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Garry Trudeau writes rebuttal to critics in Stars and Stripes

Doonesbury creator Garry Trudeau has written an article in today’s Stars and Stripes to rebut critics of his strip and his “anti-military” positions.

Lately, however, I’ve been struck by the unusually harsh tone taken by some of your writers. I can only guess that they are either occasional readers who have no context for judging the strip, or that they simply can’t get past my open opposition to the war in Iraq. I don’t doubt the sincerity of their belief that I am “anti-military,” but it’s possible that what follows may make their eyes spin:

Since I was first invited to visit with troops in Kuwait in 1991 (following an in-theater exhibit of my work that toured regional bases), I have talked with hundreds of military personnel. During my visit, I received Certificates of Achievement from both the 4th Battalion 67th Armor (“For significant contributions to the morale of the United States Forces”) and the Ready First Brigade (“For providing aid and comfort to the United States Forces”). More recently, I have toured military hospitals from Landstuhl to Walter Reed to Brooke, and VA hospitals and Vet Centers from Kansas City to Palo Alto, interviewing scores of wounded warriors about their experiences with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI) and military sexual trauma (MST). I have written hundreds of strips on those topics, gathering them into two books (all profits benefiting Fisher House) with introductions by Sen. John McCain and Gen. Richard B. Myers.

I also maintain and edit a milblog called The Sandbox at doonesbury.com to which scores of active-duty military personnel contribute on a regular basis. A collection of their work was recently published, again to benefit Fisher House. In recognition of the strip, I’ve been honored to receive the Commander’s Award for Public Service by the Department of the Army, the Commander’s Award from Disabled American Veterans, the President’s Award for Excellence in the Arts from Vietnam Veterans of America, the Distinguished Public Service Award from the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and a special citation from the Vet Centers.

He goes on to cite his support for the first Gulf War and the war in Afganistan and that because support for the war has waned, it’s harder to keep military and veteran issues in the news, which is what he hopes to continue to do.

Community Comments

#1 Ted Dawson
November/18/2008
@ 1:13 pm

Garry can say, “Nanny, nanny, boo-boo,” better than most anybody.

#2 Rick Stromoski
November/19/2008
@ 6:05 am

Garry is a national treasure.

#3 Jennifer Marlowe
November/19/2008
@ 3:10 pm

Why is it that satire is automatically looked on by the lowest common denominator to be anti-[insert radical claim here]? Some of the best satire comes from those that love, admire, or feel a strong affinity to their subject, and that Trudeau has been called anti-military says more about his critics than it does him. I for one applaud him for using satire to incisively critique and humanise the myth of the Glory of War.

#4 RS Davis
November/19/2008
@ 9:36 pm

Judging by how harsh, unfair and outright deceitful Trudeau has been in the past to those he disagrees with, the whole notion of him getting ‘beat up’ by radicals is hilarious. If anyone is radical in their political certitude, it is Mssr. Trudeau. His support of our troops is admirable, but his vicious, fact bending attacks on those he disagrees reeks with meaness. Garry Trudeau: always certain, infrequently correct.

#5 RS Davis
November/19/2008
@ 9:48 pm

BTW Ms. Marlowe, no surprise you’d defend an acid throwing elitist like Trudeau. “Lowest common denominator”? Your condescending attitude towards those who honestly disagree with him & your snide insouciance towards those who are offended when our military’s mission is undermined by fact twisters like G.T. says more about you than it does us. Would FDR have appreciated a fabulist like G.T.? I doubt it.

#6 Ted Dawson
November/19/2008
@ 10:48 pm

“Why is it that satire is automatically looked on by the lowest common denominator to be anti-[insert radical claim here]?”

Because they are gentle, soft-spoken folks who easily get their feelings hurt.

#7 Mike Peterson
November/20/2008
@ 6:15 am

General Patton famously hated the work of Bill Mauldin and considered it unpatriotic. Patton also famously considered post traumatic stress the choice of a coward.

He never had to apologize for trying to get rid of Willie and Joe, but he did have to say he was sorry for slapping that soldier. I don’t think anyone believed the apology was since, of course, but the fact that Patton believed that following orders was the supreme directive kind of fits in with how he felt about both Mauldin’s cartoons and that shell-shocked GI.

Trudeau seems to rub similar people in a similar way.

#8 Wiley Miller
November/20/2008
@ 8:52 am

Funny how speaking truth to power is always lost on the powerful.

#9 Beth Cravens
November/20/2008
@ 12:13 pm

Having an opinion and expressing it isn’t “twisting facts” it’s participating in our democracy. I think that this misunderstanding is what causes most of the knee-jerk reactions toward cartoons. People have become so insulated in their own opinion that they forget that it’s a mighty big country and other people do exist that don’t think like them.

#10 KRANKY (JOE RANK)
November/20/2008
@ 10:25 pm

Humorous anecdote; My Dad was in Patton’s Army. He had transferred from 13th A.D. to 191st Cavalry Recon. He drew cartoons downtime..mostly poking fun at the brass hats and bad food. One day, a huge staff car pulled in asking for Sgt. Rank. Yes sir, yes sir ( a Major & a 1st looie ) They nabbed my Dad. Everyone thought he was doo-doo. They went straight to advanced base HQ. There was Bradley, Patton, and Clark. Bradley said, “Soldier, Did you you draw these?” My Dad figured it was not a time to lie, “Yes sir. I did”. Bradley, “GOOD, because we need a map maker; and these idiots can’t draw a line! What’s your rank, soldier?” “Sergeant, Sir!”. “Mmmmmhh. That won’t do.”
My Dad got a field promotion to Captain in order to be in S-2, where he was ’til war’s end. Just because he was a cartoonist.

#11 Quint Nelson
November/21/2008
@ 1:31 am

What a load of garbage. Trudeau doth protest too much. Anyone who reads his strip on an ongoing basis knows that he has total contempt for the military.

Please Gary, just take the criticism and move on.

#12 Wiley Miller
November/21/2008
@ 10:24 am

Being critical of the bad decisions made by the Pentagon that had horrifically adverse affects on the troops is not the same as
“total contempt for the military”. In fact, it’s the complete opposite, which is why Garry Trudeau has received numerous accolades and awards from the military.

#13 Ted Mallory
November/21/2008
@ 12:00 pm

Good for Trudeau! This is just another case of our sound-bite culture, anti-intellectual, pseudo-patriotic people with little or no attention spans attacking some one who dares dissent or offer any reflective criticism whatsoever of our country. And in his case he has an armored personnel carrier load full of examples of his care for and appreciation from service men and women to REALLY put those ditto heads in their place. Carry on soldier, carry on!

#14 RS Davis
November/22/2008
@ 5:30 pm

Ha ha ha! This is hilarious! A hack comic artist who makes his living twisting & lying about those he disagree with is called a hero for…DRAWING pictures of soliders in Iraq! Ha ha ha! Only in the leftist “sound-bite, anti-intellectual, pseudo-patriotic” media “with little or no attention spans” do we find people who worship & praise as a hero a guy who uses soliders to feed his lust for attention but NOT THE SOLDIERS THEMSELVES! Trudeau is no hero or national treasure, he’s a spotlight whore! Our troops are the heros.

#15 Monty Rohde
November/22/2008
@ 11:23 pm

Bruce Tinsley is that you?

#16 Monty Rohde
November/22/2008
@ 11:24 pm

Best way to communicate with someone like this. Ignore them.
This isn’t going to become a civil discourse.

#17 KRANKY (JOE RANK)
November/23/2008
@ 6:02 pm

Monty Rohde
November/22/2008 @ 11:24 pm
Best way to communicate with someone like this. Ignore them.
This isnâ??t going to become a civil discourse.

It claims to be the world’s coolest punk-rock libertarian…whatever that self decription means. As far as I can tell it has nothing to do with cartooning, but comments profusely about any number of subjects using discredited Randian dogma.
The dripping jealousy concerning GT is palpable.

Most of us here would love to have a career and reputation of a “hack comic artist” such as Garry Trudeau!

#18 Bob Rollheiser
December/7/2008
@ 9:33 pm

Perhaps I have been a shy and gentle creature of the forest too long. But, have always thought Mr. Trudeau’s cartoons to be supportive of the troops through a very well developed insight of what it is the be in the military and human.

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