CSotD: The Evil That Men Do

‘The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones.’ — “Julius Caesar” Act 3, scene 2

Several cartoonists did Pearly Gates cartoons about the death of Donald Rumsfeld and more than one took advantage of his infamous “You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time” quote, Rumsfeld’s heartless way of blowing off the fact that American soldiers were being killed by IEDs due to vehicles with insufficient armoring.

Ed Hall, however, gets top honors for having enumerated the baggage with which Rumsfeld approaches eternity.

There have been several articles recently about the Pentagon Papers, marking the 50th Anniversary of their publication. The information contained in them was a shock to people who hadn’t suspected anything and provided details and backup to those who already felt our involvement in Vietnam was based on lies.

The leak motivated the formation of the White House Plumbers, who were instructed by Richard Nixon to burglarize the office of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist, which felonious conduct earned him a mistrial.

As the judge wrote:

We’ll get back to screwed up prosecutions in a minute.

I’d like to see a similar release of documentation for how the Cheney Administration hoodwinked us into invading Iraq and destabilizing the entire Middle East for the indefinite future.

However, I doubt anybody in power today is dumb enough to write it all down like that, and I’m even less convinced that the country would respond with such revulsion and remorse, though perhaps I’m just more cynical now than I was at 20.

Besides, most of us believed in the mission back in the days of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, despite warnings from a handful of Senators:


But, as Tom Toles pointed out in this cartoon, it was clear to anyone who wanted to know that we were obstructing UN weapons inspectors in order to protect our false premise that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

And Bill Barr may be on the “Too Little, Too Late Apology Tour,” but I haven’t heard anyone express any regret over their declarations about the existence of WMDs.

Not after we found there were none, not when it became clear they had lied, not in the wake of the obvious disaster we blundered into.


The Joint Chiefs rallied to Rumsfeld’s defense when Toles offered this interpretation of his dismissal of a report saying the Army was stretched thin in the shoot-from-the-hip invasion:

It’s easier to justify those casualties if you don’t read the analysis of what’s happening over there.

I miss Toles, and said so, and you might want to take a look at some other inconvenient truths with which he pummeled the deceivers.

While, today, Tucker Carlson can dismiss the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs as a stupid pig and not get any of the pushback from the Pentagon that Toles got for defending the troops.

We’ve come a long way, baby, to get where we got to today.


Juxtaposition of the Day

Steve Sack


Chris Britt (Creators)

I became a huge fan of Bill Cosby when he released his first album in 1963. I played the album until I knew every bit by heart and even recited “Little Tiny Hairs” and “Greasy Kid Stuff” for a high school talent show.

But his parenting wisecrack, “I brought you into this world and I can take you out” was unsettling. I knew too many people who lived that in real life, and, when he brought that bullying attitude into the relationship between Cliff Huxtable and his son Theo, I didn’t see it as tough love.

I finally got off the Cos Train for good when Claire Huxtable argued and won her first case in court and Cliff smirked and dismissed her as a fine piece of ass. I explained the whole thing back when he was first charged.

However, while I’m appalled at the reversal of his conviction, I reluctantly have to agree with the court. Cosby was promised immunity in exchange for his testimony, and, while it’s been reported as a “technicality,” I don’t consider the Fifth Amendment a technicality.

I’ll admit, it’s easier to defend a case in which an innocent defendant with a lazy public defender is tricked into a false confession. There are any number of people serving time for lesser offenses they didn’t commit because they were threatened with conviction on more serious charges for things they hadn’t done.

But even if they’re guilty, they deserve honest treatment. You can’t promise immunity and then use the information garnered in order to prosecute the defendant.


Juxtaposition of Part-Time Cartoonists Who Got It Right

Tim Hartman

Joe Thibodeau

And, yes, it’s an issue of money. I recently said, in discussing the Three Strikes Rule, that one reason more poor people get sent away on a third strike is that people with money can afford attorneys to bargain charges down to misdemeanors.

Hartman pins the blame on shoddy prosecution, Thibodeau points out that rich people — even rich minorities — can afford good attorneys. And I mean “good” in the sense of clever and energetic, not necessarily “good” in the moral sense.

Simpson’s attorneys manipulated a sympathetic jury to gain an acquittal for their client, but Cosby’s reversal was more in the spirit that says the victim of prosecutorial misconduct or even prosecutorial incompetence deserves relief.

To which I would add that this does not change the potential for successful civil suits and, besides, it’s not like he’s 23 years old. As the athletes say, Father Time is undefeated.

Here’s a much more detailed legal analysis of how the son-of-a-bitch got off, with the interesting sidelight that the responsible prosecutor is that rambling nitwit who defended Trump in his second impeachment.

Anyway, if you want to repeal the Fifth Amendment in response to Cosby’s release, go for it.

But you’d better take a good look at your allies in the effort.


Can’t we talk about something more pleasant?

Indeed we can. We can use this F-Minus (AMS) as an excuse to reprise a great scene from a great, great comedy, “It Happened One Night.


7 thoughts on “CSotD: The Evil That Men Do

  1. Regarding Rumsfeld, I have a lack of sorrow for his passing as I did for McNamara. Both lied and purposely sent American soldiers to their deaths without justification or remorse. McNamara’s death bed admissions were too little, too late.

    Regarding Cosby, as much as I am pissed to see him go scott free … like you I concur in the decision of the PA Supreme Court. And the prosecutorial misconduct/incompetence sits with Castor. Anyone trying to turn this into “See – Cosby was innocent” are people who believe giving quaaludes to women and then raping them is consensual sex. Castor raped these women a second time.

    And I did the entire Noah bit in front of my sixth grade class ,,,

  2. To my surprise, another cartoonist who labeled the baggage was Garrison. I mean, it’s not a surprise that he labeled anything–he labeled Heaven for the benefit of his slower readers–but that his cartoon showed a bloody-handed Rummy lugging “IRAQ WAR” and “9-11,” and if that was all you knew of Garrison, you might think he was ham handed but not reprehensible.

  3. I’m sure 48 years ago, no one thought twice about the final line in Greasy Kid Stuff track of his album, though with 20-20 hindsight, it gives pause: “… let’s compare combs: yours is green, mine’s orange. Now, let’s go get us some women.” (may not be precisely word-for-word due to my fading memory)

  4. You’re stretching. Being well-groomed is not only legal but there are women who prefer it (or why would guys bother?)

    Theory based in part on the fact that the greasy kid stuff claimed “But watch out — the gals will all pursue you! They love to run their fingers through your hair!”

  5. I’d heard of the bit but never heard it myself. The album came out in 1969, by which time I had transcended the fascination he cites, which is common to 13 year old boys who have no idea how to persuade women the normal way. I don’t think it was in his act when I saw him in 1970ish.

    But, in fairness, it seems more like a bit about how kids’ dirty jokes perpetuate themselves than about any actual fascination with the actual concept. Which, given that his fascination outlived his adolescence, adds to the horror of a guy who “acted out” things the rest of us “figured out.” A perpetual adolescent is pathetic until he takes victims, at which point we need to lock him up.

    Anyway, here it is. Pretty innocent stuff, if it were coming from anybody else:


  6. For bus sing-alongs, I always liked the scene in Planes Trains and Automobiles: Steve Martin tries ‘3 coins in a fountain’ to no affect, while John Candy gets the whole bus singing the theme to ‘Flintstones’

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