Above is the Doonesbury cartoon that ran this past Sunday. What’s different about it from previous Memorial Day Doonesbury ‘toons?
Well, in 2004, a new tradition began to “honor” Memorial Day and the recently fallen:
Cartoonist Garry B. Trudeau on Memorial Day will devote his comic strip “Doonesbury” to listing U.S. military personnel who have been killed during the war in Iraq.
More than 700 names will appear in tiny type over six panels in the Sunday strip. A note beneath the final panel will say, “List as of April 23, 2004
Comic strip historians say it is the first time such a eulogy has been presented in the comics, and it echoes the war dead roll call Ted Koppel delivered April 30 on ABC’s “Nightline.”
“This is the only time I can think of this happening in the comics,” said M. Thomas Inge, author of “Comics as Culture.” “Every D-Day, Charles Schulz did a special drawing in ‘Peanuts,’ but nothing like this.”
Apparently in 2009, both traditions have been scrapped.
I have a question for Garry Trudeau, creator of Doonesbury.
I have the same question for the producers of ABC’s Nightline.
This Memorial Day, Trudeau didn’t devote his comic strip to listing the names of the war dead.
Ted Koppel used to read the names of the dead and show their photos on a special Memorial Day Nightline. That didn’t happen this year.
Was Memorial Day 2009 met with any sort of statements like those?
I don’t think so.
Why is that?
Said Trudeau when he began his yearly “tribute” to those killed in Iraq:
“It’s not exactly a secret that I opposed this war,” he writes in an e-mail interview with the Globe. “Anyone who reads the strip knows that. But it’s no contradiction to want to honor the warriors who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice in our names.”
I didn’t know that the
war on terror Overseas Contingency Operations ended on Bush’s watch. I didn’t know our troops are no longer in theater in Iraq.
72 U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq, by my count, since President Obama took the oath of office. Did you “honor the warriors who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice in our names” this year, since it’s the same in-theater conflict as 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, and 2003? Between now and next Memorial Day, combat troops will still be in theater (and don’t kid yourself about the “all combat troops” will be out by August of 2010).
I question whether Trudeau (or ABC and Ted Koppel) truly wanted to honor the fallen so much as score political points with a political statement.
I’m not criticizing him for being an anti-war liberal critic of the war. I’m criticizing him for being inconsistent in his opposition and disingenuous in his reasoning.
In general, this is the way I see it: Anti-war/anti-peace liberals want America to see flag-draped coffins because they want to “take the fight out of us”; to demoralize America’s resolve by saying, “See how awful war is? Bring them home now!”
Anti-war conservatives (I don’t think I like war anymore than anti-war activists) like myself don’t mind seeing flag-draped coffins because I don’t see victims. I see heroes. I see warriors who made the ultimate sacrifice for a cause greater than self.
Opposition to the war was not about principle and patriotism. It was about partisanship. Even before 9/11, Trudeau had it in for Dubbya (they knew each other back in Yale).
A little honesty, please?
Hat tip: Freedom Eden
A former fetus, the “wordsmith from nantucket” was born in Phoenix, Arizona in 1968. Adopted at birth, wordsmith grew up a military brat. He achieved his B.A. in English from the University of California, Los Angeles (graduating in the top 97% of his class), where he also competed rings for the UCLA mens gymnastics team. The events of 9/11 woke him from his political slumber and malaise. Currently a personal trainer and gymnastics coach.
The wordsmith has never been to Nantucket.