Video: The Onion goofs on disabled troops?

posted at 3:42 pm on December 12, 2008 by Allahpundit

Greyhawk says it’s boycott time. There’s contact info at the link if you’re so inclined. This isn’t the first time they’ve tried black humor in this vein, but in this case as in the last, I think people are misreading them. It’s not a joke on wounded soldiers, as I take it, but a joke on the Pentagon placing unfair demands on the wounded to compensate for the manpower shortage.

The opposing view, from reader Chuck Ziegenfuss at Blackfive’s site:

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… 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.

Update: Two belated corrections. One, it was Greyhawk’s wife who posted the Onion item, not GH, and two, Chuck Ziegenfuss is actually a milblogger himself, not (just) a Blackfive reader. Sorry for the mistakes.


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meh

John from OPFOR on December 12, 2008 at 3:47 PM

The more people dark humor offends, the better. That’s the point!

Sign of the Dollar on December 12, 2008 at 3:49 PM

It’s not a joke on wounded soliders, as I take it, but a joke on the Pentagon placing unfair demands on the wounded to compensate for the manpower shortage.

Agreed. It seems to be a goof on the Pentagon using them ridiculously — not on the soldiers themselves.

amerpundit on December 12, 2008 at 3:50 PM

It’s the Onion…I laugh when they ridicule liberal ideas…I have to take this also.

right2bright on December 12, 2008 at 3:51 PM

The Black Knight (as seen in Monty Python’s Holy Grail) approves of this message.

My collie says:

Clearly, The Onion did not do as well in carrying this one off.

CyberCipher on December 12, 2008 at 3:51 PM

It’s not a joke on wounded soliders, as I take it, but a joke on the Pentagon placing unfair demands on the wounded to compensate for the manpower shortage.

I watched the video before I even read your post, and came to the exact same conclusion. The Onion is well-known for satire, so content needs to be taken with that approach.

MadisonConservative on December 12, 2008 at 3:51 PM

ditto, meh

Nihaody on December 12, 2008 at 3:52 PM

“The Onion goofs on disabled troops”

Big pass on that one!

christene on December 12, 2008 at 3:56 PM

Let’s see how high the simpering horde can crank their offens-o-meters this time.

LimeyGeek on December 12, 2008 at 3:57 PM

But on the other hand, if the Government could give disabled troops mechanical legs to kick the enemy’s ass with, I think a lot of soldiers would :P

apollyonbob on December 12, 2008 at 3:58 PM

Greyhawk says it’s boycott time.

That would be MRS. Greyhawk, who usually focuses on the invaluable DAWN PATROL, but occasionally adds to Mudville Gazette’s main page with things she finds very important.

Michael in MI on December 12, 2008 at 4:01 PM

They just need to ensure that when they outfit the soldiers with the super-mechanized parts, they include a supercomputer to process all of the new ROEs that will be coming out in the upcoming weeks.

Search warrants? Are you kidding me?

m064404 on December 12, 2008 at 4:08 PM

I don’t find it offensive, just not as funny as some of the other “In the Know” clips (like the classic, ‘where were you when the segway was introduced’ bit).

bilups on December 12, 2008 at 4:10 PM

Boycott? This is insane. It is funny satire. I’m sick of this selective P.C.

grdred944 on December 12, 2008 at 4:10 PM

Looks like a good idea to me.

Disabled persons in mini-gun armed, nuclear-powered ceramic-armored exo-skeletons FTW!

Kristopher on December 12, 2008 at 4:11 PM

…uuhhh…

Mostly, not funny. I can remember how funny those of us in the beds thought Polio jokes were in the ’50s, but (a) we were the ones who had it, and (b) we were kids and didn’t begin to understand the consequences. They’re not that funny now, when it’s coming back.

I expect to be called one of the “simpering hordes” by the more-enlightened-than-me. By the way, the stock market crash in 2001 plus the inability to do much of anything has me surviving on Social Security, too. My money.

warbaby on December 12, 2008 at 4:11 PM

I didn’t find it all that funny, but I also didn’t find it all that offensive. Gotta agree with John from OPFOR, “Meh.”

Torch on December 12, 2008 at 4:14 PM

Politcal correctness and over sensitivity can swing both ways. This isn’t a big deal, and it’s only making fun of the pentagon.

justfinethanks on December 12, 2008 at 4:15 PM

I’m having video issues now and can’t watch it.

My uneducated guess then is that, as others have said, this is the Onion. It’s what they do. It’s likely in bad taste, and were I running the place I would have advised against it (I guess), but that doesn’t mean it’s boycott time.

Esthier on December 12, 2008 at 4:16 PM

I read the Onion often- lot of really funny stuff there. I saw the video link on the main page- but never watched it. Just didn’t think they needed to broach this subject. Not funny, no matter how you slice it.

BKeyser on December 12, 2008 at 4:16 PM

I’m not alone, either:

warbaby on December 12, 2008 at 4:17 PM

I went over there yesterday looking for something on Obama and Blago. Couldn’t find a thing. Just sayin’.

a capella on December 12, 2008 at 4:20 PM

Not laughing

Just A Grunt on December 12, 2008 at 4:27 PM

As a wounded vet myself, albeit not to the degree of some here…. I found the video unfunny and useless… it being the Onion doesn’t give it a pass when it falls on it’s face as it has here, in my opinion only. Any one who knows me, however, would take argue with any one calling me a member of a simpering horde…that was another useless insult thrown out. Boycott?… nah…. there are more “low level” addicts of ignorant humor that need their fix ( sarc off)

MNDavenotPC on December 12, 2008 at 4:29 PM

It’s not a joke on wounded soliders, as I take it, but a joke on the Pentagon placing unfair demands on the wounded to compensate for the manpower shortage.

And a shot at the ‘Americans with Diabilities Act’.

Still, it was done poorly and appears to make fun of our brave wounded Americans.

Helloyawl on December 12, 2008 at 4:29 PM

it is what is, save the energy for the democrats, as for the onion, they might be one of the few organizations that can lampoon Obama and not be called racist.

rob verdi on December 12, 2008 at 4:31 PM

I wonder what this Marine would think of the Onion’s satire? Maybe he’s who inspired it?

melchitt on December 12, 2008 at 4:35 PM

If only all Americans possessed these high ideals of country and service. Never have I seen the US military so ready to serve and in the case of these wounded warriors, ready to serve again and again. Thank God for men and women like these.

Herb on December 12, 2008 at 4:42 PM

I went over there yesterday looking for something on Obama and Blago. Couldn’t find a thing. Just sayin’.

a capella on December 12, 2008 at 4:20 PM

Satire takes a while to write; it’s pretty tedious. Give it time; it’s too good for them to pass up.

Tacitus_SGL on December 12, 2008 at 4:45 PM

I feel bad for those people who don’t get the joke. Watch the clip closely….eg.: the lady says you don’t need legs to fly an airplane so transfer the amputees from the Army.

It is the same as those who never got the Far Side comics either. We had people complain to the local paper re. the comics after Brewster Rockit bbq’d the flying horse that would have rescued them from a desert island instead of using it to fly them away. I guess I’m just a sick bastard who had too much contact with agent orange in Vietnam and 29 years in law enforcement.

Also, just be prepared for at least four years of very dark humor coming up. Unfortunately not many of us will be laughing.

arnold ziffel on December 12, 2008 at 4:49 PM

I think the first rule of comedy or satire is that it’s supposed to be at least a little funny (even if you can just enjoy the humor and not laugh out loud). I agree that they’re really trying to satirize the Pentagon. But, like the SNL skit that was trying to satirize the NY Times by depicting reporters’ drumming up a false story that Todd Palin had incestuous relationships with his daughters, this isn’t really funny.

meltenn on December 12, 2008 at 4:50 PM

I went over there yesterday looking for something on Obama and Blago. Couldn’t find a thing. Just sayin’.

a capella on December 12, 2008 at 4:20 PM

http://www.theonion.com/content/amvo/illinois_governor_arrested

Vic on December 12, 2008 at 4:51 PM

It’s funny and it’s satire so someone is going to be offended. The Onion hits everything eventually so two finger salute for the stupid boycott.

PS They do make fun of Obamabots… look harder.

lexhamfox on December 12, 2008 at 4:56 PM

Those of us who have been wounded in combat often make fun of each other in very similar ways. We tend to get some good laughs out of our situations and humor tends to help in the process of healing. Dont read too much into this skit its satire and its existence is testament to the sacrifice’s made to ensure freedom of speech.

http://hotair.com/archives/2007/11/21/soldier-re-enlists-hours-after-being-wounded-in-iraq/

Dragoonchris on December 12, 2008 at 5:27 PM

This is like parodying firefighters running up the stairs of a burning building after a plane crashes into it. Not funny.

JustTruth101 on December 12, 2008 at 5:29 PM

Boycott what? It’s a website. Websites couldn’t care less about boycotts.

Ortzinator on December 12, 2008 at 5:31 PM

A swing and a miss for the Onion. Not offensive to vet’s I’m sure, but not humorous either.

Hog Wild on December 12, 2008 at 5:33 PM

This isn’t the first off-color unfunny thing the Onion has said about the war. When the football player for the Cardinals died while serving in in Afghanistan, The Onion put out a blurb. They quoted him after losing a football game saying, “I want to die. I just want to die.”

Lothar on December 12, 2008 at 5:40 PM

Douglas Bader, famous British WW II fighter pilot with no legs, says meh.

profitsbeard on December 12, 2008 at 5:59 PM

Well, if making fun of Wounded Warriors doesn’t matter to you, will spitting on them matter?

Mazztek on December 12, 2008 at 6:12 PM

Was it tasteless? No. Was it incredibly close to being tasteless? Yes. That’s where the laughs are.

snaggletoothie on December 12, 2008 at 6:13 PM

When you get your laughs from anything to do with men and women wounded in combat then you a classless clown.

Then again look around the country look at what passes for humor anymore. Look at the people who laugh at these sort of things.

The Onion and those who laugh at it are the same people who would laugh at the gas chambers of Auschwitz.

Jdripper on December 12, 2008 at 6:32 PM

I’m a Marine from Vietnam who was wounded. I’m sorry…. take your so called cerebral level humor and stuff it up your ass. You find humor in what I said? I don’t care, I really don’t.

MNDavenotPC on December 12, 2008 at 7:36 PM

A few corrections:

1. Not everyone is calling for a boycott. The responses have been varied by blogger.

2. It’s not a joke on wounded soldiers, as I take it, but a joke on the Pentagon placing unfair demands on the wounded to compensate for the manpower shortage.

Try again, Allah. Perhaps you can explain the so-called “humor” in “propping catatonic soldiers up” to guard warehouses. Catatonia is most commonly associated with severe mental illness – schizophrenia – not combat injury.

Nice….

And what “unfair demands” are being satirized? Is it “unfair” to allow wounded soldiers who have recovered from their injuries and want to serve, to do so? Because that’s the policy that’s being ridiculed here.

Would it be “better” if the smart people at the Onion decided for wounded soldiers what jobs they are still “good enough” to perform? Does the military still get to have any say in the matter? What about the soldiers themselves?

The video is patronizing. It talks about soldiers as though they were victims instead of what they are: some pretty amazing folks who have decided they want to continue serving their country. Personally, I think we owe them better than mockery.

I doubt I’d have the guts to do what they’re doing.

I doubt anyone at The Onion would, either. But then I think we all know that, don’t we?

Cassandra on December 12, 2008 at 7:55 PM

It’s been done before: http://www.theonion.com/content/node/29257

This, however, is obviously satirizing an awful lot more than the armed forces, and works on several levels, in my opinion.

ChePibe on December 12, 2008 at 7:58 PM

The joke about bananas was the only funny part

tommylotto on December 12, 2008 at 8:05 PM

I’m self-admittedly too close to this issue to view it with any sort of detachment. My only reaction is disgust at these ass clowns for having the temerity to make fun of people who have sacrificed themselves in defence of their country. They definitely need to take a stroll through the Wounded Warrior barracks at Lejeune or go through Bethesda.

As for Allah’s contention that this is a shot at the Pentagon for using wounded to make up for a manpower shortage, that’s just BS. The simple fact is that there is no manpower shortage. The Marine Corps is literally two years ahead of its plan to ramp up to 202k. Our units deploy at 100% or over.

A large number of the wounded are in fact devastated that they have had to leave their units and even more so if they are forced from the Corps altogether. The Marine Corps has gone out of its way to afford as many as possible the opportunity to stay in. Not because the Corps needs them, but out of loyalty and respect for what they’ve done.

So no, I don’t think this is humorous at all. And for those of you who tell me to lighten up and get over it, you need to STFU unless you’re willing to man up and take the risks these guys did.

SoonerMarine on December 12, 2008 at 8:34 PM

I’m not too sensitive when it comes to this humor but that just wasn’t funny. I love race jokes, I love dark and even morbid humor but only when its funny. (And that, Sir was not funny)

Ack just saying.

Claypigeon on December 12, 2008 at 9:20 PM

I doubt seriously that there was anything intentionally stupid about the skit. They probably had no clue that wounded soldiers actually DO want to return their units as fast as possible.

And they had no way of knowing that. As Ann Coulter says, these freaks act like they’ve never even MET a normal person in their lives. Some of them don’t even know anyone who knows anyone who has ever served in the military.

A swing and a miss; a lame idea that didn’t pan out. The Onion just has sort of a formula. It might have been cute the first sketch or two, but now even when they do it right it’s lame.

As for the “boycot”? I don’t even know what that’s supposed to mean, nobody buys anything from the Onion. If it sucks, just don’t watch it. There’s so much stuff out there nowadays, I don’t see the need to put up with pretty much anything I don’t like.

logis on December 12, 2008 at 11:09 PM

It’s not a joke on wounded soldiers, as I take it, but a joke on the Pentagon placing unfair demands on the wounded to compensate for the manpower shortage.

That’s how I take it. I thought it was pretty tame, actually.

Mark Jaquith on December 12, 2008 at 11:36 PM

…but a joke on the Pentagon placing unfair demands on the wounded to compensate for the manpower shortage….That’s how I take it.

And if you’d paid any attention to what SoonerMarine said, you’d realize that’s a crock of sh**te. However, since some people seem not to pay any attention to the news, let me repeat:

The simple fact is that there is no manpower shortage. The Marine Corps is literally two years ahead of its plan to ramp up to 202k. Our units deploy at 100% or over.

A large number of the wounded are in fact devastated that they have had to leave their units and even more so if they are forced from the Corps altogether. The Marine Corps has gone out of its way to afford as many as possible the opportunity to stay in.

Once again, people who don’t know what they’re talking about, making fun of things they can’t begin to understand and haven’t bothered to research.

So it “works on several levels” only if you don’t really care what the facts are.

Cassandra on December 13, 2008 at 12:19 AM

SoonerMarine on December 12, 2008 at 8:34 PM

Right on!

I know several guys from one of my old Units will agree too.

You can read about it here.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081212/ap_on_re_us/ten_silver_stars

opusrex on December 13, 2008 at 1:31 AM

Seems like they are making fun of them. Didn’t find it amusing at all. Bless those soldiers hearts. My Nephew served two terms in Iraq. He wants to go back real bad. I am proud of him. He is a tough Marine. This made me feel sad.

sheebe on December 13, 2008 at 2:18 AM

Y’know, I kind of assumed the Jesse Jackson Style impulse to feel deeply offended by minor things was solely the domain of the far left. Thanks for proving me wrong guys.

justfinethanks on December 13, 2008 at 2:38 AM

To me, it appears they are making fun of the troops. As a vet I find it extremely offensive. I don’t know what PC-ness have to do with this at all.

vegasguy on December 13, 2008 at 8:41 AM

To me, it appears they are making fun of the troops. As a vet I find it extremely offensive. I don’t know what PC-ness have to do with this at all.

vegasguy on December 13, 2008 at 8:41 AM

Jesse Jackson made a fine living out of being constantly offended, even over petty things. I think it’s fair to call a short internet video on a comedy site “petty.”

I don’t question your service and appreciate it greatly. But I find it a little curious as to why someone with enough bravery and fortitude to become a war veteran is in any way affected by what some nerds in Wisconsin think.

justfinethanks on December 13, 2008 at 11:27 AM

Oh Christ.. now we have boycott-calling overly sensitive military people to a satirical usually-tasteless video.

Did I wake up in a nightmare? What the hell happened to theis country.

VinceP1974 on December 13, 2008 at 1:45 PM

Seems to be also capping on the “handi-capible” types like Tiiimmyyy from South Park. I don’t see a problem here.

federale86 on December 14, 2008 at 1:09 AM

While the piece is funny because of the extremes they take in the parody. However, that is where my enjoyment ends.
As a retired G.I. who served in Vietnam I know several wounded soldiers who were severely injured and deserve more respect than provided by ONION in this piece.

Viet Vets, upon their return they were spit on and left to fend for themselves with little or no help by the left. Today, warfare is more sophisticated and deadly and maiming that their victims are more grotesquely injured then before.

Today, vets are treated with more respect and offered the best rehabilitation possible (sans the recent scandal of one V.A. Hospital)to allow them the ability to overcome the mental blocks associated with war so they can resume as near a normal life as possible.

Those soldiers willing to return to the battle field do so because they are a different generation that take their oaths seriously and believe in what they are doing. Even those who do not want to return are dedicated and driven by a different set of ethics with a cause other than just themselves. That should be the real story.

MSGTAS on December 14, 2008 at 9:36 AM

Looks like they’ve pulled the piece…

RustMouse on December 14, 2008 at 2:07 PM

They were being silly, and succeeded. That was funny, and not offensive at all to me.

P.C. sucks, especially when it is practiced by those on the Right who complain only when their sacred cows are being melted. People on the Right should know better than to start drawing lines on which targets are ok to be mocked and which aren’t. Let’s have the Humor Police remain solely on the Left, ok?

Bizarro No. 1 on December 15, 2008 at 7:53 AM