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<nettime> Response to Chris Paul on Doonesbury
Margaret Morse on Mon, 10 May 1999 02:38:21 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> Response to Chris Paul on Doonesbury



Chris Paul requested the full dialogue of the American comic strip
Doonesbury, probably expecting the strip to be exacting and critical of
NATO strategy and practices. Since no one else responded, I dug out the
papers.  I think he'll be disappointed. 

>Meanwhile Gary Trudeau's Doonesbury suggests that the opposing militaries
>are fighting wars "past" each other. Ignoring responses completely ... the
>world's first dysfunctional war.
>
>Perhaps someone with a copy to hand can post the full dialogue? Or the
>cartoons?
>
>This is an immediate and free media response which NATO wouldn't much
>like, but it's out.
>

Tues May 4: Prss conference scene.  Reporters hear a spokesman in
silhouette: NATO's attack on the convoy west of Pristina also resulted in
the destruction of four APC's and a tank, which we do not regret.../...and
one red civilian tractor, which we deeply regret.  Also hit was a taxi,
which we also regret, and a command car, which we don't./ The highway was
also damaged, much to our regret, except for the access road to the
garrison, for which NATO does not apologize./ A reporter, Roland Hedley
asks: Jamie, there are reports of shattered flowerr pots...  Response:
Would these be civilian flower pots? 

I am missing Wed. May 5, sorry. 

Thurs May 6:  Doonesbury listens to the TV: from the tv: Today new stories
of horror as thousands of new reguees fled kosovo.../...victims of the
murderous campiagn of ethnic cleansing to take place in Europe since World
War ii!/ Meanwhile, a NATO missile took out a pumping station in Serbia
today.  Roland Hedley has more./ Frame of Hedley doing a standup: Peter,
lots of hurt feelings in Belgrade tonight... Voices off frame: NATO Nazis!
NATO Nazis! 

Friday, May 7 Doonesbury to Kim (Asian American geekgirl and his
significant other) This is such a strange war. One side is so brutal that
it thinking nothing of genocide./ The other side is so concerned with
human life that it scrupulously acknowledgged every unintended
casualty./It's like we're flighting two completely unrelated wars, one in
the air, one on the ground, with each side totally ignoring the other!/
Kim: Our first dysfunctional war.  Doonesbury: In a way, it's not a fair
fight. 

Saturday May 8: Doonesbury listens to the TV: >From the monitor: Peter,
I'm talking with a man-on-the-street in downtwon Belgrade following
another NATO missile attack.../Man-on-the-street, don't you and your
friends ever think, "Hey, all 19 coutnries in NATO are at war with
us--what's up with that?"/ Response: That's ridiculous--we're only
flighting the U.S., which has installed puppet governments throughout
Europe!/ Now THAT'S prograganda, Peter.  M-in-St: 19 countries--Ha! Nice
Try! 

Here Gary Trudeau seems to off target to me.  He makes his cartoons with
some lead time, so perhaps he wasn't aware that the bombing of Serbia is
not trivial. The strike on the Chinese Embassy is a case in point, a
mistake, but part of a strategy takes my breath away in its recklessness. 

What echoes for me is the Gulf War, with its "surgical strikes" and the
claim that the allies didn't want to hurt the Iraqui people, just Saddam
Hussein. Destroying infrastructure in Serbia destroys the well-being and
capacity for survival of a whole people, not just its leadership.  That
includes a wide variety of oppositional groups, people who have struggled
for social change in Serbia, and people who are just tending their
gardens. It is hard to say how many thugs, rapists and killers are
included in the bombing toll in Serbia--especially since they are more
likely to be in Kosovo province. 

I tried to find a political cartoon from last week that took off from the
news report that the KLO is involved in heroin trafficking.  The cartoon
showed a historical series of questionable US alliances, including with
the Contras. 

Again, there is a complex mixture of groups among Kosovars and Albanians
that make it unwise to think in simplistic terms of peoples en masse in
terms of good or evil. 

Margaret Morse



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