‘The White Donkey’: Iraq War veteran’s graphic novel a powerful read

White Donkey

For  years this blog has tried to make the case that a comic book can be much more than “just” a comic book. For years this blog has tried to make the case that the industry would benefit if it employed, say, men like Terminal Lance creator Maximilian Uriarte. His New York Times bestseller, “The White Donkey,” should officially put that debate to rest.

“The White Donkey” is the story about Abe, a young man who left his small Oregon town in search of … something. He wasn’t quiet sure what he was looking for, but he thought he might find it in the United States Marine Corps as an infantryman. Abe, his best buddy Jesus Garcia, and the rest of their battalion are eventually deployed to Iraq. There is not much more I can say without spoiling the book other than to note its honesty rivals National Book Award Winner Redeployment,” by Phil Klay.

White Donkey Garcia

Every so often a critic comes to this blog and says something along the lines of, “You write about popular culture because you wanted to make it in Hollywood and never did.”

Yes, I did go to USC upon exiting the Army as a mechanized infantryman, but nothing could be further from the truth regarding professional regrets. In fact, a better personal attack would be that I exited the military prior to 9/11, didn’t have the courage to re-enlist after the Twin Towers fell, and that it still haunts me to this day.

There actually is some truth to that — I carried a ton of guilt with me for years after 9/11, which was exacerbated after a friend of mine, Hector Leija, had his head blown off in Iraq by a sniper. I disclose these details because readers need to know that everything that happens to “Abe” prior to his deployment is eerily close to what I experienced as a peace time soldier (i.e., it’s authentic). The characters, situations, and confrontations Abe navigates in many ways mirror my own.

I see myself in Abe (except the atheist part), and cannot help but wonder what I would be like had I stayed in military.

White Donkey leave

If you’re looking for a book with intelligence and emotional weight, then check out “The White Donkey.” If you’re looking for a book that can help civilians better understand returning war veterans, PTSD, and the other burdens they might be carrying, then Uriarte’s work is a must-read. One can only hope that he continues telling tales for many years to come.

Nancy Pelosi: Bush is to blame for Obama’s VA problems — and perhaps 1932 Bonus Army scandal

Pelosi blame someone else

Okay, you got me. Nancy Pelosi did not indicate that George W. Bush was possibly to blame for the Bonus Army march on Washington, D.C. in 1932, but one gets the feeling after hearing her blame ‘W’ for Obama’s VA problems — problems he knew about years ago and vowed to fix — that on the right day she might do so.

The Washington Examiner reported Friday:

 House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., repeatedly put the blame for the Veterans Affairs scandal on former President George W. Bush, while arguing that her party has worked hard for veterans in recent years.

Pelosi took a shot at Bush while saying that the scandal is a high priority for Obama. “He sees the ramifications of some seeds that were sown a long time ago, when you have two wars over a long period of time and many, many more, millions more veterans,” she told reporters during her Thursday press briefing. “And so, I know that he is upset about it.” …

“Maybe when we go into war, we should be thinking about its consequences and its ramifications,” Pelosi said while discussing the scandal. “You would think that would be a given, but maybe it wasn’t. And so, we go in a war in Afghanistan, leave Afghanistan for Iraq with unfinished business in Afghanistan. Ten years later, we have all of these additional veterans. In the past five years, two million more veterans needing benefits from the VA. That’s a huge, huge increase.”

Where do I start? Where would the military be if its members played the blame game like members of Congress? What sort of national security would we have if the entire chain of command spent its limited time and resources coming up with creative way to blame the guy before him? If you ever wanted to know why so many military men downright loathe politicians, Nancy Pelosi’s “blame Bush” speech regarding the VA hospital scandal is a great example. What’s worse is that Bush went to Congress to get approval for both wars. Even a liberal guy like Dennis Kucinich understands the importance behind that historical fact (as inconvenient as it might be for Nancy Pelosi). But I digress.

Perhaps the best way for me to respond is by giving voice to some military guys on one of my favorite sites: Doctrine Man. I love its humor and the moderator’s eye for news, but the comments sections on many stories are often hilarious.

Here are a few responses to Nancy Pelosi’s redirect:


Doctrine Man VA

I have to give a hat tip to Matt Martin for the “still Bush’s fault” for the VA problems from the 1970s comment. It made me laugh and inspired the “Bonus Army” headline.

The VA is not perfect and never will be, but when a man like Obama holds himself up as the keeper of the “Sacred Trust,” then it is beyond pathetic for he and his acolytes to shift blame onto a man over five years removed from office.

Major Garret reported for National Journal May 20:

Running for president in May of 2008, then-Sen. Barack Obama delivered a stem-winder on mismanagement of veterans care under President George W. Bush, recalling the story of an 89-year-old South Carolina veteran who committed suicide after being repeatedly denied access to health care.

“How can we let this happen?” Obama thundered in front of a podium in Charleston, W.Va., that read, “A Sacred Trust; Support our Veterans.” “How is that acceptable in the United States of America? The answer is, it’s not. It’s an outrage. And it’s a betrayal, a betrayal of the ideals that we ask our troops to risk their lives for.”

Well. Well.

A veteran committed suicide because he couldn’t obtain VA care. In South Carolina. The Democratic front-runner for the White House called it an outrage. And yet, when at least six veterans died due to delayed access to colonoscopies in Columbia, S.C., neither Obama nor his Veterans Affairs Department said a word. The deaths were first reported in April. At a subsequent field hearing in Columbia, one veteran testified he contracted cancer because VA doctors ignored pleas for a colonoscopy and misdiagnosed severe rectal bleeding and pain as hemorrhoids. The response from Veterans Affairs officials and, by extension, Obama? We’ll get back to you. …

“The president has been nowhere to be found,” [The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Jeff Miller (R-Fla.)] said. “The White House truly thought this would go away over time. But the pressure is mounting. Whistle-blowers are coming forward. They see strength in numbers.”

And with that, I would merely request that you watch Jon Stewart’s intellectual atom bomb explode on the VA scandal if you haven’t already. It’s a must-see.

I look forward to Nancy Pelosi’s future press conference, where she blames George W. Bush for the low moral of General George Washington’s troops in the winter of 1777.



Obama Touts Promises Kept Video. Harry Reid’s Iraq War Surrender Ignored.

During the darkest days of the Iraq War, Harry Reid literally surrendered. The left took out ads casting General Petraeus as "General Betray Us." Barack Obama opposed the surge. And yet, his "Promises Kept" video never mentions any of those things. Neither will most historians. Conservative bloggers, much to their chagrin, have good memories.

Barack Obama’s campaign for reelection has just released a new video, Ending the War in Iraq: A Promise Kept.

“Iraq’s future will be in the hands of its people. America’s war in Iraq will be over. There was one constant—your patriotism. Your commitment to fulfill your missions. Your abiding commitment to one another. That did not change. That did not waver…The War in Iraq will soon belong to history. Your service belongs to the ages.”

I don’t agree with the president with much, but he’s right when he says that the soldiers’ commitment to the mission remained constant. His sin of omission is that he neglects to mention his own mercurial positions on the war, or the left’s attempts to undermine the effort at every turn. President Obama opposed the surge. Harry Reid literally surrendered, saying that the war “was lost.” The anti-war movement beat their bongo drums and marched in the streets right up until the day George Bush left office, at which time they decided making evil papier-mâché effigies of Obama wasn’t worth the effort.

President Obama also missteps when he says the Iraq War will soon belong to history. It always belonged to history, which is why his efforts, and the efforts of the left to cut the mission off at the knees during its darkest days are so contemptible. While George Bush was trying to secure victory, liberalism’s top brass was encouraging everyone to pack up the tents and go home. When there were signs of success, there were headlines like, “As Violence Falls in Iraq, Cemetery Workers Feel the Pinch”:

A drop in violence around Iraq has cut burials in the huge Wadi al Salam cemetery here by at least one-third in the past six months, and that’s cut the pay of thousands of workers who make their living digging graves, washing corpses or selling burial shrouds.

In a sane world, the history books would reflect who, precisely, empowered the type of people who would wait until the fate of Iraq hung in the balance to take out ads casting General Petraeus as “General Betray Us.” In a sane world, the reckless rhetoric of candidate Obama (i.e., “air raiding and killing civilians” in Afghanistan) would have its own chapter in books titled How Not to Win a War. Sadly, most of the chroniclers of history subscribe to the Howard Zinn school of thought.  Men like Ward Churchill, the infamous University of Colorado at Boulder professor who referred to World Trade Center workers as “little Eichmanns,” populate our nation’s campuses and fill our kids’ heads with pernicious mush.

As campaign season kicks into high gear, President Obama will continue to release more “Promises Kept” videos. That’s understandable, but it’s also like a termite taking credit for saving the house after a pest control officer clears out the infestation.

Students’ Obama Hangover Sadder Than P-Funk All Star Followers in a Diaper.

American and Howard University Students’ Obama Hangover Sadder Than George Clinton (or Gary Shider) followers in a Diaper.

It turns out the kids at American and Howard University are not all right, (or if you prefer, all right).

“[Funk the War] is youth and students coming together for a mobile dance party to show that we’re in a “bad romance” with the Obama administration and the U.S. government,” said Brian Menifee, a sophomore at Howard University who helped organize the event.

Is anyone other than these clowns surprised that individuals who would title their event “Funk the War” are also gullible enough to believe a guy who makes Youtube Diplomacy a serious building block of his foreign-policy house (of cards)? We’ve all seen how it’s working out for him…

And is anyone other than your friendly neighborhood conservative and his amazing friends surprised that the same liberal kiddies who claim to “support the troops” have resorted to the ol’ tried-and-true  “show them you love them by smashing in their windows with yellow paint cans,” valentine?

Protesters were shouting, “Who do you protect? Who do you serve?” and started to go into another chant when the sound of shattering glass stopped them. A large yellow splatter of paint then appeared on one of the windows of the recruitment center.

I guess this is to be expected by the geniuses who hone their foreign policy chops by listening to sunshine patriots like Billie Joe Armstrong, Sum 41, NOFX, and other faux-intellectual artists that lace their lyrics with hopeandchange vagueness high on self-righteousness and low on specifics.

During graduate school (at American University) I tried to tell the kids they would be left feeling unsatisfied with the snake oil President Obama was selling.

Now that you’re down from your “day dream high,” how about taking a second look at conservatism? Or just smash in another recruitment window… Who’s the “American Idiot” again, Billie Joe? I can wait to see the temper tantrums when this healthcare boondoggle blows up in their face, either through electoral losses…or decreased access and quality down the road.

Next time you fools put on a “funk” protest, at least channel a little George Clinton. Then I can watch it all from a Five Guys and ask, “Do Fries Go With That Shake?”

UPDATE: I’ve been informed that Google image searching for George Clinton actually provided me with an image of aging P-Funk All Star Gary Shider (who has collaborated with Clinton on numerous occasions). Sorry for the error. I was busy taking orders from my Jewish overlords and made a sloppy mistake. I hope my liberal critics can now rest easy before they attack another recruiter’s office with paint cans and Ward Churchill-inspired rhetoric.

Liberalism, Iraqi Grave Diggers’ Union, and Captain Kirk’s Green Chicks.

There’s an article that came out a few years ago that I’ll never forget. You may remember it by its title: “As Violence Falls in Iraq, Cemetery Workers Feel The Pinch.” On the ticker tape printout of

Choose these "green" chicks over liberal "green" chicks and you'll be okay, Captain Kirk.

history the article won’t even garner a blip, but I think the mere fact that it was brought into existence says something about modern-day liberalism with the clarity of a solar flare.

The pesky thing about our liberal friends, who did everything in their power to bring about complete and utter failure in Iraq—including outright surrender—is that they’ll dissipate like invisible cosmic space dust only those who study politics for a living will be able to detect. And the sad thing is, most academics have the interesting distinction of falling into both camps.  This begs the question: What do you do when the chroniclers of history are also history’s perpetual failure-faces? If you’re a conservative, I guess you blog. And if you’re the Republican Governors Association, you create videos like this. And then you hope that some other kid on his maiden voyage into the intellectual ether of the Internet will come across your words like a young Captain Kirk. And if he’s lucky he’ll hook up with a green chick sometime before he dies (literally green—not the environmentally-green hippie chicks, because if their smell was a color it would usually be brown, but I digress)…

Back to the subject at hand. What editor looked at an improving situation in Iraq and thought, “This is a great opportunity to highlight the plight of the Iraqi gravedigger,”? Apparently, the big bad United States is always making enemies. If it’s accidentally killing civilians (i.e., people who were transmogrified into human shields when terrorists decided to use them as such), it’s the bad guy. If it’s protecting the civilian population to the extent that people are no longer taking dirt-naps, the Gravediggers Union is suddenly upset. Just as I learned from my liberal professors years ago: we’re always the bad guy (For those of you who haven’t had the opportunity to experience the American-guilt-ridden professor and the student-loan debt they give you like a nasty STD, please just pick a modern Hollywood war movie from your net-flicks cue and you’ll see what I’m talking about).

If there’s someone out there who has a little time on their hands, I suggest putting together a compilation of the doomsday scenarios proffered nightly in the wake of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bizarro cheerleading for failure during the darkest days of the Iraq war was something that certainly didn’t Smell Like Teen Spirit; it smelled like the musty pheromones given off from a Chris Matthews leg-tingle, and I think the world would benefit from seeing all such stories put together in one place for easy access.

Harry Reid: Americans are Thundercats…and he’s SNARF

Harry Reid seems to think Two and a Half Men has been canceled, because otherwise Charlie Sheen wouldn’t keep finding himself in weird spousal abuse tabloid catnip fiascos.  Or maybe Harry Reid is just prone to saying really dumb things. Or was that really really dumb things?

The top Democrat in the U.S. Senate apologized on Saturday for comments he made about Barack Obama’s race during the 2008 presidential bid.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada described then-Sen. Barack Obama as “light skinned” and “with no Negro dialect,”…

“I deeply regret using such a poor choice of words. I sincerely apologize for offending any and all Americans, especially African-Americans for my improper comments,” Reid said in a statement released after the excerpts were reported on the Web site of The Atlantic.

What does that mean? “I deeply regret using such a poor choice of words.” There’s really no way to sugar coat what he was saying, but since he votes the “right” way for the mainstream media he lives to see another day; if he had an ‘R’ next to his name he’d be run out of town.

Or maybe I’m the one with mental problems because I’m trying to psychoanalyze the guy who will forever be known as America’s capitulation rodeo clown. Sure, liberal historians are probably already trying to figure out how to spin his electoral death wish, – and perhaps they’ll succeed – but it doesn’t matter. There’s no coming back from surrender. While George Bush was fighting to survive (God bless you, JCVD), Harry Reid was playing Surrender Snarf talking about war wounds.

And isn’t that always the case? In a world where Democrats and Republicans are all good guys, we’re all Thundercats in this big bad Iranian mullah nut, nuke desiring, Mumra of a world, why do Democrats always opt to identify themselves as SNARF?