I actually completed the inks for this cartoon late last year, prior to the piece on how much I dislike Duck Dynasty, but thought I should try selling it to a few tech magazines before running it here. Unfortunately, during the month in which I held onto it, none of them expressed any interest (as of this writing, only one art director has written back to me at all, in fact), so I decided it was finally time to quit reserving the initial publishing rights and share it with my own audience, before the topic passes out of relevance.
The observation that first spawned the idea is back in the news, following bristling declarations by top intelligence officials, and Joseph McCarthy-wannabes in Congress that NSA-whistleblower Edward Snowden is guilty of “treason,” and conspiring with Russia to expose vulnerabilities in America’s security infrastructure. Snowden once again took to the chat rooms to defend himself, in such open defiance of his accusers and would-be captors that it just goes to show how few practical benefits are provided by the mammoth intelligence apparatus at the heart of the debate, for all its massive overreach and potential for corruption: they can’t even predict the movements, or interfere with the actions of one relatively-harmless, scrawny geek, to say nothing of well-armed foreign enemies, or terrorist networks genuinely determined to harm America.
The other irony here is the one illustrated in the cartoon: put another way, the very people crying wolf over Snowden’s actions appear to be wolves themselves. The technique of attributing one’s own bad behavior and personal failings to one’s enemies (or a convenient scapegoat) is well-worn by now, having been described by George Orwell (and tightly summarized by Pee-wee Herman) after it was perfected in the political arena by the Nazis, and routinely flogged in the modern era by right-wing ideologues who are probably too dumb to even realize what they’re doing. It’s no surprise to see it hauled out in this case, though it remains disappointing to hear Obama once again echo the attitudes of his idiot predecessor, whether his motivations are borne out of the usual well-meaning, though foolish dedication to the middle-ground, or something more self-serving and sinister.