Twenty-five years ago this week, The U.S. was preparing to war with Libyan leader Khadafy …
|Hmm. Not entirely sure the message I was trying to send. Police dog to the World, the United States, |
might be sniffing around a number of countries, but then found motivation with the crazy Libyan leader.
These cartoons were for The Hanford Sentinel, when I was just getting started on what an editorial cartoon should be.
Three days before the cartoon above, U.S. and Libyan aircraft had clashed in the Gulf of Sidra on Libya's coast, and four Libyan attack boats were sunk. This was another in a simmering sequence of tense clashes with Libya, tied to terrorist attacks against U.S. and British targets. In April, terrorists bombed a Berlin nightclub, killing a U.S. serviceman and injuring some 50 more among 200 people hurt in the blast. The United States unleashed Operation El Dorado Canyon, bombing Libyan targets.
(Before we go on, could the United Nations or someone organize a standardization of Khadafy's name? Virtually every other world leader's name is spelled the same across the news media. Why not his? It's not just his last name, sometimes spelled with the prefix al-, as in al-Qaddafi; his first name has almost as many variations, including Moammar and Muammar . Maybe this is a part of the chronic problem: He's not getting the world's tea cards asking him please to stop brutalizing his people.)
|Again, my meaning is unclear, though the name, Tommy Tonkin, alludes to the United States' penchant for|
manufacturing provocations for war or violent "nation building" (as in Gulf of Tonkin incident). Though not alone in this practice, the United States is especially good at it. The same with warring in the name of idealistic principles when in truth it's almost always for business. The new "no-fly zone" looks and feels like more of the same.
|President Obama just went to the airwaves to explain this generation's bombing of Libya, dubbed Operation Odyssey Dawn (which Jon Stewart described as a Yes album, Stephen Colbert called a Carnival Cruise ship, and Lily Tomlin said was a bad name for a drag queen.)|
As with his predecessors, President Obama has aspired to irony. I give him no argument about stopping a brutal leader from harming his own people, but as with the others who have made the same justification for war, I say, "Yes, but …" As in "Yes, but the people of Yemen are suffering in a similar fashion. Why aren't we stopping its government? Or Syria's? Why aren't we bombing hell out of those who massacre in Congo, Somalia and, for that matter, Mexico?"
It can't be just because we can't stand to see a government harm its own people, because quite clearly we can. It would be refreshing if our leader said, "Look, we can't intervene in Yemen because we have a military base there and we've got it pretty good with the government . Libya provides oil with fairly close access to our European allies, and we don't really have anything cozy going on with Mr. Khadafy, or however you spell it." Or something like that.
It would be depressing, but I'd prefer it to the same stirring rhetoric that belies its true aim. Then again, what would have cartoonists have to draw?
President Obama says action against Libya should eventually force Khadafy out because "history is not on his side." The guy's been in power for 40-some years; I think he's got the history racket worked out.
Get ready for another long, painful entrenchment.
|Lord, I was wordy in the early days. That's a lot of ink to point out that the U.S. was practically alone|
in this attack and President Reagan was less than skillful in getting help. One difference this time — apparently — is that France and Britain are taking more of a lead.