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Sadistic irony

By TrevorBothwell

Jun 12, 2006

In the June 7 edition of its newspaper, The Arizona Republic published a repulsive cartoon by Steve Benson that desecrates the U.S. Marine Corps' Eagle, Globe and Anchor emblem and defames the USMC as a collection of wanton murderers. The source of Benson's vitriol? The alleged murders of 24 Iraqis at Haditha in November 2005.

Normally I resist the temptation to reprint professional cartoons without first receiving proper permissions, and this time is no different. However, this cartoon truly must be seen to be believed. Simply go to Benson's page here, click on "See previous Benson cartoons," and click "next" until you arrive at slide 3 of 54. Benson depicts the Corps' globe symbol as running with blood while bastardizing the USMC acronym to stand for "United States Massacre Cover-Up."

Perhaps in Benson's twisted mind our Marines are all war criminals fighting an illegal war for oil and intergalactic domination. After all, Steve Benson is known for his oftentimes inflammatory drawings. But publishing this type of cartoon should be beyond the pale even for the mainstream media, not least because this prejudges the Marines involved in this incident, not one of whom has been charged to date in an investigation that is still ongoing.

Unfortunately, I'm no longer capable of uttering "unbelievable" at the sight of such filth because this type of behavior is all too commonplace today. An American media that virtually as a whole couldn't find the stones to publish the Mohammed cartoons -- laughably passing out of so-called respect for religious symbols and "tolerance" -- has little problem poking its stick into the collective eye of the world's finest fighting force.

This is not an issue of a newspaper's right to publish such a cartoon. Certainly it has such right, and I'm sure every Marine would acknowledge the same. But ideas matter. History matters. The Mohammed cartoons were published as part of a debate over whether the free media self-censored out of fear that criticism of a radicalized religious mindset would draw retribution from Muslims -- an assumption immediately validated by the ensuing riots throughout the Muslim world. By contrast, the publication of Benson's cartoon enabled editors at The Arizona Republic to take a cheap shot at the United States Marines while they confidently assumed they'd face no beheadings as a result.

It is some sadistic irony that they defame the very people who are responsible for their freedom to publish such trash.

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