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Newspaper Runs Cartoon Showing Anti-War Dem. Shooting Down First Female Combat Pilot

On Friday, The Arizona Republic, Arizona's most widely circulated newspaper, ran a political cartoon mocking Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), the first female pilot to fly in combat. The cartoon showed McSally shot down by Kyrsten Sinema, the Democrat running against McSally in Arizona's U.S. Senate race and a former activist against the Iraq War who actually said, "I don't care" if Americans go fight for the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Dan Nowicki, thepaper's national politics editor, shared the political cartoon on Twitter.

Yes, the newspaper published a cartoon showing the first American woman to fly in combat getting shot down by an anti-war protester who arguably condoned treason.

Indeed, the cartoon was riffing off of the last minutes of the U.S. Senate debate held on Monday, October 15. As the debate was winding down, McSally drew national attention by accusing Sinema of supporting treason.

"You said it was okay for Americans to join the Taliban to fight against us," McSally declared. "I want to ask right now whether you're going to apologize to the veterans and me for saying it's okay to commit treason."

Sinema did not apologize. Instead, she attacked McSally for bringing up the issue. "Martha has chosen to run a campaign like the one you're seeing right now, where she's engaging in ridiculous attacks and smearing my campaign," the Democrat quipped.

On Wednesday, the two women traded barbs again, at a meeting with The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com's editorial board. Sinema described the 2003 Taliban remark as "offhand," responding to a libertarian activist radio host.

McSally appeared on the verge of tears. "I was getting shot at by the Taliban," she said. "This is, like, really, really personal to me to make a remark like that — that says it's OK for an American to actually join their ranks when they're responsible for killing Americans. I believe it's disqualifying for a Senate candidate to say, at any time in their life, it's OK for Americans to go join our enemy."

Sinema responded by referencing her two brothers who served in the military, adding, "I appreciate Martha's service to our country." She attacked McSally, saying the Republican "believes that when I opposed a war, I opposed the troops, and nothing could be further from the truth."

In the political cartoon, Sinema's rocket launcher reads "Substance," while the smoke from the wreckage of McSally's busted plane reads "Shallow Attacks." The caption? "Reason Not Treason," in red, white, and blue.

The cartoon was clever, but utterly baseless — and fundamentally insulting. The Arizona Republic will always have the ignoble distinction of mocking America's first female combat pilot, to support as patriotic a woman who suggested it was acceptable to join the Taliban.