Thursday, March 1, 2007

Gwynne Dyer: A Shameful, Childish Lie

Gwynne Dyer's most recent column comes to us from the Hamilton Spectator.

Even Doonesbury plays U.S. blame game
As the people who talked the United States into the Iraq war try to talk their way out of the blame for the mess they made, one dominant theme has emerged:

Blame the Iraqis.

Our intentions were good. We did our best to help. But the Iraqis are vicious, incompetent ingrates who would prefer to kill one another than seize the freedom we brought them.

It's not our fault it turned out so badly.

Somebody must be to blame, and it cannot be us, so it must be those brutal, stupid Iraqis.

This comforting myth started on the right, among those who had been eager supporters of "a war of choice to instill some democracy in the heart of the Middle East," as New York Times columnist Tom Friedman put it in his column four years ago.

So fast is the myth taking root in America, however, that it has now even infected that icon of liberal irony, the Doonesbury comic strip.
The irony here doesn't appear to be intentional.
There was no surprise last November when arch neo-conservative Richard Perle said he had "underestimated the depravity" in Iraq.

He has a lot of blame to shift, so he would say that, wouldn't he?

It was no surprise, either, when right-wing columnist Charles Krauthammer, once an eager supporter of the war, elaborated on the same theme less than a month ago:

"Thousands of brave American soldiers have died trying to counter, put down and prevent civil strife. But when Arabs kill Arabs and Shias kill Shias and Sunnis kill all in a spasm of violence that is blind and furious and has roots in hatreds born long before America was even a republic, to place the blame on (America) is simply perverse ... Iraq is their country. We midwifed their freedom. They chose civil war."

But what is one to make of Gary Trudeau peddling the same line in Doonesbury?

The strip runs daily in 1,400 newspapers around the world, and often serves as the vehicle for political or social commentary from a liberal perspective. It never supported the invasion of Iraq, but Monday's strip was a classic exercise in stereotyping and blame-shifting.
Doonesbury, February 26, 2007

Click to enlarge.
Unravelling the message doesn't take a Marshall McLuhan: U.S. troops are carrying the burden of the war while lazy, cowardly Iraqis shun their duty. They don't deserve us.
And guess what? It's part of a series! Here are the next two installments:

Doonesbury, February 27, 2007

Doonesbury, February 28, 2007

The strip the weekend before last was even more blatant in blaming the failure on the Iraqis.
Doonesbury, February 18, 2007

Get the message?

These Ay-rabs are not only lazy, they are so savage that they harbour murderous grudges over six centuries.

Even Americans cannot bring these people to their senses. Let's get the hell out of here. It isn't our fault that it all went wrong.

Getting out of Iraq is the least bad thing the United States can do now, and the sooner the better.

If Americans must manufacture racist fantasies about the victims in order to salve their pride on the way out, then so be it.

But it is a shameful, childish lie.
Apparently Gwynne Dyer reads Garry Trudeau every day so I don't have to.

I'll take Tom Toles, thanks!