The Ted and Jerry Show
I’ll be discussing the Sen. John Kerry cursing “scandal” and the corsening of our society with the Rev. Jerry Falwell on CNBC TV tonight, 6:15 Eastern Standard Time.
It’s Good to be King, a.k.a., It’s Nice Being Loved, sung to the tune of “We’re So Popular”
We’re winning so many hearts and minds in Iraq it’s just incredible:
By ALEKSANDAR VASOVIC, Associated Press Writer
SAMARRA, Iraq – Using sledgehammers, crowbars, explosives and armored vehicles, U.S. forces smashed down the gates of homes and the doors of workshops and junkyards Wednesday to attack the Iraqi resistance that has persisted despite the capture of Saddam Hussein.
In Baghdad, guerrillas ambushed a U.S. military patrol with small arms fire, killing one soldier from the 1st Armored Division and injuring another, the military said.
The soldier’s death brings the number of U.S. soldiers killed in combat to 314 as violence persists after Saddam was detained on Saturday.
Staff Sgt. Kimberly A. Voelz, 27, of Carlisle, Pa., was killed Sunday in Iskandariyah, Iraq , as her unit was responding to an explosive ordinance disposal call, the Defense Department said.
A soldier assigned to the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) was killed Tuesday in a vehicle accident southwest of Mosul, Iraq. Some 144 soldiers have died of non-hostile causes, according to the Pentagon.
The raid, launched before dawn and lasting until midmorning, targeted the city of Samarra, north of Baghdad.
Loud blasts mixed with the sound of women and children screaming inside the houses. An explosion at the gate of one compound shattered windows, cutting a 1-year-old baby with glass. U.S. medics treated the injury while other soldiers handcuffed four men, who were later released.
U.S. officials say some 1,500 fighters operate in Samarra, making it one of the persistent hotspots in the so-called Sunni Triangle.
“Samarra has been a little bit of a thorn in our side,” said Col. Nate Sassaman. “It hasn’t come along as quickly as other cities in the rebuilding of Iraq. This operation is designed to bring them up to speed.”
In the Samarra raid by some 2,500 troops, dubbed Operation Ivy Blizzard, the 4th Infantry Division and Iraqi forces detained at least a dozen suspected guerrillas â€” though others got away, apparently tipped off about the raid.
In the city’s industrial zone, troops used even their Bradley fighting vehicles to break down the doors of warehouses, workshops and junkyards.
“Locksmiths will make a lot of money these days,” said a U.S. soldier, laughing as he sat atop a Bradley.
“They’ve made a mistake to attack U.S. forces,” Sassaman said. “No one knows the town better than we do. We’re gonna clean this place.”
In Wednesday’s sweep, soldiers used satellite positioning devices to locate buildings pre-marked as targets.
As Apache helicopters flew overhead, troops downtown fanned out in squads of 14 to storm several walled residential compounds, using plastic explosives to break in.
At one home, an explosion ignited a small fire. Elsewhere, a suspect was punched in the head and a soldier said: “You’re dead. You’re dead.”
Troops later moved on to the industrial area, where they found little. One military official said he suspected insurgents moved much of their equipment to farms outside town.
Attention MSNBC Fans
If you watch MSNBC you’ve seen their new promo. They ask: “Will Bush win Florida again?” then say something along the lines about how you have questions, they have answers (sorry, Radio Shack). If you have a digital camera and can send me high-resolution photos of the ad’s 2 or 3 panels, I need your help! Please email me at email@example.com. There’s a free, personally-autographed copy of any book of mine you want in it for you.
Saddam’s Capture Changes Nothing
Remember this greatest hit from a few months back?
“Washington had hoped that the deaths of Uday and Qusay would weaken the insurgency…”
That’s from the Associated Press archives.
Since I’m directly addressing the capture of Saddam in my column this week, I think it’s important for Americans to stop deluding themselves that the war in Iraq cannot be won by such get-won-quick moments as the capture of Saddam. Who can understand the countless comments from Republicans that those of us opposed to the illegal invasion based on countless lies should eat crow simply because we done got Saddie?
Hear this: no one said we weren’t gonna catch him.
What we said, and what continues to be true, is that the war was unnecessary, and did more harm than good for many reasons: we trashed our credibility, made others fear and hate us, created a power vacuum, destablized the Middle East, etc. None of that changes just because one dictator has just fallen into the clutches of another dictator.
Several German correspondents have written to confirm that, in fact, exactly zero American soldiers were killed in occupied Germany by so-called “Werewolves” after the May 7, 1945 surrender of Germany. And even if there had been casualties–which there were not–they certainly would have been expected in a nation which had declared war upon us. Iraq, on the other hand, was supposed to greet us with roses, remember?
Support Your Local Draft Board
An anonymous FOR (Friend of Rall) suggests:
“Some friends and I decided that the best defense in this case is to
stack the draft boards with fellow anti-war/anti-draft folks. We could
then grant exemptions freely.”
Indeed, why should the draft boards gearing up for possible spring 2005 conscription be loaded up with American-flag-lapel-wearing right-wing loons? It’s time for all patriotic lefties (a redundant term) to submit their application to join their local draft board!
Sign up with the Selective Service System today!
More Bush Lies, Now About World War II History
Yesterday I received the following email from one “Jason Wilson”:
While I have rarely agreed with any of the sentiments coming from a single
one of your cartoons or columns, I’ve always believed that you are a person
who states facts as they are – you just have a rather bizarre way of looking
at them. So I was quite disappointed with Saturday’s cartoon (yes, like
anyone who truly despises a person’s work – I read everything that you
write) when your typically self-righteous left-wing character attempted to
condemn our war in Iraq by stating “No U.S. troops died in Japan or Germany
after World War II ended.”
My friend, this is just not true. I assume you’ve probably already received
e-mail from others informing you of this fact, but if you haven’t then
please allow me. Following the surrender of the Nazis, Allied troops were
continuously being sniped at and sabotaged by neo-nazi guerillas known as
“werewolves.” This guerila were went on for three years following the
official end of the war (much longer than our current war, would you not
agree?) Allow me to give you a direct excerpt from a book entitled “Minutemen of the
“The Werewolves specialised in ambushes and sniping, and took the lives of
many Allied and Soviet soldiers and officers — perhaps even that of the
first Soviet commandant of Berlin, General N.E. Berzarin, who was rumoured
to have been waylaid in Charlottenburg during an incident in June 1945.
Buildings housing Allied and Soviet staffs were favourite targets for
Werewolf bombings; an explosion in the Bremen police headquarters, also in
June 1945, killed five Americans and thirty-nine Germans. Techniques for
harassing the occupiers were given widespread publicity through Werewolf
leaflets and radio propaganda, and long after May 1945 the sabotage methods
promoted by the Werewolves were still being used against the occupying
Although the Werewolves originally limited themselves to guerrilla warfare
with the invading armies, they soon began to undertake scorched-earth
measures and vigilante actions against German `collaborators’ or
`defeatists’. They damaged Germany’s economic infrastructure, already
battered by Allied bombing and ground fighting, and tried to prevent
anything of value from falling into enemy hands. Attempts to blow up
factories, power plants or waterworks occasionally provoked melees between
Werewolves and desperate German workers trying to save the physical basis of
their employment, particularly in the Ruhr and Upper Silesia.
Several sprees of vandalism through stocks of art and antiques, stored by
the Berlin Museum in a flak tower at Friedrichshain, caused millions of
dollars worth of damage and cultural losses of inestimable value. In
addition, vigilante attacks caused the deaths of a number of small-town
mayors and, in late March 1945, a Werewolf paratroop squad assassinated the
Lord Mayor of Aachen, Dr Franz Oppenhoff, probably the most prominent German
statesman to have emerged in the occupied fringes over the winter of
Wouldn’t you say that this sounds much more like the situation we are
currently facing, than does any cooked-up comparison to Vietnam?
It’s one thing to be a left-wing nutjob, Mr. Rall. It’s quite another thing
to be a liar. Try not to let it happen again – and it would also be good of
you to admit this error in an upcoming cartoon.
Thanks for reading,
I didn’t reply because (a) I was working on the second draft of my new book WAKE UP, YOU’RE LIBERAL and I was too busy, (b) Wilson violated my email rules about not responding to people who insult me and (c) I’ve studied enough World War II history–my wife would argue, way too much World War II history–to know that no reputable historian believes that the Nazi holdover “Werewolves” ever caused a single U.S. soldier to lose his life after the surrender of Germany on May 7, 1945. On this particular point, I checked the details with a highly respected expert on the subject before doing the final artwork on that cartoon. So I felt pretty confident that I hadn’t gotten this detail wrong (though anything’s possible, obviously).
Then, today, I received the following badgering missive from the same dude. I mean, really. Since when do I owe a total stranger a prompt response?
I notice that you have added to you , but it was not to admit that
you lied in your Saturday cartoon with the false assertion that no American
died in Germany after World War II. As I explained in my previous e-mail,
many Allied forces were killed for up to three years following the war by
the feared Nazi “werewolf” guerilla forces. You really need to come clean on
this if you hope to maintain your professionalism.
By the way, I wanted to comment on your latest entry into your little blog.
You wrote that “it’s good to see that U.S. forces didn’t see fit to execute
Hussein as they did his two sons and grandson a few months ago.” While this
statement isn’t quite a blatant lie such as your one about the Nazis, it is
very much a mistruth. Saddam’s sons weren’t “executed”. They were killed
after they engaged in a firefight with Allied forces. Saddam, on the other
hand, went without a fight. Are you really going to tell me that our forces
don’t have the right to kill people who are shooting at them?
Come on, Ted. You’re coming apart at the seams.
Please admit to your lie.
Sigh. The only thing that makes me feel like I’m coming apart at the seams is my desire, futile no doubt, to set the record straight. Still, being called a liar when I know that I was dead on kinda bugs me.
As Daniel Benjamin wrote in Slate, my Republican correspondent been suckered by yet another Bush Administration lie: this one that the situation in Iraq is comparable to that of Allied forces serving in Germany and Japan after the end of combat in World War II. Here are some highlights that, I hope, will put this matter to rest once and for all.
Yeah, like a blog can do that. Anyway:
Condi’s Phony History
Sorry, Dr. Rice, postwar Germany was nothing like Iraq.
By Daniel Benjamin
Rice-a-phony history?As American post-conflict combat deaths in Iraq overtook the wartime number, the administration counseled patience. “The war on terror is a test of our strength. It is a test of our perseverance, our patience, and our will,” President Bush told an American Legion convention.
National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice embellished the message with what former White House speechwriters immediately recognize as a greatest-generation pander. “There is an understandable tendency to look back on America’s experience in postwar Germany and see only the successes,” she told the Veterans of Foreign Wars in San Antonio, Texas, on Aug. 25. “But as some of you here today surely remember, the road we traveled was very difficult. 1945 through 1947 was an especially challenging period. Germany was not immediately stable or prosperous. SS officers—called ‘werewolves’—engaged in sabotage and attacked both coalition forces and those locals cooperating with them—much like today’s Baathist and Fedayeen remnants.”
Speaking to the same group on the same day, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld noted,
“One group of those dead-enders was known as “werewolves.” They and other Nazi regime remnants targeted Allied soldiers, and they targeted Germans who cooperated with the Allied forces. Mayors were assassinated including the American-appointed mayor of Aachen, the first major German city to be liberated. Children as young as 10 were used as snipers, radio broadcasts, and leaflets warned Germans not to collaborate with the Allies. They plotted sabotage of factories, power plants, rail lines. They blew up police stations and government buildings, and they destroyed stocks of art and antiques that were stored by the Berlin Museum. Does this sound familiar?”
Well, no, it doesn’t. The Rice-Rumsfeld depiction of the Allied occupation of Germany is a farrago of fiction and a few meager facts.
Werwolf tales have been a favorite of schlock novels, but the reality bore no resemblance to Iraq today. As Antony Beevor observes in The Fall of Berlin 1945, the Nazis began creating Werwolf as a resistance organization in September 1944. “In theory, the training programmes covered sabotage using tins of Heinz oxtail soup packed with plastic explosive and detonated with captured British time pencils,” Beevor writes. “… Werwolf recruits were taught to kill sentries with a slip-knotted garrotte about a metre long or a Walther pistol with silencer. …”
In practice, Werwolf amounted to next to nothing. The mayor of Aachen was assassinated on March 25, 1945, on Himmler’s orders. This was not a nice thing to do, but it happened before the May 7 Nazi surrender at Reims. It’s hardly surprising that Berlin sought to undermine the American occupation before the war was over. And as the U.S. Army’s official history, The U.S. Army in the Occupation of Germany 1944-1946, points out, the killing was “probably the Werwolf’s most sensational achievement.”
It’s hard to understand exactly what Rumsfeld was saying, but if he meant that the Nazi resisters killed Americans after the surrender, this would be news. According to America’s Role in Nation-Building: From Germany to Iraq, a new study by former Ambassador James Dobbins, who had a lead role in the Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo reconstruction efforts, and a team of RAND Corporation researchers, the total number of post-conflict American combat casualties in Germany—and Japan, Haiti, and the two Balkan cases—was zero.
And of course Qusay and Uday were executed. The house where they were staying was surrounded. All we had to do was wait for them to get hungry, thirsty and bored. They would have come out at some point. Surely some reservist who works as a cop stateside could have told his C.O. not to rush in there guns ablaze. As I wrote earlier today, I’m glad that they didn’t do this to Saddam.
He has so many interesting stories to tell, don’t you think?
Finally, a Dirty Deed Done Right
The news of Saddam Hussein’s capture does nothing to validate an illegal and murderous war fought on a pretext of lies, but it’s good to see that U.S. forces didn’t see fit to execute Hussein as they did his two sons and grandson a few months ago. It’ll also be interesting to see whether the Iraqi resistance fades away upon this development; if it does, that will validate the Bushies claim that a few “dead enders” were running the insurgency. If not, it will prove that the anti-U.S. forces are homegrown–something they haven’t quite admitted yet. Either way, it will end the sense of limbo that the invasion has given the Iraqi people, and that’s probably a good thing. I do have to wonder, though, why didn’t the moron flee overseas?
Pentagon stooge Ahmed Chalabi of the Iraqi governing council is currently planning to put the deposed dictator on trial, which would be a wonderfully interesting development. “Saddam will stand a public trial so that the Iraqi people will know his crimes,” he said.
The questioning ought to be fun. “When did you first meet Donald Rumsfeld, Mr. Hussein?” “When did the first President Bush tell you it was OK to invade Kuwait, Mr. Hussein?” “How many metric tons of anthrax did President Reagan sell you, Mr. Hussein?”
Gavel to gavel on Court TV, I’ll be there.
They’re Getting Nervous
There’s been quite a bit of hate mail arriving at Rall Corporate World Headquarters. Republicans, it seems, are pretty upset about my suggestion that Democrats cancel the 2004 primaries to save money and build unity for the big push against the Generalissimo in November. “Undemocratic,” they call it. Just because Dean’s got the nomination locked up, they say, doesn’t mean that people shouldn’t have their chance to vote.
Gee, where were these democratic purists when the U.S. Supreme Court canceled the recount in Florida? Cheering that their guy got in.
Primaries aren’t electoral democracy, anyway. They’re merely a replacement of the old “smoke filled rooms” of yore, when party bosses directly selected the nominee. Truth is, several states have already abolished their primaries, replacing them with Iowa-style caucuses, to save money.
Besides, didn’t anybody notice? BUSH is running unopposed. Aren’t Republicans entitled to an alternative to their unelected incumbent ususper?
When Reagan fired the air traffic controllers in 1981, wags said that he only backed unions in Poland. In 2003, Republicans only support free elections for Democratic primaries.
Next year will be a busy one on the book front. First up is the next installment in the ATTITUDE anthology series (I swear I had no idea there would be a repeat performance), ATTITUDE 2: THE NEW SUBVERSIVE SOCIAL COMMENTARY CARTOONISTS (NBM Publishing, February 2004, $13.95). I’m not in it per se, but I edited and compiled the work of 21 amazing cartoonists and asked the questions in the interviews. If you liked ATTITUDE, you’ll definitely want this one. If you missed it, not to worry–ATTITUDE 1: THE NEW SUBVERSIVE POLITICAL CARTOONISTS is in print and still available. Anyone who likes political cartooning and/or alternative weekly newspapers should pick it up.
Next up is WAKE UP, YOU’RE LIBERAL: HOW WE CAN TAKE AMERICA BACK FROM THE RIGHT (Soft Skull Press, April 2004), my book that diagnoses the troubles of the American left and offers solutions for them–including a new platform for a new majority Democratic Party. This is all prose, no cartoons, and contains nothing that has appeared elsewhere. This book could end up being a big deal.
Then, in June, look out for a collection of my writing and cartoons about Generalissimo El Busho’s first four years. More details on that as they become available.