Get Your War On, the omnibus edition

Over the weekend, I gave over a few pleasurable hours to the absolute, white-hot rage you can only get from reading David Rees's scorching, relentless, brilliant Get Your War On: The Definitive Account of the War on Terror, 2001-2008, the omnibus edition collecting the full run of the strip.

Rees's minimalist, clip-art graphics combined with his profane (top marks for inspired and expressive use of the word 'fuck' -- next time an English teacher tells you cursing isn't an effective way of expressing yourself, produce this book and win the day) torrent of raging, pitiless, vicious, relentless attacks on the stupidity of the War on Terror made GET YOUR WAR ON the single consistently credible voice during the Bush Years.

It's easy to forget all the screw-ups that took place over that time -- massive, fatal screw-ups, from Harriet Meier to Tom DeLay linking abortion to illegal immigration. But who can forget Bionic Abu-Ghraib Man, or the vicious beating that Rees doled out to liberals who let themselves be cowed by "9/11 changed everything" rhetoric?

Rees's gift for Bill-Hicks-like rhetoric set his strip apart from every other political cartoon I've read -- it's like Doonesbury with Tourette's:

On US forces losing 380 tons of explosives to insurgents in Iraq: "Do you think Mohamed ElBaradei is currently running around with 380 tons of Schadenfreude? The worst thing about working at the IAEA is that nobody can hear you say 'I told you so.' On account of all the explosions. God, wouldn't it be ironing if the Iraq war somehow increased terrorism? Who could have predicted such irony? Maybe ninety percent of the world or something?"

On Condoleeza Rice's appointment to Secretary of State: "How can you not love our new Secretary of State? Have you ever heard her PLAY THE PIANO? Seriously, dude, she's really good...But I think her wonderful talent is best when applied to Chopin's later works. She draws out his whimsical melodies without over emphasizing the subharmonics of dead people and billions of dollars flushed down the fucking toilet."

Terry Schvaio's feeding tube speaks: "'Culture of Life?' You're going to start legislating based on phrases stolen from herbal tea packaging? Why not 'Sleepytime Lemon Traditions?' Fuckin' hold midnight congressional sessions about that you dumb fucks!

On Pat Robertson claiming that federal judges are a more serious threat to America than Al Qaeda, the 9/11 terrorists, Nazi Germany, Japan and the civil war: "So here's my offer: I'll spend a year in the company of federal judges if Pat Robertson will spend just a year in a Nazi concentration camp. No, wait -- I'll actually fly on a 747 with federal judges if Pat Robertson will fly on a 747 with Islamic terrorists..." "Stop making fun! If you don't...the federal judges have won!"

On the White House's response to the crisis in Darfur: "Come on, be fair. Bush has sent tons of humanitarian aid over there." "Well, that's a relief -- nobody wants to be gang-raped on an empty stomach."

On security theater: "How come the terror plots that lead to the worst airport inconveniences are the fuckin' B-list, retarded terror plots that would never work? If I'm gonna have to surrender my shoes or shampoo or whatever, at least let is be because people have actually been killed! Enough of this theoretical bubblegum-missile bullshit!" "I wish someone would try to blow up a plan using New Age music, so I wouldn't have to sit and listen to that shit while people are boarding." "Do you think we could pay a terrorist to try to kill infidels using some kind of 'lack of legroom in coach' bomb?"

On Hurricane Katrina: "How did you celebrate the two-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina?" "I floated face-down in my pool for a couple days, contemplating all the people who don't give a shit about me." "I went into 'White House Crisis Mode:' I rolled up my sleeves and stuck my thumb up my ass."

On Blackwater: "Who would've thought we'd see an accusation of too much deadly force from a firm called 'Blackwater?' The fuckin' name only sounds like an evil wizard's military compound." "Why not just call themselves Deathfang's Midnight Posse of Merciless Skull Warriors?"

Get Your War On: The Definitive Account of the War on Terror, 2001-2008


  1. Yah, Bush was wrong to invade Iraq. His “Imperial Presidency” was one of marked cronyism and often cruel self-indulgence. However, he was right to establish a doctrine that holds those who harbor, train and support terrorists as responsible as the terrorists themselves. He was right to take the war on terror abroad instead of waiting until dangers fully materialize. He was right to strengthen the military and intelligence and to create the new tools to monitor the communications of terrorists, freeze their assets, foil their plots, and kill & capture their operators.

  2. Bought and paid for Cory! Got a taste of Mr. Rees’s work on his blog. I can’t wait to own it, read it, and force my friends to buy and read it too..

  3. To B.E.D. above and others:

    It’s best not to glide over the fact that the wrong invasion of Iraq has killed many hundreds of thousands more innocent people than every terrorist action on the planet in at least the last generation. The wrong war has also dissolved hundreds of billions of dollars that could have vastly addressed the many inequities — equal access to safe drinking water, for instance — that creates the desperation that fuels terrorist activities. To pretend as though this were a mistake within an otherwise sound world view is exactly what GYWO makes fun of as absurd and hateful.

    Also, if recent evidence and expert opinion are to be given any regard, the U.S. military model is exactly the wrong structure to address terrorism. The catastrophe terrorism of September 11, 2001, could not have been avoided with more tanks and bombers and submarines. The far more pervasive terrorism of domestic abuse, human trafficking, and policies of deprivation also can’t be addressed with military hardware.

  4. This man is a genius. Be sure to check out his ‘filing technique’ and ‘fighting technique’ comics as well.

  5. We would be remiss if we did not mention the earlier, seminal work My New Fighting Technique is Unstoppable,

    in which Mr. Rees’ commentary hones in, with laserlike precision, on motherfucking Kung-Fu Snoopy in the motherfucking house and the timing of ambulance drivers.

  6. Very funny Big Ed! You had me going for a second or two.

    I love this book and your description of reading morphing into white-hot rage. Mr. Rees captured the truth when Bush and Company sold lies. I read the complete series on-line but wanted the book so I can show later generations the terror that a bad administration can bring to the American people; all in our name! While I am at it: Fuck You George Bush!

  7. Can’t do it. Can’t let this one slide.

    “He was right to strengthen the military”
    By plunging them into two different wars, overextending their stays, not giving them the right equipment, underfunding them, employing torture so the people who captured them felt they were morally justified in doing the same?

    “holds those who harbor, train and support terrorists as responsible as the terrorists themselves”
    Unless those people happen to be doing business with him and his Daddy, or uncle Dick. Or unless those people are his Daddy and uncle Dick.

    “He was right to take the war on terror abroad instead of waiting until dangers fully materialize.”
    If only he had done that when presented with a PDB saying Bin Laden determined to attack US, or the one describing how they would fly aircraft into building. (I’m no truther; never blame on malice what you can blame on incompetence or simply not giving a shit.)

    “new tools to monitor the communications of terrorists”
    Which have failed to capture anyone, but have allowed innocent people surveilled because they disagreed with the administration?

    “kill & capture their operators”
    Remember the day Bush brought Osama to justice? How we all cheered and cheered! The Bush Administration had finally made us all safe forever!!!

    I really just want to welcome Big Ed, representative from Republican World to BoingBoing and, dare I say, reality? This is right up there with how you partially blamed the financial crisis on Freddie and Fanny.

  8. “,,,He was right to take the war on terror abroad instead of waiting until dangers fully materialize.”


    That is crystal ball pre-emption; it’s also fucking insane. It’s like the old Smith Act, which jailed friends of mine for — get this — conspiring to someday conspire to violently overthrow the state! Wow. Reads like heavy-handed satire, doesn’t it? Guilty of agreeing to maybe get together at a later date to plan a revolution!

    The Bush Doctrine is just as lunatic. Witness Iraq. A totally unnecessary war waged on false assumptions. Paranoids, lunatics, ignoroids and morans ran the Ship of State onto the rocks. And here we sit…

    So it goes.

  9. Does anybody still believe that “islamofascism” is still the biggest threat the US faces? If so, it’s due to their outdated xenophobia, and the inconvenient fact that we can’t start a Global War on Corrupt Financiers.

  10. Hey, I’m sure Bush did some things right, I’m just really hard pressed to think of any right now. I’m sure he remembered to wipe his ass after taking a dump (well. . . I assume so), but just because I agree with his “sphincter cleansing policy” that doesn’t prove his Iraq policy was also sound. In other words, just because Bush may have done some things right that doesn’t give him a pass on the jaw-droppingly unbelievable blunders that did more damage to the US in the end. Even a broken clock is right twice a day. (I would like to personally thank Bush/Cheney for getting Obama elected.)

    Q: How many neo-cons does it take to screw in a light bulb?

    A: Neo-cons don’t bother with light bulbs, they declare a war on “darkness” and set the house on fire.

  11. Firstly, this is awesome.

    Secondly, what happened to the animated version? It seems like the results are about the same as they were a few months ago. It would be a shame if this project got shelved, the voices of the characters were almost exactly the same ones in my head…

  12. “The Definitive Account of the War on Terror, 2001-2008”

    Does anyone else think that this title is implying that the WoT is finished?

  13. This reminds me, Cory. Soft Skull also publishes Bill Hicks. Would you like to check out a copy of LOVE ALL THE PEOPLE, the collection of his routines and other stuff?

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