During my little experiment with comments last week, I noticed this post in a thread about the Toles cartoon:
SP4 Tomas V. Young (Ret) Says:
As a veteran of the war in Iraq who knows a thing or two about â€œtraumatic and life-altering injuriesâ€ although not to the point of the soldier depicted in the cartoon (I was lucky enough to only be paralyzed from the chest down.) I can safely say that the cartoon was far less offensive than the unfortunate accidents I have when the external catheter I wear for when the bladder I can no longer control decides to â€œfunctionâ€ or the hours of frustration I get when I try to make love to my wife and none of the options presented to us have worked. And it certainly is not as offensive as hearing the pro war/anti-cartoon crowd say that I shouldnâ€™t â€œwhineâ€ about my situation because I volunteered and that sounds to me like they are saying that I got what I deserved. So take what they say with a very large grain of salt, they have no idea about how veterans with traumatic injuries feel, because if they did they would do best to use this cartoon in their new laugh therapy program.
In an email, reprinted here with permission, the author elaborates:
I want to start off by saying that I am not whining. I am merely talking about all the things I deal with everyday. I know that I volunteered and I have to live with that. But I want you to know that I volunteered to go to where the all evidence told me to go which was pretty much every other middle eastern country that wasn’t Iraq (that’s the conservative disclaimer.) And I still support armed action against those countries, although not as much now as it’s safe to say our armed action has been spread wafer thin (that one’s for the liberals.) But this business with the cartoon needed the opinion of a so-called “traumatically life-altering” injuries, although thankfully not as seriously as the strip portrayed.
Being a paralyzed veteran of a war that our own president has admitted was started on false terms I have alot to be upset about. Not only do I have to deal with the injury itself and the physical limitations that come with it but I get a cool sidekick called PTSD that leaves me jumpy, unreasonably angry at times, and equally unreasonably depressed and on top of that I get to have great memories of what it was like to walk but the equally great memories of the friends I had that did not make it back from the land of sand (I know it may be hard to read in print but those are sarcastically “great” memories.) I go through things that constantly make me feel shitty and I look for every little bit of humor I can squeeze out of a life that now offers little. Saying this I laughed my ass off at the caroon an in fact it is the background for my desktop. I am more offended at the fact that I received these injuries in a unarmored open air truck and although I can’t speak for anyone else I’d be willing to bet I’m not the only “traumatically life altered” veteran who thinks so.
Tomas specifically asked me to include his email address, which is Tomasyoung8@aol.com, and to mention that he’ll be on 60 Minutes this coming Sunday. There’s a long interview with him here.