honorable guy he is.

2/02/2006 05:03:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...


Praise be to Kevin Sites!

"They do not fight for their own benefits...

They do not fight for their countries...

They do not fight for their people...

They do not fight on their homelands...

Yet they risk their lives using sophisticated and rugged yet non-lethal equipment gathering images and information on the truth, on the historic moments and on the brutal reality.

We dedicate this series / action figure to the daring unsung hero at the battlefront and the many more who has lost their lives for the honorable cause.

It is not even their war...

2/02/2006 05:09:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Kevin, there's a thousand other pictures Toles could've drawn--how bout a jalopy humvee fr'instance--that would not have been so insulting to the purported victims.

That's really the whole point, isn't it? That individuals exist? That "love" can be used to hide hostility? That the Toles 'toon is an example of that?

SDHunter's 'action figure' link--Linda Foley's news-shaper ideal, is a must-read. Think for a moment the ultimate effect of her prescription. It's already quite noticeable in the blogosphere--atomized news consuming groups who tho side-by-side in the physical world feel less and less allegiance to one another. The Foley prescription, as well as the Toles 'toon, are trust-breakers, social-compact dissolvers, the very balkanizing forces that bin Laden must've had in mind with his late 90s threat "When I am through with the United States, they will be only states."

2/02/2006 05:11:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Yes Buddy, I agree, the intent of the cartoon was not clear at first glance. The USArmy label is not obvious enough. "
It's in the eye of the beholder, Kevin.
Bill Bennet is a keen observer of great intellect.
...but then he was not trying to claim that Mr. Toles is an honorable guy that had no other way to get across YOUR point.
And I simply point out again that Tole's past record argues against your claims.

2/02/2006 05:16:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

Somewhere there is a dividing line between good and evil.

What Toles, the WaPo and Kevin have naively chosen to do is to step across that line toward evil in order to belittle those that make the incredibly difficult choice.

They have never put themselves for a moment in the position a leader must take to prosecute a war that will take the lives of many and disrupt the lives of many more.

Why does a leader make such a decision - knowing the pain and misery it will bring?

Kevin; I leave it to you to ponder the question. Your answer will reveal your position relative to the line.

2/02/2006 05:22:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

The MSM has pointed out the "tragedy" of our radically improved medical care for the injured:
Results in many more wounded!
(and wouldn't YOU rather be DEAD than be one of those faceless, limbless, zombies?)
(the numbers of which are FAR below the impression given by the media)
...and I would gladly give up yet another body part in exchange for some of my much less physically obvious deficiencies!

2/02/2006 05:23:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Kevin, re your tire troubles, didja ever hear the one about the the ambulance transporting a strait-jacketed psycho to the mental ward? Had a flat, and the driver misplaced in the tall grass the lug nuts while putting on the spare.

He didn't know what to do, until the patient suggested taking one lug nut off each front, and two off the other rear, to get four for the spare--plenty safe to finish the trip.

The driver, busily unscrewing the other lugs, says, "Wow, and you're supposed to be crazy?"

The patient answers, "Yep, crazy--but not stupid."

2/02/2006 05:28:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

The grass is very well trimmed in Belgium, thank you, Buddy. are the nuts.

2/02/2006 05:35:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

yep--maybe we oughtta quit even arguing with the Gnostic Empire and just agree with it that we're crazy. And then add, "...but not stupid."

2/02/2006 05:43:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

...and not very well trimmed, at least for my part.
I cannot force myself to clik on Mr. Narcissism's posts from Iraq.
(the memorable Mr. Sites, heroic action figure that he is)

2/02/2006 05:52:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"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.

2/02/2006 06:07:00 AM  
Blogger stavr0s said...

My son in Baghdad tells me his unit and every other unit he knows anything about is over manned. He laughs at the "stretched thin" meme.

I cancelled my subscription to the Washington Post several years ago. We had stopped reading it because of its leftist slant.

The individuals in legacy media will all have to die of old age before any responsible journalism will return.

Ultimately, it's their loss. They will be remembered as clueless.

2/02/2006 06:15:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Kevin, Belmont's AssClown of the month.

"Now perhaps Mr. Toles is a Jihadi-loving traitor"
'Does that make every Muslim a terrorist?'
is a straw man's argument.
Nobody suggests that except the Ann Coulter types.

But the people who call for the boycott of Denmark are mainstream Muslims and my beef is with them, not for terrorism, but for trying to impose their religious values on infidels like us. We don't believe in their prophet, therefore we can lampoon him as much as we want.

Assclown Award Winner

2/02/2006 06:29:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

The problem the WaPo and the left in general has with its sudden concern for the troops is of course the see-through political convenience of it all.

However, we probably shouldn't look a gift-horse in the mouth; we probably should just accept this laudable opening of the left's eyes as to the meaning of due respect.

Obviously, this wouldn't even be an issue if the left's approach didn't include--despite all evidence to the contrary--the 'class exploitation' theme.

For example, look at the wounded soldier's face in the 'toon. An undermenschen for sure.

How would he have been drawn if he had been a war-correspondent?

Or maybe it's just drawing style.

2/02/2006 06:36:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Yeah, right.
...just ask Kev.

2/02/2006 06:41:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

"However one feels about the cartoon, the Pentagon has no business interfering in civilian publications.
If readers were offended, they should be the ones writing in (and I suspect many will).
The Joint Chiefs of Staff have far more pressing matters to be focusing on at the moment.

#5 from Joe Katzman on February 1, 2006 11:43 PM
The Joint Chiefs work in Washington. They ARE offended readers, writing in - and they absolutely have every right to do so.

I'll add that publicly standing up for those who have served in the military and been wounded in the line of duty IS one of the pressing matters a competent military leader should be expected to take time for.
...another of Kev's copy and paste talking points Nuked.

2/02/2006 06:47:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Ha--people are SO messy--if only they'd stay in their assigned pigeonholes, getting them all organized would be SO much easier.

2/02/2006 06:49:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

"Bend to your tasks" thundered the disembodied voice of the Idol.

2/02/2006 06:53:00 AM  
Blogger Papa Bear said...


We may be very close to a crisis that nobody expects. Of course, things could die down; but I believe only for a while.

I think more and more Europeans are waking up to the fact that, if demographic trends continue, the people torching the cars in Paris are going to be in charge when the current generation is old and helpless.

It takes a special level of blindness to condemn your own daughters and sons to what you now cannot help but see is in store.

I think at this point it will just take a match to set things off

2/02/2006 07:06:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

It's almost a test of whether or not the 21st will replay the 20th century. Gaullists have always wanted France to be on the leading edge. Now they have got what they wanted.

2/02/2006 07:09:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

By mocking a grievously injured veteran, the WaPo is showing that they support our troops, but are against the war in Iraq. How can the heartless right not get the delightfully poignant nuance?

2/02/2006 08:06:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The "Left" gang tackled and pummelled the WaPo over a story that related to the NSA wiretaps.

The woman that wrote the story was personally ravaged, via e-mail and phone, in such a manner that was shocking, to the WaPo & Staff.

Now the WaPo has pissed off the Joint Chiefs.
Will there be fewer "Offical" leaks going WaPo's way in the future, will we have to get our straight Pentagon News from the Weekly Standard?

The job of an Editorial Cartoonist is to create headlines, without writing a word.

This Mr Toles has "pushed the envelpe" of good taste, but will be considered to have hit a "homer" in the Front Office.

2/02/2006 08:25:00 AM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

Who is the most foolish of the bunch here?

Mr. Tolls, who would have advocated Krepenich's line even if Krepenich never made it, by depicting a soldier as hobbled for a gagline?

His apologists who split hairs? It is clearly a person, not the Pentagon, a man not an institution. An obvious failure for a cartoonist of clarity just as writing skill is measured in succinctness. Tolls is at best an asshole, by even his supporters he is an incompetent, as Lincoln giving the Gettysburg address, in Chinese (WTF did he just say?).

Or perhaps just the state of his art, that shock matters more than thought, the subject's peurile emotion more than epic contrast.

Ted Rall, Toles, Oliphant are buffoons whose work depict only the simplest imaginations, mildest skills, and basest ambitions. If it is not their heart that is at fault, it is their lack of grit.

2/02/2006 08:28:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Slightly OT unless we are discussing the WaPo,

The inimitable Michael Ledeen weighs in with his view of the Washington Post in today’s NRO piece. He says that; “Stalin’s guy was Walter Duranty, and Ahmadinejad’s is Karl Vick”

Vick nearly lionizes Ahmadinejad as the friend of the little man:
On the afternoon of Jan. 4, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reached for the phone and got Latin America on the line. In quick succession, he chatted with President Fidel Castro of Cuba, rang up President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and, sensing yet another kindred spirit, reached out to Evo Morales, the young firebrand who had just been elected president of Bolivia.

Vick Brushes off the ‘wipe Israel off the map’ as average fare for a populist leader. Ledeen goes on to note that newspaper circulation is plummeting while thinking people more and more are turning to the blogosphere.


2/02/2006 08:36:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Peggy Noonan points out more of the same from WaPo (concerning tv critic Tom Shales):

"...his attack last Monday on "Flight 93," the A&E television movie on that fated 9/11 flight. Mr. Shales said it was shameful that vulgar dramatizers would "exploit" the pain of those on the flight and those they left behind. Or as he put it, he had, innocent that he is, thought it "unthinkable" that "even the sleaziest producers" would "exploit any aspect of a nightmare that the nation had witnessed in horror."

She ends her Shales comment: "What a snob."

2/02/2006 08:36:00 AM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

Meme chose said:

"It's wonderful to see the mental Berlin Wall constructed by the media, which has constrained constructive thought for so many decades, being dismantled brick by brick... The process seems relentless from our side. Imagine how frustratingly irresistible it must seem from theirs."

No wonder the moonbats are going bananas. Their safe little world is imploding.

2/02/2006 08:41:00 AM  
Blogger UnemployedCapitalist said...

Kevin said -Or is it a sign of his extreme patriotism that Mr. Toles has decided to take on the awesome power of our military’s civilian overlords – some of the most powerful politicians on this planet – because he is that concerned about the institutional health of our nation’s armed forces.

Kevin, in wartime it is not considered revolutionary to critique the war-makers. It is considered, by the masses to be the mouse in the famous 70's(?) poster of the Eagle swooping down with talons wide to grab the mouse that is flipping it off. That in your mind may be heroic, but in most minds it is a form of martyrdom that is very similar to a certain religion that has gone astray. It is one thing to admire raging at the machine - it is another to place it above sanity.

2/02/2006 08:44:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

One need not rage against the machine--one can wander off the reservation anytime, head out into the jungle and become a quick snack for something hungry that one had studiously maintained was not out there waiting.

"Oh, my, can I have a 'do over'?

2/02/2006 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger UnemployedCapitalist said...

Kevin- as Buddy says.. We respect (I mean truly respect) your right to disagree with our viewpoint, but we'd rather you not hurt yourself. It causes too much paperwork.

2/02/2006 09:11:00 AM  
Blogger Kyda Sylvester said...

"His speeches are great, fantastic, kind of '60s Third World stuff," said a European diplomat based in Tehran. "It's funny this stuff is going on in South America at the same time."

Godless Communism meets fanatical Islamofascism. Interesting mix.

The 60s. Will we ever be rid of the 60s?

2/02/2006 09:12:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

There are no do overs, outside the wire, buddy. But you know that as well as anyone.

Bob Woodruff and his camara man found that out, first hand.

The Joint Chiefs made a Political Decision to elevate this cartoon into a National discussion. If they had it slide on by, it would have soon been forgotten.

Now, this cartoon is the focus of a small firestorm of debate, fueled by the Chief's letter.

2/02/2006 09:15:00 AM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

"It's funny this stuff is going on in South America at the same time."

Can we ever be rid of European diplomats?

2/02/2006 09:15:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

What up with having the Europeans notice, verc, that Marxism is alive, well & growing in South America.

The idea that about 17% of US oil consumption is delivered to US from a Marxist Government.
That Bolivia went Marxist by ballot and that Mexico will go with the Socialist in their upcoming Elections.

"Funny" is not the word I'd use, but then again, for me, English is not a linga secundo

2/02/2006 09:25:00 AM  
Blogger RogerA said...

Desert Rat--as well it should--Toles cartoon and the WaPos insipid response more than anything I have seen in the past 10 years encapsulates the gulf between the MSM and the rest of the American Public--

I will not give you a war story except to say that I enlisted in the Army in 1961 and served 25 years--It was my privilige to lead American soldiers--more, my honor.

This cartoon debases everything that is good about the men and women who serve, the people that lead them--it is beneath contempt.

And I dont need any leftist twit tell me about morality plays--This cartoon, and the WaPos reponse says volumes about the American left.

2/02/2006 09:25:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Agreed that the cartoon and the debate illustrates the fissure between the MSM and the Public in the US.
But so does the response to the WaPo's, not NSA, but Lobbiest Corruption scandal article.

That reaction of the Chiefs, in 2006 is much different than their behaviour during my youth. Or so it seems to me.

That is as remarkable a change in Military Operations as I any other I can think of. They are going on a PR offensive, a thing that Sec Ruumsfeld has said the Military has not done well at, in the Past.

Listen to some describe the Chief's actions as an equivilent to a threat of censorship. Just as "pay for placement" in Iraq caused an uproar.

2/02/2006 09:39:00 AM  
Blogger RogerA said...

Desert Rat--I dont know when your youth was or what your experience is--I will tell you that I believe the Joint Chiefs responded as soldiers who felt their soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines had been slandered--its simply a matter of honor--its NOT a PR stunt--it is about military leaders rising up to defend their charges--Regretably, most people in the MSM. and all of the people on the American Left, have NO idea of that concept.

I will await anxiously for the first commenter on the left to say that just maybe, that cartoon was not in the best of taste--it isnt going to happen.

2/02/2006 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Rumsfeld is most definitely on the PR case--his demeanor even more than his words in his presser the other day--as well as Gen Pace's standing by his side--said as much. He said, paraphrasing here, that the enemy has committees hard at work 'very expertly' manipulating global media--while we--meaning the allied war effort--just sits still hoping for the best and taking in the teeth.

2/02/2006 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

It is not Tole's intended message that is disgusting, of course, for as Kevin notes, his desire was to communicate a preexisting report on the state of the Army, and take a jab at Rumsfeld, who Tole obviously considers to be a callous Secretary of Defense. It is the vehicle that Tole chose to deliver his message that is so shameful.

One might still wonder why. Are not those words Carradine noted mitigating factors? Is not this a valid effort to condemn the "torture" that has been inflicted on the Army?

Leaving aside the asininity of Tole's assertion that an Army is tortured by using it in war, there is still something dreadful about that cartoon. Perhaps the loathsomeness of it can be found in the glimpse it gives us of Tole, who obviously does not think twice about satirizing life-altering wounds suffered in battle by a young American who freely chose to enlist and fight for his country. Perhaps it lies in the fact--the fact--that there are soldiers who are, at present, in that horrible condition, men and women who have sacrificed their dreams and hopes of a good life for others who are ignorant and dismissive of them.

Perhaps the real shame is the glimpse it gives us of ourselves. When the broken soldier becomes a mascot, when sacrifice becomes a swindle, when the hero becomes a dupe, when the warrior becomes a victim, and when the shameful act becomes the courageous act--we have lost our way.

2/02/2006 10:11:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

“Now, this cartoon is the focus of a small firestorm of debate, fueled by the Chief's letter.”
I may be wrong, but I think this issue would have slid right by if the left didn’t bring it to light to show that the US is just like Islamofascists. They threaten to kill anyone who depicts the image of their prophet, and the US JCS has the audacity to register its disdain of the WaPo editors for making fun of cripples. Some might argue that the JCS had a responsibility to defend their soldiers right to dignity, I am sure that is how they saw it.

I don’t see the parallel, do you?

2/02/2006 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger Rick Ballard said...

Well, I have to harken back to a prescription that I've tossed out about a hundred times over the past two years.

If you subscribe to any publication owned by the WaPo, the NYT or the Tribune conglomerate - cancel your subscription by letter and send a copy of the letter to the largest advertisers in the particular publication. Block the MSM channels that specialize in propaganda from any viewing.

Join millions upon millions of Americans in using the market effectively - if you don't think that the market can be an effective weapon then I would think that a reflection on the NYT and Trib stock prices are in order.

Secondarily, the administration has done a reasonable - not great, but reasonable - job in limiting access by journos. They need to do a better in job in granting access to bloggers in particular. Access is just important as advertising revenue to the propaganda organs and elevating the status of bloggers through exclusives would accelerate the demise of the organizations no longer able to differentiate between advancement and destruction.

The prescription appears to be having an effect - as the stock charts show. Perhaps not as quickly as we might hope but a lingering death and a quick death both count the same in the end.

2/02/2006 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

You went into the Army about 18 years before I did, and we stayed in to about the same time.

Spent my late twentys traveling around the World as an American Warrior Prince. Europe, Korea and Panama were amongst the duty stations.

During Mr McNamara's time, through the Presidency of Mr Carter, the Chiefs never took Offense, in Public.

During Mr Reagan's term the Chiefs sure did not defend the honor of Mr North, left him out to dry. As but an example.

During Mr Clinton's years there was a NO Uniform policy at the White House. Civies all around, lots of Honor there, for the Chiefs of the Day, as well as in the ations in Somalia and Sudan.

When the Sec of Def says the Military is not standing up for itself in the Press, and it begins to, it's is not all about Honor.

It is a sea change in Operations, regardless of the root cause.

2/02/2006 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

“cancel your subscription by letter and send a copy of the letter to the largest advertisers in the particular publication.”

I’ve been waiting for the proper moment to buy a subscription just so I can cancel it. A good opportunity never seems to arise.

And hey, quit tossing out your prescription, you might need it.

2/02/2006 10:23:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Without a doubt there is a correlation between Mohammed cartoons and the reaction to the Chiefs.

The Mohammedans object to Cartoons, well so do the Chiefs.

There in they will find an equivelence. I do not think it rises to that level, at all.
There are no calls to Boycott aid from Washington DC within the US.

2/02/2006 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger Staring In Disbelief said...

Through decades of outrageous slant, stupidity and bias, I thought the Washington Post had exhausted its ability to appall me. I stand corrected.

The utter cruelty, tastelessness and sickness of that cartoon is truly breathtaking. What a diseased and sickening group of people.

2/02/2006 10:37:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Equivalence? Has Toles ever drawn any anti-jihadi/pro-defense cartoons? I don't know--but if he did, that might color the controversy differently. Otherwise the equivalency argument boils down to, "we can speak for our side, but you can't speak for yours".

2/02/2006 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Boehner is in as House Majority Leader. Navy man--there's your sea change, Rat!

2/02/2006 11:00:00 AM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

Equivalence simply doesn't work, but worse, these are the stalwart advocates of more public decency, pleas to unite instead of divide.

But to criticise the JCS is to side, at least rhetorically, against the doctrine of political correctness. Thus the left cannot condemn the "Islamophobia" in Denmark.

Ergo our righteous puritan anti-hypocrites have happily screwed themselves.

Happy Groundhog's day!

2/02/2006 11:07:00 AM  
Blogger dannykim said...

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2/02/2006 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

There's also something to be said, in times of danger (and such times' need for exigence), for the Decatur Attitude. Barbary Wars winding down had left some hairy maritime issues on the table, and war-hero Admiral Stephen Decatur famously said, in the midst of this gray-area foreign-policy debate, "Our country, in her intercourse with other countries may she always be in the right, but our country, right or wrong!"

Yes, this is highly un-PC--but, when it's one or the other, what's moral about choosing the other?

2/02/2006 11:40:00 AM  
Blogger John Aristides said...

It seems significant that Muslim villagers in a remote region of Pakistan are trying to tell newspapers 7,000 miles away what they can and cannot print. Why should they care in the first place?

The answer is that Islam has reawakened, and its followers have global ambitions. "Listen to me!", said from 7000 miles a way, is self-important, sure, but it is also Imperialist.

A decentralized network of Muslimness is trying to take over the world. (Narf!) Uneducated villagers living in mountain passes believe they have the right to censor us.

2/02/2006 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

It's the "vision thing"--the Ralph Peters essay waxes quite long-windedly eloquent on it, as *the* theme of this war.

2/02/2006 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger pst314 said...

"Even with all the disclaimers about the WaPo's freedom to print the cartoon, the leftoids of Kos and the like characterize the letter as a threat."

Perhaps because they judge everyone else by what they themselves would do if they had the power.

2/02/2006 11:51:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

It's as I was just informed by the bete-noir of the Flares blog, 'everything has been a disaster ever since Eisenhower, thanks to you republicans!"

The mountain villagers are just latching on and going one better, 'everything has been a disaster since the 7th century!'

And if they win, then they'll have been right.

Just wait until frogs and lizards start telling us that everything's been a disaster since the Devonian Era.

2/02/2006 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

that wasn't meant to sound hierarchical--just to lampoon---uh, what is the word for being against 'the passage of time'?

2/02/2006 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

Ralph Peters also said that the true winner of globalism was not McDo or was an obscure cult in the tireless Araby deserts. The rise of Wahhabism was the real success story of the new Age.

I tend to agree with the gentleman.

2/02/2006 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

A couple decades or more ago Islam was trying to coat-tail the ‘African American’ movement… being the subject of racism, misunderstood, et al, they thought they could make in-roads through the Farrakhan movement but failed to realize the African-Americans are a very religious, very devout, very Christian people by and large. The found alliance with the death-cult of the Left. The rules of multi-culturalism favors a victim. Even a victim that is constantly justifying pre-emptive murder in self defense. We’d be the fools to fall for their inveigled protestations.

2/02/2006 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

How are they doing with the Black prison population, 'Mouse?
That used to be a hot ticket to media adulation and exoneration.

2/02/2006 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

With the passage of time, you eventually won't need a tampoon, Bud, but better stock up on Depends.

2/02/2006 12:47:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Why, are you coming to Texas?

2/02/2006 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...


Kevin, in wartime it is not considered revolutionary to critique the war-makers.

Please fill us in on your opinion of General Douglas MacArthur’s speech to a joint session of Congress on April 19th, 1951.


They have never put themselves for a moment in the position a leader must take to prosecute a war that will take the lives of many and disrupt the lives of many more.

Ever since General MacArthur’s removal from his command the military has been very careful in criticizing it’s civilian masters. Instead of straight forward charges, they have had to rely on maneuver warfare to get their message across. So instead of grand speeches, they commission critical reports and then leak them to the press. I’m sorry but any time there is a conflict between the uniformed military and their political superiors; I’m going to side with the military until otherwise convinced. Mr. Toles was adding value to the Krepinevich study. Reports like that just don’t happen unless very senior officer want them to happen.


Buddy- that was a good one on the tire joke.

I got a flat last night and the car (VW Touran) doesn’t come with a spare (it’s a seven-seater but pretty small). I took the flat tire off this morning and took a taxi to the garage. The tire changer was incredibly nice; after replacing the tire he drove me back to my car and helped me put the tire back on. It turns out he is originally from Romania so we got to bitch about the Belgian climate and their lack of driving skills. Twenty years ago I used to do the same job at Montgomery Wards but back then we were totally not allowed to drive customers anywhere. It’s the first time I’ve run into better customer service here in Europe than in the US.


I’m proud to be the assclown of the month; I always thought that was a term only used by the left.

2/02/2006 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

more of the same, I'm afraid.

Puerto Bello is looking better and better.

2/02/2006 01:03:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Don't know but some 'em been singin' the GitMo Blues.

2/02/2006 01:09:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Glad you said that, Rat--I had meant to refer to your run-down of the sad LatinAmerican leftward-lurch by mentioning that the latest reports in on Peru are very, very good indeed for the conservative candidate, Mrs. Flores.

And Castro is having problems with information flow, and not doing well.

Venezuela just in the last two weeks has had major anti-Hugo street demonstrations--hundreds of thousands in the streets.

Mexican bond traders have been getting very good reception on Wall Street for their new debt-issues. Those Wall-Street boys are in touch with the Mexican socialists--and are signaling reassurance, with their $.

Louis the Lefty in Brazil has been straightened out by the 'oligarchs'--who are rapidly becoming the 'middle-class'.

So, yes, some gloom, but no doom. There's a lot of folks in the trades now benefitting from the global basic-mtrls boom--and they know economic efficiency when they see it. All is not lost.

Bolivia stinks, yes, the damn dope again. But Chavez won't last--but he will have awakened Ven to the need to help the indians get into the economy. If PRC will stay peaceful, there is SO much pent-up demand in that arc of the world that the global economic boom really can keep stair-stepping up as far as we can see--if we can fuel it.

2/02/2006 01:23:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

" (VW Touran) doesn’t come with a spare "
They just wait for their faithful NATO Patron to pick up the ride, and the tab.
...and provide their defense.
God's of the Geschwindigkeitsbegrenzung.

2/02/2006 01:25:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Buddy, I agree with most everything Ralph Peters says. But he comes dangerously close to repeating the Gnostic heresy:

The suicide bomber may be the weapon of genius of our time, but the crucial new strategic factor is the rise of a global information culture that pretends to reflect reality, but in fact creates it. Iraq is only the most flagrant example of the disconnect between empirical reality and the redesigned, politically inflected alternative reality delivered by the media. This phenomenon matters far more than the profiteers of the revolution in military affairs can accept--the global information sphere is now a decisive battleground. Image and idea are as powerful as the finest military technologies.

Empirical reality and alternative reality? No, there is only one reality and manipulated words and images cannot make it up; they can only distort it and lead people into the lie that is Gnosticism. Just because lots of people live that lie, in which they think manipulating words and symbols will allow them to change the world, doesn't make it so. Their hubris can only lead, in time, to chaos, humiliation, and defeat.

The essence of Gnosticism is the belief that mastery of language is the same as true knowledge of reality. It is to confuse knowledge of symbols or signs with the knowledge of reality that the sign allows us to acquire. The sign - or the process of writing and reading, editing and viewing - allows us to defer our passions and reflect on the sacred significance that the sign represents; but if we make the sign into our idol then we become blind to reality, to the creation that language illuminates but does not itself create. The MSM are not gods, not even false or evil gods, and it is wrong to suggest they could be.

2/02/2006 01:42:00 PM  
Blogger Vercingetorix said...

I’m sorry but any time there is a conflict between the uniformed military and their political superiors; I’m going to side with the military until otherwise convinced.

In other words, you'll agree with whoever you agree with. Hmmmm.

Thing is, Kevin, the Pentagon just by cosmic coinkidink happens to be in Washington, D.C. So the Pentagon also just happens to be one of the most highly politicized institutions in the country. Not all leaks are good ones, in fact the rule often happens to be the opposite: the trigger-pullers rarely have time for the political BS, they're out there raping and pillaging for Mom, Cuntry and Apple Pie, no time.

And it is also a specious connection between Toles' cartoon and the Krepenich report, a fact we can chalk up again to either Toles' incompetence as a cartoonist to actually include that report in it, or that this ex post facto assertion that Toles' commercial war-profiteering cartoon is made with the best-of-intentions if the poorest taste is false.

The assertion that the military was 'failing' was out there long before Krepenich, and it absolves Toles not at all for his assertions.

2/02/2006 01:46:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

In other words, it comes down to a question of faith; language points to the faith without which language could not have first come into existence, but our everyday use of language becomes divorced from faith. So we can become cynical manipulators of language, thinking we are manipulating reality, when in fact it is only through good faith that we change reality.

2/02/2006 01:48:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Peters recognizes the centrality of faith, but thinks it's hard wired, which i don't think it is. He seems to think that both good and evil faith can change reality. But evil can only destroy or erode human reality; it cannot really build it up. Given enough evil we'd just go extinct.

2/02/2006 01:50:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

There is good news in the World. It is not all gloom and doom, as you say.
But, I think, we are on the verge of a long term Challenge, as examplified by FARC. Even if there were another Revolution in Caracus, the Bolivar Brigrades will already be formed, armed and ready.

Even in the ME it is not all Gloom & Doom, just depends on who a person decides to believe.
Mr NegroPonte or the JPost columnists.

But then again, I just heard FOX News report that Hamas was funding aQ.
Will wonders never cease.

2/02/2006 01:51:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

If you would think about the posts of 1:46 PM and 1:48 PM, you might get what I think is the important point here.

2/02/2006 01:59:00 PM  
Blogger UnemployedCapitalist said...


Thanks for siting my thought...

A bit touchy aren't you? The tire cost too much? :-) Capitalism - ain't it grand!

2/02/2006 02:01:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Kevin--if only your politics could be re-tired as easily as yer volkswagon! Har har--damn, I tickle myself....

'Peers--I think I see what you're saying, and I agree wholeheartedly about evil being that which creates extinction, and I followed you (I think) about the sign of the sacred (BTW, in our continuing effort to identify the kernels of evil, the word 'sign' itself is from the 'sig' or 'sign' rune--the ancient european symbol of victory, co-opted by nazism as the 'S'-also related to 'essen', or 'food', or the power of life and death in the future). But Ralph Peters is trotting the war-elephant into philosophy, the chaos character that even if inhuman and therefore short-lived, changes everything in its brief stomp. To me, he's saying that the information front can kill us before we know it--like a distantly-cast voodoo curse can kill a believer the instant the believer learns of it having been cast. So, the lesson to me was, if a derivative reality can trump reality, then which one is derived? This is the node, the line between good and evil, alright--the fact that it is blurred is a huge and existential challenge--and it is coming right at us.

2/02/2006 02:28:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...


Yes, you're right. Chaos changes everything; but let me dwell a moment longer on this point: does it create an alternative reality? Well new realities are always emerging from chaos, but the constructive force in human affairs is i think more eroded than served by the belief in alternative realities.

I just wanted to point out that there is some danger in reinforcing the MSM's image of itself. Countless universities teach Gnostic lies and many of their graduates go into media with all their pretensions to Gramscian and similar forms of magic.

if a derivative reality can trump reality, then which one is derived?

-are humiliation and defeat and death (the ultimate fruits of Gnosticism) an alternative reality? is nihilism an alternative reality? Well, this may be a word game, but I don't think so. Insisting there is only one reality seems to me a necessary tactic in the fight against moral relativism, nihilism, etc.

My criticism of Peters is minor since I agree with his general thrust, the need to combat MSM lies.
But the larger issue is how are we going to find the faith to pursue the truth and an open-ended future premised on the existence of a common humanity? The problem is that what is minimally true of all humanity - what we all share in common - is not enough to construct a strong form of faith. Faiths need their historically-revealed boundaries, and they need each other to define themselves against.

Since I was throwing about the term Gnostic Empire earlier I thought i'd use Peters to better define Gnosticism. The GE has little faith in anything but its demonic powers. The center of the empire is at least as much a parasitic force on the various peoples and faiths it contains as it is a constructive force of any kind. It can hold people in its grips for a while, but it's worth remembering that no empire has lasted as long as the oldest nation, Israel (and even the other national oldsters look good compared to empires: Ethiopia, Armenia, England).
Even faith in an Umma (which some translate as nation, but i wouldn't) outlasts the Ottomans, etc.

I'd say the laboratory of history proves that the nation, in contrast to Gnostic imperial pretensions, is a construct of faith and a form attentive to human reality.

2/02/2006 03:57:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

But instead,
of course we get -
I send myself into fits.
Sometimes I'm laughing.

2/02/2006 04:09:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

What you're saying, 'Peers, is that our culture needs to be as good as it's sacrificing defenders--and that to make it so, a tipping-number of the people who make it up have to plant their feet in a belief in its value.

The word-games are almost Biblical in the temptor role, the solipsism that is sold as open-minded individual equality is not just a culture-killing tool, but an actual justification of that culture's death.

It's Cindy Sheehan's "This country is not worth fighting for" (it's really not, if it's composed of those who say it's not).

I hadn't meant to argue with you, only to add that we need to see our own lives as segments in a time continuum--the very thing that our military teaches youngsters--who take to it intuitively--and the very thing that the 'keep us safe at all costs' folks cannot see--which makes their own self incalculably valuable to their own self, and thus equally valueless--in any crunch--to the culture.

2/02/2006 04:31:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

And I guess it's within anyone's rights to look at their own culture in the worst possible light--the Western Canon as the emblem of oppression and all that. It would almost be worth losing it all just to hear the tune change when it dawns on those people that they got their wish, and it is indeed lost and gone forever.

2/02/2006 04:42:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

we need to see our own lives as segments in a time continuum--the very thing that our military teaches youngsters--who take to it intuitively

-I suppose it is Israel, the Jewish covenant with the one God, and the unfolding historical revelation therein - as God responds to our good and bad faith with historical nudges and slaps - that initiates a way of seeing ourselves in world history. All of us who would stand up for our nations in history are Israelis now.

So Buddy, we weren't arguing, just building the faith...

2/02/2006 05:21:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Note Sheehan did not say "this nation is not worth fighting for"; much easier to say "this country..," when you obviously don't have a strong attachment, if any, to your nation.

2/02/2006 05:25:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Reminds me of Lord Nelson who said "England expects every man to do his duty"; it would not have been so natural to say "Britain expects every man do his duty".

2/02/2006 05:27:00 PM  
Blogger UnemployedCapitalist said...

Not to belabor the point, but aren't we discussing how we lost the just war argument? Or have we?

Buddy, I think that is what your statement implies. If we can't rationalize the just war to the people - we have lost the war and therefore our cultural decline. Are you producing a non-sequitur? I'm also not trying to be argumentative, but if stopping x prevents action y: this shows either x=y or if x,y are distinct sets y is dependent on x. I don't believe that one necessarily can conclude that a decline in culture is inevitable (maybe evident), but you touch on it in your "segments" statement. The being that doesn't see the continuum becomes the dependent variable. They only live for the moment, not the "greater good".

[And I may step on it here, but my experience is that these beings have neither religion or children. Hence the Sheehan-syndrome. Having lost her grasp on the continuum, her child - put her in the dependent variable sector.]

If a beneficial sum can be garnered of dependendent variables (x) vs. action (y) then a culture can still thrive.

If not, I will Emily Latella out of here.... :-)

2/02/2006 05:46:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Hey, unempcap, no Lattela moment, we may've sounded a little hopeless but that's just the topic--the lost sheep--hoping they're not multiplying past the point of no return. The way the Old Testament decided to unfold again at the stroke of the millennium *is* a little unsettling, though, ya gotta admit.

2/02/2006 07:16:00 PM  
Blogger UnemployedCapitalist said...


It is rather amazing, that. If someone had told us, say on Sep. 11, 1981, that "a religious war would be boiling over in exactly 20 years". What would have been your response? Mine would have been - "You on medicine"?

I finally started reading all of those First Things periodicals that have been stacking up in the "to do" pile. I'm not the most overtly religious person in the world, but as I age, I see why I was getting the knowing smiles from my elders (and betters).

2/02/2006 07:35:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

ha--so true--no one would've ever believed it 20 yrs ago--tho the tehran embassy in 1979 would not have been a bad time to quit listing to "Muskrat Love" on the 8 track long enough to pay a little attention.

I'm also not overtly religious--but am also rethinking a lot of things along the line of "what exactly *were* those crucial insights that freed me from thought, oh so long ago?"

Onward through the fog!

2/02/2006 09:12:00 PM  

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