TED RALL COMMENTS ON HIS TILLMAN CARTOON
Rallblog, May 03, 2004
Today's cartoon is getting a lot of coverage from right-wing media outlets as well as more legitimate ones like Editor & Publisher. As is often the case in these situations, it's impossible to reply to each email individually, so I'll just say what I have to say here.
My cartoon is a reaction to the extraordinary lionizing of Mr. Tillman as a national hero. First of all, the media's decision to genuflect to a cult of death is terrifyingly similar to the cult of Palestinian suicide bombers in the Middle East and the glorious coverage given by the Japanese during World War II to fallen kamikaze fighters. Nowhere has this excessive praise for the act of voluntary death been more extreme than in Mr. Tillman's case.
The purpose of a political cartoon is to stimulate discussion, and there was no discussion about America's post-9/11 death cult.
Second, Mr. Tillman served an evil president and an evil cause. Anyone with an open mind after 9/11 could easily have learned the truth, that the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq occured instead of a war on terror, not as part of one. A person who planned to risk his life in combat should reasonably be expected to dig a little deeper rather than to fall for Bush's transparent lies. We all judge each other, and while Tillman's decision to sacrifice millions of dollars for his beliefs is admirable, his belief that killing the citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan had something to do with defending America was not. At best, Tillman was foolish and misguided.
Finally, it's time for troops who signed up post-9/11 to take a little personal responsibility. It's one thing for a career soldier to go where the politicians tell him or her to go, but quite another to join the military when the "president" is an illegal usurper occupying the White House, he's an out-of-control warmonger using the deaths in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania to promote a partisan political agenda and his wars are nothing more than grabs for control of oil and gas resources and pipeline routes. Liberals tend to let volunteer soldiers off the hook, but let's not forget the hard, cold truth:
If no one had enlisted after 9/11, we wouldn't be fighting these immoral wars based on lies and greed now.
Update as of Tuesday: I'll be the lead on tonight's O'Reilly Factor, on Fox News, 8 pm Eastern time.
BILL O'REILLY COMMENTS ON RALL'S TILLMAN CARTOON
O'Reilly Blasts Cartoonist Rall on TV Show
by Editor & Publisher, May 05, 2004
NEW YORK On his weeknight Fox News chat show, Bill O'Reilly often goes out of his way to give guests he plainly despises what he calls "the last word." When he didn't offer that opportunity to cartoonist/columnist Ted Rall on Tuesday night, you know he had to really hate the guy.
These were O'Reilly's final words to Rall: "You should be ashamed of what you did to Tillman."
This was a reference to Rall's controversial syndicated cartoon earlier this week which raised the question of whether ex-pro football star Pat Tillman, killed in Afghanistan last week, was actually a hero or possibly an "idiot" for volunteering to serve a less than noble cause overseas.
Before his final words, O'Reilly called Rall "a far left guy" who "makes (Gary) Trudeau look like Rush Limbaugh." He added: "Something is the matter with you, Mr. Rall."
O'Reilly also challenged Rall's statement to E&P on Monday, in which he said Tillman was serving an "evil cause." In a debate over Afghanistan's part in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Rall said it was myth that Osama bin Laden had admitted responsibility for those attacks on the U.S. and he might be innocent. The war against Afghanistan he said "was just as big a scam as the war on Iraq."
When O'Reilly predicted that not even five of Rall's usual clients for his cartoon would dare run it, Rall observed, "Editors are kind of cowardly."
O'Reilly did thank Rall for having the guts "to show up here."
In vintage form, O'Reilly also called Los Angeles Times' columnist Robert Scheer "a left wing bomb thrower" and took other shots at Doonesbury, the "left wing" New York Times and other members of "the anti-Bush media."