Shooting War: The Horror of Iraq Goes Graphic [Video]

Editor's note: The video to the right is a trailer film based on Shooting War, a full-color 192-page hardcover graphic novel written by Anthony Lappé and drawn by Dan Goldman. Shooting War has received growing attention from audiences and the press in recent months.

AlteNet published a review of Shooting War:
It's the year 2011. John McCain is our unpopular president, the war in Iraq rages on, gasoline is $10 a gallon, and Tom Cruise and Mary-Kate Olsen have just called it quits. When videoblogger Jimmy Burns captures on camera a suicide bomb blast that rocks a Brooklyn Starbucks (destroying his apartment above), he's immediately hired by maverick network Global News and packed off to Iraq.
Read more of the review here.

Anthony Lappé explains how Shooting War came about in this interview, which also features a lengthy excerpt from the graphic novel:

Q: What inspired you to write Shooting War?

Lappé: Shooting War was in part inspired by my own reporting in Iraq for a documentary I produced for the Guerrilla News Network (with my partner Stephen Marshall) called

BattleGround: 21 Days on the Empire's Edge. We traveled across the country just as the insurgency was beginning to gain strength, trying to understand the various forces that were fueling resistance to the coalition occupation. Near the end of our trip, we found ourselves smack in the middle of the Sunni Triangle interviewing Lt. Col. Nate Sassaman; the cocky former West Point quarterback had become a legend among his men for his aggressive attitude and tactics. After vehemently denying allegations locals made to us that his unit beat up old ladies, shot pets and hauled off innocent young men in midnight raids, a frustrated Sassaman blurted out, "My life is a surreal movie. Everyday I wake up, and it's a surreal movie." (Sassaman later resigned in disgrace after trying to cover up the killing of an Iraqi teenager by two of his men.)

Sassaman's comment stuck with me. And as soon as I got home, I began crafting a storyline in my head to try and capture the former college football star's moment of clarity. All war is to some extent or another inherently surreal, but Iraq will surely be the most surreal of our lifetime. The utterly avoidable conflict has turned into a Hobbesian war of all against all -- thrusting hundreds of thousands of jacked-up PS2-reared American ass-kickers, most of whom who can't find Iraq on a map, let alone explain the difference between Shia and Sunni, into a cauldron of centuries-old hatred and conflict.

I am convinced it will go down in history as one of the greatest military blunders of the modern era. It is a great tragedy. But also an incredible farce. And it is the intersection of tragedy and surreal farce that I try to capture in Shooting War.

I set Shooting War in 2011 as a sort of thought experiment, to take today's headlines and extrapolate where we might be headed. Of course, my future ain't pretty. Imagine today's rash of bad news. I mean there's a shitload of really bad news right now -- but multiply that by ten, maybe eleven. I freely admit it's a dark vision of the worst-case scenario of where the Bush agenda is leading us. There's a global oil crisis, the U.S. economy is busted, and the Middle East has devolved into regional strife. And, of course, in Iraq, a full-on civil war is raging, but our allies are not who you think they'd be.

Read more...

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