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Iwo Jima Vet: Time Magazine Cover ‘a Disgrace’

Posted on Apr 17, 2008
Time magazine

Magazine art or “mortal sin”? Time’s April 21 issue cover, above, has sparked ire among some Iwo Jima survivors.

It’s become a visual meme in our culture, but some World War II veterans don’t believe that Joe Rosenthal’s seminal image of Americans hoisting the flag on Mount Suribachi should be appropriated or altered in any way. In fact, some vets, like Donald Mates, believe repurposing the photo, as Time magazine has just done for an issue about global warming, is tantamount to blasphemy.

Business & Media Institute:

The cover of the April 21 issue of Time took the famous Iwo Jima photograph by Joe Rosenthal of the Marines raising the American flag and replaced the flag with a tree. The cover story by Bryan Walsh calls green “the new red, white and blue.”

Donald Mates, an Iwo Jima veteran, told the Business & Media Institute on April 17 that using that photograph for that cause was a “disgrace.”

“It’s an absolute disgrace,” Mates said. “Whoever did it is going to hell. That’s a mortal sin. God forbid he runs into a Marine that was an Iwo Jima survivor.”

Mates also said making the comparison of World War II to global warming was erroneous and disrespectful.

“The second world war we knew was there,” Mates said. “There’s a big discussion. Some say there is global warming, some say there isn’t. And to stick a tree in place of a flag on the Iwo Jima picture is just sacrilegious.”

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By Conservative yankee, April 21, 2008 at 12:37 pm Link to this comment
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No, not really.  But I’ve long ago discontinued my attempt to speak rationally to those who refuse to believe ANY evidence that contradicts their view.

Greenland has had a Glacier for the good part of the last million years. If the ice up there melts it will be a real calamity for places like Rotterdam, lower Manhattan, and New Orleans.

Forget the “what if” about “human created” or “normal cycle.” Forget the evidence that greenhouse gases exist. Forget the precipitous population increase which puts a strain on everything.

The earth is getting warmer. If Newt and Nancy can get together and say “Global Climate Change is a danger” then it is no longer a left vs right problem… It’s a global problem. AND I say that as a person who owes every meal I’ve eaten for the last 60 years to the petroleum industry.

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By Mike, April 21, 2008 at 9:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think most Americans religious or not would have to admit that we’re not helping the environment out even if some do not believe the “global warming” myth as put out by Al Gore and Co.

That said there are just as many scientists who can disprove “global warming” as there are those that Gore employs under UNFCCC. Funny how said UNFCCC dropped said scientists or muffled their voices when they came to totally different conclusions.

History has shown that dramatic changes in weather and climate as a whole historically are quite normal. Al Gore and other continue to travel in their SUVs, Leer Jet, cavorting with celebs who do the same while pounding the average citizen like the nut case that he is.

I don’t think it’s a liberal versus conservative thing, I think Gore is quite the salesman and has his own agenda, but most rational folk liberal or conservative can see right through him and global warming.

I am disappointed in seeing Time Mag use Mr. Rosenthal’s photo, some idiots commenting here have said the photo is staged. Yes, it is basically a reenactment of the first flag raising moments before, but that is not the point. What should matter is that the U.S. Marines took Iwo Jima ina very bloody way and that is what that photo signifies.

God Bless America!

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By Maani, April 18, 2008 at 10:46 pm Link to this comment


“Can anyone explain why global warming skeptics are almost always religious?”

While I am not a global warming skeptic, I disagree with this.  There are many reputable scientists who are global warming skeptics, and few if any of them are religious.  And I know quite a few people who are global warming skeptics, but are not religious.

It may be that certain denominations are more skeptical than others, but there are as many religious people who believe in global warming (e.g., the evangelical “Creation Care” movement is millions and millions strong) as there are who do not believe in it.


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By Jessica, April 18, 2008 at 2:38 pm Link to this comment
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I am a proud Wife of a United States Marine.What that flag represents means so much more then some people will ever understand.It is one of the most historic sights ever seen.That flag is what helped win the war and unite a nation as one.It gave hope to so many people.To my husband and to the marines that is a slap across the face.It is a DISGRACE.And I can’t believe that some people would/could actually believe that global warming is more important then what those men did for this nation.I guess when your ignorant you lose sight at the fact that it was and still is our military men and women giving their lives so ignorant self centered “hippies” can speak what they want without receiving repercussions for their actions.I guess people forget that it was men and women who gave their lives for our freedom.For me I appreciate what they have giving me.

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By Ken Green, April 18, 2008 at 1:09 pm Link to this comment
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There’s no debate about global warming.  Does that make the picture OK ?  Is it OK to compare Saddam to Hitler ?  GWOT to WWII ?  I understands that he’s upset but very misguided.

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By 11th Marines - Da Nang 66-67, April 18, 2008 at 12:12 pm Link to this comment
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Ease up Mr. Mapes. We’ve all seen ‘Flags of our Fathers’ and what was done on Iwo Jima was extraordinary and now its time for the world move on to other things.

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By Mike, April 18, 2008 at 10:50 am Link to this comment
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Whoa! All $12,00 Dan?

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By RBS, April 18, 2008 at 10:43 am Link to this comment
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Yes, I’m sure God will be very angry that a manmade symbol is replaced in a photograph with a wonder of His own creation.

How dare you elevate a Coastal Redwood that is 1500 years older than your flag, and 1700 years older than your nation, and was Designed in Heaven and Made by Me?

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By Robert, April 18, 2008 at 10:35 am Link to this comment
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Yawn - yet another faux wingnut outrage. 

Hey Dan - Wonder how many Marines are lining up to punch the VP’s wife in the face?

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By Conservative Yankee, April 18, 2008 at 8:42 am Link to this comment
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There is a much more relevant point here than the “defacing of a staged photo..

Has no one any originality anymore? It seems everything from movies to luxury cars is a knock-off ov something previously produced.

It sure would be nice to see some uniqueness again..  Not holding my breath.

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By Rob, April 18, 2008 at 8:28 am Link to this comment
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I’d pay a year’s wages to be there when the photographer meets god just to see how much a crap god really gives about some magazine cover. GET OVER IT!  You sound like a muslim complaining about a painting or drawing of mohammed. IT’S A PICTURE.  It’s not like they replaced the flag in the picture with a giant turd or the flag of another country.

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By cyrena, April 18, 2008 at 8:03 am Link to this comment

“..Can anyone explain why global warming skeptics are almost always religious?

You answered your own question here aboveusonlysky…
And, quite well I would say..

“Maybe if they didn’t think they were going to a magical land when they die they might care more about the planet.”...

Yep, you answered it very well. All of the religios seem to think that we’re only here in this life to prepare for another one that NO ONE has yet to provide even the slightest bit of evidence actually exists.

Go figure…

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By Jim Yell, April 18, 2008 at 7:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

World War II was probably the only unavoidable war that the world has ever fought. Those men and women deserve respect and support for having done what the nation asked, yes, demanded of them, but this “thin skinedness” of a few is just silly in this case.

The raising of the flag was a very good photo gimick not a spontaneous moment in time. It is appropriate that it was chosen as the subject for a monument to those who fought, because of its strong emotional content to those who were injured and the vast group that died dreadful deaths.

This does not mean that this composed work is somehow religiously endowed. The purpose of the cover was to catch attention of the American People to an unfolding event that if it progresses to its full extent will render all human history meaningless and leave no one to morn anyone. No matter how much they deserve to be remembered.

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By honorabledischarge, April 18, 2008 at 7:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

USMC 1994-2000
I couldn’t care less about the cover photo. I suppose some people get their panties in a twist pretty easily.

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Purple Girl's avatar

By Purple Girl, April 18, 2008 at 5:01 am Link to this comment

Our Flag has been used as Camoflague for the Incs Global Market Stratedgy. They have defaced it far more than any ‘flag burner’. they have not only used it deceive the world, bu thave used it (and US) as a shield to protect thmeselves and the market shares andProfit margins.
At least a Tree signifies Humanities goal of existence for ALL mankind!
Our Flag has been trampled on so badly - perhaps it’s time to get a new flag- to better represent US

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By James, April 18, 2008 at 3:39 am Link to this comment
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I love the photo, but what made me laugh was this comment: “It’s an absolute disgrace,” Mates said. “Whoever did it is going to hell. That’s a mortal sin. God forbid he runs into a Marine that was an Iwo Jima survivor.”

If Jesus did/does exist, he would be proud.

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By BobZ, April 17, 2008 at 9:06 pm Link to this comment

I read the story of the Iwo Jima flag raisers and I seriously doubt they would complain about the Time magazine cover. They probably would have gotten a good laugh out of it. For the most part they were embarrassed over all the attention they got from that photo.

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By Reg Stocking, April 17, 2008 at 8:09 pm Link to this comment
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Some time ago I had the pleasure of meeting Joe Rosenthal shortly after the Supreme Court declared that flag-burning was free speech as protected by the First Amendment.  I asked for his opinion.  He said that a number of his Marine buddies were upset to learn that we have a First Amendment and Supreme Court to protect our freedom, whether we like it or not.

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By 911truthdotorg, April 17, 2008 at 7:40 pm Link to this comment

With all of the problems this country is facing, people are discussing this magazine cover??!!

Jesus Christ!!

And BTW, excellent point, Maani.

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By Maani, April 17, 2008 at 6:20 pm Link to this comment

‘Course, what they fail to mention is that the photo of the soldiers raising the flag on Iwo Jima was “staged propaganda”; i.e., it was not (as the government originally claimed) a spur-of-the-moment candid photo:


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By aboveusonlysky, April 17, 2008 at 5:57 pm Link to this comment

Ummmm, okay.  This guy is certain that the person who made this image is going to hell (which implies that he is certain that hell exists!), but… the jury is still out on global warming?

Why are this guy’s opinions even newsworthy?  He’s obviously a moron.  Can anyone explain why global warming skeptics are almost always religious?  Maybe if they didn’t think they were going to a magical land when they die they might care more about the planet.

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By Dan, April 17, 2008 at 4:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’d pay a year’s wages to be there when the twerp who’s responsible for that photo meets said Marine.

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