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B. D. and Uncle Duke
in "Apocalypse 2003 Iraq"

Longtime fans of Garry Trudeau's comic strip Doonesbury love to hate Uncle Duke, a character clearly enough like gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson that the latter has made death threats against Trudeau. We also adore and grieve for Honey, Duke's Chinese slave, factotum, and doormat, who first made her appearance when Duke was US Ambassador to China.

B. D., of course, has been a Doonesbury character from the beginning, when he was Mike's roommate. Indeed, he was the very first character in Trudeau's very first strip (30 Sep 1968) at Yale, back when it was called "Bull Tales". He has been a "college football star, Vietnam vet, third-string quarterback for the Rams, Gulf War reservist, (and) California Highway Patrol officer". -- (Slate)

Duke always seems to manage to carpetbag his way into any currently newsworthy unstable situation, and the recent (2003) war in Iraq is no exception. Over many weeks, we have seen Duke gradually assume total dictatorship of a small city, Al Amok, somewhere in Iraq.

From Doonesbury, Sunday, 05 Oct 2003:

Duke: “Hear all that yodelling from the minarets? Every time it starts up, the entire population hits the deck and starts bowing toward me!”

Honey: “They bow toward you?

Duke: “Five times a day! I mean, I know it’s a sign of a respect, but frankly, it’s starting to creep me out.”

Honey: “Sir, it’s their religion...”

Duke: “Well, let’s ban it. I don’t like the bar set that high.”

Washington is horrified that Duke -- as usual -- has become a loose cannon, and during the weeks of 06-11 and 13-18 Oct 2003, B. D. executes a mission that bears a suspicious resemblance to Martin Sheen's mission to arrest (or kill) Marlon Brando.

From Doonesbury, Sunday, 05 Oct 2003:

Caption (in B. D.’s voice): “Our boat’s an MK-2 we scrounged off the engineers working on the Tigris ribbon bridges... retrofitted with twin .50’s and a canopy, like the old brown-water PBR’s in 'Nam. The mission? Classified.”

(The panel shows B. D. looking at a CIA-type dossier, with the standard 8x10 B&W glossy headshot -- of Uncle Duke, of course.)

From Doonesbury, Sunday, 15 Oct 2003:

Duke: “Okay, I want gun emplacements in each one of those minarets! And snipers on that mosque! Got it?”
Duke is saved when CNN reporter Roland Hedley blows B. D.'s cover, and he is forced to abort the mission.

From Doonesbury, Sunday, 18 Oct 2003:

Duke: “Don’t worry, Honey. All is good.”

Teevee (in Roland Hedley’s voice): “The hit seems to be on hold, Aaron...”

Teevee (in B. D.’s voice): “Get off my boat!

(This writeup originally appeared in the "Apocalypse Now" node and has been moved due to popular demand.)

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