The aborted American mission to rescue the hostages in Iran did more than precipitate an international uproar and an air of crisis in Washington. It may have also kept six "Doonesbury" strips from ever seeing the light of newsprint.
Lee Salem, managing editor of Universal Press Syndicate, said yesterday from Mission, Kansas, that "events were moving faster than the comic strip" and precluded using the Doonesburys scheduled for next week.
Denying rumours that the strips in question concerned an attempt to rescue Uncle Duke, who was last seen in Iran several months ago trying to buy off an Islamic Revolutionary Guard firing squad, Salem said they actually depicted a trip to the U.S. embassy in Tehran by the Rev. Scott Sloan.
"The problem is, we don't know if the hostages are still there," he said. He revealed that the originator of the popular satirical comic strip. Garry Trudeau, will substitute an episode involving former ambassador-"preppie" George Bush, now a candidate for the Republican nomination for president.
Trudeau could not be reached for comment yesterday. Asked if the decision to cancel the strips was unprecedented for Doonesbury. Salem replied. "I think so.