How Mike Luckovich remembered 2,000 fallen soldiers in 2005

Mike Luckovich comments:

With Memorial Day coming up, I thought I’d talk about a cartoon I did in 2005.

The Iraq war was coming up on its 2,000th casualty so I wanted to do a cartoon marking that.

It took me a while to draw it. I took the word WHY – I never could understand why we were in Iraq in the first place – and I took the 2,000 soldiers who had been killed in Iraq and I wrote each of their names out in the WHY.

The weekend before the 2,000th casualty was going to be announced, I sat at my kitchen table and while I wasn't having to deal with my children, I would write out 100 names at a time. That would take like an inch.  I sort of had it figured out. So I'd write out 100 names when I had a little time and then I'd deal with my children and then go back to the kitchen table and I'd write out some more names.

I had it finished on Monday except for three or four names that hadn’t been announced. My editors liked the cartoon but in looking at it they realized that many of the Latino names had been shortened.  Many Latinos have three names and I was taking off the middle names. My editors told me I needed all three names in there so I had to go back and Wite-Out the names and rewrite them so I had three names.

Three copy editors each took a different letter and went through the names to make sure they were correct.

At the time, we had a publisher who was very pro-Iraq war, totally opposite to me. It was great because he saw the drawing and said, ‘let’s make sure this will work.’ So I accompanied him to the printing press and he ran off some sample prints just to make sure that all the names would be legible.

View the video to hear more about the cartoon created the year Luckovich won one of his two Pulitzer Prizes for editorial cartoons.