Thursday, November 13, 2003

Oh! Make him stop! That Rall guy is such a pistol!

Via The Modulator I see an article by Ted Rall that's pretty breathtaking. Reading it, I can certainly imagine the arteries that are just a-poppin' at places like LGF and that Rottweiler guy. I'm sure they're taking it as a "This guy wants Americans to die!" type of thing, but I don't think that's quite what Rall is saying: rather, I think he's trying to make the case that Iraqis really want Americans to die, and thus, we should get out of Iraq immediately. He's using a provocative viewpoint to illustrate his belief that Iraqi resistance is likely to get more focused and more energetic, that American forces are likely to face a more and more difficult road, et cetera. Basically Rall's piece is saying, again very provocatively, that we're headed toward a full-bore quagmire. Agree with that message or not -- and I don't, entirely (although I think the possibility for "quagmire" exists in greater likelihood than the Administration and its supporters admit) -- I don't think this piece supports a reading that implies Rall's delight in American soldiers dying.

Generally, I'm not a fan of Ted Rall's: I think he tends to strive for provocation for provocation's sake; his views are so far to the left that his starting point often seems to be an assumption of Hitler-like evil on the right; his cartoons and writings often strike me as the rhetorical equivalent of that Monty Python sketch with the two "Great White Hunters" who use high-tech artillery to kill tiny animals ("We use an AK-47 to kill mosquitoes. Now, some people ask why we don't just use a flyswatter. Where's the sport in that?"). Plus, I just plain don't like his artwork. And even if I think that Rall is making an argument here that isn't quite what the LGF crowd thinks he is, and even if I think that he's merely using a rhetorical device known as "changing the viewpoint", I think it shows some pretty poor taste in writing a piece like this for the general consumption on Veterans' Day.

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