Cartooning the Iraq War: No laughing matter

Document Type

Journal Article


Temple University


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science


School of Psychology and Social Science




Hudson-Rodd, N., & Ramanathaiyer, S. (2006). Cartooning the Iraq War: No laughing matter. International Journal of Comic Art, 8(1)


Cartooning is a form of knowledge, which causes trouble for intellectual and moral smugness. Political cartoonists force us to consider difference.

Cartoonists expose us to ideas, which concentrate our attention on the absurdity of political leaders and the media.

People in the U.S. were severely distracted by the "War on Terrorism” Discussion was being short-circuited post September 11/ 2001 (Didion, 2003) There was a brief period of time after the attack when people questioned, wondered, and sought to explore reasons for what was happening. By November 2001, the tone of discussion in the U.S. changed from one of national introspection to one of blaming Islamic societies for creating terrorists. Instead of vigorous democratic debate, old issues were raised and took hold. Joan Didion argues the "persistent suggestions that anyone who expressed reservations about detentions, or military tribunals, was at some level ‘against’ America. (As in the presidential formulation 'You're either with us or you’re with the terrorist"' (Didion, 2003:30). The public was expected to support a perpetual state of war.

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