U.S. Cartoonist in Iraq Criticizes Some Anti-War Cartoons

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By: E&P Staff

A professional editorial cartoonist serving in Iraq said some editorial cartoonists are insensitively using images of flag-draped coffins in their drawings.

The cartoonist, who declined to be identified because of “security reasons” and “restrictions regarding active military,” made his comments in an “open letter” posted on the Web site of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists.

“(I)n many political cartoons, a flag-draped coffin is quickly becoming nothing more than a visual prop, a metaphor,” wrote the cartoonist. “Cartoonists live and die by the metaphor, and flag-draped coffins ought not to be out of bounds. But use that image with care.”

He added: “Cartoonists lately tend to show U.S. troops in one of two scenarios: cowering behind a crumbling wall as insurgents spray bullets in their direction, or as casualties covered by Old Glory. May I suggest that these images are inaccurate and, in fact, reckless? … Soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines rightfully complain that the media at large ignores the great things being done here in Iraq. …”

The Daily Cartoonist blog picked up the story, and posted several responses from visitors to that site. One cartoonist visitor wrote: “It is a far better thing to bring the flag-draped coffins back in the dead of night under cover of darkness than have the public actually witness the results of this administration’s mendacity. Even within the content of an editorial cartoon, such a depiction may distract them from their true patriotic duty of shopping and watching ‘American Idol.’ God forbid anyone would actually have to sacrifice anything for this war. Even if it meant the momentary discomfort of having to think about it for the five seconds it takes to read a cartoon. We’ve all become very good Germans.”

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