For nearly 15 months, Army Master Sgt. Steve Opet has chronicled the lives of fellow soldiers in Iraq with “Opet’s Odyssey,” a cartoon series cartoons that lampoon the sometimes humorous, sometimes inane side of military life in Iraq.
“Let’s face it, I’m in the Army,” Opet, 54, of Weirton, W.Va., told the Associated Press during a recent interview from this sprawling base on the outskirts of Baghdad. “And sometimes funny stuff happens.”
In Iraq, he has avoided drawing cartoons that poke fun at Iraqis, politics or religion.
But occasionally, one of his cartoons has caused a stir:
Opet recently drew a cartoon that looked at the problem of people, primarily contractors, violating a policy at a dining facility that prohibits anybody from taking more than two to-go orders at a time. The cartoon featured a character holding two stacks of boxes and flags of various U.S. coalition partners, including Tonga.
Unbeknownst to Opet, Tongan soldiers were among the few allowed to violate the ban because their entire unit would be working while the dining facility was open. The Tongans would send a couple of people to get food for the entire unit.
Opet said he was told a ranking officer asked to have the cartoon pulled and an apology issued to the Tongans — a step that was never taken.
Read the full interview here.