"Empty warheads" is how an American cartoonist recently described Washingtonís war planners. The rest of the doodling gang hasnít been any kinder. In fact, American cartoonists seem to be orchestrating a campaign against their presidential wisdom to attack Iraq. Not a single cartoon even obliquely pro-war has been sighted.
What accounts for this unusual herd instinct among the cartooning tribe? Unusual, because cartoonists normally present a variety of views. They are no less divided on politics, economics and ecology than the rest of the media and the readers. Some love to target the Republican elephant and some the Democratic donkey and some gun for the visual hybrid of the two. And many canít escape the occupational hazard of contradicting themselves over weeks and months of having to combat the newsbreak of the day.
What has changed since [World War II]? The Vietnam simile doesnít hold either. Saddam is no Ho Chi Minh. He isnít a much more desirable human specimen than Hitler or Mussolini and is an equally caricaturable target. The cartoonist does attack him but he spares the enemyís enemy no less. More than war itself it is the collateral damage to a free society that comes with it that bothers the cartoonist.
Such cartoons may not seem like they're directly pro-invasion, but if their point is that inspections can't or won't do the job, then what else is there? Of course, the idea is really driven home in cartoons like this one, which would fit right in on the most hawkish of blogs.
As this cartoon by Cagle himself from February 5 attests, there are cartoonists who believe that the administration has made its case. If this isn't a pro-war editorial cartoon, there ain't no such thing.
And of course, no discussion of pro-war cartoonists is complete without mentioning the LA Times' master of subtlety, Michael Ramirez. His Feb 6 cartoon is similar in nature to the one linked in the last paragraph, and there are at least a half-dozen other examples of invasion boosterism since December 15. You can be sure there'll be plenty more in the future.Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 06, 2003 to Other punditry | TrackBack