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.