Editorial cartoons in newspapers are a long-standing tradition. They can help capture the emotion, attitude and cultural essence of a particular point in time, in an often humorous way – or they can just be completely around-the-bend poli-gristle.

Whether the cartoons are offensive, funny, tasteless or thought provoking depends, of course, on your personal viewpoint. Sometimes they also contain two agendas – the one on the surface, and the real one.

Glaring examples abound, but recent editorial cartoons by liberal artists are a dead giveaway that caring about “the troops” isn’t exactly as high a priority as many on the left may claim, and the same goes for minorities – at least conservative ones.

Caring for and politically nurturing the oppressed and downtrodden – ethnic minorities and, most recently, “U.S. soldiers who have been sent to fight a senseless and illegal war” – is a business for which the left has claimed sole propriety.

Does the left really care that much more than the rest of us, or is there an agenda that is actually a glaring insult to minorities, the troops, etc.?

A recent editorial cartoon helps hash all this out.

Tom Toles is the editorial cartoonist for the Washington Post, and one of his latest ‘toons has probably accomplished what it was intended to do – caused a big public stir. The cartoon prompted a rare protest letter to the newspaper from all six of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States.

The cartoon was a line drawing of a bed sporting a “U.S. Army” sign, and in the bed was a bandaged, limbless soldier. Next to the bed stood Dr. Don Rumsfeld, clipboard in hand, telling the severely wounded, “We’ll list your condition as ‘battle hardened.'”

Toles said the cartoon was meant as SecDef criticism after Rumsfeld responded to a report claiming the Army was stretched so thin it was close to the breaking point by saying troops were functioning effectively and “battle hardened.”

The real meaning of the cartoon goes deeper.

At some point in recent history, the anti-war left became troop boosters. This despite members of the military having a willingness and readiness to fight what the anti-war consider an “unjust war.” Why?

The answer to that question is that there is, in fact, little caring for the troops on the anti-Bush left. A soldier is only “useful” (and therefore “cared for”) when he or she is maimed or killed. The left “cares for” the troops the way that Ike Turner cared for Tina – they only hear “I love you, baby” after they’ve gotten hurt.
We need look no further to find left-wing “supporters” of the troops than the Walter Reed Army Hospital, inside of which injured soldiers lay in recovery while outside the radical “Code Pink” group (so named because of all the Pepto Bismol shots you have to do so they don’t turn your stomach) chants anti-war slogans to remind troops that they lost limbs so Bush and Cheney’s oil portfolios could skyrocket. There are many other examples, including the quasi-fictional dismembered soldier in Toles’ cartoon, and Casey Sheehan.
In the case of Cindy Sheehan’s son, he joined the military voluntarily and believed in the fight, making him by definition someone to be despised by the left. Then he was killed, and became deeply “cared for” by those same people – at last, he fit the agenda.

We can lump the Toles cartoon and its respect for the U.S. soldier in with editorial cartoons from the recent past and their “love” of African Americans – namely Condoleezza Rice. There have been many editorial cartoons in recent months and years depicting Rice as some sort of plantation slave with exaggerated features in the vein of 19th and early 20th century racist “art,” communicating in “mammy speak,” with Bush treating her like George Wallace talking to a shoeshine kid in Birmingham.

This is obviously a complete and total fabrication. Then why do self-proclaimed “supporters” of the minority causes say, write and draw those things? Because that’s how they view minorities. You can fool some people, but you can’t fool Mr. Freud and his slip.

This brings us back to the Toles cartoon. What’s more likely? That Toles – self-described as a “liberal tempered by time” – harbors deep respect for the troops who volunteered for the service? Or that he mocked them, consciously or subconsciously, because they were dumb enough to voluntarily enlist in the military and fight in an unjust war for a buffoon like George W. Bush?

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