In NY Times Tale of Terrorism, All the Villains are American

February 4th, 2007 6:53 AM
"We have met the enemy and he is us." - Pogo comic strip, 1971

Nicholas Kristof has apparently embraced the Walt Kelly view of America. When it comes to the war in Iraq, the only evildoers the New York Times columnist seems to see are Americans.

At the foot of his pay-to-play of column of January 23rd, Kristof invited readers to submit their literary analogies for President Bush and Iraq. In today's columnn, Kristof mentions having received over 400 reader responses.

And which entry does Kristof choose to feature at the column's beginning and that might fairly be taken as his unofficial winner? One that analogizes the various actors in the play to characters from Harry Potter. I set forth below the reader's analogies, followed by a description of the character as culled from their Wikipedia entries.

Dick Cheney is Lord Voldemort: The series' main villain, bent on securing unmatched power, he harbors a genocidal hatred of humans without magic and is obsessed by achieving immortality through the practice of the Dark Arts.

George W. Bush is Peter Pettigrew - An evil wizard who takes the form of a rat, Pettigrew is a minion to Voldemort.

Donald Rumsfeld is Lucius Malfoy - Another evil wizard who employed the wizarding terrorist organisation led by Lord Voldemort. [Note that "malfoy" is a Latin construction meaning "bad faith."]

The American public that supports the war is Cornelius Fudge - a bumbler who is hostile to hero Harry Potter, a paranoid and suspicious person who uses smear campaigns to attack his enemies.

Fox News is Rita Skeeter - A reporter who fabricated information in order to write an appealing story, she was an antagonist to hero Harry and his friends.

As remarkable as the analogies Kristof found so appealing are those that are missing. No Saddam Hussein. No al-Qaeda in Iraq. No Moktada al-Sadr. No Ahmadinejad pulling murderous strings. In the view of Kristof and his like-minded readers, all the villians are Americans, and all the Americans noted are villians.

Perhaps NewsBusters readers would like to engage in some literary analogizing of their own for a variety of characters -- beginning with Kristof himself.

Mark was in Iraq in November. Contact him at