Don’t have time to post much (and I’m sure there’s plenty of commentary elsewhere on the death of the Hussein boys and the release of the 9/11 report and everything else that’s suddenly going on while I’m mostly off-grid), but wanted to put this one up:
WASHINGTON The Secret Service used “profoundly bad judgment” in seeking to question a Los Angeles Times (search) cartoonist over a political cartoon depicting a man pointing a gun at President Bush, a senior House Republican said Tuesday.
Rep. Christopher Cox, R-Calif., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said the Secret Service owed Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Michael Ramirez (search) an apology “and the public is owed an explanation both of how this happened and why it will not happen again.”
The use of “federal power to attempt to influence the work of an editorial cartoonist for the Los Angeles Times,” Cox said in a letter to U.S. Secret Service Director Ralph Basham, “reflects profoundly bad judgment.”
The cartoon is a takeoff of a chilling 1968 photograph from the Vietnam War showing Vietnamese police Gen. Nguyen Ngoc Loan shooting a man he said was a Viet Cong in the right temple on a Saigon street.
In the cartoon, the man pointing the gun at a caricature of the president has “politics” written across his back, and there’s a sign on the street scene in the back reading “Iraq.”
The Times quoted Ramirez as saying he was not advocating violence against Bush but trying to show that the president is the target of political assassination because of his State of the Union address when he used faulty intelligence to back up claims of Iraq’s nuclear weapons program.
See, the thing is, Ramirez is a conservative. It was a pro-Bush cartoon.
This is such bad news. Sure, they get called on it when they go after a guy who works for the LA Times, who’s won the Pulitzer, and who was actually trying to support the President. But what happens when they decide to hassle some obscure left-wing type?
Off to wander through the rain in search of a new phone card so I can call home. So far I’ve spent my time watching some extraordinary performances and drinking a lot of Guiness; will post more when I get home…