CNN reported yesterday: Rice to testify in public, under oath.
After days of intense pressure, the White House on Tuesday agreed to allow national security adviser Condoleezza Rice to testify publicly and under oath before the commission investigating the September 11, 2001, attacks.
IRAQI ISLAMISM WATCH: From CNN last Friday: Iraqi cleric calls 9/11 'miracle from God'
Al-Sadr railed against the United States' occupation of Iraq.
"I seek the spread of freedom and democracy in the way that satisfies God," he said. "They have planned and paved the ways for a long time, but it is God who is the real planner -- and the proof of this is the fall of the American twin towers."
He then referred to the September 11 attacks as "a miracle from God."
"As we say, 'The rain starts with a drop,' " he said. [Emphasis added]
From yesterday's Washington Post: Shiites Organize to Block U.S. Plan.
Sheik Sahib Abdullah Warwar Qureishi is a wakil, or religious representative. He is one of about 200 in Baghdad who answer to Sistani, many of them providing the organizational power behind the campaign's momentum. [...]
Some of the youngest of the sheik's followers pleaded for more direct action. "The shortest distance between two points is a straight line," said Jawad Rumi, 33. "The shortest distance from Earth to Heaven is jihad." [...]
Jassim Jazairi, a 35-year-old cleric in a black turban, runs the branch of the Murtada Foundation on Baghdad's Palestine Street, one of two in the capital.[...]
"Even now, when we hold forums and we talk about [Sistani's] reservations, the people almost respond with violence," Jazairi said. "They're emotional, and they're ready to act."
Jazairi predicted that protests would come next, to force amendments to the constitution. He insisted they would stay nonviolent -- "peaceful resistance," as he put it. To him, they were another step in the politicization of the Shiite community, led by the clergy. [Emphasis added]
The United States should demand that the new Iraqi constitution include an explicit separation of state and Islam. The threat posed by a new regime in which Islamic fundamentalism has political power is unacceptable. It makes no sense to have gone to war to overthrow a secular tyranny only to replace it with a religious one that is potentially far more dangerous to America. But to make such a demand would require the current administration to identify Islamic fundamentalism as our ideological enemy and to recognize that the separation of state and religion is a crucial requirement of freedom not only in Iraq, but here in America as well.
On the former point, at least one administration official seems to have moved in the right direction. Daniel Pipes recently noted this exchange at the 9/11 commission: Who Is the Enemy in the War on Terror?.
JAMIE S. GORELICK, commission member: And would you agree that our principal adversary right now is Islamic extremists and jihadists?
COLIN L. POWELL, U.S. secretary of state: I would say that they are the source of most of the terrorist threats that we are facing.
Pipes recalls that just after 9/11, Powel insisted that the attacks "should not be seen as something done by Arabs or Islamics; it is something that was done by terrorists."
I've noticed the Democrats are calling the Administration's response to Clarke "character assassination". Odd, considering the response has largely consisted of pointing out Clarke's own words. Wouldn't that more accurately be called "character suicide"?
As CNN reports, the Democrat making that accusation was none other than John Kerry.
On Clarke, Kerry said: "Every time somebody comes up and says something that this White House doesn't like, they don't answer the questions about it or show you the truth about it. They go into character assassination mode."
Leave it to Democrats to cry foul when their own words used against them.
Also in the InstaPundit link is a good op-ed about Dick Clarke by Mark Steyn: Bush has nothing to fear from this hilarious work of fiction.
I don't know how good Clarke was at counter-terrorism, but as a media performer he is a total dummy. He seemed to think that he could claim the lucrative star role of Lead Bush Basher without anybody noticing the huge paper trail of statements he has left contradicting the argument in his book.
Read the whole editorial. And for more on Clarke, see last week's post.
Black & White World is now available at Amazon.com. For those of you who already have our book and are interested in posting a review, please click on the link above or the book below and scroll down to the Customer Reviews link. Thanks!
CNN reports: Dems rally for Kerry.
Kerry, who hit the campaign trail after almost a week on vacation, was the star of a Democratic "unity" dinner in Washington where party leaders, including former Presidents Clinton and Carter, rallied the party faithful. [...]
Earlier, at a rally at George Washington University, Kerry and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean pledged to put their sometimes-bitter primary fight behind them. [...]
"In the end, it is Generation Dean voting for John Kerry for president of the United States that is going to send George Bush back to Texas where he belongs," Dean said
[At the unity dinner,] Democrats who tried to tear down Kerry during the primary praised him as they united in the common cause of beating President Bush. […]
There … was much condemnation of Bush.
Flip-flop Kerry’s labeling of himself as a “truthful leader” is a joke unto itself. But as Charles Johnson points out, one issue was glaringly absent amid all the back-slapping: 9/11. (See our Wednesday post for a possible reason why.)
Entering [Democratic Party Chairman Terry] McAuliffe's new corner office, which is equipped as a TV studio, visitors walk over a doormat bearing a likeness of President Bush and the words, "Give Bush the Boot."
Drudge reminds us that Saddam treated Bush Sr.'s image in a similar fashion.
Yesterday, however, the new group leader, Abdel Aziz Rantissi, backed off the threat against America.
The cartoon above is the Israeli version of this cartoon, which I think also illustrates why Hamas backpedaled so quickly.
Israel has not backed down after being threatened. Just the opposite, it vowed to continue targeting Hamas leaders.
Even though Sheikh Ahmed Yassin was a vicious, anti-semitic terrorist, he has been mourned the world over, many Arabs vowing revenge. His assassination has been condemned by many world leaders (with the notable and praiseworthy exception of President Bush). Even the tyrant-coddling United Nations couldn't resist issuing a condemnation.
But as Little Green Footballs has reported, there were even Americans who proclaimed support for Yassin and his goal of eliminating Israel:
"Reconciliation with the Jews is a crime."
"Resistance will move forward. Jihad will continue, and martyrdom operations will continue until the full liberation on Palestine."
"Resistance will escalate against this enemy until they leave our land."
"The day in which I will die as a shahid [martyr] will be the happiest day of my life."
Regarding this last quote, Joe Katzman writes: "They wish to be martyrs? So be it. Oblige them."
A senior Hamas official said on Thursday U.S. targets were not in the sights of the Islamist militant group at present but did not rule out changing that policy in future.
"I am talking about now. In the future, God knows," said Moussa Abu Marzouk, deputy chief of the group's political bureau. "We have never targeted an American target or American interests despite its hostility. Until now we did not."
Israel blames Hamas, which is sworn to the destruction of the Jewish state, for suicide bombings that have killed hundreds of Israelis in a three-and-a-half-year uprising.
Reuters openly acknowledges the above, then later in the article puts "terrorists" in quotes to describe Hamas. Apparently the goal of wiping a country off the map and slaughtering its citizens is not enough to qualify as "terrorism" for Reuters.
As for the Hamas threat against the U.S. ... What more reason do we need to directly help the Israelis eliminate Hamas?
September 11, 2001, is getting a lot of attention lately. Earlier this month, Democrats criticized President Bush for referring to 9/11 in his campaign ads. This week, there are charges that Bush ignored the al Qaeda threat prior to 9/11. And there is the ongoing testimony at the 9/11 commission to discover what happened before that horrible day.
Democrats don't often bring up 9/11, but this kind of internalized examination of 9/11 is potentially beneficial to Democrats and presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry in particular -- not because of anything that might be discovered, but because it draws attention away from the question of what was the appropriate external, foreign policy response to 9/11. We do need to find out why our government was blind to the 9/11 plot, if that's really what the commission will uncover. But that is merely the defensive response to the prospect of another 9/11. The bigger question is what should be done offensively?
This is a question I do not think Kerry wants to dwell on publicly. He has made a few statements in this regard, but he either focused on multilateralism and his desire to be "full partners" with the U.N. or he focused on defensive measures such as first-responder funding.
I'm not convinced that is the answer to 9/11 that most Americans want to hear. Perhaps that's the reason Kerry's campaign ads stress his military record yet avoid mention of 9/11 and, lately, focus on his domestic agenda -- he doesn't have a good answer for how to offensively combat terrorism.
There's certainly much more that Bush should be doing to effectively combat terrorism (such as accelerating the demise of the Iranian theocracy and openly naming militant Islam as the enemy). But he has shown a willingness -- without U.N. permission and preemptively if necessary -- to take the fight to the enemy, to terrorists and their state sponsors alike. That's at least part of the right answer.
Mark Steyn's latest column: We tried appeasement once before...
The inability of the [British government] to secure even the three highest-profile targets in the realm -- the Queen, her heir, her Parliament -- should remind us that a defensive war against terrorism will ensure terrorism. Tony Blair understands that. Few other European leaders do.
Daniel Pipes wrote in January: Democrats Unlearn 9/11.
Two months ago, the undersecretary of defense for policy, Douglas Feith, formally contrasted the pre- and post-9 /11 approaches: think back, he suggested, to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and to the attacks on Khobar Towers in 1996, on the U.S. East African embassies in 1998, on the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen in 2000. When such attacks occurred over the last decades, U.S. officials avoided the term "war." The primary response was to dispatch the FBI to identify individuals for prosecution. Recognizing the September 11 attack as war was a departure from the established practice. It was President Bush's seminal insight, the wisdom of which I would say is attested by the fact that it looks so obvious in retrospect. Obvious for a while, yes. Now, key Democrats repudiate this insight and insist on a return to the pre-9 /11 dispensation.
The Ayn Rand Institute's Onkar Ghate wrote last July: Don't Blame Our Intelligence Agencies—Blame Our Unprincipled Foreign Policy.
Whatever incompetence on the intelligence agencies' part, what made September 11 possible was a failure, not by our intelligence agencies -- but by the accommodating, range-of-the-moment, unprincipled foreign policy that has shaped our government's decisions for decades.
CNN reported yesterday: Bush administration rejects Clarke charges.
Top members of the Bush administration sharply rebuffed their former counterterrorism chief Monday, calling his assertions in a new book about the White House's handling of terrorism and Iraq "deeply irresponsible" and "flat-out wrong."
National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said Richard Clarke had engaged in a "retrospective rewriting of the history."
In his book "Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror," published Monday, Clarke accuses the Bush administration of ignoring repeated warnings about an al Qaeda threat in 2001 and looking for an excuse to attack Iraq at the expense of battling terrorism.
InstaPundit has a number of links regarding Richard Clarke and his accusations:
From Secular Blasphemy blog: Richard Clarke: Now who was obsessed with other threats?
The truth is that from a public perspective at least, Dick Clarke did not run around before 9/11 warning everybody about Bin Laden bringing about a new Pearl Harbour. He warned that computer viruses or hackers would bring about a "digital Pearl Harbour!"
From Spokane 4 Bush blog: Clarke's claims don't hold water
Q: As far as international crimes go, what's the one largest threat to U.S. citizens right now?
MR. CLARKE: I think the largest threat is obviously posed by international narcotics smuggling, which costs a number of lives and costs an enormous amount of money.
From Stephen Hayes at The Weekly Standard: On Richard Clarke
Clarke's testimonials are, in a word, bizarre. In his own world, Clarke was the hero who warned Bush administration officials about Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda ad nauseam. The Bush administration, in Clarke's world, just didn't care. In Clarke's world, eight months of Bush administration counterterrorism policy is more important than eight years of Clinton administration counterterrorism policy.
And Little Green Footballs noted this CNN American Morning transcript in which National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice defends herself and the Bush Administration against Clarke's allegations. She also notes:
[W]hat's very interesting is that, of course, Dick Clarke was the counterterrorism czar in 1998 when the [African] embassies were bombed. He was the counterterrorism czar in 2000 when the Cole was bombed. He was the counterterrorism czar for a period of the '90s when al Qaeda was strengthening and when the plots that ended up in September 11 were being hatched. The fact is, we needed a new strategy, and that's what we asked Dick Clarke to give us.
UPDATE: The Washington Times today features an excellent op-ed by Mansoor Ijaz that says Richard Clarke blocked diplomatic efforts to get bin Laden during the Clinton Administration: Politicized intelligence....
Regarding Clarke's allegations this week:
Mr. Clarke's premise that Bush national security officials neither understood nor cared to know anything about al Qaeda is simply untrue. I know because on multiple occasions from June until late August 2001, I personally briefed Stephen J. Hadley, deputy national security adviser to President Bush, and members of his South Asia, Near East and East Africa staff at the National Security Council on precisely what had gone wrong during the Clinton years to unearth the extent of the dangers posed by al Qaeda. Some of the briefings were in the presence of former members of the Clinton administration's national security team to ensure complete transparency.
Regarding Clarke's role as the counterterrorism czar under President Clinton:
Sudan's president, Omar Hasan El Bashir, made an unconditional offer of counterterrorism assistance to the vice chairman of the September 11 Commission, then Rep. Lee Hamilton, Indiana Democrat, through my hands on April 19, 1997. Five months later on Sept. 28, 1997, after an exhaustive interagency review at the entrenched bureaucracy level of the U.S. government, Mrs. Albright announced the U.S. would send a high-level diplomatic team back to Khartoum to pressure its Islamic government to stop harboring Arab terrorists and to review Sudan data on terrorist groups operating from there.
As the re-engagement policy took shape, Susan E. Rice, incoming assistant secretary of state for East Africa, went to Mr. Clarke, made her anti-Sudan case and asked him to jointly approach Mr. Berger about the wisdom of Mrs. Albright's decision. Together, they recommended its reversal. The decision was overturned on Oct. 1, 1997.
Without Mr. Clarke's consent, Mr. Berger is unlikely to have gone along with such an early confrontation with the first woman to hold the highest post at Foggy Bottom.
U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed by al Qaeda 10 months later. Files with detailed data on three of the embassy bombers were among the casualties of Mr. Clarke's decision to recommend missile attacks on an empty Khartoum pharmaceutical plant rather than get Sudan's data out almost a year earlier to begin unraveling al Qaeda's network.
While Clarke claims that he is "an independent" not driven by partisan motives, it's hard not to read some passages in his book as anything but shrill broadsides. In his descriptions of Bush aides, he discerns their true ideological beliefs not in their words but in their body language: "As I briefed Rice on al-Qaeda, her facial expression gave me the impression she had never heard the term before." When the cabinet met to discuss al-Qaeda on Sept. 4, Rumsfeld "looked distracted throughout the session." As for the President, Clarke doesn't even try to read Bush's body language; he just makes the encounters up.
Posted by Forkum at 12:13 AM
CNN reports: Hamas founder killed in Israeli airstrike.
Israel Defense Forces acknowledged that it intentionally targeted the Hamas leader, saying Yassin was responsible for planning and directing terrorist attacks.
"This morning, in a security forces operation in the northern Gaza Strip, the IDF targeted a car carrying the head of the Hamas terror organization, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, and his aides," an IDF statement said.
"Yassin, responsible for numerous murderous terror attacks, resulting in the deaths of many civilians, both Israeli and foreign, was killed in the attack."
Hamas, a Palestinian Islamic fundamentalist organization, has been labeled by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist organization. [...]
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon thanked the security forces who carried out the operation and said the "war on terror is not over."
"The ideological essence of this man was one -- the murder and killing of Jews wherever they are and the destruction of the state of Israel," Sharon said.
This cartoon is a repost from last June.
Above and below are some of our previous cartoons regarding "anti-war" protesters. Little Green Footballs has kept tabs on media coverage of this weekend's demonstrations:
Finally, here's a Yahoo slideshow of photos from the demonstrations. LFG's Charles Johnson comments:
I'm looking through Yahoo’s slideshow of Anti-War Photos and I'm just aghast at the casual anti-semitism in so many of them. I expect the irrational, insane hatred of George W. Bush. But the sheer poisonous craziness, tinged with sympathy for Palestinian terrorism and Jew-hatred, is beginning to plumb new depths. Where will this end?
UPDATE March 22 Little Green Footballs has a number of new links regarding the weekend protests:
Hootinan.com: First-person account from New York City
Anti-com.com: Photos from New York City
Babs via Allah Is In The House: Another first-person account from New York City
Alexis Z: First-person account from Atlanta
Rayra: Photos from Los Angeles
zombie: Photos from San Francisco Rally
CNN reported Tuesday: Iranians celebrate fire festival.
Iranians danced in the street, threw firecrackers and jumped over bonfires Tuesday night as authorities openly tolerated an ancient fire festival for the first time in 25 years.
Halted each year since the 1979 Islamic revolution because hardliners considered it un-Islamic, the Chaharshanbeh Suri, or Red Wednesday, festival was officially recognized in Tehran where the city council set aside dozens of parks for people to enjoy the boisterous celebrations.
Tens of thousands packed the streets of the capital hurling firecrackers into the air to mark the eve of the last Wednesday of the Iranian calendar year.
What the CNN/Reuters article failed to report, however, was that some the festivities were also anti-regime demonstrations that sometimes turned violent. Such news had to be found at Iran-oriented Web sites.
Potkin Azarmehr at Iran Va Jahan reported more details and commented on the political implications: Festival of Light and Fire, A Defiance of Ruling Clerics:
For the last 25 years of the Islamic rule, the Iranian New Year Nowrooz, and the Red Wednesday fire Festival, which falls on the last Tuesday evening of the Iranian year, have been the battleground between the Iranian culture of joy, knowledge and life and the non-Iranian culture of mourning, ignorance and martyrdom.[...]
The Islamic regime's security forces tried to reach a compromise this year by not banning the celebrations but declaring only certain official parks in the cities for lawful celebrations. Yet the people and the youth in particular once again turned the Red Wednesday celebrations into a combat zone for the test of forces.
As the youth jumped over the bonfires the traditional ancient rhymes were replaced with anti-government ones. "toop, tank, feshfesheh Akhoond bayad koshteh sheh" " Cannons, Tanks and Firecrackers, We must kill the Mullahs".
In the Haft-Howz, Falakeh Dovvom and Nirooye Havaii, districts of Tehran more than 10,000 people had gathered. Some women openly removed their scarves encouraging others to do so too. In Mohseni Square, the youth fought back the Law Enforcement Forces. At least 20 government forces were reported badly beaten up by the crowds. In Amir-Abad district the people joined the students and more anti-government slogans were shouted. Police patrol cars, which attempted to disperse the crowd, drove away from the scene as the people started throwing home made grenades at them. In Aryashahr, the crowd were throwing pictures of Supreme Leader, Khamenei and Islamic Republic flags on to the bonfires. [Emphasis added]
The Iranian theocracy has for years proudly proclaimed "Death to America." Today it is common knowledge that the regime actively supports terrorists and pursues nuclear weapons. If we are to keep America safe from further harm by Islamists, the least our government can do is morally and materially support an uprising by the Iranian people. And since our government doesn't seem to be overtly providing such support, we can only hope it is doing so covertly.
Our thanks to Haleh at 'Free Iran' News who sent us an informative history of the Festival of Fire and suggested that we create a cartoon. His site is also posting festival photos from Iran and America and regularly keeps track of the latest news regarding Iran.
When it comes to the liberation of Iran, President Bush's words have been perfect. When will his administration's deeds follow suit? The United States should long ago have made regime change in Tehran a clear-cut goal of US foreign policy. At every turn, the mullahs who rule Iran have demonstrated their enmity for everything we are trying to accomplish in the Middle East. They are determined to keep Iraq agitated and unstable, and actively work to undercut US influence there. They camouflage their avid pursuit of a nuclear bomb behind a cloud of diplomatic blue smoke, one day making a show of cooperation with Western investigators, the next day demanding that the investigations end. Iran remains the world's foremost sponsor of terror, sheltering Al Qaeda thugs within its borders and dispatching trained killers to Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, and Saudi Arabia.[...]
Toppling the mullahs would not require a US invasion. The majority of Iran's 67 million people loathe their government. Many are unabashedly pro-American. If the United States explicitly called for regime change in Tehran and backed up that call with diplomatic and financial support for the pro-democracy resistance, Iranians would respond with courage and resolve. Like the festering Communist dictatorships that collapsed when the people of Eastern Europe rose against them in 1989, the corrupt Islamists in Iran can be defeated by the men and women they have oppressed for so long.
If we are going to win the war on terror, the liberation of Iran is not an option. It is a prerequisite. The Bush administration should be saying so -- and living up to its words.
Last week, presumptive Democrat presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry defended his labeling of GOP critics as a 'crooked, lying group'.
This week he's defending his claim of support by unnamed world leaders. CNN reported yesterday: Bush challenges Kerry comments.
White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan on Monday urged Kerry to "be straightforward" with American voters and disclose which international leaders told him they support him. If he won't, McClellan said, "then the only alternative is that he is making it up to attack the president of the United States.
Meanwhile, the Democratic National Committee and other prominent Democrats are trying to to raise $10 million for Kerry in 10 days, which will no doubt be used to further obscure what Kerry is really for and against.
UPDATE: George W. Bush Blog is keeping tabs on the latest of Kerry's "for and against" positions, this time concerning Cuba and troop funding: Kerry Tries to Have It Both Ways on Issue After Issue.
What Kerry is doing here is playing a Washington game that enables him to be on both sides of virtually every issue. [...] The bottom line is this: when it really mattered, on final passage, Kerry voted against funding for our troops in Iraq. He's now trying to say he voted the other way.
Included in the post is a link to Slate's Whooper of the Week awarded to Kerry. Timothy Noah comments:
Kerry aides told [The Miami Herald's Peter] Wallsten that Kerry voted against the final bill because he disagreed with some technicalities added at the last minute, but that he voted for an earlier version of the bill. But every piece of legislation that comes before the Senate is subjected to a succession of votes, many of them tactical in nature. The only vote that counts is final passage. If it were otherwise, any legislator could claim to have voted for or against almost any bill, depending on the audience, and there would be no accountability at all.
CNN reports: Bombs 'to split Spain from allies'.
The strategy spelled out in the document, posted last December on the Internet, calls for using terrorist attacks to drive Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar's Partido Popular from power and replace it with the Socialists. [...]
"We think the Spanish government will not stand more than two blows, or three at the most, before it will be forced to withdraw because of the public pressure on it," the al Qaeda document says.
"If its forces remain after these blows, the victory of the Socialist Party will be almost guaranteed -- and the withdrawal of Spanish forces will be on its campaign manifesto."
That prediction came to fruition in elections Sunday, with the Socialists unseating the Popular Party three days after near-simultaneous bombings of four trains killed 200 and shocked the nation.
FoxNews reports: New Spanish Leader Vows Iraq Pullout.
"It's a terrible message to send. It's very divisive," David Gergen, former communications adviser to several U.S. presidents, told Fox News. "This weakens U.S. policy in trying to bring unity to the West as we try and fight terrorism."
NOTICE: Posting of cartoons will resume on Tuesday, March 16. This is just a quick update (see below).
I've turned off the comments on the First Annual Report post. And what can we say? "Thankful" seems too weak a word. We are heartened and deeply gratified by all the compliments we've received this past week from you readers. John and I are particularly grateful for the ideas and offers of support in our quest for syndication.
As I said in the comments, if we decide to coordinate an e-mail/letter campaign for the syndicates, we will of course announce it here. But in the mean time, feel free to contact your local papers, as some of you have already done. Frankly I don't know how effective such requests will be, but I do know that local newspapers want to hear from local readers and not from people scattered all over the world. Perhaps if we can not presently convince a syndicate to carry Cox & Forkum editorial cartoons, we may be able to convince individual papers. We, in the mean time, will continue pursuing what avenues we can and creating more cartoons. Hope to see everyone back on March 16th.
P.S. The cartoon above is one we created a while back for our own amusement. That's John in front of the donkey. We do have creative licenses ... just in case any of you thought we did this stuff illegally.
NOTICE: Posting of cartoons will resume on Tuesday, March 16 -- unless something happens in the meantime that we can't resist cartooning. Future posts may also be less regular than previously (see details below).
Tomorrow, March 2, is the one-year anniversary of the Cox & Forkum Editorial Cartoons blog. We're using this opportunity to recap the year, announce some changes and take a break.
As an advertising medium for our self-published book, the blog has worked well, not as effectively as, say, a Super Bowl ad, but it has worked. We are grateful to everyone who has purchased a book. All sales contribute to the life of this blog and are appreciated. We may even publish another one.
Aside from our book though, we had an unexpected source of income: t-shirts. Our blog attracted the attention of Doug Weinberg at ThoseShirts.com who contacted us about creating a t-shirt design. He now carries four of our shirts. Our thanks to him and everyone who has bought our shirts. (A notable t-shirt failure this year was our Dean RetrAction Figure, which didn't even make it as far as Dean did. People seemed to like the cartoon but not enough to wear it on a shirt. Live and learn.)
As an outlet for our cartoons the blog has been immensely rewarding. Prior to launching the blog, few situations were more frustrating than creating a cartoon and then having to wait for others to post it or publish it, or knowing that no one may ever see the cartoon at all. With the blog, not only do we post pretty much everything we create, but as we've said in interviews, the immediate feedback we receive is wonderful. We're thankful to all the bloggers who have posted our cartoons and linked to our site.
The trade-off to freely posting our cartoons on the blog is that we don't get paid for most of our work. This is nothing new for blogging. It's practically a character trait. But unlike blogging, editorial cartoons are not limited to the Internet. The art form was born in ink and paper for the purpose of being printed, and that is still the medium that gets the most exposure.
Which brings me to an unstated goal of our blog. The question most frequently asked of us is: Why aren't you guys syndicated in newspapers? We have had a few newspapers carry individual cartoons. But becoming syndicated has been and remains a goal of Cox & Forkum. Syndication not only pays, it has the potential to reach millions of viewers. Last October we sent submissions to all the major syndicates. We received either form rejection letters or nothing at all. For whatever reason, syndicates are not interested in our work. So, in answer to the question: We're still trying. (We noticed that Chris Muir is having a syndication drive for his daily comic strip Day By Day, and we wish him the best. Be sure to check it out.)
Our desire for syndication had a significant impact on our blog. Early on we gave ourselves the task of creating an average of four new editorial cartoons a week for one year. We've been posting five cartoons a week, but they aren't always new cartoons; we occasionally post "old" cartoons, that is, cartoons created prior to starting the blog (such as cartoons from our book). Four new cartoons a week is comparable to the output of syndicated editorial cartoonists. We wanted to prove to ourselves that we could do it, and it has been a challenge to keep up this pace, particularly with the added work of writing commentary. But we did it.
However, combined with all the other work we have going on, it has become a pace that is not worth our while to maintain. We're going to try posting on a less regular schedule. Rather than every weekday, we may skip a weekday or two and begin posting more on the weekends. There may be fewer cartoons. We'll see. But such freedom will give us time to pursue other activities, like getting syndicated.
We are also taking some time off to recharge and work on some other projects. As the notice above says, we'll begin posting cartoons again on Tuesday, March 16, unless we just can't stand to wait.
In the meantime, I posted an old cartoon above (also see yesterday's repost). The hyrda cartoon is in our book and was our first editorial cartoon to be published in print (by Robert Tracinski in his The Intellectual Activist journal). It is also one of my personal favorites. I'm a big fan of Ray Harryhausen's stop-motion animation. Our hydra was inspired by Mr. Harryhausen's hydra from his 1963 movie Jason And The Argonauts. I love the way John drew the creature, particularly the baby heads popping out of the stump.
This was also the first appearance of our heroic Uncle Sam. The cartoon was created in October 2001, close enough to 9/11 that we thought the bandage on his arm was an obvious reference. Today, however, we are compelled to label the band (as in this cartoon) since so many people seem to have forgotten the significance of that day.
The cartoon expressed my concern at the time that the government would treat 9/11 as a mere crime, instead of an act of war, and respond with mere "police action." Fortunately, that was not the response. We launched a war against terrorists and, more importantly, against the states that sponsor them. Unfortunately, we have not waged the war consistently; two-and-a-half years later the world's worst terrorist-sponsoring regime, the Iranian theocracy, still exists and still poses a threat -- not to mention regimes in Syria, Saudi Arabia and "Palestine". For different reasons now, I still have the same concerns expressed in the cartoon.
We are grateful to all the regular visitors to Cox & Forkum Editorial Cartoons weblog. It means more than we can say to know that our work is being seen and appreciated. Thanks to all of you for making our first year in the blogosphere so rewarding. We hope you'll come back for more on March 16.
P.S. I'm temporarily opening the comments on this post. I will turn them off at some random point in the next few days.