The cartoonist didn't go to war

March 27, 1991

Moir's Gulf

Wild and Woolley. 1991. $12.95.

Reviewed by Tracy Sorensen

When the mainstream media began the six-month march to war last year, cartoonist Alan Moir decided he wasn't going. Instead, he stayed where he was — beside the Sydney Morning Herald's daily editorials — and threw spanners in the works.

His Gulf War drawings have just been published as a collection by the Sydney-based alternative publishers Wild and Woolley.

The book shows how, with devastating effectiveness, Moir seized and thoroughly deflated every new piece of jingoism, hypocrisy and newspeak emanating from the governments of the West who allowed blood to be shed for oil.

The new Hitler? Moir's drawing of Hussein as the West's Frankenstein monster deftly points out who created him. A new world order? Moir's skeletal Eritreans have interesting comments about that. A surgical strike? Surgeon Bush covered in blood from head to foot deflates that one. Hawke as world-class statesman? Hawke in President Bush's pocket.

Some of the humour is very black (a graveyard with the names and ages of children "collaterally damaged"), some of it simply wicked (two marines leaping into a bunker: "Whew ... We made it to the first commercial break ...") and all of it deeply humane.

For Herald readers, these cartoons often undid in a few seconds all the carefully reasoned and sophisticated-sounding arguments for the war put together by the paper's leader-writers.

That kind of courage ought to be rewarded. Buy this book.

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