“People who say they’ve never done anything bad are obviously out of their minds… I have no use for anyone who’s that un-self-aware.” ~ Ted Rall
If it weren’t for George W. Bush and Ted Rall, I’m sure I would have never started to write political humor: I just didn’t care. I didn’t care about what Bill Clinton did; I didn’t like George H. W. Bush, but he didn’t really bother me enough for me to bother with him; I thought Reagan was good for humor value as I do an excellent Ronald Reagan imitation; Jimmy Carter? Peanuts.
Hell, I didn’t even really dislike Richard Nixon all that much. In-spite of all the grief he supposedly caused, he got us out of Vietnam and that was good enough for me.
But with the events of 9/11 and seeing them from over here and following the news from other countries’ news sources — besides American news; many things just didn’t seem to add up for me.
First off, I couldn’t understand how bombing a bunch of illiterate old men, women, and children in Afghanistan was doing anything about catching Osama Bin Laden.
And, since we haven’t been shown any proof that Bin Laden had anything to do with 9/11 — like Colin Powell promised us two or three days after the incident — coupled with the fact that we haven’t yet to this day caught Bin Laden; I still wonder what we killed all those innocent people for?
And then to the rescue came Ted Rall. I read Ted’s explanation of the entire ignominious affair in his book, To Afghanistan and Back and found out how negotiations with the Taliban, when they had visited Texas just a few years before, had failed and then things began to make sense. Ted’s work was well researched and he has even gone to Afghanistan several times to get a first-hand look.
This book was a revelation for me. Of course, I asked my now ex-friends and family to at least have an open mind, read, and investigate the possibility of what was written in this book, but they would have none of it. Like the average German in 1938, they had been whipped into a blind, flag-waving, nationalistic, foaming-at-the-mouth feeding-frenzy hot for revenge; it didn’t seem to matter who was on the receiving end of the revenge, as long as the good ‘ol USA was the one dishing it out.
Even one of my best friends who took a journalism class with me at my university wouldn’t listen. I found that quite odd as I clearly remember the professor telling us on the very first day of the very first class that the number one rule of journalism was:
“All governments lie.”
I found it odd that my family and “friends,” the very same people who were so vehemently against the Vietnam war just 30 years before, had taken a 180-degree turn and become hard-core war-hawks and parrots of the official government line.
I was out-cast and called, among other things: Anti-American. Idiotic, when you really stop and think about it. Since when is asking questions, “Anti-American”?
For me, I think Ted Rall is one of the most important political columnist, cartoonist, and commentators of our times. Ted writes today what becomes conventional wisdom tomorrow. He is the vanguard of a youth movement in this field. While tired-old writers like George Will and David Brooks, write to serve their masters; Ted Rall seems to have no master but the truth as he sees it.
Kind of like that Bob Dylan song, “You gotta serve somebody. Whether it’s heaven or it maybe hell, but you gotta serve somebody.” If you ask me, every single so-called-journalist who jumped on the “let’s get Saddam” band-wagon and fanned the flames of average America’s ignorant war-hysteria, merely in order to make themselves more popular with the American public; should be fired immediately if not sooner; and it would be no loss to journalism at all.
I’ll take one Ted Rall, one LewRockwell.com, and one antiwar.com a day and I’ll be more informed than 99.99% of the American public — Which, sadly, is not really all that much to brag about.
That’s why I respect Ted’s work so very much: He goes for the truth; and he takes no prisoners. This may sound a bit strange, but if there were no Ted Rall, people like me, wouldn’t have had the guts to stand up at work and protest against naked American aggression and war-crimes.
Hell, I figured that, if Ted Rall has the guts to stand up for the truth and get fired from his radio job in L.A.; then I have the strength and courage to stand up for what’s right at my radio job in Tokyo too. And if I get fired, which I did, for telling the truth; then that’s the station’s loss.
This is also not braggadocio on my part. How could anyone brag about trying to be truthful and honest? I wish I didn’t lose my radio show. But I did — as so did several others. But if Ted Rall had not inspired us all, the lies would have continued un-checked. Sure, “they” are still lying, as that’s what liars do… But not forever and not for long. Ted has been an inspiration for an entire new generation of politically minded young writers.
Ted has just released a new book called Generalissimo El Busho: Essays and Cartoons on the Bush Years.
Here’s what the New York Times says about this great book:
“New York Times Book Review: EL BUSHO Rocks!
THE BOOK: ”Generalissimo el Busho: Essays & Cartoons on the Bush Years,” by Ted Rall (Nantier Beall Minoustchine).
WHAT IT’S AIMING FOR: Overthrow of the United States government.
WHAT IT ACHIEVES: Oddly, some valuable historical perspective.
ANALYSIS: Ted Rall, a cartoonist and columnist for Universal Press Syndicate, is more hostile to President Bush than most members of Saddam’s inner circle, as this collection of his work from recent years makes scaldingly clear. There’s nothing really humorous here; the satire mixed into Rall’s screeds is far too bitter for that. In a piece from October 2002, he calls the military mission in Afghanistan ”Operation Enduring Failure.” In another 2002 piece, he refers to the Bush administration as a ”circus of hypocrites.” The best part of the volume, though, is its earliest material, centered on the 2000 election. Rall, unlike practically everyone else, allowed the president no honeymoon. He labeled the election stolen early and often. The resolution of the whole mess was far too casual for his taste; there was, he felt, too much at stake. Given all that has happened since, it appears he was right.
NUMBER OF TIMES IT’LL MAKE YOU LAUGH OUT LOUD: None. The fume-o-meter, however, for both pro-Bush and anti-Bush readers, will be close to exploding.”
Ted runs the gamut of the Bush presidency with short essays that are so prescient that the reader has to go back and check the dates when they were written. Each essay is usually followed by three or four comics that show no mercy and stab at the heart of the lies of the Bush administration. As I pointed out earlier, what Ted writes today becomes conventional wisdom tomorrow. And this book is a fascinating read. Is it funny? Well, I think some parts are funny; but Ted is not everyone’s cup of tea. Sometimes I laugh; but other times I am more apt to get angry — no, disgusted — at my simpleton American brothers and sisters for being so dim and easily deceived by the government.
Ted blows holes in the entire Afghanistan and Iraq debacle months before it ever happened. He brazenly criticizes the entire Bush clique as liars when it comes to WMD in Iraq, and Saddam Hussein’s non-existent ties to Al Quaida.
When it comes to the 2000 presidential election farce, Rall writes:
“Bush was a bully. Like all bullies — like all tin-pot third world autocrats — he wasn’t going to take no for an answer. The first man in American history to illegally seize power was appointed president by a party-line vote of the Supreme Court on December 20, 2000.”
This was the spark in Rall’s mind, for casting George Bush as former dictator Augusto Pinochet.
After bombing Afghanistan and paying off the Taliban to switch sides to the Northern Alliance, Bush promised to help rebuild the country. But, as with everything George W. Bush says, it’s all hot-air; and today Afghanistan has returned to it’s former place as the world’s #1 opium producer — This actually works out well for a second Bush term (that’s not going to happen), because if it did, Bush could use America’s “War on Drugs” as another excuse to bomb Afghanistan for the second time in five years.
So while the USA is paying off the Taliban to switch sides to the Northern Alliance, we also asked them to take care of Osama Bin Laden — which they did; they took good care of him all right — and with our money. They took such good care of him that, for all we know, he’s sitting on some beach on the French Riviera sipping tea.
So then, after we paid off the Taliban, we “decided” to go after Saddam… The truly amazing thing about it all is that Ted predicted that we would invade Iraq almost 200 days before it happened. Read Ted’s book and you’ll see how Ted can read George W. “like a book.” Ted also predicts with astounding accuracy how the invasion of Iraq will go. And, well, like Paul Harvey says:
“And now you know the rest of the story.”
Every single essay Ted has written in this book has come true; it’s mind-boggling, to say the least. There is still one prediction in the book that we have to wait and see if it comes true or not; I am quite certain that it will: On December 24th, 2002, Ted predicted the outcome of the 2004 presidential race; he recants a Los Angeles Times poll that showed that a whopping 90% of Americans believed Saddam Hussein had WMD and was ready to use them on the United States (Laughable now). Ted says:
“Unless (Bush) coughs up definitive proof of Iraqi wrong-doing or calls off the whole thing, this latest oil-driven military misadventure could become Bush’s political Waterloo.”
From where I’m sitting, it looks like many of the people around Bush are abandoning a sinking ship; the mass media are beginning to have the guts to call Bush on his lies; there’s tens of thousands of dead people in Iraq; over 1069 dead U.S. soldiers, over 7,000 wounded; and there’s no end in sight.
But even worse than the damage done to Bush by the war and the lies; the worst thing that portends a Bush defeat in November is that Ted Rall has already picked him to lose… And Ted hasn’t picked ‘em wrong yet.
Other Ted Rall books I’ve enjoyed:
- 2024: A Graphic Novel
- Search And Destroy
- Gas War: The Truth Behind the American Occupation of Afghanistan
- Real Americans Admit: “The Worst Thing I’ve Ever Done”
- My War With Brian
- Revenge of the Latchkey Kids: An Illustrated Guide to Surviving the ’90s and Beyond
Mike (in Tokyo) Rogers [send him mail] was born and raised in the USA and moved to Japan in 1984. He has worked as an independent writer, producer, and personality in the mass media for nearly 30 years.