Doonesbury v. America

Author Orson Scott Card fisks Garry Trudeau and his “Doonesbury” comic strip as the out-of-touch Baby Boomer leftist anti-soldier anti-American screed that it is. Card takes a recent Sunday strip and tears it apart:

The comic strip, by Garry Trudeau, shows a professor teaching a class, in which he compares two presidents—Bush and Clinton. Of Bush he says, “The first president initiates a bloody, costly, unending war on false premises … and approves covert policies of illegal detentions, kangaroo courts, extraordinary renditions, torture, and warrantless wiretapping of thousands of Americans.”

Of Clinton, he says, “The second president lies about hooking up with an intern. Question: Which one should be impeached?”

And thus Trudeau has encapsulated all the Bush Derangement Syndrome hangups and Clinton Reality Distortion Zone illusions in one comic strip panel. Here’s part of what Card says about it:

“Bloody,” he calls the campaign in Iraq. But compared to other wars, involving similar numbers of troops and covering similar amounts of territory during similar amounts of time, this war is astonishingly bloodless, both in military and civilian casualties. It is the cleanest war in history. So it is “bloody” only in the sense that all war is bloody.

“Costly,” he calls it. Well, yes. War isn’t cheap. But again, “cost” should be measured against the alternative expenses—what would it cost us not to have fought the war, or not to continue fighting it? I’ve written about that at great length; I won’t repeat myself here.

“Unending,” he calls the war. Well, until any war has ended, it is “unending,” and then when it does end, it isn’t unending anymore. Duh. But what he really means is that we can’t announce the date of the end of the war. Again, though, in what war was the ending date announceable in advance? The only way to announce the end of a war is either to choose your own date of surrender (though if you choose that option, you lose the option of negotiating or choosing the terms of your own defeat), or to have the power to annihilate your enemies and announce the date on which you will use that power. I wonder which outcome Trudeau is hoping for?

Read the whole thing. Incidentally, Card also has a new book out called “Empire”, about a near-future (2008) blue state v. red state civil war in the US caused by the ongoing political divisions. Predictably Publisher’s Weekly dismisses it as “right-wing rhetoric” and “implausibly plotted.” After all, everyone knows that dictatorial oppression always comes from the right wing, never the peace-loving and pacifist left wing.

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