CSotD: Oh, what a lovely war!

Martyn Turner gets a gold star today, not for the intent of his cartoon, since I know nothing about David Cameron, who has replaced Suella Braverman, but for having correctly cited the old sailors’ myth of rats prophetically leaving a sinking ship.

Cartoonists continually draw ships at sea, listing as they begin to sink beneath the water, with rats leaping off into the ocean.

Logically, this makes no sense, since the rats couldn’t help save the vessel and would be safer clinging to the wreck, but it also fails to capture the meaning of the legend, which is that the rats somehow know when a ship is doomed, before it even sets sail.

Punch cartoonist Russell Brockbank used the image correctly in this 1951 classic, though it’s a gag and he had no particular new commander in mind. However, having had a few new bosses come aboard in my career, I’ll second the concept and add that you don’t have to be a magical rat to pick up on the vibe.

In any case, cartoonists — political or gag — need to know the tools of their trade, and that goes well beyond Bristol board and nibs.

Good on ya, Martyn Turner.

Tjeer Royaards (Cartoon Movement) notes that, despite disapproval from the international community, the war goes forward, with Netanyahu generally rejecting calls for a ceasefire, though allowing periodic pauses, presumably after some behind-the-scenes arm-twisting from Biden and Blinken.

But Nicola Jennings isn’t having any halfway, behind-the-scenes measures and asks why other world leaders can’t echo Emmanuel Macron’s straight-out call for a ceasefire.

Meanwhile, Matt Golding suggests that the growing body count in Gaza is undercutting the excuse of needing to avenge the 1200 killed in Israel and the 240 hostages still held.

It’s a touchy point. Nobody beyond a few odd radicals is defending Hamas, but many — without being antisemitic — are pointing out that not all Palestinians are members of or even supporters of Hamas. In this country, there seems an imbalance between interviews with grieving families of Israeli victims and interviews with similarly grieving Palestinians.

Much of this is an issue of access. Israel has made it difficult for journalists to operate in Gaza, and an NPR news crew attempting to interview a Palestinian farmer on the West Bank was confronted by IDF forces and sent away at gunpoint, while the farmer was taken into custody and questioned for several hours.

At the moment, the death count for journalists in Gaza is 42. And yet they persist.

Cathy Wilcox notes that there are many landmines that journalists have to avoid, not for fear of being killed but for fear of being criticized and silenced for using forbidden terminology and asking the wrong questions.

Though, for a journalist, being silenced is just another way of dying.

Back in Wilcox’s native Australia, as Golding shows us, a whistleblower is facing prison for having told a journalist about potential war crimes by Australian troops in the late war in Afghanistan.

It’s an interesting case in that he is accused of disobeying a lawful order, and it’s not that the killings were done in keeping with a lawful order, but, rather, that he was ordered not to tell anyone about them.

The case, and similar news items, make Wilcox wonder about the future of Australia, while — in case you were thinking that it can’t happen here — reporter Catherine Herridge is facing jail and massive monetary fines for refusing to name her confidential sources for a story about the FBI investigating and harassing a Chinese scientist in this country.

Reminder: Daniel Ellsburg could have faced prison time for leaking the Pentagon Papers to the NY Times and Washington Post, had Nixon’s plumbers not violated his rights in so many ways that they made a fair trial impossible. The Times and Post, however, were protected in publishing the information by the First Amendment.

Though none of the Justices on the Supreme Court in those days had free motor homes. We’ll get back to that tomorrow.

Juxtaposition of the Day

Marc Murphy


Alan Moir

Murphy points out that winners not only write history but tend to do well in court thereafter, while Zapiro notes that Israel has explained that the 11,000 dead were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, or, as Moir explains, were not innocent victims but, rather, collateral damage.

“I was just following orders” holds up better when you are on the winning side, since you’re not as likely to ever have to say it.

Fiona Katauskas isn’t buying it. We’ll see, perhaps. As I write this, there are reports of the Israeli Army finally entering the hospital, but it seems that they have not found any Hamas fighters in the building, though there were clashes as they approached it.

Whether the earlier bombardments in the area and the moves to cut off supplies to the hospital turn out to be justified will have to wait until there is a fair accounting of who had the right to do what and with which and to whom.

That was a joke, but you weren’t expected to laugh.

Guy Venables seems to have forgotten to sign this one, but isn’t that appropriate? As he suggests, the world seems to have forgotten that there’s another war going on, while, in this country, our House of Representatives has passed a temporary patch for the budget in which they forgot funding for Ukraine’s defense.

Yes, two days after they came back from a break in which I’m sure they made stirring Veterans Day speeches about the importance of defending freedom and so forth and so on.

However, it appears the Ukrainians are not suffering from any memory lapses. They’ve gone back a few years and are charging several former government officials with treason for having worked with Russia’s secret service.

According to news reports from Kyev, they were attempting to undermine Ukraine’s attempt to gain NATO and EU membership, and to drive a wedge between Ukraine and the United States …

… specifically by working with Donald Trump to gin up phony conspiracy theories about Hunter Biden’s actions while he served on the board of Burisma.

Well, as noted before, only losers get convicted, so we won’t know how this turns out until after November 5.

Keep your head down.

4 thoughts on “CSotD: Oh, what a lovely war!

  1. I still don’t get what exactly Israel’s endgame is
    “We’ll get rid of Hamas even if we have to wipe out every last innocent person in the Gaza Strip”?

    1. Yes, the first questions should be: what are we trying to accomplish and will this get us there? (Applies to both Israel and Hamas).

      Unfortunately, when religious fervor and religious politics are in the mix, such rational considerations fly out the window.

    2. Hamas has done everything in its power to maximize civilian casualties from placing its strategic assets under schools and hospitals to hoarding food, fuel and other water for its own while leaving Gazan civilians hanging in the breeze. The goal is to get the people who keep score by counting bodies to agree to dismantle Israel.

      Israel’s endgame is to fully incapacitate Hamas so that it can’t repeat this exercise in another 5 years.

      And please, let’s not forget Iran’s role in this. Right now, they are content to use Hamas as a cat’s paw to “wipe Israel off the map,” but should they succeed, I expect that they would have little further use for a Sunni militia in land they want for a Shi’a superstate.

  2. I still have the original artwork for a Punch cover that Russell Brockbank gave me when I visited in 1972. He and my father were great friends.

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