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(en) Freedom 6404 22 Feb, 2003 - Book review: Addicted to war

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sun, 30 Mar 2003 10:52:33 +0200 (CEST)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E

Addicted to War: why the US can't kick militarism, by
Joel Andreas (AK Press, £6.95)
If greater support were ever needed for the anti-war
movement, this would be the tool for the job. Joel
Andreas's "illustrated expose" of US militarism should
be photocopied and distributed en masse. Simple to
read, yet with all the information and punch of a
heavy-going academic tome, this graphic novel tells
the shocking truth about American military
aggression, from the early days of US independence up
to Afghanistan and the 'War on Terror'. Despite its
simple format, it still contains sources and quotes that
rival any 'grown-up' hardback.

It's narrated by a mother whose pay cheque is bled by
taxation (funding the $1 million a minute spent by the
Pentagon, we learn) and her son, whose school can't
even afford toilet paper due to cutbacks ("I prefer the
bake sale finance" says one Congressman as he
increases spending on arms). Visually it's superb to
read and easy to comprehend. You can tell someone
that bin Laden was funded and trained by the CIA, but
the frame with Reagan and Osama cuddling back in
the Cold War '80s is far more effective in getting the
message across than an 'intellectual' book that the
average person wouldn't even come across, let alone
glance at.

Addicted to War could've been written at any period
of American history, from George Washington to the
present, precisely because the United States has
constantly been a military aggressor. The whole thing
is condensed brilliantly, with quotes from people in
power and the State Department memos they'd rather
you didn't read. Now updated, with an added chapter
on the 'War on Terror', it's startlingly contemporary
and its ongoing relevance makes it ever more

Although it uses the old cliche of the arms
manufacturer with an evil grin, dollar-sign tie and
cigar, the visual impact of its bite-sized messages is its
strong point. The facts, though not new to most, are
still jaw-dropping. To actually visualise US aggression
and foreign policy in these terms brings it out of its
seemingly abstract, and therefore 'irrelevant' form, and
into its life-and-death reality. The facts are told as
they are. As a graphic novel this can be read by nearly
all ages and by practically anyone. Especially those
who wouldn't go near a 'serious' political book, as
Andreas achieves in a cartoon frame what a
long-winded tome would take a paragraph to do.
Joseph H.

Addicted to War is available from Freedom Press,
price £6.95 (post free in UK, add £1 elsewhere).

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