[Marxism] Gary Trudeau, Iraq and Nader

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Aug 20 06:57:19 MDT 2004

In a Rolling Stone interview with cartoonist Gary Trudeau, he was asked "Do 
you see parallels between Iraq and Vietnam?"

The answer was pure NY Times op-ed pap of the sort perfected by Anthony Lewis:

"Both were discretionary wars entered into under false assumptions, and you 
could argue that both initially had worthy goals. The Iraq adventure, 
however, was crippled by a fatal arrogance from the onset. The Powell 
doctrine of using overwhelming force to reach achievable goals with a clear 
exit strategy -- conceived in reaction to mistakes made in Vietnam -- was 
summarily discarded, inviting nearly all the consequences the doctrine was 
designed to avoid."

The wealthy creator of the flabby satire "Doonesbury" could not bring 
himself to denounce the war on moral or political grounds. It was only a 
"mistake" unlike, for example, Yugoslavia where an adroit combination of 
"multilateralism" and cruise missiles succeeded in subduing the enemy.

In fact, Trudeau was *for* the war when it first started. Like all 
liberals, he only came to oppose it when it became obvious that the Iraqis 
wouldn't roll over like a dog. He told a commencement audience at Trinity 
College in Connecticut last year:

"The battle of Iraq was a major victory in the war on terror, but the war 
itself is far from over. We cannot allow ourselves to grow complacent. We 
cannot forget that the terrorists remain determined to kill as many 
Americans as possible, both abroad and here at home, and they are still 
seeking weapons of mass destruction to use against us. With such an enemy, 
no peace treaty is possible; no policy of containment or deterrence will 
prove effective. The only way to deal with this threat is to destroy it, 
completely and utterly." (NY Times, June 1, 2003)

A while back African-American comic strip artist Aaron McGruder denounced 
the smug liberalism of the Nation Magazine at a fundraising banquet where 
he was a featured speaker. One can easily imagine Trudeau and his celebrity 
TV talking head wife Jane Pauley squirming uncomfortably in their seats. 
They are just the sort of people who show up at such bashes. Then only a 
couple of months ago McGruder ran an episode in his syndicated "Boondocks" 
about an hysterical ABB'er kidnaping Ralph Nader. (A telling coincidence: 
this term originated in the imperialist war on the Philippines in the early 
1900s. It was derived from the Tagalog word for mountain or "bonduk". 
American GI's adapted the word to describe out-of-the-way terrain.)

Meanwhile, Trudeau is running his own episode on Nader, but from the very 
opposite perspective. It can be seen on slate.com. It depicts a couple of 
Doonesbury regulars (I haven't read the strip in years, so I really can't 
provide background on them) trying to engage in an instant messaging 
conversation with a Naderite. They want to know why they backed a candidate 
who was responsible for tens of thousands of Iraqis being killed. In other 
words, this idiot millionaire liberal has not a single criticism of John 
"stay the course" Kerry but directs his bile against a candidate who 
opposes the war.

Trudeau, who was born in 1948, started out as a cartoonist while an 
undergraduate at Yale. His full name is Garretson Beekman Trudeau (!). He 
was there just around the same time as Kerry and Bush. His comic strip 
began life as a strongly antiwar outlet. As his fame and wealth grew, his 
satire became more and more conventionally liberal. Most of his wrath is 
directed against people like Reagan and the Bushes. People like Clinton, 
Gore and Kerry get gentle chiding.

 From a fawning profile that ran in the ABB outlet salon.com, we learn that 
"out of about 250 comic strips circulated in English-language newspapers 
throughout the world, 'Doonesbury' is in the top 10, carried in 1,400 
papers. That's big bucks, folks. In 1975 he won a Pulitzer Prize for 
editorial cartooning -- a first for a comic book artist. Since this prize 
is usually won by the likes of Thomas Friedman, it might appear as a 
dubious distinction at best.

Although there is a paucity of biographical information on Trudeau in 
Lexis-Nexis, we do learn from the salon.com piece that:

"Like George Bush Sr., who also attended Yale and whom Trudeau has savaged 
with special relish, the cartoonist is well-pedigreed, with ancestors who 
landed in the colonies in the 17th century. His father is a doctor, as was 
his grandfather and great-grandfather. Other relatives include former 
Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, a treasurer of the United 
States under Lincoln and the financier after whom New York's Beekman Place 
was named. Garry grew up wealthy in the upstate New York town of Saranac 
Lake, attended St. Paul's boarding school, then Yale."

Not that different socially or politically from John Kerry, who also went 
to St. Paul's. 

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