None Too Happy With Mr. Fish

From my e-mail box … somehow I don’t think Mr. Fish’s response to this reader will be satisfying to him.

Memorial Day cartoon from Mr. Fish.
Memorial Day cartoon from Mr. Fish.

Sent: Sunday, May 24, 2009 7:49 PM

Subject: Mr. Fish Memorial Day “Cartoon”

Please tell Mr. Booth that although it is fair to humiliate politicians who unthinkingly send young men off to war, it his improper and unacceptably demeaning to belittle those who are brought up in the tradition of answering the call to arms when it comes.  The cartoon is also unbelievably cruel to those who have lost family members in defense of our country.

Unless Mr. Booth can prove he served and put his tail on the line for this country, I suggest he keep his figurative mouth shut and ink bottled rather than make fun of a tradition that keeps us free and safe  Without all Kevins, you would have a very small volunteer military indeed.  And whether he agrees or not, we would be far less safe and fat and happy here if that were the case.

As a Former New Yorker, now living in Oklahoma, I further submit that since this tradition is strongest in the American South, Midwest and West, the cartoon is also brazenly elitist and sectionalist.  I teach returning GI’s from Iraq and Afghanistan and Booth should be first in line to kiss the ground upon which these wonderful men and women walk.

I am so sorry you gave this piece of trash the light of day.

Bob Avakian
Tulsa, Oklahoma

On May 25, 2009, at 1:04 PM, Daryl Cagle wrote:

Hola, Dwayne,
Write a nice response and I’ll post it in the blog and newsletter.

From: Mr. Fish
Subject: Re: Mr. Fish Memorial Day “Cartoon”
Date: Mon, 25 May 2009 14:28:21 -0700

Hey Bob,

I must respectfully disagree with your assertion that we must support and honor all men and women who choose to sacrifice their bodies to the perpetuation of massive amounts of violence in any war, particularly one predicated on hubristic goals with reprehensible consequences.  Additionally, to address the broader implication of your note, to suggest that the tradition of any one nation engaged in war with another (or, in this particular circumstance, the tradition of one nation invading and then occupying another) be respected merely because it is a tradition is lazy at least and fascistic at worst.  Remember, slavery was also a tradition.  Should that atrocity be respected as well?  Do you, Bob,  raise your fist to the sky every morning and curse the fact that you have to dress yourself and prepare your own breakfast and rake your own yard?  Or, more to the point, do you waste your time addressing emails to abolitionists in the past who felt it was their moral obligation to dispel the horrific myth that insisted indentured servitude was glorious and should be cherished and upheld for future generations?  (I will now take a moment of silence so that you can sing Ol’ Man River with tears in your eyes.)  Finally, committing brave servicemen and women to acts of criminal behavior in an illegal war and then saying that their intentions are really to uphold peace, democracy and humanitarian law, none of which apply to the situation at hand, is a treacherous sleight of hand and one that should be ridiculed.  When an army is sent to commit a crime in the name of bureaucratic criminals, the nation is not being defended for me or anybody else.  Instead, it is being made uglier and morally indefensible.


I’m eager to see the comments on this one. See more of Mr. Fish’s cartoons here.

By Daryl Cagle

Daryl Cagle is the founder and owner of Cagle Cartoons, Inc. He is one of the most widely published editorial cartoonists and is also the editor of The Cagle Post.

94 replies on “None Too Happy With Mr. Fish”

Mr. Fish, if the point of your cartoon is to serve as a reminder to parents and adults that we need to do more than simply have our children participate in the ceremony surrounding those who has served or fallen in our military, then kudos. It is the responsibility of all of us to explain the greater ramifications and the human costs of war to the young rather than simply make heros of those who have served.

I must disagree with you is in some of your the comments in response to Bob. You stated that, "committing brave servicemen and women to acts of criminal behavior in an illegal war and then saying that their intentions are really to uphold peace, democracy and humanitarian law…is a treacherous sleight of hand and one that should be ridiculed." It is always perilous to assume we know the intentions of anyone but most of the servicemen and women I served along side did in fact join to uphold peace and democracy and humanitarian law. The failure of our government to properly utilize the military does not reflect the intentions of individuals who serve and die nor does it diminish the sacrifice of our servicemen and women. If anything, we should honor them all the more for sacraficing in a war that it self draws a great deal of ridicule.

When you state that, "When an army is sent to commit a crime in the name of bureaucratic criminals, the nation is not being defended for me or anybody else" again misses the point and in fact is one of the very arguments for Memorial day. We do not celebrate the war but the servicemen and women that served our country. We don't honor the pathetic politicians who involved us in these military action, they receive enough attention every day. Instead a flag draped over a fallen soldiers coffin symbolizes the individual soldiers service to this country and does not have anything to do with the defensibility of the conflict they served in.

Honoring fallen servicemen and women should not necessarily be an endorsement of the wars they participated. But nor should the criminal justification of a war be an excuse to diminish the individual servicemen and women. A vast majority of those who have fallen in this countries wars are young enlisted men who had no more ability to control the actions of this country than you or I do.

Just my $.02 on this.


To Jeff: In a word, no. Only in the most remedial of history books is the Civil War described as a war to end slavery. These are typically same history books that say the dropping of the atomic bomb saved lives and that fail to mention anything about the Labor Movement or Teddy Roosevelt's bloody dabbling in the Philippines or Kennedy's Cointelpro, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Perhaps you were thinking of the young men sent off to slaughter the Native Americans.

And Jassen: I appreciate your 2 cents. I still, however, cannot completely honor those who serve. The best I am able to muster is pity. I did a cartoon a few years back addressing this conundrum specifically. It pictured a line of soldiers each labeled individually as a "good guy." There was then a bracket that grouped them under the single classification of "bad guys." All the vets I know are, indeed, swell guys, just as all the Democrats I know are swell, too, and, believe it or not, all the Republicans. Thrown together in their respective groups, however, and, presto, a confederacy of dunces.

This is the beauty of free speech. If parents aren't well-educated enough to teach their children about the ambiguities (to be kind) of modern American foreign policy, then shock-artists like Mr. Fish may be the best protection our children have. While it is hard on the near-children who are fighting Mr. Bush's wars today, I still believe that the most patriotic thing a young person can do today is NOT enlist. We must oppose the squandering of our blood and treasure (and the blood of our youth is our greatest treasure) on ideological wars.

The Iraq war was a con job – what can be said that is good or just about it?

The term "national security" is a big pit that justifies too much armed military conflict, injury and death. Powell was used like so many in the service of the Bush crime syndicate.

Let's hope Johnny in the cartoon is deprived of his own flag draped coffin because the US chooses to start wars with restraint.

It is true no one was drafted into OIF or any other recent entaglement, but then people who joined for the schooling or the better career and did not want to participate in an ilegal war had no choice. This time draft dodgers who went North were sent back, because there was no draft. (It made headlines here in Canada.)

Just something to think about.

What, in the name of God, are you people trying to accomplish in this "blog"????
Isn't enough to honor our fallen soldiers? Do we have to make some kind of a political statement to further an agenda?

You people make me ill with your elitist comments and world views. Trying getting a real job and/or serving your country in the same capacity as those you ridicule. If you had to serve one of two or both places of difficulty–an assembly line or a foxhole, you might have just a little different idea of what America truly is. But no, you want do that. Your prefer to adopt the European or Asian or South American view of what the United States is. Quite frankly, I don't give a damn of what you or those other governments think of me or my country. I know the truth and you are the ones that have to live with those thoughts. Not me.

The response of "Fish" is repugnant and insulting to Americans everywhere, especially military families. I will be removing myself from this list because of the repulsive and, frankly, infuriating response of "Fish" – a useless piece of cowardice who obviously takes the freedoms those who died to give him for granted and even belittles them. I have a request for "Fish" – leave America NOW! Trash like you are not wanted here.

While I had no problem with the cartoon, in his response, Mr. Fish displays the disdain of a pacifist for any that dares to choose another path. Is he unable to separate the ideas of policy and sacrifice? Does he not think that there are many service men and women who disagree with recent 'policy' while on the battlefield at least as much as he does behind his desk?

Memorial Day is not a celebration of war – far from it. It is a time to recognize the sacrifice of those who have fought, and fallen, for a greater good. It is a celebration of those who sacrificed their own peace to prevent violence from reaching those whom they loved.

While every one of us is a lover of peace, there are those among us who recognize that peace is not a natural state. There will always be those people in the world who see that an advantage can be gained through selfishness. When the advantage that these people have over others is the simple possession of more force than others around them possess, they use violence to gain for themselves what diplomacy and reason cannot. Pacifism is a beautiful path, but there are times when we must recognize that sanity cannot be forced on others. It is a point of evolution that many have not yet reached.

The armed forces of our country were born in the struggle of free peoples against dictatorship, and were raised to their highest levels in the last century battling totalitarianism and genocide. When young men and women are drawn to serve our country in uniform, it is not the ambiguity of policy that draws them to the fight, but the traditions that created a free nation and helped to save the world. Duty, honor and service.

Every man and woman must find their own path, and we should honor those gave up their lives when their path, the path of guardians, lead to their deaths. After sacrificing their personal peace to preserve the peace for others, they breathed their last for what they believed. Whether they fell during our proudest moments at Bunker Hill or Normandy, or at our most sorrowful in the deserts and jungles of confusion, they died not for the glory of war, but for the promise of a free world for those whom they loved.

Not all of the young men and women who are drawn to this service can articulate their ideals. While I cannot speak for our women in service, I can tell you that for young men there is a romance to the idea of battle and an appeal of glory gained on the battlefield. I promise you, however, that these fantasies are short lived. They may brag and boast in their clean uniforms and with puppy medals on their chests, but this is a defense against uncertainty. Our veterans will tell you that what sustains the heart and soothes the jagged mind is love. Memories of the love of home, of parents, siblings and lovers. Memories of the world as it should be.

Our veterans know of what I speak. To our pacifists, I tell you not to disdain what these men and women have done for you. The glory of war is a foolish dream, but so is the idea of peace without sacrifice and of freedom without cost. Until, and even after, we achieve our shared dream of a world at peace, let us remember those who fell along the way. We recognize and honor many paths. On Memorial Day let us honor those who gave their final breathe fighting for a better world for us.

Tragically, Fish has taken the Ted Rall path to achieve notoriety. I've never been impressed with his cartooning ability much less his attempts at social awareness.

I only hope he does not do as poorly a job when he's cooking burgers and fries at his regular job.

First and foremost, this cartoon represents what is great about America–the freedom to express whatever values and beliefs we choose without fear of governmental interference or, God forbid, retaliation. It is Mr. Fish's right to post this just as it is a soldier's right to disagree.

Having that said, call it satire; call it personal beliefs about how the war is being conducted or whether or not it's criminal; call it whatever you'd like, this cartoon is simply in poor taste for this time of the year. We as a society are not asked to worship our military boys and girls–to somehow hold them in higher accord then anyone else–but it is our duty to honor them for their sacrifices, present, and most assuredly, past.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, a man that enlisted of his own free will to fight in the Civil War and one of the most influential common-law judges in American history, called Memorial Day "America's most holy holiday." There may be some persons of faith that would disagree with that sentiment, but there shouldn't be an American among us that doesn't understand it.

I respect Mr. Fish's individual beliefs, but to have authored this cartoon at this time of honor and respect for those that have given their lives in the service of our country is simply in bad taste.

Anytime men and women are condemed to die for a war a president has used to make himself look like the savior of the country those same men and women's lives have been destroyed for nothing. In this case Iraq was not at fault for 9/11 and President Bush did not have to invade Iraq. Osama Bin Laden was not in Iraq and he was responsible for the destruction of the twin towers and the murder of over 3000 people. While I believe few wars are justified this war was put in place for and ego driven by a criminal administration. Those men and women who were sent to war to save democracy and bring peace were wasted lives and we should be ashamed of ourselves for letting those lives be terminated for no reason except one man's meglomania. If our previous administration had so much respect for our soldiers then why are the returning soldiers facing rotten conditions for their care? How come so many are committing suicide? How come their post traumatic stress is being ignored? How come their health benefits are being cut and their healthcare running out before they are properly looked after? This war was an abomination! Those poor soldiers and their famiies have suffered and lost for honor – for democracy – for our safety? I don't think so! The argument has been made that the war has saved us from being attacked again – can anyone prove that? All the examples provided by the previous administration have been proven false. It's hard to prove a negative. And the word of the previous administration is not worth the air they breathe.

Wow – Mr. Fish – I thought I was anti-war, but you have made me realize how mild by comparison my position is. I was raised in a pro-military family in that my father was a national officer of the American Legion. However, by the time I became of age, my country was involved in a war over Viet Nam that I did not agree with and wanted no part of. In no way did I show disrespect for returning servicemen from that war as many Americans did. Of that type of behavior, I was embarrassed. I think we should be very careful in condemning the passion of youth which may be a bi-product of patriotism, though we must also make sure it is correctly directed. We have never been involved in a major conflict in my lifetime that I have agreed with although I felt the terrorists responsible for 911 should be punished, and the fascism of Hitler and Hirohito needed to be stopped although this was well before my time. Therefore, there is a need for the Kevins of this world, but we must not take advantage of them.

What this cartoon clearly demonstrates is why President Obama's call for national service of all Americans is necessary. There is a place for all of us to contribute to the betterment of our country, especially if it means that showing how to sow seeds is far more productive than firing a weapon.

When I was growing up in Connecticut is was tradition. You graduated high school and enter military service or went on to college and then the military. Every male member of my family served in the Armed Forces. That was the price of Freedom. Parasites must think freedom is geographical. They don't have a clue as to the cost that many people paid for the freedom that allows them to be that obtuse…

Mr. Fish's cartoon is compelling and provocative, if he is in poor taste. I realize he was provoked into explaining his motives, but upon "opening his mouth" he should himself to be a rather tired leftie, betraying the power of his work with trite cant. It seems he's even willing to hop over the ideological fence and embrace neo-Confederate rationalizations of the Civil War in order to serve the greater cause: denying that the military can ever deserve anything other than pity for their work. Others have more than amply made the case against his pronouncements: Chris Bradley's nuanced reasoning in particular stands out. I would just add that before Mr. Fish mounts his high horse to pompously denigrate the limited thinking and constricting social attitudes of others he might want to glance in the mirror.

great discussion here. it is a real shame anyone has to even get a splinter in the cause of cheney's insane war. there were americans getting shot 'fighting communism' in viet nam while nixon was eating dinner with mao. this cartoon is not a joke, and it is another shame that the so called liberal media was able to elevate this into a war with a country that was only the source of oil, not the source of terrorists who brought down those buildings. that country was a source of even more oil but somehow saudi arabia was made out not to be an evil islamofascist dictatorship. thanks for printing all these responses. keep the press free.

mr fish made the sarcastic comment about out typical history books noting that dropping the nuvclear bombs on japan saved lives.
this is the typical comment made by the young who cannot fathom or understand what happened in the past with anything but with today's eye's.
it is too bad that he cannot try to understand what really happened from 1939 until 1945, nor could he see the piles of dead gathered at many places around the world. the few hundred thousand in japan then were dwarfed b y the 20 to 30 million that preceded the two bombings. the beginnings of the war, the savagery that continued thru it all, led to a committment to end it as quickly as possible without having to sacrifice another hundred thousand dead to invade the japanese home islands.
though we easily thru hindsight recognize that a japanese death was equal in importance to the death of one of our own, that was clearly not the thoughts of anyone at the end of this long war. hindsight is the great leveler, but different times, different times.
mr fish might give himself some sobering thoughts by reading some history written by those who were there instead of imagining it through his blurred vision of today. we honor our dead in this present unnecessary war. those who died knew no more about it than the many children, and they were children, who died on omaha beach 65 years ago, just two weeks from now. in the present war, unnecessary and indefensible or not, they died serving our country, misguided or not. they were not asked, but they did their duty, a concept that seems more and more to be forgotten. it is all about duty. this is a lesson mr, fish has yet to learn.

Mr Fish,

You referred to the actions of the armed forces of the United Stats as "acts of criminal behavior in an illegal war"

The last time charges like that were written, the document ended with:

"We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor"

If you truly believe what you wrote, then start the revolution and be willing to pledge your life (since I doubt you have either a fortune or honor) to the cause.

Until then stop casting aspersion on men and women who have pledged their Lives and sacred Honor to something greater than themselves

Ivan, you seem to have skipped over all the comments above yours in order to post your self-righteous defense of Mr. Fish. Many of the commentators (including myself, though I did not say so in my comment, while others did) agree with Mr. Fish about the wrongheadedness of the Iraq War. Others even appreciated his cartoon, including myself and Chris Bradley, while taking issue with Mr. Fish's written defense of it. In other words, criticisms of Mr. Fish's work and views have been far more nuanced than you let on, so perhaps with your smug condemnation of "those who have trouble facing up to the realities" and cries of "anti-intellectual bigotry" and "misdirected sacchrine piety", you are the one who lacks an "open mind."

Thank god for our volunteer soldiers, yes they do a great job defending us and our way of life. The real issue are those who decide to send these people to war. I still consider Iraq a needless war and condemn Bush and his cronies who sent our people to war so that his friends could enrich themselves further. Bush & Co took advantage of the goodwill of the people of the United States to start this war in the name of defending us. Now there are over 4,000 dead soldiers who have paid for his greed. His scar is to be known as the worst president ever, while the lives of those effected by not only the deceased soldiers, but the injured will be impacted forever. Bush will live on his ranch with a fat government pension. How does that sit with those left behind by the 4,000 soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

There's a real all-or-nothing attitude in this country these days, and I'm seeing more of it as time goes by. It's as if "liberal elitists" who argue against war and protest for peace are not true patriots. I grieve for those mothers and fathers who thought they were joining the National Guard to protect their neighborhoods and instead are "volunteered" to go to the other side of the planet for a misguided and criminally induced war. No draft, my foot! "Knew what they were getting into," my other foot!

Those who don't speak out against dictators, liars and former draft dodgers are complicit in this charade of "defending our freedoms in this country." If we are a nation of "flag print sweatpant-wearing patriotic" sheep, we deserve exactly what we get: our finest and fittest become festering meat in a distant desert, or they come home to a vet's administration without funding and adequate staff for their mental maimings and amputations. The sooner we are out of the Middle East, the sooner the healing and true defense of OUR country can begin. The damage is done. We need to bring our soldiers home and we need to begin the true work: rebuilding our Constitution, finding the center again, and truly putting back into place what our founding fathers began.

Mr. Fish,

Ground combat is the most atrocious, gut wrenching, blood splattering, God awful thing any man can go through. To even suggest that people join without thinking is ridiculous. There is no amount of money, no order you can give, no rank you can have, to convince a man to CONTINUOUSLY sign up to fight for anything involving ground combat. Just the sheer notion that this thought never crossed your mind shows the lack of involvement you have with anything resembling a veteran.

Congratulations. Your wonderful education has taught you how to use a plethora of words from an overextended vocabulary to demean those who have seen atrocities that you will never have the displeasure of fantasizing about in your nightmares.

Remember, those same men and women who have seen people missing limbs and screaming for God to end their life in the midst of battle are the ones who are proudest of their children signing up to see the same thing. Yet it is you, sitting behind your desk, philosophizing why that is terrible. Perhaps you should do as Bob suggests, serve first yourself, then tell us from experience why it was so wrong.

Maybe, its because that in the midst of all that terror, they still see why they fight – because they are in the fight. But I suppose it is difficult to see that from our end of the world, so far away from the fight.

May some form of enlightenment warm that cold spot of your heart when you see a veteran. Remember, at the very least, they are battling things in their mind that you will never see.

And to DirtDiva

Our founding fathers were the ones who went out of their way to help the French win the French Revolution. They funded them, and some even fought in their country to help. They even paid soldiers from the Revolutionary war to go over with them.

Tell me, what right did they have to even be there?

Oh yeah… they believed in the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Enjoy this day because it is another day we sleep in the comfort of freedom, while, even if we haven't the right to be there, millions of Iraqi citizens today can enjoy that same thing because they don't have a madman killing their families in the middle of the night.

And just for your information, what no one seems to want to inform you of, but if you ask anyone who has fought there, most Iraqi people thank Allah that we are there. It isn't the other way.

You are a coward. Take that to your grave.

I cannot believe how much anti-American sentiment drips from this website. Satire is one thing, but pure insult is another, and I know servicemen that have been killed from a few different wars; you insult their sacrifice.
They know better what dignity and honor really is, but for you morons I hope you sit on a rusty nail…

You are welcome to your view just do not bring in the dedicated solders that keep you safe. I lost my brother in law over there and we-he included- belive in what they are doing. Attack the decision makers all you want but do not make our heros pawns.

Trust an Okie to miss all but the most obvious point in anything that must be read to be understood. Maybe it was the art that threw him. Not unusual in Oklahoma. In accordance with their highest priorities, he was expecting a National Title Game Losers' Trophy draped with a Sooner jersey. The caption, of course, would read the same.

Unlike his Okie defenders, perhaps someday Kevin will learn, along with his peers, that war produces body bags, unclaimed dog tags and empty boots, broken hearted families, great mountains of debt, and settles nothing. Ages of middle eastern wars have left the same scarred fields and still no resolution of the animus that haunts this region between Muslim/Arabs and Jews. European conflicts, whether numbered I and II or just Balkan in origin, continue the same figures in the same suits with the same motives of hatred of the ways others do things and the wish that they might be either gone or servile. The USA's most devastating war, in body count of Americans, still has not expunged the ghost of racial superiority after 150 years of graveside tears. While Kevin admired his flag draped coffin as a symbol of his own heroism to come, many of us stood beside the graves of those who returned, in real time, in those coffins. We heard their charge to us: " We gave everything we had to buy you time to find a better way, and we expect more from you than simply finding a faster, more efficient way of increasing our ranks. We reserve the title of "hero" for one who does that. It is not the coffin that makes the hero, nor the flag; it is not the act of dying; it is the cause of a man's willingness to give his life we honor as heroic."

Since I see so little of patrotism coming forth from so many experts today… it angers me, just a little, NO A BUNCH, when I read such wisdom coming forth from this generation of "know-it-all's, who don't even know what war happens. Oh yes, they can blame BUSH (they had good training from news media and a administration that would do anything to make themselves look good.
I served in WWII for 4 years (joined December 14, 1941 and discharged December 25, 1945 Served 37 months in the South Pacific ( in on the 1t day of 4 invasions: Saipan, Tinian, Iwo Jima, Okanawa. I didn't run to Canada….and I want you that hold such disrespect for the boys who survived and the ones who paid the supreme sacrifice… IF IT WEREN'T FOR US OLD GEEZER'S, YOU WOULD BE SPEAKING JAPANEZE OR GERMAN TODAY…instead of living in the greatest country in the world.
I could say much more, but choose to just pray for you misguided and mis-informed individuals.
AND I AM NOT SORRY I SERVED MY COUNTRY…..AND I STILL LOVE AMERICA. I pray for our leaders, although I thought we had wise men in leadership…. I am not that sure anymore.

How strange – I had a completely different personal interpretation of this cartoon. I thought Mr. Fish was mocking those Americans who see Patriotism as a fad or something that is currently 'popular' ( like wearing black) and so embrace it out of peer pressure and because it's a lot easier to just wear black or plaster a sticker onto your bumper than to actually DO something concrete that might help support our veterans. I thought it was a play on words ( you wear black to funerals; i.e. false patriotism means glorifying death without asking questions about why said deaths occurred , also the 'new black' is the new fad or accepted thing) and more of a social comment on the American public and its lack of practical support for servicepeople and their families. Instead we are always willing to embrace another fad- wear black and go to a funeral, without asking if that death was really needed, or make a token gesture, instead of getting veterans decent healthcare and job training and education. Maybe you just have to be a complex thinking person to understand this cartoon and not just a knee-jerk reactionist.

Mr. Fish's depiction of the 'unseen' issues is worth 10,000 words !! If only those who served in wars, police actions and advisory capacities around the globe could achieve the objectivity of Mr. Fish; they, too, could perceive the depth of truth in this 'picture'.

As Einstien, Jung and other brilliant men of the 20th century pointed out: Patriotism, as a belief state, is a poor substitute for reasoned thinking and moral actions.

1, the glorification of military service would have us honor the Nazi soldiers, the Iraqi warriors, and the Al Quada jihadists equally. They all served their cause with bravery. They all were duped by their commanders, using patriotism and religion to manipulate their young hearts and minds.

2. Conservatives prate about political correctness but are intolerant of anyone who does not honor the military *(they also insist the federal government cannot handle healthcare, etc. with any competence but do not apply this broad brush to the military: double standard?). They invoke religion (almost always Christianity) while Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers…." which is hard to square with honor the warmakers.

3. Ever since Vietnam, the Left has had to combat the lies about spitting on veterans (we pitied the VN vets for being coerced and misused and lied to and embraced them when they became anti-war) by being out front in "supporting" our troops, so that they could not be vilified as anti-troop. If you truly support the troops, you will not place them in harm's way for illegitimate reasons, as in Vietnam and Iraq.

4. The atomic bombing of Hiroshima/Nagasaki was not done to save millions of lives but to research the effects of nuclear radiation and to position the US as dominant as against the Soviet the postwar period(/everyone on all sides knew it was over). The Japanese leaders were seeking peace, thru the Soviets (as a face-saving method) and our government knew this but dropped the Big Ones on innocent civilian populations (war crime) as an international ploy for power. This information is clearly revealed in a book called Atomic Diplomacy, which fully documents this thesis. The idea of killing hundreds of thousands of women, children, the disabled, and the elderly (everyone else was fighting or already killed) to save soldiers' lives in future combat is a politically correct lie.

5. Patriotism is a symbol which is used to manipulate gullible people by cynical power elites.
The same people who decry the patriotism of the pacifist or dissenter display hatred for the government when they are not in power. Love of country? What does that mean? Love of our government? Love of the people (a grand abstraction)? Love of the American history, which is based on genocide and slavery, as well as civil rights and progress? Country is just another symbol used to manipulate.

6. Those who state rightiously that it is unpatriotic or in bad taste to criticize the
troops because they are risking all to protect our freedom of speech, etc. fail to explain how killing people ten thousand miles away who have not threatened us protects our liberty and also fail to explain how it can be unpatriotic to use that precious freedom to dissent from the blatent insanity of any but a truly self-defensive war. Bad taste in expression: how about the bad taste of killing hundreds of thousands of civilians in Iraq (or millions in Vietnam). There is a big difference between bad taste and mass murder.

7. And finally (at last): many risked their lives and careers by protesting war( and slavery and segregation) in the past. when it was unpopular or politically incorrect. A special day to celebrate this exercise of freedom by those who fought against war and other national crimes would be shockingly patriotic and redeptive.

It would be nice to dream about one day in this world of ours, that there would be no war or act of murder. Since there never will be in our life time, mr. fish, if you dont like our war policy, WHY DONT YOU MOVE AWAY. Wars are not perfect, people do die and end up tragically wounded. I approach most dressed military men and women and extend my hand and thank them and express my deep appreciation to the sacrifice they have extended to me and every other american, even mr fish, to keep our freedoms. People like mr fish have the right to disparage anything they want, because of the fine men and women who have laid their lives on the line everyday. GOD BLESS OUR MILITARY and their comander and chief, and all those who make the decision that could ultimately cost one american live so mr fish can ramble on with his diatribe. God Bless America

Not sure what Mr. Fish is trying to convey. All I DO know is it was an honor for myself to serve our country. It was just plain bad luck I served when a very un-popular, and un-justified war,(Viet-Nam) was going on. That is, I feel, much of how the current soldier must often feel. It must be recognized that today's soldier is just as patriotic and willing to serve his country as any before him. Due the honor any previous soldier is given. We, (the too-old-to-serve anymore) must honor our veterans by NOT allowing our leaders to engage in war for reasons not in the best interest of our nation. Or our allies. Bush/Cheney have squandered much. Just as Nixon did in my day.
We should do our part in preventing any repeat. The first step in achieving that is to prosecute those responsible for sending our honored troops into battle for elitist causes.

Who is guilty? Those who point out that American soldiers are dying in an unjustified (and therefore criminal) war or those in power who send them to their deaths?

Who is insensitive? Those who highlight the absurdity of glorifying military service in the name of an unjustified (and therefore illegal) war based on lies or those who send our sons and daughters to their deaths in these unnecessary wars for their own political or economic purposes?

Who should MOVE AWAY? Those who cannot tolerate the expression of free speech or those who exercise it in an attempt to bring attention to the madness and shame of war?

Who truly honors the dead and wounded soldiers? Those who illuminate the tragic unnecessity of their sacrifices (hoping to prevent future such war) or those who maintain the fiction that they are protecting our liberty (thus enabling future tragedies)?

And who really supports the troops? Those who lie to involve them in wars of choice and then refuse to care for them when they are broken or those who seek to prevent them from being misused in the first place?

And who will pay for all this sadness and loss? Those who benefit from it (think Bush/Cheney/Halliburton) or those who bear the loss?

And what about the hundreds of thousands of innocents who have been slaughtered but are not Americans? Could we have a special day to mourn the loss of all the innocents that our warriors have destroyed?

i wonder what fish would say (six months later) if our military just quit
whatever they are doing and just came or went home. the lack of history
and reality coming from the under 50 crowd never fails to scare me….
ps who would be left to fight obama's war…..ok i forgot if we stop doing
anything the world will finally see the light and all will be just perfect

Way to go Mr. Fish! Journalism's finest goals, to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, are being well served. Now, if we could just get those grizzly Army commercials that they play in the multiplexes before all the cartoon and kids movies. I have taken to waiting outside the theater with my six year old grandson until they are over. Militarism is just the grandest form of child abuse.

Life's too short to spend it being insulted by the likes of Fish. Cagle, I'm unsubscribing now — this is just too much.

There's an old saying – "Opinions are like butt-holes; everybody has one, and they all stink."
Mr Fish, I would agree with you that we all need to keep our government in better control, and I agree with all the others that there are times that our young are used by their leaders, just as the warriors of other nations, states and groups are sometimes used by theirs.
But I do believe that you spend entirely too much time defending YOUR opinion as right, and the truth is that your cartoon is really in bad taste, and your historical facts are, at least, possibly in error.
And that goes for the person who claims he KNOWS why the bomb was dropped, and it wasn't to save lives.
Everything said on this page is nothing more than opinion, including this.
In fact, too many wars and too much dying are done for nothing more than an over-blown fondness for one opinion or another. My opinion.

Didn’t many of our military personnel fight and die for journalistic freedom, among other causes? I see the irony in Fish’s cartoon; sad, yet tragically true. Americans – especially younger ones – often don’t comprehend the sacrifices our military makes. I am a patriot, but not an idiot. I see the inequities inherent in military service. That’s why I believe the U.S. should adopt Israel’s plan: EVERYBODY serves in the military in some capacity. None of this "conscientious objector / when men can get pregnant / when America is truly free / I want to join the Peace Corps and dig water wells in Africa / it's against my religion" crap! The military should not just be for the truly patriotic and / or kids with no other options in life. Then, people will take their freedom more seriously and stop worrying so much about who wins on "American Idol."

I found this cartoon to be eye-rollingly offensive. Not something that would spike my blood-pressure. I agree with the general sentiment of Mr. Avakian. I found Mr. Fish's response to be more offensive than his original offering.

For those who state that war is evil and never solved anything, I disagree completely. War is a tool, and a very effective one, when pursued with honor and within a clear principle base. War solves a lot of problems, actually. We're American, not British sub-citizens. Problem solved! We're one nation, not a nation and a Southern Confederacy. Problem solved! We're American, British, Russian, Italian, Hungarian, Lithuanian, French, etc., not Nazi German. Problem solved!

War is the culmination of a battle between ideas. We are once again fighting against an idea. One that lives in complete anithesis to the ideals we value (one could suppose that Mr. Fish values freedom, the right to speak his mind without threat to his life from his governement, the right to worship how, when, and what he may without governement interference or diktat, the right to choose for himself the life he will lead and enjoy the fruits of his own labor without fear that the governement will seize it without cause, you know, little stuff like that). The thing that seems to torque people is that we made a seemingly pre-emptive move against the enemy. No one wants to acknowledge that this is a different kind of enemy and they are prosecuting a different style of warfare. We must adapt or die. I vote for adapting, personally.

I also take exception to some of the responses here that have implied that if our children were properly educated, they wouldn't choose to join the military. That is something I find grossly offensive. Frankly, I think military service ought to be a requirement for anyone who wants to run as president. How can you lead an institution when you have no understanding of or experience in it? It's like putting Bill Clinton in charge of a group of celibates.

I would also like to clarify that my devotion is not to the military. It is to the principles that the military defends. I honor them for defending those principles in real and substantive ways. That is what Memorial Day is, Mr. Fish. If you have truly led so easy a life that nothing that has ever threatened that which you value to the point that you'd be willing to fight to preserve it, then you are simply incapable of appreciating the service that has been rendered you. And more's the pity, because they were so successful in their efforts, you are the one who should be the most appreciative.

On a side not- Mr. Hentschel, I agree that we are sinking into a moral abyss and that independent thought and introspection are becoming questions in Final Jeopardy's Ancient History category, but do please remember that just because a person doesn't reach the same conclusion that you do, doesn't necessarily mean they didn't think seriously and introspectively to get there. Premise is all-directive. And I'd also like to note that you were deliberately inflammatory toward your opponent. Those are tactics that will not help you. You complained of people "spewing endless emotional claptrap" and yet that was the first thing you did. You insulted the man's intelligence in a way that was meant to anger him. Angry people aren't exactly open to new ideas. You kind of shot yourself in the foot there, pal. You say that your style is not warm and fuzzy (and you're right) but then you complain that people don't listen to your ideas, they just attack your style. You need to ask yourself what's more important to you: getting the ideas across, or wallowing in your style.

"When an army is sent to commit a crime in the name of bureaucratic criminals, the nation is not being defended for me or anybody else. Instead, it is being made uglier and morally indefensible. "

If my generation felt that way, Mr. Fish would be speaking German or Japanese. Maybe we should export him to a place where he can make all the decisions about what is moral and what is criminal.

As a Viet Nam veteran, I am proud to have served to insure everyone the right to express their opinions; pro or con, good or evil, right or wrong.
No soldiers ever died to justify war. They died in defense of a principle. In the case of Americans, that principle is freedom. Such as, the freedom to express your own opinion.(Of which we certainly have no shortage of here.)
Our current crop of brave young Americans is also instilled with this sense of duty to defend our freedoms. They cannot chose what conflicts they may be asked to participate in, but they will put themselves unselfishly at risk as a representitve of America and it's principles even though they might have their own misgivings about the policy brokers that put them there in the first place.
Memorial Day is not for the dead soldiers. They have no memory. Memorial day is for the living. It is for us to remember them and the sacrifice they made for our principles.
So yes, you are all entitled to your opinion, but also remember the principles that guarantee that entitlement and those who have died in their defense.
But, of course, that's just my opinion.

And people wonder why political cartoonists keep losing their jobs.

Maybe it's because offensive crap (like Mr. Fish's body of work) doesn't sell. Why pay to listen to a lunatic? There's plenty of crazy you can get for free.

Young males in any society may well be socialized to excel by a variety of standards. In my military experience, a few actually join the military to become heroes, would-be Sergeant Yorks, as in the cartoon. That ounce of visual truth makes the cartoon interesting. However, most join for complex reasons which may, or may not, include military glory.

To criticize military personnel for failure to approve or disapprove of what are essentially policy decisions (torture in Cuba or Iraq, war in Iraq or Afghanistan) is misguided. Military personnel do not normally make policy. They are required to, and trained, to follow orders. If the orders are stupid, illegal or criminal, those issuing the orders should be held responsible. To paraphrase, 'you go to war with the orders you've got, not the orders that you wished you received.'

'Heroes' and 'courage.' Generally speaking, soldiers are trained to be courageous, i.e., to expose themselves to personal danger for the welfare of the group. Not all soldiers have the opportunity to demonstrate courage while in uniform. All those who are given the opportunity and follow their training are reasonably considered 'heroes.' Those who do not have that opportunity (a possible exampler example, a supply clerk stationed at Fort Bragg, NC) having done their duty, are more accurately described as having honorable service.

To put it bluntly, Mr. Fish doesn't pass the 'sniff' test…nor does his egregious, tasteless and tactless drawing. I refuse to call the POS a cartoon, in that ‘cartoon’ implies humor, and humor, according to George Bernard Shaw, always contains a hidden truth. There is no truth, in the definitive sense of the word, to be found in his mal-formed abortion of a pen-and-ink comment on female fashion in the midst of stylized tombstones. Yes, those headstones surrounding the effete 'ladies in black' symbolically represent our beloved lost sons, daughters, brothers, and others who have died in order to give Mr. Fish the freedom to demonstrate his vacuous view of their sacrifice. Instead, he has chosen to waste his time and marginal talent in the blame-game and cowardly finger-pointing, rather that accepting the _reality_ that WE ARE AT WAR and AMERICANS HAVE REALLY PERISHED in order to make life better for all of us: Americans. Iraqis and Afghanis. It's obvious that the sword and its devastating effect is a galaxy beyond the pitiable power of his idealistic effort in pen and ink. His ineffectual, dis-honorable and unpatriotic visual musings are perfectly designed to fit in the place they most deserve to be: birdcage bottoms, kitty-litter containers and house-training absorbent material for America's puppies. Not material for the eyes of patriotic Americans and the brave veterans who sacrificed terribly to give him a chance to perform his warped version of liberal U.S. flag-burning.

Well, this cartoon is edgy alright, but I did not see it as a slam on those who serve or have served, myself included. More of a caution about the attitude that seems to infect suicide bombers in the Mideast, who seem to think that growing up to kill yourself and others is the greatest ambition for a kid.

Of course we must protect our country, but we should value the avoidance of war casualties, unless and until truly necessary. Most of the people I served with were not looking to be heroes, just looking to do their bit. If that meant going into harm's way, so be it. If not, let's not play stupid for macho sake.

Not all cartoons are humorous, and never have been. For more than a century, some newspaper cartoons have been warnings or whistleblowers.

Comment from Von Glitschka

I doubt there is any situation that “Fish Wrapper” would accept a military response is warranted?


I do wish the creator of this picture would answer the above question….although from what he wrote as a response (below) it seems he does not believe in armed conflict for any reason…

"I must respectfully disagree with your assertion that we must support and honor all men and women who choose to sacrifice their bodies to the perpetuation of massive amounts of violence in ANY war…"
– Mr. Fish (caps mine)

at any rate, it would be interesting to know.

Mr. Fish

Thank you for reminding us why we honor Memorial Day. For all of those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan I thank you for stiring up debate about their fate. They are the lost and forgotten warriors. They were neither adequately prepared nor protected thus the protective armor debacle as well as the medical care debacle (Walter Reed Army Medical Center ).
There are many truths and untruths in what has been written. I agree that not only the president but members of Congress ought to be veterans. Not as officers but as enlisted men for they need to know of the military's sacrifice.
The last egalitarian fought war was World War II. My husband fought in Viet Nam because he dropped out of college and his parents did not make enough money to keep him out of the war. Cynical but true the military does not represent the entire spectrum of the population – it is disproportionately the poor who fight our battles and it is disproportionately the rich who call the shots . . Ala Rumsfeld a CEO who saw fit to send less men than what was necessary to win the battle in Iraq. Life is cheap when you don't have to put your own on the line. And this time around it's no different.

i am pretty sure this "cartoon" is the product of security, affluence and time to sit back on a chair called free speech and blab about anything and everything while forgetting that the chair is stained in the blood of those who died to secure it. it is easy to critize and make fun, easy to point fingers and to PITY… it is harder to understand and to try to see from another point of view, to see an issue from more than one's own point of view… to choose to see all sides and not just pick and choose what one wants to talk about…

AND saying that the issue of ending slavery or not ending slavers was not THE defining issue of the civil war is revisionist history… it changing facts after the fact. the southern states and the northern states ARGUED about states rights and whether or not new western states should be "slave or free"… but only seceded from the union when Abraham Lincoln, a professed abolitionist, was elected president. granted many soliders fought not out of a conviction on the issue of slavery but out of a loyalism to their geography but it still cannot be denied without total intellectual dishonesty that "Had there been no slavery, there would have been no war. Had there been no moral condemnation of slavery, there would have been no war." (quote not mine)

i think mr. fish suffers from this problem of revisionist history… it is easy to take out of history what you do not like so historical events neatly fit your preconcieved notions… easy to make war and everyone including the soliders bad guys (as the cartoon he mentioned appears to do from description). easy to make things black and white when really they are a myriad of shades of gray b/c LIFE is complex, war is COMPLEX… we only make it simple to fit our view point…to make ourselves feel good/superior in our own opinions.. AND of course this goes both ways… those who glorify war or thrist for it or those who feel it is the only and/or best solution to any given conflict OR those who deny the hypocrisies that are inherent in war…

if ANYONE should be mocked about war or the reasons for war it should be those who make the decision to go to war as opposed to the soliders… to use a simple example it is like trashing a waiter because a chef made bad food… it is nonsensical. it is a cheap shot as is this "cartoon".

Mr. Fish,

If you don't think the country that gives you the freedom to ply your trade and spew your drivel is worth defending, then as the saying goes, "love it or leave it." As for casting aspersions on the servicemen and women who have fought and still fight for your and and every American's right to be as stupid as you want to be, how would you be able to even print a cartoon or column in some of the less enlightened nations (China to name one) around the world? You should be thankful that God saw fit to put you in America where you are free to show as much or as little intelligence as you wish to show.

Although I tend to agree with the cartoonist, being a cartoonist myself, I still think that he hasn't thought through all the implications of the image, much like the other cartoonist who made the infamous chimpanzee cartoon. Images qua images always say more than their creators intend. What Mr. Fish doesn't get is that no matter what the politics of the war, a dead body wrapped in a flag remains something sacred, a mystery, which politics is blind to. Death and sacrifice are not political ideas although politics, of course, feeds on them.


My uncles, cousins, brother, son and I have all served in war time and a uncle gave the ultimate sacrifice so that Fish can denigrate what we did and delight in his alleged moral superiority. "Oh I did not serve in the military, how quaint and stupid those patriots are. My life is worth more than theirs, I am not a killer." I only defended people like Fish because they were part of our country (supposedly). If they could be put on an island that our enemies could attack and then would stop without proceeding against the rest of us I could live with that. Let them defend themselves.

Kudos to The Fish.

My comment, summarized :

Kids learn what they get taught. Adults know what they learned as kids. Be careful what you teach your kids. Because they will believe you… long after the lesson you taught them has been proven false.

It's called "Tradition".

PS : USS Haddo, SSN-604, Sonar Tech.

I can't speak for all veterans, but I think most of us would agree it is right and honorable to defend the weak. Most people, seeing two boys arguing over a stick of candy, or some other trivial thing, might just ignore the whole episode and decide it's not their business. Some better person might go up to those two young men and say, "This isn't the way to solve your argument. Why don't you just share? Stop this silly arguing and be friends!"

In a completely different situation, a bully terrorizes a group of children, and some bystanders say, " Somebody should do something! That's awful! That bully must have had a terrible upbringing to act that way!" Some parents arrive and drag their children away without confronting the bully, believing it is wrong to teach their children to defend themselves. Some might even pay off the bully to leave them alone. A better person would confront the bully and tell him to quit bullying children or he'll have to atone for his actions, and be strong enough to make the bully fear the possible consequences.

And finally, in an extreme example, a gunman walks into a building and starts shooting bystanders. Most people cower in fear, having never been taught to defend themselves, much less how to defend anyone else. Others, out of immediate danger say, "How awfull! Somebody should do something! That gunman must have had a terrible upbringing to do something like that!" And in some cases, as luck would have it, there is one or more individuals, trained in the defense of themselves and others, who will risk their own lives, and sometimes die, to defend the the lives of others. The assailant is wounded or killed, and the lives of the grateful bystanders are saved.

Most consider the defenders heros. Some question the need to take the life of the attacker. A lot of armcahir quarterbacks analyze the event and assume all sorts of social implications, as well as assign blame to the appropriate parties.

Our soldiers are mostly people who believe it is right to defend the lives and freedom of others. Not just their own countrymen, but everyone. Our country as a whole believes in freedom from fear and tyranny for everyone, not just the United States. Sometimes we are the peacekeeper. Sometimes we defend the weak from bullies. Sometimes, we are confronted with the choice of killing some to save others. It is not glorious, but sometimes there is some satisfaction in doing the right thing. They are worthy of our respect because they are willing to, if necessary, lay down their life for another. "Greater love hath no man…"

From his responses above, I would have to assume Mr. Fish is also against the police who keep our streets safe, the military sharpshooters who rescued the civilian captain from pirates and anyone else who comes when called to protect someone they don't know in a situation they have nothing to do with.

I am grateful for their service and it gives me comfort that they come when called to protect me.

Where would many of the people in our world be if "WE" didn't have the ability & power to help them. Through out the history of this country those of us with the courage & training to do many dificult, distasteful & sometimes fatal (for us) tasks have "risen to the call". Not necessarily because we wanted to but because it was the right thing to do. Some of the people we have saved from their circumstance truly appreciate what "WE" did for them, some do not. It seems to me that it matters not who understands the "big picture" as long as what has been done was done with the proper motive. The most important thing our government & military is responsible for is "our" saftey. When "we" go out on the limb for others it is to hopefully give them the opportunity to enjoy the many things in life that we sometimes take for granted. Having been in combat & seen many other countries, governments & peoples I am proud to have served & managed to be among those that are still here to enjoy the many benifits we have. Throughout the world there has been & are those that do not have the freedoms we have. The phrase "Freedom isn't Free" fits. If someone attacks me, my family or my country I certainly would do what ever it calls for, with any & every means at my disposal to to end that threat to what I have worked to acheive. PS. Our government is compiled of humans that unfortunately are not perfect & unfortunately when forced to do things democratically sometimes find themselves in a position that is unpopular with some. My own personal opinion: you "liberals" won't get it until one of these idiots blows themselves up in a Walmart.

Thought I would chime in too, since all the cool kids are doing it.

Having read Mr. Fish's editorial cartoons for a while now, I find they're like many others I read: some I agree with, some are ok, and some I don't get, or don't care for.

Now, I'm sorry, but I have to agree that before 9/11, it wasn't "fashionable" to be patriotic…remember the foofarah over flag burning in the early 90's under Bush I? Most people generally didn't give a damn about needing laws to ban it by people deciding they wanted to "shock" society thru burning American flags…I think you can all agree that the American flag has survived far worse.
Post 9/11, OMG…everyone suddenly found God and Love for 'merica! As if it had never existed before! I remember growing up being looked at oddly because I would put the flag out for Flag Day, Memorial Day, and other holidays when you were supposed to, or be seen in the cemetary in South Lorain decorating graves of family members who had served with American flags, and making sure their headstones were marked properly so they would get a flag.
Yes, I had 2 grandfathers who served in WW II, 1 in Europe (Battle of the Bulge is where he earned his Purple Heart, Bronze Star and a number of other medals). The other was in the Pacific as a Seebee.
It was one of the most difficult things to get them to talk about what had gone on in the war, for obvious reasons…one generally refused, and the other would tell stories (sometimes the same ones over and over due to brain damage) when you'd least expect it.
Why am I going on like this? I'm not a military man myself, because my parents both refused to let me go into the military when I tried, due to what happened to their parents in the war, and because of Vietnam (I was born shortly after Kent State). So while I've never been in the military, I respect those who do serve, and I don't need to have stickers on my car or any of the other faux pro-USA nonsense we've had to deal with over the past 8 years to care about those who have served.
I can respect, understand, and sigh in sadness at the truth that is in Mr. Fish''s cartoon…even if some people lose their minds over it…yes, someone did die so he could write ALL of the things he does. And I would hope that in a free society, we could understand that and actually discuss it like adults, instead of some shrieking in jingoistic hatred like a bunch of self-aggrandizing howler monkeys. By all rights, the only people who should object to this cartoon are any/all of those who have served, and are still alive to see it…none of we "civilians" should put our two cents in.
Whether you believe it, or not, or like it, or not…we owe a debt of blood and bear a burden of responsibility to those who died & survived in the "good" wars, as well as those in the "unpopular" wars, because they did do things we civilians couldn't/wouldn't.
We also owe them the responsible civilian government that doesn't waste, yes I said WASTE, their lives in conflicts that ultimately result in the draining of our national coffers, and the blood of honorable men and women, in conflicts that are pointless, aimless, unfocused, and endless.
As the song says "the little things give you away"…we generally think of our military forces when it's convenient for us, and forget the rows of cemeteries when it isn't. Rather than argue that it's justifiable to honor our military fallen, and military survivors, how about working to minimize the situations where we ask them to die?

The cartoon is horrible. I consider the invasion of Iraq at the very
least a crime against our military which sent thousands to their
deaths for reasons not yet fully deciphered but which were pretty clearly
cynical ones.

The cartoon is horrible. Its insensitivity has nothing to do with
the issues, the arguments. It has to do with itself, is self referential.
When Country Joe wrote his memorable Vietnam piece, he accomplished
what this cartoon undertook to imitate because, well, why really?

Because it was sung, not drawn, so a voice that was filled with anger,
humor, compassion, and fear, could be heard with all its layered nuances.
This thing has no voice, just a sledge hammer image in which labored
humor makes matters so much the worse. I could imagine that Country
Joe's piece offended many and hurt some as well, but my first reaction to
it was relief that somebody was calling out what was a terrible wrong. that
wrong to be repeated in Iraq, that wrong putting our troops in harms way
for the wrong reasons, was doing it with charm and intelligence.

This one? It is horrible despite its arguably decent motivation which
reminded me of Country Joe's effort. But his was satirical art, while
this is blunderbuss sadistic. Like pornography, you know it when you see it.

John Dinwiddie

I want to add something now that I have read other letters.

First, Mr. Cagle, don't you dare–you won't–spend a minute–worrying
about threats to cancel what is a free link, the usual Jingoist rants.

I am not even sure of what I wrote, but what I did not do is tag my
opinion to my opinion of all our wars since Korea, a very bleak one.
When I read a sincere statement from a Vet that he fought in Vietnam
for the ideal of freedom, I hear from him what I hear from many
serving today. But unvarnished history tells a different story, and
it is disturbing to me that so many Americans refuse to look beyond
appearances. The literature is everywhere, but the books have to
be opened. Instead, the much of America his hand its brain by the
likes of Limbaugh and Coulter. The decline in our educational
standards very conveniently feeds a sentimental ignorance that
makes America appear to many like the subterranean anti utopia
in Ellison's A Boy and his Dog.

There is tragedy here, unmitigated tragedy. Please read, in Tim Weiner's
recently published Legacy of Ashes, The History of the CIA, the section
on the Gulf of Tonkin falsifications that were handed to Johnson by
the National Security Agency in order to justify escalation. Then ask
what one was fighting for in Vietnam. Likewise, and repeating history,
we invaded Iraq after a already spineless Congress was further flattened
by CIA fed lies about those weapons of mass destruction.

We do not, incidentally, go to war to defend anyone's freedom except ours..
American troops are put at risk only when we are. We weren't at risk in
either Iraq or in Vietnam, and our leaders knew it. Where then is the
real danger for us if not the abuse of power vested in those leaders who,
so far, are scott free?

John Dinwiddie

and finally garbled sentence, forget the scrambled tense

should read..

"Instead, much of America is handed its brain by…"

There now. Also read John Pilger's shattering Paying the Price,
the second part of his shattering The New Leaders of the World.

Which pill was it in that movie, the purple one? The one that wakes
you up. This book, together with that of Tim Weiner, is your chance
to get out of the dream that is making out of all of us exactly what
we accused the average German citizens of in the Nazi era. We
have even less excuse for studied ignorance, far, far less. Ours
is not a totalitarian state. Nobody will be shot after having read
either of these titles. Is 250.000 (Indonesia under Suharto, supported
by us) or 500,000 (Iraqi children dead due to U.S. sanctions) enough
to register on your conscience. Six Million dead
is not the threshold when it comes to evil. One is.

It was said regarding the Civil War, …'fighting and winning it ended slavery. Even the most remedial reading of history shows that." Once again the perspective matters. Perhaps one side resisted the notion that a bully should tell other people how to live their lives, or was it the other side resisting the notion that a bully should tell other people how to live their lives? In any event, it was a bully, not an idea, that won out. Perhaps it was "LOSING it that ended slavery," for those of us trapped in Remedial History 101. Unless one perceives that slavery's fraternal twin,"separate but equal," didn't flatline for a hundred years after that. that "educational segregation" was still under court jurisdiction as late as last year, there are vast financial empires that will not make loans to deserving African-Americans under the same terms as White Americans, and there are still parts of this country where a black American dare not set foot after sundown without encountering a profiling gendarme. Even if we grant that "slavery," per se, did end in a very technical legalistic parsing sense, force of arms (War) did not resolve the most contentious underlying issues relating to how to live among and treat people with whom we disagree and whose disagreement we disrespect. Just to be fair, they face a similar conundrum.

War is not the culmination of the battle of ideas; war is the result of what happens when we are unable to resolve differences over ideas using words and ballots , without brute force and without bloodshed. One day, perhaps. we shall escape the remedial loop. I'd like to think my country is capable of leading that kind of army, and that Kevin's giddiness will be supplanted by his pride in having served in those ranks.

In the meantime I thank Mr. Fish and Kevin for performing a stimulating service in the continuing battle of ideas and I am eternally grateful for every veteran and veteran's family, including my own, who have paid a dear price to buy us more time to get it right.

As a military member, it pains me to see this picture. However as a US citizen I am very glad that it was posted. Anyone or anything that hides behind the ideals of patriotism needs to be strongly questioned. I think that the cartoon was done in poor taste; however, that is only my opinion. What is not an opinion is that fact that true power and freedom can only come from the barrel of a gun. Before you condemn me as a warmonger, hear me out. I personally would be very happy if peace broke out all over the world, but I don't believe that will happen in my or my children’s lifetime. Until it does the US must protect its citizens anyway possible because that is the first and most important job of any government. I think it is important to wish for peace, to talk, to haggle and argue for peace. But at the end of the day the most important thing we can do as citizens is to be willing to fight for peace and be willing to fight for the freedoms we currently enjoy. If we are not willing to do so, it only takes one Hitler, Stalin, Kim Jong-il, Saddam Hussein, etc to take the freedom we currently enjoy away. I applaud the pacifists who read this blog and look at the world and still maintain that war is never right. Without them to ask the questions and demand answers, the brutality of war would cause the US to quickly lose any morality that it currently has. More importantly, I applaud those who enlist today who know what is happening in the world and still raise a hand to say they will defend the freedoms, rights and privileges of those around them… even if those people look down their noses at the service members providing that freedom.

If you can read this, thank a teacher

If you can read this in English, thank a soldier.


I agree. Mr. Fish if you had anything provocative or compelling to say with their cartoon, you totall blew it by commenting on this blog.

I would say "stick to drawing" but your cartoons are more cut and paste Photoshop creations.

("Stick to Photoshop.")

everyone forgets…all gloves are off when it comes to patriotism.

the same ones who forget about the Bill of Rights being created for minority opinions/rights.

don't like it, don't read it…or better yet, respond, as some of the patriots did. exercising your freedom of speech (and press).

Mr Fish said things some don't say, out loud.

I tell my high school students ( i teach h.s. histories/govt/economics) that the military is a great job, in peacetime. support the military, but support truths as well- they can go, hand-in-hand.

relaxing in summer.


Keep up the great work. Social commentary needs to address the fact that Cheney and Bush started a war they couldn't finish. Addressing war as failed foreign policy may help keep the kids of your detractors from having to die for our country. BTW, I'm a Vietnam era vet so I have more cred than Cheney.

"And Jassen: I appreciate your 2 cents. I still, however, cannot completely honor those who serve. The best I am able to muster is pity. I did a cartoon a few years back addressing this conundrum specifically. It pictured a line of soldiers each labeled individually as a “good guy.” There was then a bracket that grouped them under the single classification of “bad guys.” All the vets I know are, indeed, swell guys, just as all the Democrats I know are swell, too, and, believe it or not, all the Republicans. Thrown together in their respective groups, however, and, presto, a confederacy of dunces."

Gee, Mr. Fish, I'm heartened to know that I am a dunce for a career of service for this country to protect your freedom of speech. I always thought that I had done something of value to you, and to all peoples that I served for or with. Perhaps I should have spent the years that I did in service doing something productive, like, perhaps, expounding views such as yours.

I would gather, sir, that you are from the latter generation, the one for which cumpulsory service was no longer the norm. It shows.

By the way, you probably think that my two Purple Hearts are pretty decorations, I'll be happy to let you have them, you only have to earn them the same way I did, by bleeding under enemy fire. Any time you wish to prove you have, you can contact me.

I am sad to see that we still have people who fail to grasp the concept that freedom is bought with the blood of heroes, and that without the young men and women who volunteer to defend America (and for that matter, other free nations with volunteer military), Mr. Fish would not be permitted to express his opinion. More likely he'd be in a forced-labor camp mining ice for Adolf's champagne bucket or some such.

I completely disagree with his sentiments as expressed in the cartoon, and I find his "rebuttal" of Mr Booth's comment to be snide, small-minded, ill-informed, selfish, chidish, and honestly, it makes him appear to be a well-read cretin. His rancor should be reserved for the corrupt, power-mad politicians who started wars for their own ends, and not for the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who have been sent to fight those wars.

Nevertheless, I spent 23 years of my life defending his right to express that unbelievably stupid opinion. I sometimes question the value of doing so, and then I remember Anne Frank. Would that help had come in time for her; and may it come in time for those facing similar oppressors in the future.

And may Mr. Fish find enough humanity in himself to feel, if not express, some shame for his childish and selfish behavior.

I am sad to see that we still have people who fail to grasp the concept that freedom is bought with the blood of heroes, and that without the young men and women who volunteer to defend America (and for that matter, other free nations with volunteer military), Mr. Fish would not be permitted to express his opinion. More likely he’d be in a forced-labor camp mining ice for Adolf’s champagne bucket or some such.

I completely disagree with his sentiments as expressed in the cartoon, and I find his “rebuttal” of Mr Booth’s comment to be snide, small-minded, ill-informed, selfish, chidish, and honestly, it makes him appear to be a well-read cretin. His rancor should be reserved for the corrupt, power-mad politicians who started wars for their own ends, and not for the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who have been sent to fight those wars.

Nevertheless, I spent 23 years of my life defending his right to express that unbelievably stupid opinion. I sometimes question the value of doing so, and then I remember Anne Frank. Would that help had come in time for her; and may it come in time for those facing similar oppressors in the future.

And may Mr. Fish find enough humanity in himself to feel, if not express, some shame for his childish and selfish behavior.

I cannot believe that anyone would speak of the VOLUNTEER military to way that some of you people do. The ONLY reason that anyone has the ability to write on here or anywhere really is because service men and women have given and continue to give their lives to not only protect the rights of you but of other nations as well. Maybe when each person picks up a weapon, gives their all and protects their country then we would all have the "right" to judge. But until that time shut up about things that you have no idea about. We have become a nation of sheep! We allow the media to give us our opinions and to feed us their own propaganda. Do any of you realize that we are doing good in Iraq? Do any of you realize that people respect the military and praise all that they are doing for their country? Probably not because you have not been there! I served. My husband is still serving. And for what? To have our own countrymen cast stones? I have friends who have paid the ultimate sacrifice and should be looked upon as heros. Some of you who have to gall to post on here disgust me. The military is all volunteer. If you do not like what it stands for, do not VOLUNTEER to serve. If you do not like where the military stands, go to a different country and see what kind of rights you have then.

"They would also insist on proper reparations being made to the victim civilians. Perhaps the lads stay there and fix the place up, then come home."

How about the "lads" or terrorists come here and rebuild our country? Or maybe you did not realize that this all started with the USS Cole or the FIRST attack on the WTC? Oh maybe the fact that they attacked AMERICA??? Where is the help rebuilding OUR country?

Our civil Liberteries do NOT come from the result of the military but by civilians excersing their rights everyday. I support and repect their commitment but I do not respect lousey leadership that lies to go to war for the sake of measuring their dick and killing my friends and children.

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