CSotD: As they were saying …

Mike Smith sets the stage as political cartoonists discuss the news, the announcement and the reaction to both.

It’s a conversation made more interesting to watch because, while nobody is mourning the loss of al-Baghdadi any more than they mourned the death of Osama bin Laden in 2011, they are contrasting the two events.


At that time, Michael Ramirez suggested that the credit should go to the armed forces and not to those at the top of the chain of command.


And now his celebration is muted, having toned down the level of glorious triumph and demoted the terrorist leader from rat to mouse.

It’s an interesting study because, given his status as one of the more prominent and articulate conservative cartoonists, you would think this might be a time for crowing and for praising the current president more than the last.


However, it was a different time, and I think we had a greater focus on the overall mission, which, as Jim Morin noted, was not going to end with the death of bin Laden.


Chan Lowe echoed that appraisal, which was made easier by the fact that Afghanistan was still in chaos and we had plenty of troops in the field.

In fact, it could be argued that the difference between that rat being borne off by a victorious eagle and the mouse unceremoniously dropped into the trash is that al Qaeda was a stronger threat at the time of Osama’s death.

Or at least it seemed to be. If you’re going to announce the utter and complete defeat of ISIS, you can’t then take a great deal of pride in knocking down their titular leader.


Well, I can’t. You can’t. Some people can, and his wanting to be the story becomes the story, as Stuart Carlson notes.

And it’s important to point out that the phrase “spiking the football” came from a 60 Minutes interview with Obama after the bin Laden operation, in which he rejected releasing death photos as a form of gloating that would not only be tasteless in general but would likely ramp up desire for revenge from al Qaeda.


Not that he didn’t have some motivation to soak in the glory a little bit, and Steve Kelley was not the only cartoonist to tie in the concept of a death certificate with the ongoing lunatic conspiracy theory at the time over birth certificates.

(Please be cautious in opening the overhead compartment, as loyalties may have shifted.)

Not only did Trump gleefully spike the football, but once again ignored national security and common sense, giving away valuable details of the raid in his rambling, self-promoting address.

One aspect of which provoked this

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Andy Marlette)

(Bill Day)

(Mike Marland)

One of the odder elements of this event is Trump’s praise of  “a ‘canine,’ as they call it. I call it a dog. A beautiful dog — a talented dog,” alongside his assessment of al-Baghdadi having “died like a dog. He died like a coward.”

Like Marland’s pup, I’m inclined to wonder WTF, but I’m more inclined to go along with Bill Day’s depiction of a self-centered nincompoop and conclude that the reason he can offer such starkly contradictory concepts in such a short space of time is that he has no more idea of what is about to fall out of his mouth than any of us.

Marlette overstates things, or at least I hope he does.

The canine — I call it a dog — does not seem to have actually engaged with al-Baghdadi and, if he did emerge with body parts, it would have been after the explosion of the vest and let’s not go there, please.

However, all this talk about people dying like dogs and whimpering brings up another, more interesting point because nobody in the Situation Room with Trump heard any of that, and nobody — including the Sec’y of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs — can even confirm that audio was available.

There’s speculation that maybe the President picked up this nugget by talking to troops on the ground, though, again, nobody seems certain he even spoke to them.

My follow-up question would be to ask if the underground confrontation were so prolonged that they could hear what was going on down there, and, if it did unfold that slowly, how was it that the vest exploded before the dog was close enough to be blown up along with the man he was chasing?

Or, to put it another way, where does Trump come up with this bullshit?

Which is the question they cannot answer, either because he is a complete fabulist — which is not unlikely — or the damn fool was revealing technical capabilities we’d just as soon not have made public, which is equally possible.

Meanwhile, I noted that, in yesterday’s press conference, the grownups were careful to praise the Kurdish intelligence and cooperation that had led to this military triumph, in contrast to Trump’s thanking of the Russians who apparently didn’t have a damn thing to do with it.

I’ve also seen some condemnation of Turkish aggression from people who are in the government but who are not named Donald Trump, and the combination of that, along with praise for the Kurdish contribution, suggests that Captain Queeg may have been all but gently escorted off the bridge.


It all makes me wonder who is in charge of what and what the hell is going on, to which Andy Warner adds an explainer that seems relatively up-to-date.

It’s not terribly cheerful or encouraging, but, at this stage, any kind of grounding in reality helps and his stuff is always well-researched and informative.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to take my canine, as they call it — I call him a dog — to the park.


6 thoughts on “CSotD: As they were saying …

  1. I do not doubt that there was whimpering, crying and screaming, if, as we have been told, al-Bagdaddio was hauling three children to die with him.

  2. Not a matter of faith. A matter of witnessing. A matter of honesty. Or perhaps a matter of betraying technology.

    As for faith, I have no doubt a trained Malinois guard dog could move down that tunnel faster than any human, particularly one with children in tow. How he managed to be out of the blast radius that killed all of them raises interesting questions.

    To repeat an old piece of cowboy philosophy, “Never miss a good chance to shut up.” Trump did.

  3. Let us not forget:

    “I wrote twelve books. They all did very well.” Not sure what that had to do with anything, but here we are.

    As for the guy who bought the farm (as we say), sometimes I try to see things from the other side’s point of view. So much was written about the three children and how terrible this guy was to drag them along. But there is another side to all this, perhaps, and all the US has to do is look at its southern border to see it.

    I’m not saying I’m defending the crazed philosophy that propelled this guy. What I am defending, tho, is that here you have someone who’s lived with hordes of American invaders for over a decade. He knows his children will be treated like garbage after his death by these invaders. They werent hostages. In a weird way, he was protecting them from a future he felt certain would happen.

    Maybe that’s reading too much into his actions. Maybe it’s humanizing him too much for some people’s tastes. But I’m trying to think what any parent would do under such extreme circumstances, when they knew death was coming from all directions.

    Frankly, there are no clean hands here on either side. But that’s a truth that I’m sure is *really* difficult to accept.

  4. And now there’s reports that Trump made up the whole “whimpering like a dog” thing. Any video he would have seen in his pretend-war-room was overhead, not in the tunnels, and the Pentagon cant even confirm a body.

    Staged war room, overly embellished remarks… now I’m wondering if the guy’s actually dead.

  5. Children is a pretty broad term when it comes to an age range. Other than statements made by Donald Trump, I have not seen any report that gives any indication of their age. I can easily see how a teenager who has been raised into the ISIS ideology would voluntarily go into the tunnel with his father with the aim to fight and die with him.

  6. In support of your first point Sean; this certainly would not be the first instance of a parent killing their children in order to save them from some misguided perception of a horrible future. And to the second; Baghdadi was reported killed at least a half dozen times in 2017…maybe he’s actually a cat.

Comments are closed.