Countless people still question the government’s retelling of 9/11, even ten years later. Rick Veitch is one of them.And so too, offensively enough, is that putrid leftist website.
In this interview, Veitch discusses the motivation behind ‘The Big Lie,’ discusses terrorism as a communicator and explains how the 1980s changed the comic industry.As does Veitch's and the interviewing site's own insulting attempts to play expert, I'm afraid. The government? Since when was it just the government telling us this? It was practically the terrorists themselves who told us, in a most sadistic way, who they were and why they were attacking the US: because they hated America and despised our freedom, and also hated that Americans didn't adhere to their Islamofascist ideologies (and their religion calls for waging war upon infidels). And 15 of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. Has he not paid attention to that? Clearly, he doesn't care.
Andrew Belonsky: What was the impetus behind ‘The Big Lie?’
Rick Veitch: It started with phone conversations between myself and Thomas Yates. He and I go way back — we went to Kubert School together and then we shared a couple of art-crash pads in our mad youth. Now we live on opposite coasts, but we still get on the phone every once in a while and commiserate about the state of politics. One of the subjects that kept coming up was what the government had told us about 9/11 and how it seemed kind of shaky.
RV: We were angry at how the Bush administration had pushed the invasion of Iraq. Tom and I went around and around like leftists tend to do. But Tom is one of these guys who, when he gets a little bee in his bonnet, he decides to do something, so he began to conceive a comic book or a graphic novel that explores some of these issues. We talked about doing a 9/11 book for a couple of years; he wanted me to write and draw it based on the work I was doing on ‘Army@Love’ for Vertigo.I suppose he sees nothing wrong with the oppression and even torture of dissidents Saddam's regime committed? But here too we can learn how the bankrolling for Veitch's insult to American victims of terror came around.
As the tenth anniversary of 9/11 approached, we both kind of realized, “Wow, this would be a terrific time to get it out there, because people are going to be discussing this very thing, and we want to be part of that conversation.” So Tom went into high gear and pulled it all together. He found a publisher in Image Comics. And he found Brian Romanoff, who organized the funding and provided editorial and research muscle. That’s how ‘The Big Lie’ happened.
AB: Yeah, I was going to ask you about the research process…Boy, he most certainly is making quite an effort to be offensive, by apparently drawing a kind of subtle comparison between conservatives and al Qaeda, and supporting some of the BBC's worst acts of leftism.
RV: For me, I surfed around on the internet, where there’s all kinds of stuff. It’s hard to separate from disinformation and crazy theories and people screaming at each other. I read the Congressional Commission report, which you don’t need to be a Truther to see is full of holes. And David Ray Griffin’s stuff was very inspirational, as was a BBC documentary on the parallel rise of the American Neo-Con movement and Al-Qaeda, called “The Power of Nightmares.”
But I knew that we needed someone like Brian, who was really grounded in the nuts and bolts of what had happened and what the current state of the debate was, and which of the questions were really the ones that warranted pursuing.
AB: There are so many out there.
RV: Right. Obviously we wanted to avoid some of the loonier theories that you see, like space aliens did it. So, Brian provided an invaluable service on that end, as well as providing a pipeline into the extensive network of Truther organizations, who were all very interested in this. Tom and I come from comics, so this helped us a lot.
Aside from that, one of the worst things about his vision is how he refers to "truthers" as though that were a good thing, when in their case, it's just totally bad.
AB: I went back and read some of your other work, including ‘The One.’ I saw some similarities between that book, published in 1985, and ‘The Big Lie.’ ‘The One’ of course deals with the Cold War and nuke fears. In the beginning you open the series with a — was it an actual article from the ‘New York Times’ from [communication theorist] Marshall McLuhan about the bomb as a communicator?It doesn't take much to guess that he's referring to Albert Einstein's own research and its launch upon Hiroshima, Japan, at the end of WW2, completely without noting the fact that it was meant to send a clear message to a country that at the time was an antogonist, and also responsible for the Rape of Nanking. Sadly, it seems little likely that he considers Iran's own nuclear development to be a problem by contrast. His statements not only signal quite a bit of ignorance, but also make clear he's gone deep downhill over the years, and sees terrorism as less a problem than that of the defenders of democracy and human rights who're forced to use military action to put a stop to these barbarians throughout history.
AB: Would you say the same is true about terrorism in general as a concept? That it’s a communicator? Certainly it has a message, but does it carry –
RV: I don’t think terrorism is as revolutionary as what the atomic bomb represented. Terror campaigns against civilian populations have been part of military conflict going back to the Stone Age. The atomic bomb acted as a symbol of something deeper than any single enemy. There was something so pure about it and the way it worked. It speaks to the deepest part of ourselves. It haunts us in a way that terrorism doesn’t. Terrorism scares us, but the bomb challenged our survival as a species in a way that terrorism doesn’t.
RV: Another similarity about ‘The One,’ that pertains to 9/11: there’s a shot in there of a skyscraper exploding in a fireball. I made that drawing in 1984 and it looks almost exactly like pictures I’ve seen of the Trade Center being hit.
AB: What I found amusing about ‘The Big Lie’ was that the characters weren’t as interested in Sandra’s warnings as they were in her iPad, and buying stock in Apple. That was a disturbing detail, but also probably true to life.I don't think even black humor is appropriate in a case like this, and the interviewer has gone beyond the pale too with that claim of amusement he makes. The book insults by depicting the people the woman speaks with as one-dimensionally ignorant, potentially even implies they're more interested in moneymaking and capitalism than in human life, painting a most offensive picture of America, and they think it's funny?!? Truly disgraceful.
RV: [Laughs] Well, I think that quality of black humor is why Tom wanted me on the book.
AB: Am I right that you guys are going to be addressing other topics in ‘The Big Lie?’So that's another stupid thing Veitch's atrocity is going to do, attack conservatives, who, unless they happen to be Saudis - whom the MSM sometimes refers to as "conservative" (eg- the AP/Globe & Mail article featured here) in a most hyopcritical way compared to how they talk about western conservatives - are apparently the sole problem in existence. Not jihadism, not socialism, just conservatives and capitalism. I wouldn't expect him to focus on Michael Bloomberg's own shady dealings either, because that kind of profiteering is apparently acceptable for what Veitch has become.
RV: Right now we are discussing a couple more 9/11 themed issues that focus on elements that were too complex to cover in our first issue. We’d like to do one that illustrates the money trail preceding and following the attacks. And we’d like to shine a much needed light on the Patriot Act, which had been on the Neo-Con drawing board for a decade until it was passed in response to 9/11.