Below is the latest The Pain -- When Will It End?
Updated 03/26/03

Artist's Statement

I think most people who oppose this war have felt ambivalent and conflicted since it's begun. It is hard not to feel a grim complacency now that the right-wing policy wonks who invented this war are having their arrogance and delusions exposed by reality. Did they actually imagine that invaders would be greeted with dancing and flowers, that people wouldn't fight to defend their homeland? And yet now that Americans are being interrogated on TV and coming home in boxes and Iraqi civilians are being blown up at the market the awful human reality of war makes it impossible to take much satisfaction in saying I told you so. But of course this is one of the reasons why I kept telling them so. Let's not forget that it's George Bush, hero of the Texas Air National Guard, who put those young men and women in that situation. You think he honestly gives a shit about the troops?

I just couldn't help but go for the "Support Our Troops" thing this week, because it's the one one thing that everyone, pro- and anti-war, has to agree on. And anytime nobody's willing to question or contradict something, you know that thing is a lie--propaganda, myth, or religion. I had sort of a great conversation with my friend Jim (pictured, w/ machine gun, in this cartoon) last week. I was fretting about how much more difficult and complicated it was going to be to oppose the war once it was a fait accompli and everyone started rallying around the President, supporting the troops. "I don't give a shit about the troops," he said. "What, they didn't think they might have to go kill people when they signed up? Then they're idiots. And if they did, they're assholes. Fuck the troops."  This is the sort of thing even I would never say--not so much because I don't think it's true as because my own life has been so privileged that I feel like I don't have the right to pass judgment on people who see the armed forces as their best opportunity. And I have a couple of friends who've been in the military--smarter, kinder guys than whom you are unlikely to meet. I am not the sort of person who'd spit on returning troops. It's not their fault. Plus I am way too polite. Still, it's always exhilarating just to hear the unspeakable, taboo thing said out loud. Which is why Jim is one of my closest advisors. And it's what I try to do in my own cartoons, on good days.

But this cartoon really isn't so much about supporting the troops as it is about refusing to rally behind the government now that they've gone ahead and ignored us and the rest of the world and done what they wanted. It illustrates the analogy I keep making in talking to people about this; if you have a friend who's planning the perfect murder, you should try to talk him out of it, tell him it's not going to work, he'll go to jail, plus even if he were to get away with it killing is still, like, wrong--and then if he goes ahead with it anyway you don't drop your objections and support him 100% and offer to drive the getaway car.

Yesterday, while I was suffering from food poisoning, I was lying wretchedly in bed listening to the radio, and, in my delerium, heard a program that played both pro- and anti-war songs. Listening helplessly to shitkicker pop-country tunes about remembering 9-11 and kicking ass in Iraq, too weak to get up and shut off the radio, all I could do was thrash around in a sheen of cold sweat, moaning, "No... no..." I remembered, then, who the majority of Americans who support this war are: fucking idiots. People whose brains stopped developing sometime in middle school. You know what their arguments are? "Payback time." "Freedom Isn't free." "U.S.A." That's it. That's as far as they've thought it through. And if you tried to explain to them that actually Hussein had no connection to 9/11 and people like Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld and Cheney have been planning to invade Iraq since before they got back into power, their rebuttal would be: "You little faggot."

Fuck them all.