Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry


The 'war on terrorism', is very commonly propagated by the American government. It is usually covered by the national media, all over the newspapers and even advertised in kids toys. The U.S government does a good job of displacing the peoples anger of 'terrorist bombings', and rousing support for the war. One of the most common comes in the form of political cartoons.

The image I chose was taken off the internet, but originally debuted as a political cartoon in the Herald Tribune, an American newspaper. It's an image of three very Islamic men, sitting in a cave watching an American telecast of the President saying that the "U.S is NOT at war with Islam".
Two of the three men, sitting among their supplies and weapon, are very puzzled by the situation. The last man, presumably Osama Bin Laden, is very displeased because he is sitting with arms crossed and an expression of deep discontent.

The example, is humorously, making it out to be as though the three men in the cave, who represent the Al Qaeda force, look unreasonable. By claiming that the U.S is not fighting against Islam, and that it is not the cause for the war that was going on in Iraq. Two of the men are confused about the situation, and are wondering who won this said 'war', and the last member, presumably Bin Laden, does not look impressed by Obama's claims. It's trying to poke fun at the idea that the citizens of Iraq don't know why they are fighting a war, and who is the cause for it. The intention is to make the Al Qaeda leaders look silly and flawed.

Humour is most definitely one of the biggest and most evident. Since this is a political cartoon, it usually uses humour to make light of a serious situation and to make the public feel as though the threat is not that serious or important. Aside from this there is also some rather ambiguous name calling. They are dehumanizing the Iraqi leaders somewhat, by making them out to be stupider than they are, to make them look as though they are of no consequence and as though they are merely sheep following orders. That way it doesn't feel so bad to make fun of them, and to mock them for not being aware of their own circumstance. There is a very clear link to the Islamic faith, which gives a feeling of distance between the masses and the victim of the mockery. This cartoon puts a face on the 'enemy', and therefore gives a place for the aggression to be diverted to. There is also a significant amount of irony, because the leaders of the Al Qaeda force ARE Islamic, and therefore saying that the U.S is NOT in a war against Islam is somewhat misleading considering that the primary opposition are Islamic extremists.

I think it's a rather effective cartoon, however I do think it's a little bit difficult to decipher. The true meaning is a little beyond most people I think, although the characters and the symbols are very much specific and work very well to identify the enemy, and the 'ray of hope' that is the American president. I think overall it would work rather well because it's so easy to identify the characters and the intentions of each party. It's very ironic, it's also well illustrated and it adds to the general idea against the Al Qaeda force. It's certainly misleading, to say that the U.S is not at war against Islam, because to a certain degree they are...considering there are no oppositional forces of any other religious group.

Overall, I think this was a very good demonstration of U.S anti-terrorism propaganda. There is a lot of advertising, televising and writing about the war on terrorism. But the reality is that the war on terrorism is a degree of terrorism itself, just with a bigger budget. Considering how many civilians are hurt in the crossfire because of this 'war on terror', it's hard to say that we are better than the 'terrorists' themselves. In comparison to the few attacks they have launched, the war in Iraq was by far more devastating to their citizens than to those of America.
Therefore, it's easy to victimize and put the blame on others, which makes this cartoon very effective at finding an outlet for aggression and anger.