9/11 Revisited

STEIN 9_12

The morning of 9/11, thirteen years ago today, my then 12-year-old son Gabe came running into the bedroom and told us to turn on the TV. He’d just heard on the radio that something had happened in New York. When the second plane hit minutes later, it was clear that America was under attack, by whom and for what reason as yet unknown. I got the idea for this cartoon, which ran the next morning, in the car on the way into work.

Just Do Stuff

Senators from both parties today expressed relief that President Obama  has finally decided to take action against Islamic State militants. Republican critics of the president were quick to pounce on his admission last week that he didn’t yet have a strategy for dealing with ISIS. Even some Democrats, worried about the upcoming election, grumbled that Mr. Obama was being too cautious in his foreign policy.

“Don’t do stupid stuff is not a strategy,” said Sen. John McCain, referring to Mr. Obama’s explanation for his cautious approach to dealing with crises. “Sometimes you just have to do something, even if it’s really stupid. That’s what George W. Bush did, and I challenge this president to act as blindly.”

Added ranking Republican Senate Armed Forces Committee member Lindsey Graham, “Doing stupid stuff is the way we’ve handled foreign policy ever since Vietnam. Every President since Lyndon Johnson has done stupid stuff. Why stop now?”

The president’s announcement that he would soon launch a bombing campaign against ISIS in Syria has muted much of the criticism, at least for now. In announcing his decision, Mr. Obama said that his advisors and the Pentagon were planning a careful mix of stupid and not stupid stuff.

Responding to the threat posed by the militant group is complicated by a number of factors, including the realignment of Sunni and Shia power in the region as a result of the instability of governments in Syria and Iraq, and the conflicting interests of other states in the region.

“This is a hugely complicated problem.” Mr. Obama noted, “We’re dealing with unpredictable enemies and unreliable allies and the real possibility of tragic unforeseen consequences. I still believe that not doing stupid stuff is the best policy, but sometimes events dictate a change of course. ”

“I hope he means what he says,” responded Sen. James Inhofe. “Personally, I doubt he has what it takes to do enough stupid stuff, but we’ll withhold judgement until we see if his actions match his words.”

Replied Mr. Obama, “I promise that in confronting the threat posed by ISIS we’ll do enough stupid stuff to guarantee that our military will be mired in the region for years to come, and that we’ll be even more vulnerable to terrorism than ever. You can count on it.”




Nine-Year-Olds With Uzis

What the Hell is wrong with us?

How did we get to the point in this country where this was possible?

By now you’ve seen the video of that nine-year-old girl accidentally killing her firing range instructor with an Uzi.

I’m sure we all agree that this tragic accident totally preventable, if any of the parties involved had had an ounce of common sense. Understand, I’m not blaming the girl. Clearly, it wasn’t HER fault. She’s only nine, and she was unfamiliar with a weapon that powerful, a gun designed by the Israeli military for its soldiers to use in combat.

I know what you’re thinking, but you’re wrong. I don’t blame her parents. In fact, I applaud their courage. They were just doing their constitutional duty to make sure that their daughter was properly armed and ready to defend herself and her family against our government when it decides to take away our freedoms, which could be any day now if Obama gets his way.

So who’s fault was it? The instructor’s, of course. If you saw the video, you couldn’t help noticing that he was unarmed! Standing right next to a little girl with a powerful automatic weapon that can fire 100 rounds a minute! What was he thinking? What the Hell was he thinking?

Had he been properly equipped, as he should have been,  with superior firepower, and in the correct defensive position, as soon as that Uzi started to get away from the kid, he’d have been able to take her down before she could shoot him. Yes, it would have been sad if the kid had died instead of him, but in a dangerous world that’s the price we have to pay for our liberty.

Because only when each and every American has a gun aimed at all times at every other American will we truly achieve the freedom our Founding Fathers envisioned when they so wisely crafted the Second Amendment.

Freshly Squeezed 8/27/2014


My kids are out of school now, but I well remember those first school days at the end of summer when the classrooms were baking and the little darlings returned home quite well done. I’m guessing that Denver wasn’t so warm in the summer when the schools were built, before global warming made summers here more like the ones I grew up with in Texas.

To follow the entire series, go to GoComics.com/freshlysqueezed.


How dare President Obama play golf when stuff is happening in the world!

How could he even THINK of taking a vacation when ISIS is beheading Americans and Iraq and Afghanistan are in turmoil and Israel and the Palestinians are at war and Russia is behaving badly?

You don’t see Republicans in Congress taking a vacation, do you? Well, okay, turns out Congress is on vacation, too, but since it doesn’t actually do anything those days there isn’t any discernible difference from when it’s in session, except that the House hasn’t voted to repeal Obamacare this week.

But back to the subject at hand: what if something really bad happens while Obama’s on the golf course, out of contact with everyone except all his advisors, his cabinet, our allies, the Joint Chiefs and the guy who carries the briefcase? It could be a catastrophe! ISIS might behead another journalist! Iraq and Afghanistan might explode! Russia might invade another country! Israel and the Palestinians might keep fighting!

I know what you’re thinking. These things happened when Obama was sitting at his desk in the White House, too, wearing a suit and tie instead of a golf shirt. But there’s a vitally important difference. He doesn’t look very presidential in a golf cart, and, fair or not, it’s all about image.

Do we really want the president to look rested and ready to handle the challenges of the day after a welcome few hours of recreation,  or do we want an exhausted, beleaguered chief executive who’s spends all his waking hours holed up in the situation room

The President of the United States, the head of the most powerful nation on earth (we keep saying that about ourselves, even if it might not actually be true anymore) needs to LOOK like he’s fully engaged and in charge, even if there’s absolutely no difference in his ability to make decisions or take action whether he’s in the Oval Office or at Camp David.

Remember when Dubya was criticized for playing golf during his presidency, and had the grace and the courage to give it up until his term was over? Saved his legacy, right?

So, Mr. President, no more golf until the world settles down, okay?

A nation desperate for leadership needs you to look really, really presidential all the time, even if we’ve already tuned you out and are spending most of our time wondering who’s going to challenge Hillary in 2016.




Freshly Squeezed 8/24/14


Ah, the challenge of dealing with climate change. Can anything any one person does make any difference at all? I can reduce my carbon footprint to zero, with what global result? Zip. On the other hand, if I set an example, and others do the same–if everyone does something–there will be an impact, won’t there? But will it be enough? If the US finally curbs its outsized appetite for dirty energy but China and India do nothing, will it matter? This kind of thinking makes my head hurt. Might as well play golf and worry about it later.

The online home of editorial cartoonist, writer and analyst Ed Stein.