Two To Tangle
Christmas Spirit Needed - Please Help Iraqi Interpreters!

The Onion Crosses A Line

I just got an e-mail from Hooah Wife expressing her thoughts on an Onion segment dealing with wounded troops.  The Onion, for those not in the know, is a satire and parody site that does some amazingly good stuff.  They do, sometimes, step over lines and are usually pretty good about dealing with things. 

That said, I think that this time they didn't step over a line, they nuked it.  One thing I've seen at LRMC and WRAMC is the determination the wounded have to get better and get back to their unit.  For many of the most severely wounded, it is what makes them push and helps them to deal with loss of limbs, sight, and more.  It is more than a goal, it is the drive that makes progress and adjustment possible.  To belittle that, to flat out denegrate it with a smug smile and laugh, is beyond the pale.  It is an attack on a pillar of strength that many of wounded count on to survive and to improve.

I found the video to be disgusting and a failure of parody, satire, comedy, and basic humanity.  Bill and Bob's has a few well chosen words and thoughts to share on this.  Mrs. Greyhawk (who is not the Greyhawk you want to PO) is unamused. 

Judge for yourself:

The nice thing about freedom of speech is that you are free to express yourself pro or con on this issue, not just here, but to those behind the video as well.  Courtesy of Bill and Bob's Excellent Afghan Adventure comes this:

So, here's the information I've gathered to date:

The Onion editorial email: [email protected]

Advertising at The Onion: [email protected]

Director of PR for Screen life, LLC: [email protected]

Sonic Director of External Communications: [email protected]

Sonic regional contact information can be found at:

As for me, I plan to put together a thoughtful missive to send to every one of these people.  Thoughtful, polite, reasoned -- and I can easily express my thoughts on the matter and the contempt I have for those behind this within those parameters.  I urge one and all to do the same. 

Also as for me, Sonic, Fosters, and Burger King are off the menu.  I will also let the local establishments and distributors know why.


[Blackfive note:  Since LW beat me to it, I thought I would mention that, if anyone had spent any time with any wounded troops at Walter Reed, Bethesda, Brooke, Landstuhl - they would not see the humor in this.  This flies in the face of the soldier who decided to have his legs amputated in order to get prosthetics to be better able to chase his daughter around his backyard, or the Sergeant I met who just wanted to stay on Jump Status and get back to the fight...SO, a suggestion from The Donovan - Perhaps we send an invitation to the editorial board to make a trip to WRAMC and visit some of our recovering soldiers?  Thoughts on that?]

UPDATE:  Chuck Z's letter to The Onion and my letters are below:

To whom it may concern: This morning, I was sent a link to this video posted to your website, I am a combat vetrean who was wounded in 2005, while servnig in Iraq.  The severity of my wounds resulted in the partial amputation of my left hand, as well as nerve damage to my left hand, skin grafts on 20% of my body, traumatic brain injury, and multiple shrapnel scars. One of the first questions I asked my doctors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center was "When can I go back?" That question is asked by most of the wounded who lay in those beds.  Man and women who often have multiple limbs missing.  It is to the credit of the Department of Defense that they realize that the injury does not define the person, and if they choose to continue to serve, the Military will keep them.  Of the 300 million people in our nation, less than two million serve in the Armed forces.  Over 30,000 have been wounded in combat.  Many have suffered horrible injuries and founght to regain the use of damaged limbs, or struggled through pain to learn to use their prosthetic quickly, so they can return to duty and continue to serve.  We do this because we believe in what we are doing, and we believe in the military as a team.  We follow our the Warrior ethos, which reads: I am an American Soldier.  I am a Warrior and a member of a team. I serve the people of the United States and live the Army Values.  I will always place the mission first.  I will never accept defeat.  I will never quit.  I will never leave a fallen comrade.  I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills. I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself.  I am an expert and I am a professional.  I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the United States of America in close combat.  I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.  I am an American Soldier. How dare you poke fun at the Men and women who have risked so much, given so much, and continue to sacrifice every day for your security?  Even if you don't believe in the mission, or pe ou nagree with the war in Iraq of Afghanistan, who are you to call them "stumpy" or make fun of their disabilities?  I hope you and your families never have to experience the pain I have felt in the service of my country, or know the sacrifices my family has made while I serve.  I hope you never have to look upon your son or daughter, or your brother or sister, or your husband or wife as the lay in a hospital bed, missing their arms and legs, and know that a nationally-read website, even one dedicated to humor and satire, has chosen them to be their target of derision. Since I value your right to express yourselves in any manner you choose, I will not ask that you remove the video I mentioned.  I don't want you to issue a retracion or an apology.  Yuo've shown you true colors, and the colors of your organization.  I will however, be contacting your advertisers, and sending this letter along to them as well, asking why they contribute to the furtherance of this humiliation of servicemembers, unless they too feel the same way. I wish you all well.  I hope that you enjoy a wonderful holiday season, and that you are able to spend as much time with your loved ones as you desire. Please remember that while you are doing that, there are over a hundred thousand men and women serving their country away from home, their loved ones, and any notion of safety.  Respectfully, Charles W. Ziegenfuss MAJ, Armor United States Army

Well said, Sir! My response to The Onion:

Greetings, This morning, someone shared a link with me to your video on making the Iraq war more handicapped accessible. After viewing it, I would like to share some thoughts with you and formally ask some questions, the responses to which I would like to post at Satire is a wonderful thing, and done well it makes points and points (and prods) the way towards change. Done wrong, and it not only fails but moves into a region (as pointed out by Some Soldier's Mom at where it displays the outright contempt of the satirist for the subject and people portrayed without much in the way of humor for a veneer. The video in question not only displays that deep and abiding contempt for those wounded in service, but is nothing less than an attack on them. Yes, an attack. Let me tell you why. Though I am just a civilian, I've been fortunate enough to do two embeds in Iraq. As part of that, and through an ongoing association with Soldiers' Angels (, I also have spent time at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. One of the first things many of the wounded ask is, "How soon can I rejoin my unit?" That hope, that drive, is integral to their surviving even horrific wounds and loss of portions of their anatomy. That hope, that drive, is what leads those same wounded later to ask of the treatment options being presented to them, "What will let me rejoin my unit/jump again/run with my little girl?" It is an attitude of determination, perseverance in the face of overwhelming adversity, honor, integrity, and -- most of all -- of survival, of returning to where they can be and are in their own minds and rights productive members of society. It is an attitude that you have not merely mocked, but have actively and with passion denigrated, derided, and belittled. In so doing, you have attacked what some believe is a key component to the survival and recovery of those wounded in the common defense. The ridicule you have directed at those wounded shows the true, inner feelings of those involved, and puts paid any lie of "We support the Troops" you may care to utter. I have expressed myself at and will be expressing myself shortly with your advertisers. I hope to post a follow-up/update with answers to the following: 1. Did you even think before you produced and posted this video? 2. Has The Onion ever donated time or money to the wounded, directly or through support organizations such as Semper Fi Wounded Warrior Fund or Soldiers' Angels? 3. Have any of the people responsible for this video ever spent any time with the troops, or, more importantly, the wounded? 4. Are any of you willing to do spend time with the wounded without lights, cameras, or publicity? If the answer to number four is yes, then let me know and I will be glad to work with you and take you on such a visit. Until such time as this video is removed, and answers are given, I'm afraid I have neither time nor links for you or our advertisers. I do hope to hear from you; though, to be honest, I don't really expect to. Sincerely, C. Blake Powers Civilian-In-Residence Blogger
Bouhammer joins in Chuck's letter at his site Cassandra demonstrates a teachable moment