October 1, 2020

Cartoonist Demeans the Medal of Honor

Have you no respect for valor in combat or what that valor means?

What follows is an open letter to Clay Bennet, a Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post syndicated cartoonist. Click here to view the “humor” cartoon in question — published just before President Donald Trump awarded the most recent Medal of Honor to Army Sgt. Maj. Thomas “Patrick” Payne.

* * *

Mr. Bennett, regarding your disgraceful political humor:

I rarely shed a tear. My mom and dad’s passing drew a ton, and far too many soldiers’ deaths, maiming injuries, and stunning sacrifices in combat have drawn the same.

But when I looked at your political cartoon depicting the president awarding a “Loser Medal” to a decorated soldier, I welled up with deep sadness for America. While I celebrate your right to publish editorial cartoons, you chose to portray a presidential presentation of a Medal of Honor in a trite, disdainful, and wholly disrespectful manner.

How in God’s name could you do this? Have you no respect for valor in combat or what that valor means?

Sir, in the future, please — please — refrain from bringing our precious service members’ awards for heroism into your political belittlement. The Medal of Honor is the Medal of Honor. It is near sacred to those of us who have served in combat, which you would not understand. Leave it alone. Leave it out of the political debate. It is for those who earn it and Americans who cherish the sacrifices associated with it.

(B.B. Bell, General, U.S. Army (Ret), is a founding member of the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center board.)

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