The cartoonist Garry Trudeau, the man behind the Doonesbury cartoon, will devote one of his strips to listing the US military war dead in Iraq.
The strip, to be published on Sunday, will list the more than 700 US military personnel who have been killed in Iraq since the start of the US-led campaign over a year ago. The final panel of the six-strip cartoon will include a note that reads: "List as of April 23, 2004."
The listing of the US dead comes exactly a month after ABC television's Nightline program devoted its show to a solemn roll call of the US dead.
The Doonesbury cartoon, which is syndicated to thousands of newspapers in the US and around the world, including the Guardian, has been notably critical of the war in Iraq. A strip published last month depicted one of the cartoon's characters, BD, a media officer with the US army, losing a leg in Falluja.
Several newspaper refused to run the strip, although some seemed to be more offended as much by the language used by the character on seeing his leg blown off - "Son of a bitch," he exclaimed - as by the depiction of US casualties.
At that time, Trudeau argued that it was important to depict the sacrifices being made by US army soldiers. "It's a task any writer should approach with great humility, but I think it's worth doing. We are at war, and we can't lose sight of the hardships war inflicts on individual lives," he said via his website.
Trudeau was also forced to apologize for this Sunday's strip, which showed a character holding a head on a plate. The cartoon, although unrelated to the beheading of US citizen Nicholas Berg in Iraq, was deemed insensitive by some newspapers who refused to run it, or ran it alongside an apology.
"Most Sunday sections are prepared five to six weeks in advance, and today's strip was unfortunately overtaken by events," Trudeau wrote in his apology. "To 'hand someone his head' is a common expression, not normally associated with actual violence. I regret the poor timing, and apologize to anyone who was offended by an image that is now clearly inappropriate."
The roll call of the dead will be published next Monday - Memorial Day in the US. The only image in the strip will be of an army helmet on top of a gun stuck barrel-down in the ground.
Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004