[15 December 2008]
As George W. Bush winds down his very controversial presidency, it seems likely that he will be remembered most for his mishandling of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Almost eight years after the fact, Osama bin Laden is still at large. Despite promises from the Bush Administration that the most well-known terrorist in the world would be caught and punished for his crimes, he is still out there. Instead, Saddam Hussein, Iraq’s former dictator became the administration’s focus. He was successfully captured and executed a few years ago and since then, the Iraq War has limped on at the expense of thousands of American soldiers with no end in sight.
While President-Elect Barack Obama is hard at work picking members of his presidential cabinet and working to solve the nation’s economic crisis, many Americans still ponder how America, once the model for democracy and peace, has managed to sink so low into the quagmire that the Bush Administration once called Operation Iraqi Freedom. That’s where comic book veterans Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón come in.
Almost two years to the day after the release of their revolutionary graphic novel, The 9/11 Commission Report: A Graphic Adaptation the collaborators released their highly-anticipated follow-up in August. After 9/11: America’s War on Terror (2001- ) illustrates in true comic book form the barrage of missteps taken by the Bush Administration following the events of 9/11.
This time, rather than use government documents a la’ The 9/11 Commission Report, Jacobson and Colón relied on coverage from major news outlets all over the world. The familiar stories you’ve seen, heard, and read: from America’s hunt for Osama bin Laden to the invasion of Iraq, are brought back to life through Colón’s vivid, full-color drawings that depict the war’s key players as accurately as if the reader were watching it on television.
In retelling the events of the seven years since the attacks on America, the authors chose only what they felt to be the most important details, painting a portrait of the Bush Administration as fear mongers caught up in their own selfish quest to capture and execute Saddam Hussein. The beauty in this kind of adaptation is that what unfolds is not a fabricated opinion of what the authors think happened during this time but instead, clear-cut facts that neatly package all of the major events ranging from September 11, 2001 to the printing of this book in June 2008. That’s seven years of government fabrications, political scandals, natural disasters, public opinion polls, war casualties and political elections. Like Bush’s War on Terror, After 9/11 concludes with no end in sight. Providing updates right up to the book’s printing, Colón and Jacobson manage to provide much-needed clarity to a war often compared to Vietnam.
Today, the war in Iraq rages on. With only weeks away until Obama is sworn in as the new President of the United States, the American people will have to trust that they made the right decision. With so much at stake, let’s hope the new President has learned from the past; that he is wiser in this post-9/11 society. He’s made a promise that he will end the War in Iraq and that his administration will capture and punish Osama bin Laden. If Obama keeps that promise, perhaps we should expect another comic book sequel; this time, one with a definite end.