On Looking Back Four Years

I like to read Tom Tomorrow’s cartoons. He’s a political cartoonist, and his weekly cartoon–entitled This Modern World–are usually carried in the alt-weeklies. In Raleigh I read them in The Independant. Here in Baltimore I find them in City Paper. If you have an alt-weekly, chances are you can read Tom Tomorrow. Alternatively, you can visit his website and read his latest cartoon there.

Sometimes artists–any stripe, from musicians to writers to cartoonists–have too many ideas and not enough places to use them. Such was the fate of a strip that Tom Tomorrow wrote and drew, one that looks back four years and quotes what the punditocracy said about the Iraq War in April 2003. There’s no place for it, yet you can read that cartoon here.

I recommend that you do.

We’re coming up on the four year anniversary of President Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” speech aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, a speech that showed the same myopia and historical ignorance as the pundits that Tom Tomorrow quotes in his “bonus” cartoon. Bill Kristol: “There is a certain amount of pop psychology in America that the Shia can’t get along with the Sunni. There’s almost no evidence of that at all.” Or Dick Morris: “Over the next couple of weeks when we find the chemical weapons this guy was amassing, the left is going to have to hang its head for three or four more years.” Nothing that the Administration and its shills in the punditocracy claimed would happen in Iraq happened. Like 9-11 everything that happened was foreseen–I recall a lengthy article in The Atlantic Monthly at the time that said, basically, “Wait! Don’t do this! This is Humpty-Dumpty time! Because if we do go into Iraq, we’re going to be in Iraq for a long fucking time.”

We have to get out of Iraq, sooner rather than later. The Iraq supplemental spending bill isn’t perfect, but it’s the right direction. The longer we stay the longer we prolong the agony, the longer we throw good money after bad, the longer it will take for the Iraqis to find the solution that works for them instead of the solution we say will work for them.

Yes, we broke Iraq. We broke Iraq on lies and falsehoods and the myopia of the punditocracy. We have a moral duty. But our moral duty does not extend to keeping the knife in the wound. Our continued presence in Iraq is an ongoing wound. We have to remove the knife.

Tom Tomorrow’s cartoon reminds us how we got into this mess. Now we have to let go. Now we have to get out.

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