Ted Rall Issues ‘Retraction’ of Iraq Cartoon

By: E&P Staff

Ted Rall has offered a “retraction” of his Aug. 4 cartoon that cited a 9,000 figure — rather than the commonly used 1,800-plus — for the number of American soldiers who have died in the Iraq war.

On Tuesday, Rall wrote in his blog: “I read a story that came off as possible, sourced it using previously reliable informants, and ended up doing a cartoon that I wouldn’t have done had I known then what I know now. So this is a retraction of [the] cartoon. Did 9,000-plus soldiers get killed in Iraq? Maybe, maybe not. But as a cartoonist friend of mine points out: The relatives of those hidden 7,000 dead troops sure would be raising hell if the Pentagon were trying to hide them. … The battery in my BS detector must have been running low last week.”

The cartoon with the 9,000 figure (E&P Online, Aug. 8) showed a soldier — as he helps carry a badly wounded man to a helicopter — saying: “You don’t count as war dead unless you die IN Iraq. If you die in Germany, or even on the plane leaving Baghdad, you’re not counted.” In the cartoon’s final panel, the soldier urges the wounded man to try to stay alive at least until the helicopter takes off.

One of the sources used by Rall had been TBRnews.org.

Rall — whose work is distributed by Universal Press Syndicate — also wrote in his blog entry: “I draw more than 200 cartoons a year, but this has never happened to me before: commenting on a story that turns out to be, if not bogus, at least inadequately sourced. Of course, an editorial cartoonist is always commenting on other people’s reporting, so he or she is always vulnerable to the possibility of being taken in… . Consider, for example, all the cartoonists who did cartoons about Saddam postulating what he’d do with his nuclear weapons!”

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