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B.D. Shows His Hair
April 29, 2004
By Kevin Dawson

Pat Tillman. True American hero. True enough. But how that distinguishes him from his seven-hundred-plus-and-counting fallen comrades, whose anonymity is being all too zealously protected by the Bush camp and its fan base, hasn't quite been figured out.

At least here is one case of an American soldier whose death in the Middle East hasn't been swept under the rug or sloughed off with glib platitudes like "freedom isn't free" or "yeah, yeah, it's tragic and all that, but it's a small price to pay, etc." The first thought that may have come to mind was, like the old song says, "Ya gotta be a football hero."

But then B.D. got it in the leg.

Doonesbury, whose author is a favorite target of conservative watchdogs moaning about the so-called liberal media, ironically offered the first sacrifice of a comic strip character in the alleged cause of Iraqi Freedom. (Beetle Bailey certainly isn't over there; neither, for that matter, are Mallard Fillmore, Lois's Hi, Cathy's fiancÚ Irving, or The Family Circus's Daddy. B.C. and his fellow cave-dwellers, being period characters, don't count.)

Walden football coach/reservist B.D. did something which Garry Trudeau's detractors or the many flag-waving war supporters aren't about to do: actually performed military service, losing a leg in the process. His reward: the strip - in which B.D.'s scalp, normally covered by a helmet, was exposed for the first time - was edited or deleted from several newspapers.

Add that to the outrage over the photos of flag-draped coffins that appeared on many front pages recently. Many indignant citizens, who saw nothing wrong with President Bush using 9/11 images in his campaign ads even after he swore in January he wouldn't politicize 9/11, fired off frothing letters to the editors demanding how the newspapers dared violate the privacy of the dead soldiers' families (I didn't see name tags on the coffins, did you?) and "comfort the enemy" by publishing graphic evidence of war's usual toll.

Holy Wars

Stateside, the holy wars continue. Since Easter, The Passion of the Christ has inevitably dropped from the box-office Top Ten, and now Christian parents everywhere can start thinking of what to tell the kids next time they want to see a violence-packed R-rated movie ("But you let us see that one!").

John Kerry was allowed to take Holy Communion last Sunday, despite his pro-choice stance. Papal purists are unable to reconcile being Catholic and being pro-choice, which is odd since the Vatican spoke out strongly against the Iraq war, yet no one's demanded that war-supporting Catholics be excommunicated.

Homosexuality remains the worst thing in the world, while everything else the Bible opposes is merely evidence that "nothing's perfect." Same-sex marriage, it is believed by those against it, knowing they comprise a majority, should be resolved by a popular vote - you know, the way that women's suffrage, racial integration, and the 2000 presidential election were.

Conservative Christians still complain of being oppressed by an increasingly secular society. (Pop quiz: How many conservative Christian presidents has this country had? How many gay ones? How many atheist ones? How far would a politician get today if he or she publicly stated "There's no such thing as God?" Let's not keep seeing the same hands.)

It's All Bill Clinton's Fault

Oh, and Bill Clinton, whose book comes out in June, still gets blamed for everything wrong with the world today. If he had been on top of terrorism, the theory goes, there would have been no 9/11 or war. "Fox Fans" also perpetuate the pretty myth that Clinton was offered Osama bin Laden "on a silver tray," crediting Mr. Clinton with the gift of prophecy that Bush's cheerleaders claim the Bush bashers expect him to have had.

As for Mr. Woodward's best-selling assertion that Bush had planned to go to war with Iraq all along, the one word that comes to mind above all others is: duh! But when you're busy being dragged through the mud and impeached over vital matters of state like your sex life, there's little time left for alleged silver-tray offerings.

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