Word Choices

The new GOP buzzword: Fascism

President Bush in recent days has recast the global war on terror into a “war against Islamic fascism.” Fascism, in fact, seems to be the new buzz word for Republicans in an election season dominated by an unpopular war in Iraq.

Bush used the term earlier this month in talking about the arrest of suspected terrorists in Britain, and spoke of “Islamic fascists” in a later speech in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Spokesman Tony Snow has used variations on the phrase at White House press briefings…

White House aides and outside Republican strategists said the new description is an attempt to more clearly identify the ideology that motivates many organized terrorist groups, representing a shift in emphasis from the general to the specific.

Leaving aside the fact that this administration’s own irritatingly authoritarian tendencies continually need to be kept in check by the judiciary, allow me to say that I wish my president and his brain trust had a better plan to combat our enemies than just attempting to rebrand them. Perhaps if they had a plan, we could call them what they are: Terrorists. But they apparently don’t. And here we are.

100 thoughts on “Word Choices

  1. Sigh. Does Bush even know what the definition of ‘fascism’ is?

    I suppose it doesn’t matter. Bush can make words mean whatever he wants them to mean.

  2. Republicans have been using the term “Islamic Fascism” for a long time now, and since before 9/11. It’s not new, although the President’s use of it is new.

    And does anyone wish to deny that the governments of Iraq (pre-war), Iran, Saudi Arabia and Syria (just to name a few) don’t meet the standard of the definition of fascism? Is Tripp implying that these states aren’t fascist? Or is Bush correct to say that they are? He can be right about the label, even if he doesn’t have the policy right.

    Granted, I’m not happy with a number of the administration’s policies. But the fact that the judiciary is keeping Bush’s more authoritarian policies in check simply means that we *don’t* live in a fascist nation, whereas if these other nations had courts and other power balances, they too might be free from authoritarianism.

    So I’m having trouble undestanding what the issue is, here. Is it that he’s wrong to use the term? Or is it that they’re taking time to try to get the wording right? His critics have taken the time to criticize his framing of the issue, so it seems petty to me to criticize him for taking the time to try to get it right.

    And now I’ll go cower behind a wall to avoid the avalanche of missiles now being aimed my way! :)

  3. ERN, those gov’ts easily meet the sloppy “standard of the definition of fascism” (to wit, “an oppressive gov’t that we don’t like”), and it could be argued that some of them meet a more meaningful definition, but no, they’re nowhere near the cut-and-dried cases that you imply them to be. I doubt very much that the people using the term “Islamic Fascism” care. (And the Admin is sure as hell not applying that term to Saudi Arabia.)

    And is the judiciary “keeping Bush’s more authoritarian policies in check”? Certainly some of the judiciary has tried. (And has been predictably vilified for it.) It’s not clear how well they’ve succeeded in doing anything more than slowing them down and/or diverting them onto quiet detours, especially with the rubberstamp Republican Congress on the case.

  4. My point was that fascism is a form of government and the terrorists such as Al Qaeda do not represent a government or a particular country.

    Didn’t Bush make a big deal about how the Geneva conventions don’t apply to terrorists because they do not wear uniforms and do not fight for a particular country?

  5. From Wikipedia:

    Fascism is a radical totalitarian political philosophy that combines elements of corporatism, authoritarianism, extreme nationalism, militarism, anti-anarchism, anti-communism and anti-liberalism.

    Sure sounds like Bush et al are using it correctly.

    While you didn’t like it, Bush had a working program that did work to combat terrorism.

    What would you like to see the administration do to combat terrorism? What programs have worked in the past that we aren’t using now?

    I’m not following much of the news these days, so those aren’t rhetorical questions. I’m curious what you think ought to be done.

  6. Well of course Bush is going to be against Islamic Fascism. Christian Fascists need someone to point a finger at who’s crazier than they are so they can seem reasonable by comparison. Interesting how gas prices are going down in time for the upcoming Congressional elections, isn’t it?

  7. ERN, you said “Republicans have been using the term “Islamic Fascism” for a long time now, and since before 9/11.”

    Well, I thought I’d check on that. I went to Westlaw, and searched in their USNEWS database. This is a database of at least 991 news references, everything from national papers (The New York Times) to local television stations (WPEC-FL, West Palm Beach 12). I ran a search. I looked for all uses of “islamic fascism” in the news, prior to 2000. There were three. Two from the Boston Globe, from 1984 and 1985, and one in the Miami Herald, in 1992.

    In 2001 and 2002, there were only 12 more uses of the term. 18 in each of 2002 and 2003, 42 in 2004, and 75 in 2005. But in 2006, there have been 558 so far.

    So here’s the thing. Maybe Republicans have been using the term since before 9/11. But you’d have to provide references for that, since it’s not really reflected in the news. All I see are three newspaper editorials. And even if they were, it’s impossible to deny that there has been a major shift in the talking points sometime this year, with at least a 10-fold increase in usage over the previous year (if the trend holds).

    I think John’s point was that the Administration’s plans in combating terrorism seem to be trying to adjust the argument at home to a theme with more traction.

    Which is interesting, because our war in Iraq was not initially waged against an “Islamic Fascist.” Saddam Hussein did not rule the country according to Islamic law, he specifically kept religion to a minimum to help keep control.

    This is a maneuver in a war of rhetoric to control the talking points. “Islamic Fascism” conjures up images of Nazis, which helps inflame opinions. It’s not that he’s trying to get the framing “right.” It’s that he’s trying to get it “popular.”

    K

  8. Cassie,

    Did you read more than the first paragraph of the Wikipedia article on fascism? Much of the points I would make about Bush misusing the term fascism are in the Wikipedia article.

    Regarding fighting terrorism, I supported the invasion of Afghanistan. We should have kept our troops there.

    Then we should have pressured Saudi Arabia to provide public education for all its citizens. This would have greatly reduced the available recruits for Al Qaeda.

    But Bush was buddy buddy with the house of Saud so he wasn’t about to tell them to do anything, and Bush liked how people treated him when we were bombing things, so we bombed Iraq into a democracy.

  9. The only way to get Islamic Theocracy to fit the definition of “Fascist”, is to stretch that definition so wide that Communism is counted as “Fascist” too. Totalitarian =/= Fascist. Sloppy use of languge causes sloppy thinking, dammit! (He said primly)

  10. Actually, the term Islamic Fascism was popularized (if not originally coined) by Christopher Hitchens, former editor of The Nation, a notable liberal publication.

    Iran and Syria are indeed fascist states, though it would be hard to justify the calling of non-state enities fascist in the classic (i.e. Mussolini) sense.

    I think that Bush and his administration are using the term more frequently now to call attention (correctly in my view) to the fact that Iraq is not just a war against insurgents.

    I also think that Bush does have a plan: to spread Democracy in the Middle East as a bulwark against the spread of radical Islamic ideologies.

    The problem with the plan is it may not work.

    Of course, it would have a better chance, I think, if we were all pulling for it to work.

    But, hey….

  11. CB,

    Of course, it would have a better chance, I think, if we were all pulling for it to work.

    I’m clapping as hard as I can. I do believe in fairies, I do believe in fairies.

  12. I’m not a fan of Bush, but I think he’s using “fascism” in its colloquial form for dictatorship. Which is exactly what Osama Bin Laden would like to create in the entire Muslim world (which includes Spain, in his mind).

    For Tripp – if you read down the Wikipedia article, you’ll see a link to “clerical fascism” which is specifically defined as an ideology that combines “the political and economic doctrines of fascism with theology or religious tradition.”

  13. Tripp:

    I’m clapping as hard as I can. I do believe in fairies, I do believe in fairies.

    What is it, exactly, that makes the adoption of democracy in the Middle East akin to a fairy tale?

    Also, “fascism” is a term so roundly abused that, to split hairs over its use to describe a political philosophy seeking to create an autocratic, expansionist regime is a bit pedantic. Because terrorism is not a political philosophy, unto itself, it is simply a vehicle for the advancement of the philosophy and Al Qaida’s stated goal (even if we’re talking about the bastard offshoot in Iraq) is the establishment of an autocratic, expansionist state.

    But what else would you call their aspirations?

  14. This is sloppy thinking of the worst kind: the kind that makes people believe stupid things.

    Saudi Arabia and Iran can fairly said to be theocracies. Saudi Arabia can fairly be said to be a dictatorship, but not really a fascist one. Iran actually has a fair degree of democratic control, subject to the approval of the religious leaders. Syria can fairly said to be a dictatorship, but not a theocracy. Whether or not they are a fascist is an interesting subject — their expressed ideology is both nationalistic and socialistic, but my understanding is that corporatism is more prevalent since the fall of the wall. Hezbollah is two things: a political party/social services organization with theocratic goals and a terrorists/guerilla army with theocratic goals. Al Qaeda is a terrorist organization with theocratic goals.

    These groups/countries do not have the same goals, they do not have the same philosophies, and even the theocrats have different views of what religious doctrine that theocracy should be based upon and over what territory the writ should run. Pretending that they are different pieces of an interconnected whole is disingenuous at best.

    More to the point, it works to obscure clear thinking about the different issues that each of the various players present, which groups demand immediate attention and which do not, and how best to deal with each individual group at the given time. Lumping them together make sit seems as if they are one problem that has to be dealt with one methodology. That’s the kind of sloppy/obtuse thinking that lead us to ignore Al Qaeda and focus on Iraq.

    “Actually, the term Islamic Fascism was popularized (if not originally coined) by Christopher Hitchens, former editor of The Nation, a notable liberal publication.”

    While this is technically true, it is also misleading. Hitchens no longer has an association with the Nation, largely because it is impossible to read Hitchens’ work for the last 5 to 10 years and still honestly call him liberal.

  15. We can argue over the breadth of the definition for “fasiscm” we use and which currently countries fit that definition (I for one consider Iran a theocracy).

    The problem with the term “Islamic Fascism” is that it is used for a wide ranging set including Shiite extremists, Sunni extremists, Al-Qaeda, Syria, Lebanon, Iraqi insurgents, Baathists, Hizbullah, Hamas, Pakistani terrorists, the Taliban, etc. All of whom are distinct and separate entities with signficant differences. Grouping them together under a (poorly-fitting) label obscures these differences for political purposes.

    It’s just like “Axis of Evil,” but stupider.

  16. David,

    I was making reference to the scene in Peter Pan when Tinkerbell is dieing and her light is going out. Peter Pan exhorts the audience to ‘believe in faries’ and to clap loudly to save Tinkerbell.

    Miraculously Tinkerbell is saved in every performance.

    CB asserted that democracy in the Middle East would have a better chance if we were all pulling for it to work.

    Yeah, sure, my attitude about the Middle East affects what happens there. NOT.

    CoolBlue, if you want me to shut up then just say it. Don’t play stupid word games.

  17. I say that Republicans have been using the term for awhile because I worked with a lot of Republicans in Washington, DC and the term has been common for some time. Most discussions among conservatives active in the human rights movement (of which I’ve worked extensively) have used the term since the 80s at least.

    As for the term fascism, it usually means a totalitarian system with centralized control in either a single individual or elitist group, who exercise control by asserting either a rigorous nationalism or religious/racial scapegoating. What distinguishes fascism from left-wing totalitarianism is that on the right, you see an appeal to religion or race, and on the left you see more populist/equality arguments.

    I’ve got a graduate degree in political philosophy so it’s not like I don’t know what I’m talking about. The definition of fascism I’m using is the one that nearly all political scientists use. it’s not “sloppy.”

    All of these governments that I’ve mentioned fit the bill, and most of the terrorist groups we’re dealing with receive support from one or more of these governments. There is little doubt that Hezbollah is essentially acting as a paramilitary arm of Iran, for instance, as are the Iraqi insurgents. Hamas, as well, is supported by Iran and Syria. This is a point universally agreed upon by people who study the conflict. These are not all separate groups. They are a variety of expressions of perhaps two or three varieties of Islamic extremism.

    What all of these groups share is a common desire to impose their vision of Islamic law on whomever they see fit. As such, the term “Islamic Fascism” seems apt, though it is indeed broad (as, I think, it was meant to be). As for Saddam Hussein, in the years between the first Gulf War and 2003 it became more evident that Hussein was beginning to use more radical Islamist rhetoric (take a look at the Iraqi flag in 1993 and then in 2002, to get an idea). Islamism is both nationalistic and theocratic–and you see Islamic fascism take both forms.

    While these forms of Islam have different theological commitments at odds with each other, their goal is the same–to place the rule of the entire world under a new caliphate. It’s not like these groups are shy about this. They talk about it all the time. Some have a more secular vision of what it looks like, others not. But the broad outlines are the same.

    Before the mid-90s, Hussein was running his country in the mold of Islamic nationalism. It was, on the surface, socialist but in form is was fascist. Again, few experts in Middle Eastern affairs would disagree with this assessment, so I don’t know why it is so controversial here.

    But this is getting too long, so I’ll stop. Let’s just say that as a political theorist, I have no problem with Bush’s use of the term, which in my experience is not new. And while the term is indeed broad, I think it gets at the important aspects of the specific movements which are a problem. As such, I think the term is better than the “war on terror.”

    And I’d like to ask critics what term or set of terms they might find more accurate or helpful?

  18. I find it amusing that they tiptoe around the word “Theocracy” because it would anger their base to suggest that religious radicals are not the best people to run a country.

    Put another way, if they started a war against ChristoFacism and bombed the IRA, I suspect they would have markedly less support.

  19. …I may be being a total alarmist cynic (or just stating the obvious), but it seems to me that the shift from “War on Terror” to “War on Fascism” may be the first step in justifying invasion of Iran. The Irani government has not publically supported Al Queda, so the Bush administration would have a small amount of trouble justifying invading them as a part of the “War on Terror.” The “War on Fascism,” on the other hand, makes the fair game (at least in the eyes of the average American, whose sole exposure to the situation there is stupid email forwards about women’s rights). It’s just more Newspeak.

    I wonder how many countries are going to have to get in on this drama before we officially start calling it WWIII. I know it’s not there yet, but it seems like the situation could further destablize very, very quickly.

  20. Tripp

    I’m clapping as hard as I can. I do believe in fairies, I do believe in fairies.

    You could be right. I think that one of the things that encouraged the Administration was the example of the US protected Kurdish area of Iraq. Since the end of the first Gulf war up to today, they have been a highly functioning liberal democracy.

    Yeah, sure, my attitude about the Middle East affects what happens there. NOT.

    A divided political class certainly does make the news and does in fact encourage the enemy. Maybe not your attitude in particular.

    CoolBlue, if you want me to shut up then just say it.

    Why would I want you to shut up? And even if I did, what would that matter?

    Chris Gerrib

    I’m not a fan of Bush, but I think he’s using “fascism” in its colloquial form for dictatorship.

    I think you are correct in saying that Bush is using the term colloquially rather than technically. Most people do not know the technical definition of fascists, or even socialist for that matter. But fascist is evocative.

    He is also attempting to get away from the more generic term “terrorist” because, as was made clear in the Israel/Hezbollah war, they are quite capable, given the correct circumstances, of moving beyond terrorism to actual sophisticated military maneuvers. The trick is to not allow the right cicumstances. Which is precisly why we can not ignore Somalia for much longer. The problem with moving in Solmalia is, of course, the political climate. And is one reason why I’m disappointed with Bush’s second term so far.

    Also, the IRA are terrorists, but this is not about them. FARC has engaged is terrorist tactics, but this is not about them either.

    kevin

    These groups/countries do not have the same goals, they do not have the same philosophies, and even the theocrats have different views of what religious doctrine that theocracy should be based upon and over what territory the writ should run. Pretending that they are different pieces of an interconnected whole is disingenuous at best.

    and Steve Brady

    All of whom are distinct and separate entities with signficant differences. Grouping them together under a (poorly-fitting) label obscures these differences for political purposes.

    Yes they most certainly are different, but that doesn’t mean they can not work together against a common enemy using similar tactics. Witness the fact that OBL asked Sunni’s to help Hezbollah against Israel. Iran has aided al Qaeda. And of course, so did Saddam although many swore up and down that they would never work together because Saddam was “secular”.

    Just like with Afghanistan, the various groups waited until after the Soviet retreat to settle their differences. Here, if the Islamists succeed, they will not only have to battle it out among the various Islamic groups, but also the various Communist groups (ANSWER et al) who have made common cause with the Salafists “for political purposes”.

    So it is most definitly not disingenous to consider them a single threat, while recognizing that they are motivated by different ideologies.

  21. John,

    Makes perfect sense to me. When you need to rally the Crazification Factor who sit around watching old WWII documentaries and imagining themselves as the heroes fighting the Nazis, then yeah, “Islamofacists” is kinda a cool name.

    But, as you say, it’d be nice if there was an actual plan of action involved, other than “bomb stuff and hope for the best”. I’m almost hoping that Dubya takes up Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s offer. As Churchill said, “jaw, jaw” and all that.

  22. Now who’s repeating faerie tales? I’ve still yet to see a legitimate link between Saddam and Al Qaeda. Just the usual administration suspects repeating the assertion.

  23. ERN:
    Broadly, I agree with your analysis of what fascism is, I disagree with the usage in the way Bush is using it.

    Specifically, as observed above, Iran is not a fascist state, although it’s a nasty one. Saudi I’m not as sure about, absolute monarchy, yes, but a lot of industry working there not in the service of the state, and fascism is, in essence, high end corporatist centralism.

    But Syria and pre-war Iraq? Well, yes, the Ba’athists were fascist almost by their own definition, however…
    Hussein was running his country in the mold of Islamic nationalism. It was, on the surface, socialist but in form is was fascist.
    No. Not islamic. Pan-arab. Huge difference. Tariq Ali was a practising Christian for a start.

    The ba’athists were founded to build a pan arab, secular state that didn’t care what religion you subscribed to, as long as you supported the state. That’s fascist.

    But a theocracy isn’t fascist, it’s a theocracy. And Bin Laden et al want to build a theocracy, which I posit is a different form of governance than fascism, and to muddle the term is to diminish both. To lump all those who are supporting different forms of islamic terrorism together is to overly simplify and diminish the size of the real problem.

    Theocracies != fascism. Both are nasty, but you can see why attacking theocracy is ruled out of order when you have friends like Katherine Harris.

  24. See, this is why I love you guys. You can take a cranky statement of mine and use it as a basis for a really interesting discussion.

  25. Q

    I’ve still yet to see a legitimate link between Saddam and Al Qaeda.

    You need to read more, then. Steve Hayes’ book “The Connection” has been out for at least 3 years. The 9/11 Commission report for a few.

    The Washington Time in 2004 reported that the Clinton administration cited two instances of Iraq/al Qaeda collaboration

    In fact, during President Clinton’s eight years in office, there were at least two official pronouncements of an alarming alliance between Baghdad and al Qaeda. One came from William S. Cohen, Mr. Clinton’s defense secretary. He cited an al Qaeda-Baghdad link to justify the bombing of a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan.

    The other pronouncement is contained in a Justice Department indictment on Nov. 4, 1998, charging bin Laden with murder in the bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa.
    The indictment disclosed a close relationship between al Qaeda and Saddam’s regime, which included specialists on chemical weapons and all types of bombs, including truck bombs, a favorite weapon of terrorists.
    The 1998 indictment said: “Al Qaeda also forged alliances with the National Islamic Front in the Sudan and with the government of Iran and its associated terrorist group Hezbollah for the purpose of working together against their perceived common enemies in the West, particularly the United States. In addition, al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the government of Iraq.”

    Also, as the London Times reported (in a piece by Sarah Baxter) earlier this year, papers and audiotapes recovered in Iraq also prove an Iraq/al Qaeda connection

    NEWLY released documents seized in Iraq immediately after the American invasion in 2003 point to the presence of Al-Qaeda members in the country before the war and moves to hide traces of “chemical or biological materials” from United Nations weapons inspectors.

    The documents were posted on the internet as part of a rolling programme by the US government to make public the contents of 48,000 boxes of untranslated papers and tapes relating to the workings of Saddam Hussein’s regime. Saddam is said to have routinely taped talks with cabinet members and intelligence chiefs….

    The first documents to be released offer tantalising clues to possible Iraqi contacts with Al-Qaeda. An Iraqi intelligence report dated September 15, 2001 — four days after the attacks on America — says Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban were in contact with Iraq and Al-Qaeda members had visited the country.

    It claims America had proof that the Iraqi government and “Bin Laden’s group” had agreed to co-operate to attack targets in America and that the US might strike Iraq and Afghanistan in retaliation.

    Dismiss the evidence or not, but don’t say it’s not there.

    Oh and I forgot about

    kevin

    While this is technically true, it is also misleading. Hitchens no longer has an association with the Nation, largely because it is impossible to read Hitchens’ work for the last 5 to 10 years and still honestly call him liberal.

    This is not true. While it is true that Hitchens parted ways with the Nation, it is because they went all Leftist on him. He is still a Liberal (as am I) he’s just no longer a Trotskyist and a Socialist. That doesn’t mean is not a Liberal.

    But the fact that people confuse the two is a rant I’ll save for another time and place.

    Annalee Flower Horne

    may be being a total alarmist cynic (or just stating the obvious), but it seems to me that the shift from “War on Terror” to “War on Fascism” may be the first step in justifying invasion of Iran.

    You know it’s funny, because I just got finished hearing yet another Democrat say how the fact that we are tied up in Iraq means we are unable to deal with real threats like Iran and North Korea.

    What do you suppose they mean by that?

    And what worse, the more Iran believes this, the fewer options we have for dealing with them without war.

  26. You know it’s funny, because I just got finished hearing yet another Democrat say how the fact that we are tied up in Iraq means we are unable to deal with real threats like Iran and North Korea.

    What do you suppose they mean by that?

    1. Our military is tired and beat up, and currently stuck in Iraq, and therefore not much of an immediate threat. Though I suppose we can still spread around the air power.

    2. Our military looks less impressive than it used to, see #1.

    3. Huge loss of standing in the world due to Iraq – makes it hard to negotiate.

  27. Dave Klecha writes: “What is it, exactly, that makes the adoption of democracy in the Middle East akin to a fairy tale?”

    It’s very easy for a motivated, heavily armed, violent minority to stop that from happening. Or, really, they may just have higher priorities, like self-encrichment, gaining personal power, and fighting old tribal or ethnic grudges.

    How are you supposed to set up a democracy in a system where the government security forces double as sectarian death squads? You can’t have a democracy in a violent anarchic system.

    To stop this from happening, you need lots of troops, but Bush and Rumsfeld thought they could do it on the cheap, and now they can’t get enough troops to do it.

  28. David Klecha writes: “Al Qaida’s stated goal (even if we’re talking about the bastard offshoot in Iraq) is the establishment of an autocratic, expansionist state.”

    That was also the goal of, say, Ghengis Khan, Alexander the Great, etc. I wouldn’t really call them Fascist. Presumably, the new word was coined in the 1920s to fit something that was new, not ‘traditional expansionist autocracy’.

  29. CoolBlue writes: “Of course, it would have a better chance, I think, if we were all pulling for it to work.”

    Mostly it’d help if the Bush Administration were pulling for it to work, rather than just staying in Iraq to save face until Bush plops out of office.

  30. Steve Hayes’ book “The Connection” has been out for at least 3 years.

    Right. And Hayes got torn to pieces by the likes of Jon Stewart. If your book can’t pass muster on a fake news show, then you really ought to jump straight to fiction.

    The 9/11 Commission report for a few.

    Uh, no.

    The Sept. 11 commission reported yesterday that it has found no “collaborative relationship” between Iraq and al Qaeda, challenging one of the Bush administration’s main justifications for the war in Iraq.

    The Washington Times…

    Oh, CoolBlue. Didn’t you know you had me at hello?

  31. Oh, and that story by Sarah Baxter says this:

    An Iraqi intelligence report dated September 15, 2001 — four days after the attacks on America — says Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban were in contact with Iraq and Al-Qaeda members had visited the country.

    It claims America had proof that the Iraqi government and “Bin Laden’s group” had agreed to co-operate to attack targets in America and that the US might strike Iraq and Afghanistan in retaliation.

    However, the information comes from an unidentified Afghan informant who states merely that he heard it from an Afghan consul, also unnamed. According to ABC News, which translated the tapes, the claims are “sensational” but the sourcing is “questionable”.

    Reading. Right.

  32. John, I agree with half of your argument. The war in Iraq was ill-conceived from the start, and it has turned into a disaster. Furthermore, it appears that Bush has not faced up to the fact that Iraq is now in a civil war.

    As for your quibble about his choice of the word “Islamic fascist”–”Islamic extremist” or “radical Islamist” might be better, as the original fascists of the 1930s and 1940s were mostly atheists.

    However, the fact remains that most of the “terrorists” are in some way invoking Islam. I therefore don’t see any problem with pointing out that Islam is part of the problem.

    When men in the Muslim Middle East commit “honor killings”–in which they literally murder their sisters and daughters for minor moral infractions–they are doing it in the name of Islam…The Shiite-Sunni bloodshed in Iraq is about Islam.

    The best indictments of “Islamic fascism” come from those who have actually had to live with it:

    http://www.apostatesofislam.com/

    The books of Ibn Warraq–another former Muslim-also give a pretty good picture of what Islam is all about.

    In summary–fascism may not be the right word, but it is by no means to strong a word.

  33. Well, I’ve said this on a different blog, but it bears repeating here. “Islamofascist” polls better than “terrorist” when people are asked the question of “Do you support destroying the economy and throwing youth into the maw of war to defeat…” And the NeoCons are very jealous of the Greatest Generation and their war against the Nazis. They will do anything to equate this effort to that struggle.

    And what would I have done, for those who ask those silly questions? Well, Afghanistan wouldn’t be in such a pickle right now, Musharef would be in deep trouble with his Secret Police and some of the population, and Osama’s head would be on a pike outside the Pentagon. And when it finally deteriorated to the point of falling off, I would superglue the damn thing back on, Eyes of Moragan are important sometimes. Either that or he would have suffered a “pirate’s hanging” on the Hudon, facing Manhattan.

  34. Greg, they do those things because of their culture, not because of their religion. I would point out these acts aren’t the product or sole domain of Islam. Female Circumcision is also practiced by animists and Christians in Africa. Honor killings were also practiced in “Christian Europe” into the middle ages (and sometimes after). If you’re a fan of bluegrass, “honor killings” under different guises are a staple of the genre. It was very much the social norm until the sexual revolution to shun un-married pregnant women in this country, there were even institutional houses where they were sent. Better than killing, sure, but still no enlightenment. There is the scandal of the Irish children homes, the pederasty of the clergy, etc. None of these are predicated on the religion of those involved, but on the whole culture.

    Religion is a part of the culture, but it is more of the cloak than the shoes if you know what I mean. This also doesn’t excuse these abominable practices, but to say, “Them” when it’s more widespread than that is to do a larger harm.

  35. Dig Olberman’s response to Rumsfeld’s latest assault on dissent as fascit enabling

    Iraq was, in fact, close to a fascist state, but it was a *secular* fascist state. the US heled create it to ballance Iran after the fall of the Shah.

    Calling fundamentalist islamic totalitarianism ‘fascism’ is nothing more than dumbing it down for people who can’t deal with real nuance, or worse it’s passed around by those people, and defended as if it meant something important. It means nothing. It’s empty jingoism, and the peopel who support the concept are empty headed jingoists.

  36. Yes, but the actual clapping takes the place of the ring.

    Everything will be fine if we just clap louder, and we need strong willpower to do so.

    As a GL fan, it saddens me that they have to be associated with these morons, but I have to admit the accuracy of it.

  37. A buzzword would be a more meaningful buzzword if it had more meaning behind it, yes? Like a lot of y’all are saying, it doesn’t do any good to call Al Queda and associated terror groups “fascists” if they aren’t, y’know, ruling a country under a fascist government. There’s a Legal Affairs article going around that also tries to rebrand the War On Terror, but I think the author has just about convinced me. The arrrticle is called “The Dread Pirate Bin Laden: How thinking of terrorists as pirates can help win the war on terror”. Maybe throwing the pirate definition around will further muddy the waters, but it’s a clearer and more helpful analogue than “Islamofascist” in actually dealing with terror cells. I suppose Bush could still refer to Iraqi insurgents and Hezbollah fighters as fascists if he was really attached to the term. But that’s a global war for a different time.

  38. CoolBlue:

    Someone already beat me to disputing your Iraq/Al Qaeda links… So leaving aside the question of which of us needs to read more… let me ask, By what definition do you call yourself “liberal”? It sure doesn’t show in any of your posts I’ve ever read, at least not my definition.

    For the record, I’ve always considered my self fiscally conservative and socially liberal… though the current administrations idea of what conservatism means has caused me to rethink that description.

  39. My only further comment is that in political theory, theocracy is a considered a version of fascism. And while some might try to limit the term fascism to corporatism, they are not the same. In Saudi Arabia, the vast majority of economic activity is directly related to the oil industry, which is owned by the royal family. Now, you can indeed have a fascist monarchy.

    And honestly, there are a lot of points being made here (like the, how can al Qaeda be fascist if it isn’t a government arguments) that come from not understanding the theoretical underpinnings of the word fascist. Basic mistakes. One can be a fascist without being a part of a government or even part of a rulilng coalition. These are basics that some in this discussion just don’t seem to understand. There are category differences that aren’t being recognized.

    Just because it isn’t recognized doesn’t mean that it isn’t nuanced. I don’t see calling it totalitarianism is more nuanced. Theoretically, the term “totalitarian” is BROADER, not narrower, than fascism. But perhaps I’m being too technical, here.

    Just suffice to say that my initial response to the arguments here was probably correct–some have some minor gripes with the language, but there are a lot of others here who are simply using it as another excuse to bash Bush. Look, there are plenty of legitimate things to be angry with Bush over, but this isn’t really one of them.

  40. ERN, sure, once we can call everything “Fascist” well then we can call everything Fascist.

    I just don’t get your logic about how “Totalitarianism” as a broader term, which does apply to the terrorists’ goals, is not a good word to use because “Fascist,” which is not the terrorists’ goal, is better because it’s more specific. Totalitarianism works because it does cast a wider net and encompasses the goals of those who wish to re-establish the Califate.

    This is not about dinging the President because he has difficulty stringing words together on a regular basis. This is about the use of a specific term, one that was engineered for political advantage. That’s a nice was of saying, “our poll numbers go up if we can frame this war as being against Fascists.” This is the same as when the President called our war of retribution against the terrorists responsible for 9-11 as a “Crusade.” This is not a typo or gaff, this is an attack on the American consciousness in an attempt for political gain.

    This seems to be a strange thing to have to point out on a writer’s blog but words have meaning. To use them incorrectly is to either cheapen the word or cheapen our minds.

  41. Adam Rakunas

    Hayes got torn to pieces by the likes of Jon Stewart. If your book can’t pass muster on a fake
    news show, then you really ought to jump straight to fiction.

    Not good enough. Show me how comedian Jon Stewart undermined even a single fact uncovered
    by investigative reporter Stephen Hayes. Recognize that what you are doing is simply
    dismissing facts.

    The Sept. 11 commission reported yesterday that it has found no “collaborative relationship” between Iraq and al Qaeda, challenging one of the Bush administration’s main justifications for
    the war in Iraq.

    See, it is important to read beyond the headlines. Continuing within the article to which you refer, we find

    But the report of the commission’s staff, based on its access to all relevant classified information, said that there had been contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda but no
    cooperation.

    in the 9/11 event, I might add. And I never claimed that they cooperated on 9/11 (and neither has the Administration) but I wouldn’t be surprised if future developments show they did. Further clarifying thier findings David E. Sanger, Robin Toner of the New York Times reported

    Commission Chairman Thomas Kean, asked at a news conference about Bush’s comments,
    said the panel does not dispute that there were contacts between Hussein’s government and al
    Qaeda. But Kean, a former Republican governor of New Jersey, said the panel’s staff found “that
    there is no credible evidence that we can discover, after a long investigation, that Iraq and Saddam Hussein were in any way part of the attack on the United States.”

    Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton, a former Democratic congressman, said, “I must say, I have
    trouble understanding the flap over this.” The commission’s position, he said, is that “we don’t
    have any evidence of a cooperative … relationship between Saddam Hussein’s government and these al Qaeda operatives with regard to the attacks on the United States.”

    Further, I again refer to the indictment against bin Laden that was brought by the Clinton Justice
    department in 1998 which read

    “In addition, al Qaeda reached an understanding with the Government of Iraq that al
    Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically
    including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the Government of Iraq.”

    No matter how you interpret the data, clearly there were at a bare minimum “contacts” between the Salafist al Qaeda and the “secular” Saddam which, if nothing else, dispells the myth that al Qaeda would never cooperate with Iraq.

    And the 9/11 commission was much more clear on contacts between the Salafist (Sunni) al Qaeda and
    the Khumeinist (Shia) Iran so it is clear they would cooperate against the US as well.

    Dan Eggan writing for the Washington Post said

    the commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks has concluded that Osama bin
    Laden’s terrorist network had long-running contacts with Iraq’s neighbor and historic foe,
    Iran.

    Q

    By what definition do you call yourself “liberal”?

    By the traditional sense: Liberalism has always been about more freedom, less government. The spread of Democracy (i.e. Woodrow Wilson), active engagement against totalitarianism (FDR, JFK). Traditional Liberalism envisions a society characterized by freedom of thought for individuals, limitations on power, especially of government and religion, the rule of law, free public education, the free exchange of ideas, a market economy that supports relatively free private enterprise, and a transparent system of government in which the rights of all citizens are protected. A Liberal favors liberal democracy with open and fair elections, where all citizens have equal rights by law and an equal opportunity to succeed.

    To me, government run social programs are antithetical to Liberalism as much as overarching government power. The same is true of isolationism and protectionism. You can not have a free market and protectionism at the same time. And, it would seem, if one believes that Liberalism is good for Americans it should be promoted for all to the extent that we can do this. To this point I recall the words of JFKs inaugural address:

    Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

    Words that today’s “liberals” forget were even uttered.

    It must be clear to everyone the both the Salafist and Khumeinist strains of Islamic fundamentalism are directly and fundamentally opposed to Liberalism. And they are globalist in their ambitions. If they are fighting so hard against Liberalism in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East, what would anyone expect them to stop there especially when their stated goal is to provide their form of religion to everyone? It makes no sense.

    It may not be clear to everyone, but I have documented on my blog on a number of occasions that Communist (both Maoist and Stalinist) organizations have taken over the anti-war movement (if they were ever separate) and are also opposed to Liberalism. For instance, the largest of the anti-War groups International ANSWER is a Stalinist organization that has supported people like Korea’s Kim Il Sung and Slobodan Milosevic and Saddam Heussein. Code Pink’s founders are also Stalists as are the United for Peace and Justice.

    For the record, I’ve always considered my self fiscally conservative and socially liberal…
    though the current administrations idea of what conservatism means has caused me to rethink that
    description.

    I’m with you there, brother. But it’s not just the Administration since the Executive Branch can not allocate money. The problem we face is that the alternative doesn’t strike me as being an improvement….

  42. And, it would seem, if one believes that Liberalism is good for Americans it should be promoted for all to the extent that we can do this.

    Sounds like a big government-run social program to me.

  43. We should worry about conservatives calling terrorists “Facists” because, if history is true, that means that, after defeating it in Europe, they will spend the next 50-some years supporting it everywhere in Latin America, Asia, and Africa.

  44. “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

    I know exactly what JFK said, thanks very much. I have not “forgotten they were ever uttered.” I remember they were uttered and I reject them completely. JFK, god love him, said those words, then immediately face-planted into dogshit in Cuba and Vietnam trying to put them into practice.

    “Code Pink’s founders are also Stali[ni]sts as are the [Americans] United for Peace and Justice.”

    Y’know what; I bet they actually aren’t.

    “The same is true of isolationism . . .”

    Let me ask you something: If another nation–any other nation–or group of nations came up with an officially titled Doctrine toward the United States parallel to the U.S. Monroe Doctrine (and Roosevelt Corollary) that stated, “We reserve the right to interfere with the United States’ domestic politics and to interpose ourselves between the United States and any other nations at any time we wish” . . . then Americans would be out for BLOOD. We would call that nation arrogant, imperial, bloodthirsty, vicious, overweening, etc.

    Other nations have national slogans too, y’know, and NONE of them are “We’re Number Two!”

  45. And, it would seem, if one believes that Liberalism is good for Americans it should be promoted for all to the extent that we can do this.

    Might seem that way . . . but it isn’t. People who want freedom generally go out and get it. It happens in lots of places–Czechoslovakia, Ukraine, Russia– without our having to invade en masse and subsidize their democracy to the tune of a billion dollars a week.

    So no, I don’t feel any contradiction at all between loving freedom here and not generally supporting the militarized export of it abroad.

  46. “My only further comment is that in political theory, theocracy is a considered a version of fascism. And while some might try to limit the term fascism to corporatism, they are not the same. In Saudi Arabia, the vast majority of economic activity is directly related to the oil industry, which is owned by the royal family. Now, you can indeed have a fascist monarchy”

    But royalty have ALWAYS owned the major wealth-generating resources of their country. Saudi Arabia’s just happens to be oil, which generates a huge amount of wealth. “Fascist” isn’t really the right word for Louis XIV, or for the Spanish kings during the conquest of the New World where the wealth brought back to Spain largely went through the King’s coffers.

  47. This about sums up my earlier point:

    “if Churchill and FDR had operated with the Bush mentality, ‘they might not have formed an alliance with the Soviet Union (out of a refusal to negotiate with evil Communists), and they might have therefore lost the war.’

    It’s worse than that, though — they might have proposed attacking the Soviet Union in the middle of the war because Bolshevism and Nazism were both species of Eurofascism.”

    Link.

  48. CoolBlue,

    When I mentioned that you should just come out and tell me to shut up I was refering to the warmonger tactic of stifling dissent by claiming it enpowers the enemy.

    Essentially the logic is “I’m gonna prosecute a war and you can’t say anything against it because to do so would be treason because it gives aid and comfort to the enemy.”

    It is nothing more than a cheap rhetorical trick.

    I took a look at your blog and you’ve got a lot of those tricks there. I can see why your traffic is down and hardly anyone ever comments in your blog.

  49. CB

    “This is not true. While it is true that Hitchens parted ways with the Nation, it is because they went all Leftist on him. He is still a Liberal (as am I) he’s just no longer a Trotskyist and a Socialist. That doesn’t mean is not a Liberal.”

    Really? The Nation now advocates for the state ownership of the means of production? I must have missed that issue. I think that you are using those terms in a way that, to be charitable, is not generally accepted.

    More to the point, your linking of Hitchens to the Nation — including your explicit labeling of the Nation as a liberal magazine — seemed very much intended to associate Hitchens, and thus the coining of this ridiculous term, with liberalism. If that wasn’t the case, then perhaps you should clarify what you meant.

    “Yes they most certainly are different, but that doesn’t mean they can not work together against a common enemy using similar tactics. Witness the fact that OBL asked Sunni’s to help Hezbollah against Israel. Iran has aided al Qaeda. And of course, so did Saddam although many swore up and down that they would never work together because Saddam was “secular”.”

    Putting aside the incorrect assertion about Saddam and AQ, yes, those groups sometimes have areas of interests that overlap. That does not mean that they are the same entity or that they should be dealt with in the same manner. After the invasion of Afghanistan, Iran worked closely with US intelligence, for example. Those certainly qualify as contacts. They even qualify as a collaborative relationship. They do not mean that Iran and the US are working together towards a larger goal.

    ” Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

    Words that today’s “liberals” forget were even uttered.”

    Now, let me very, very, very clear about something here, and since this is not my place I will be as polite as possible: bollocks. Here’s the thing: whatever they tell you on FOX news or in your GOP faxes, criticism of the Bush Administration, criticism of the war on Iraq, criticism of the tactics of the Bush Admin are not made because liberals don’t take terrorism seriously. Just the opposite; we take it seriously enough that we want to defeat terrorists. I lost two acquaintances in the Towers and spent three days wonder if a friend had survived. I criticize because I want the people who did that and because I want to make it as difficult as possible for it too happen again. The tactics and the Administration that you support have done just the opposite. Those tactics and those people have failed in every conceivable way to advance either of those goals. Pretending otherwise doesn’t help the situation.

    And, frankly, if that is the best that you can do in rebuttal — the silly notion that liberals don’t want to win — then you have no argument.

  50. Tripp

    When I mentioned that you should just come out and tell me to shut up I was refering to the warmonger tactic of stifling dissent by claiming it enpowers the enemy.

    I don’t stifle anything, I attempt to convince. I don’t want you to shut up for the sake of silencing you, I would prefer to appeal to one’s intellect and convince you that a united front against anti-liberal ideologies is the better path.

    You, however, can see it anyway you want, and engage in any kind of rhetoric you think is best.

    ’cause that’s what liberalism is all about.

  51. It must be clear to everyone the both the Salafist and Khumeinist strains of Islamic fundamentalism are directly and fundamentally opposed to Liberalism. And they are globalist in their ambitions. If they are fighting so hard against Liberalism in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East, what would anyone expect them to stop there especially when their stated goal is to provide their form of religion to everyone? It makes no sense.

    They can’t. I mean it. Other than moving into a country with a sizable majority to support them, Iran’s religious leadership has no chance of actually dominating another middle eastern nation. What they can do is export terrorists to create a lack of stability in the region, but there’s not much more they can do. Invasive wars are easily fought off, and that’s one area where the US could simply walk all over them, and then go home. Like we did with the first Iraq war.

    If Iran is going to take over anywhere, it’ll be in Iraq if we leave, because we managed to destroy the hold that the Sunni minority had on the country, and the Shia in Iraq are sympathetic to Iran.

    So much for invading and occupying Iraq helping stabilize the region. In fact, there’s little more we could have done to destabilize the region.

    This is why I don’t trust militant right wingers on middle eastern policy, or much else for that matter. They’re so incredibly incompetent, they manage to do the exact opposite of what they set out to do, and don’t have the balls to admit it when they do.

  52. And Tripp I just want to make one more point: We as a country decided to enage on the path in Iraq. We did it in the legal Democratic way. It was not something the Administration did by itself.

    We elected Senators and Representatives. They, in our name committed us to this path. Further, every year since the War in Iraq began, we have not recinded the authorization to continue on this path.

    So it just seems to me that we should get on board and try to make it successful or we should just say we quit.

    To say that the enemy does not take heart in thinking that if they can just hold on a little longer we’ll give up and they will be successful because that is the signals we give; that they will “win the war after losing every battle” as Zimmy put it, then I truly think you are not facing reality.

    My point is we made the choice, we committed the resources, the argument should be done until such time as we actually lose on the battlefield.

    The problem I see is that though we made the decision, there have those who have worked to undermine it from the beginning.

  53. “We” made the decision based on false pretenses. “We” are as a majority currently disapproving of the handling of the war (read the polls). “Our” representatives are either not listening or are being attacked with misrepresentations that any opposition to the handling of the war comforts the enemy. To try to say the administration is not overwhelmingly responsible for the current situation is naive at best.

  54. CoolBlue:

    If Jon Stewart’s critique of Stephen Hayes isn’t enough, try this.

    Stephen Hayes’s book was built on a discredited DoD memo (and discredited by two investigative reporters). Sarah Baxter’s article was built on information from “an unidentified Afghan informant who states merely that he heard it from an Afghan consul, also unnamed.” And, maybe this just my personal interpretation, but Q asked for “evidence of a legitimate link between Iraq and al-Qaeda” and you tried to provide such. Maybe Q should have been more specific and asked for “evidence that showed operational cooperation between Iraq and al Qaeda in regard to the 9/11 attacks,” but you tossed out two pieces of “evidence” that were purported to have proof that there was such cooperation. (And name-dropping out the 9/11 Commission’s report? That sure stank of an appeal to authority.)

    Oh, by the way: the architects of the Iraq War? A bunch of ex-Trotskyite leftists.

  55. CoolBlue, your arguing Vietnam all over again.

    And if you want to bring up how we got into the war in Iraq again, we can open that can of worms. The President and the Administration lied to get us into the war. Before you roll out Clinton references I’ll state that Clinton didn’t take us into war, so the bar was lower for his statements.

    And your “the argument should be done until such time” is why people are saying that your statements are essentially, “shut up.”

    Those “contacts” between Iraq and Al Qaeda are a good argument of why we should move over the border in Afghanistan and invade Pakistan. They had higher level cooperation with the Taliban and Al Qaeda than the somewhat ocasional meeting Al Qaeda operatives had with low level operatives of Iraq. Also, we should roll over the UAE and Yemen. As the current administration argued for Dubia Ports I’ll just say they’re hypocrits as UAE Princes would vacation with Osama.

    And I’m glad you cleared up that confusion as to why we’re using the term Fascists, ’cause I was confused as to where the Bush Administration wanted to go next.

  56. Adam Rakunas

    Stephen Hayes’s book was built on a discredited DoD memo (and discredited by two investigative reporters).

    Actually, it’s built on more than that which you would know had you read the book (you know in the spirit of acquiring information even if it contrdicts your belief). But with regards to this Hayes deals with this in an interview with the National Review Online

    NRO: Mike Isikoff from Newsweek and others have tried to discredit some of your reporting on these connections. Do you concede any of their points?

    Hayes: Well, Isikoff is a very good investigative reporter and I have long respected his work. We simply disagree on much of this. Intelligence reporting is quite subjective, of course, and lends itself to various interpretations. My problem with so much of the media reporting on this issue is that most journalists have chosen not to investigate the connection, and seem too eager to dismiss them. Why? This wasn’t the case in the late 1990s, when Iraq-al Qaeda connections were more widely reported in the establishment press.

    After I first wrote about the Feith Memo, the Pentagon put out a statement designed to distance itself from any alleged leak of classified intelligence. It was a classic non-denial denial — virtually devoid of content. It was something any veteran Washington reporter would dismiss without a second thought. But reporters at the New York Times and Washington Post, typically quite cynical about anything that comes from the Pentagon’s public- affairs shop, suddenly found it a remarkably credible source.

    NRO: It’s been suggested by Isikoff and others that some of the evidence turns up nowadays is forged, that you can’t take it on its face value. To what extent is the evidence you present corroborated by other evidence, other documented meetings, etc?

    Hayes: I think they’re right on that point — and it’s almost never a good idea to take these things at face value. There was a report that surfaced in December 2003 that suggested that Mohammed Atta had been in Baghdad during the summer of 2001. And, a little too conveniently, the very same document claimed that the U.S. was seeking uranium from Niger. There’s little question that the three-page report was forged. (An interesting side note: That document came not from Ahmed Chalabi, but from CIA favorite Iyad Allawi, the new Iraqi interim prime minister. Allawi has long argued that there was a significant relationship between Saddam’s Mukhabarat and al Qaeda.)

    Much of the evidence in the book comes from open sources — media reporting, court documents, interviews, etc. With respect to the information from the Feith Memo, many of the bullet points corroborate one another or previous intelligence on the relationship. For instance, the U.S. intelligence community has long believed that bin Laden met with the deputy director of Iraqi intelligence, Faruq Hijazi, in the mid-1990s. When we captured Hijazi, we asked him about the meeting. Bin Laden, he reported, asked for anti-ship limpet mines and training camps in Iraq.

    And, maybe this just my personal interpretation, but Q asked for “evidence of a legitimate link between Iraq and al-Qaeda” and you tried to provide such. Maybe Q should have been more specific and asked for “evidence that showed operational cooperation between Iraq and al Qaeda in regard to the 9/11 attacks,”

    Perhaps, but he was challenging a more general statement I made and the conversation at the point had nothing to do with 9/11 whatsoever. It had to do with the various groups and their motivations and how it wasn’t a good idea to lump them all together. My argument was it made perfect sense because they worked together against a common enemy: us.

    Steve Buchheit

    And if you want to bring up how we got into the war in Iraq again, we can open that can of worms. The President and the Administration lied to get us into the war. Before you roll out Clinton references I’ll state that Clinton didn’t take us into war, so the bar was lower for his statements.

    Well, I’m glad you added that second sentence because that saves a whole bunch of typing.

    No, Clinton didn’t get us into war: um, at least not in Iraq. But it is clear that the intelligence used to justify going to war against Iraq was generated on Clinton’s watch and convinced a whole lot of Democrats who subsequently gave authorization based on that intelligence. So to say Bush lied is obviously a non-sequitur.

    So now that we dismissed the “Bush lied” red herring (again) I note that a bi-partisan COngress got us into war in Iraq, not Bush.

  57. CoolBlue,
    So you’re saying that the Bush Administration believed Clinton was right about everything they did? that’s an interesting turn that I never knew about.

    It’s not a red herring, and you aren’t going to dismiss that argument so easily. Because the Bush Administration was specific. They “knew” where the weapons were, the Clinton Administration supported the UN Weapons Inspections to try and find the weapons. The Bush Administration revivied the discredited “Iraq Nuclear Weapons Program was reconstituted.” That’s all on their own. They lied, and they knew they lied.

    I’ll also point out, and I’m glad you agree, that the Bush administration originally sold Iraq as going after WMD. The Administration has since changed it mind; a few times in fact.

  58. …Perhaps, but he was challenging a more general statement I made and the conversation at the point had nothing to do with 9/11 whatsoever.

    Not until you name dropped the 9/11 Commission Report.

  59. It’s a perfectly accurate phrase to describe what Islamic Terrorists WANT. I hate the term “War Against Terrorism” since terrorism is a method of warfare and a means to an end

    American Heritage Dictionary Definition of Fascism:
    “1a.A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.
    b.A political philosophy or movement based on or advocating such a system of government.
    2.Oppressive, dictatorial control.”

    Fascism (or National Socialism) is a variation on Marxism created in early 1900’s Europe. Where Marxism used “class” and economic identification, Fascists used racial, ethnic, and religious identification. Examples: Marxists suppressed the bourgeoisie (exterminated in some cases) and celebrated the working proletariat. German Fascists celebrated the “Aryan” race and German culture, enslaved Slavic peoples, and killed Jews and Gypsies.

    The Islamic variation on fascism stresses the religious aspects over the racial. In an Islamic-Fascist regime (i.e. the Taliban), Muslims are first class citizens, practioners of any other religions are either killed or required to live in Dhimmitude (a 3rd class citizen with diminished legal rights as described in the Koran).

    The Taliban certainly fits the definition above as does the current Iranian regime. Al Queda and the Taliban were closely linked. The various Islamic Terrorist organizations have the stated goal of imposing Sharia (Islamic Law) on nations. Therefore, I believe Islamic Fascism is their goal.

    The Baathist dictatorship in Syria and the Saddam error of Iraq have direct links back to the Italian and German WWII regimes. I guarded captured Republican Guard officers in 1991. Without any conscious thought, the word “Nazi” popped into my head as soon as I laid eyes on them. Their uniform style, the fact that they were clean and well fed while the Iraqi enlisted prisoners were filthy and starving, and their unbelievably arrogant attitude – it was all so stereotypical of a movie Nazi I had trouble believing it.

    They had been captured near Kuwait City. After the ceasefire, they were picked up by Kuwaiti investigators for war crimes.

  60. Fascism is a radical totalitarian political philosophy that combines elements of corporatism, authoritarianism, extreme nationalism, militarism, anti-anarchism, anti-communism and anti-liberalism.

    Okies. Now lets look at “Al Quaeda’s” terrorists, and the Taliban (as they espouse pretty much the same thing):
    Corporatism: Nope.
    Authoritarianism: Very much so. But not really in the same way as under fascism; you don’t have the same sort of leadership cult. OBL is/was a charismatic orator (or so I hear), but he’s no fascist leader. Their God might fit the bill though.
    Extreme nationalism: Hell no! If anything they’re against nation-states.
    Militarism: Yeah this one fits.
    Anti-anarchism: Hell yeah!
    Anti-communism: Yup.
    Anti-liberalism: Boy howdy!
    Cult of masculinity (not listed): Definitely.
    There are parallels to be sure, but the terrorists we’re supposedly fighting are simply not fascists.

    Now Saddam’s regime could arguably be described as fascist, but Saddam was very different from the taliban.

  61. Saddam was definetely an old-school Fascist. The Baathists modeled themselves after Mussolini’s party.

    Islamic Fascists:
    Corporatism – no.
    Stringent socioeconomic controls – hell yeah.

    Extreme nationalism – substitute extreme religious identity.

  62. CoolBlue,

    You’ve certainly maneuvered me into a tight little trap. You got to declare a war based on innuendo and misleading statements with no specific enemy and no specific end time and if I say anything against it I get the blame when it fails. I’ve been in that trap since the “war” started, right? Even though this self-declared “war” has now lasted longer than WWII, you know, the ‘good’ war against real fascists, and this ‘war’ shows no signs of ending any time in the forseeable future.

    That’s the position you are putting me in, right?

  63. The terrorist are fascists?

    “American Heritage Dictionary Definition of Fascism:

    1a.A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism. “

    Who would that dictator be? Osama? He’s not even in charge of Al Qaeda and shares the #1 spot with the Eqyptian. He even sublimated to Mullah Omar for political reasons to gain safe harbor. AS CoolBlue is now adding in his comments Al Qaeda is now being subsumed into the Salafist movement, and it’s a small player. Al Qaeda is a very compartmentalized organization, which leads to committee/consensus based governance.

    Stringent socioeconomic controls? Disclosure of internal Al Qaeda communications shows a high degree of attempted control, but not a lot of success. Heck, Osama tried to get Zarkowie to stop bombing other Muslims and get back to killing Americans. Shows the lack of control they have over their own branch organizations.

    Suppression of opposition… well you get that one, but even CoolBlue wishes we’d all just stop posting. I don’t think he’d go to the terrorist part, but I don’t think he would have to much of an issue with censorship according to his recent posts here.

    Belligernet nationalism and racism. Well, the second part is true. As to the first, feudalism denies nationalism. Feudalism is a series of personal connections to each other, nation states can be made up of fiefs, but everybody is mostly rooting for the guy above them and not the nation state.

    “b.A political philosophy or movement based on or advocating such a system of government.”

    The Califate was a feudal organization, not dictatorship. Salafists want to bring it back.

    “2.Oppressive, dictatorial control.”

    Oppressive I’ll give you. Dictatorial? See the comments about Feudalism.

    Unless you’re saying that Islamofascism is why we went to war in Iraq. Then I’ll point out that this makes the fifth or six (I’ve lost count) reason floated. Still doesn’t work.

    As for making a connection compared on superficial looks, sorry. The point that Saddam studied Mussolini has more weight. If you want to make this connection on superficial looks to movie characters I’ll refer to a friend’s Scottish Aunt when she saw Bush’s team for election in 2000 and blurted out, “I know a Brownshirt when I see one,” and went off to make sure her passport was up to date.

    As for your “extreme religious identity” and I’ll merely point to Falwell, Crazy Uncle Pat, Dobson. They also have political aspirations and desire control and want to enforce their own socioeconomic program. Should we also label them Fascists?

  64. I was referring to their goals not their current organization. Of course they don’t want to a rouge terrorist organization forever. Terrorism is a means to an end. That end is governments that resemble the Taliban.

  65. Saying they are not fascists is like saying Mao wasn’t Communist before he won because he wasn’t controlling the Chinese economy.

  66. So it just seems to me that we should get on board and try to make it successful or we should just say we quit.

    Okay, fine: “We quit.”

    Oh and as regards tarring liberals and/or The Nation as “communist”: Communism is distinguished by ONE THING. And it isn’t anti-militarism, or being in favor of social programs, or gay rights, or atheism or anything else. (There have been lots of militarist, homophobic, non-atheist Communists).

    So . . .to be communist, you must necessarily believe in an armed revolution of the working proletariat and a small section of the bourgeiosie (sic?) against all other classes. If you don’t believe that–and neither liberals nor the editorship of The Nation do–then you aren’t a communist. End of story. Unless you want to sound like an idiot (and you’re well on your way if you do), then equivocating liberalism and communism is a no-go. It’s as cheap, sensationalist, and ignorant as saying, “Bush is just like Hitler!”

  67. J, I’m going to have to disagree a bit.

    People who want freedom generally go out and get it. It happens in lots of places–Czechoslovakia, Ukraine, Russia– without our having to invade en masse and subsidize their democracy to the tune of a billion dollars a week.

    Um, the Velvet Revolution was 21 years after the Prague Spring and 50 years after the start Nazi occupation. That’s quite a time to be under tyranny. It was only with the crumbling of the Soviet Bloc that conditions were right for the Czechs and Slovaks to seize their liberty. Others have not yet been so lucky.
    That being said, military intervention doesn’t necessarily work. Had NATO invaded in 1968, the consequences would have been dire and would have not much resembled liberalism.

  68. … So it is most definitly not disingenous to consider them a single threat, while recognizing that they are motivated by different ideologies.

    No, but it is stupid. </snark>

  69. Josh Jasper:

    Invasive wars are easily fought off, and that’s one area where the US could simply walk all over them, and then go home. Like we did with the first Iraq war.

    Waitaminute. What?

    Are you serious?

    Your grasp of military history is poor, indeed. No invasive war, perhaps with the except of the 1990-91 Kuwait campaign, has been “easily fought off” including the US & Allies’ current invasive war in Iraq. Or are you forgetting that that invasion succeeded, by and large?

  70. J:

    As for your “extreme religious identity” and I’ll merely point to Falwell, Crazy Uncle Pat, Dobson. They also have political aspirations and desire control and want to enforce their own socioeconomic program. Should we also label them Fascists?

    Sure, why not?

    Of course, Dobson, Falwell, Robertson, et al, while they may dream of a global pseudo-Christian hegemony, have yet to get violent in their pursuit of it. I mean, unless you want to get all Loose Change here and insist that they are pulling all the strings on the current US administration and that the whole point of the war in Iraq is to make them all Christian. But, I was in Iraq, and it didn’t look like a missionary trip to me.

    But yes, the extremist Christian elements in the United States and around the world are definitely fascist, of the theocrat blend, just like their extremist Muslim cousins in the Middle East. Bush could never get away with saying it, even if he wasn’t blind to the faults of his own base of support, which he probably is, but it’s true.

    Does that make you feel better?

  71. Um, the Velvet Revolution was 21 years after the Prague Spring and 50 years after the start Nazi occupation. That’s quite a time to be under tyranny. It was only with the crumbling of the Soviet Bloc that conditions were right for the Czechs and Slovaks to seize their liberty. Others have not yet been so lucky.

    Fair enough. But can you think of one example of people who were “given” democracy by Western military fiat in such a case OTHER than domination by a foreign power that came to a good end? (I.e. Kuwait, Bosnia don’t count). In other words, it seems like it simply doesn’t work for us to go in an topple a domestic government–no matter how hateful and no matter how unrepresentative–and “establish” a democracy.

    Part of the problem may be in our own assumptions. BushCo seem to think of democracy as being a government’s content: “Democracy means a government that looks like us.” Whereas in truth, democracy really is just a process that may yield any number of different outcomes. Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Palestine, Ahmadinejad in Iran: These people all got their jobs in perfectly fair, clean, democratic elections. Same goes for the uglies in power in Iraq and Afghanistan. And there are more waiting in the wings. Do you even want to think about who would be elected to power in Egypt or Pakistan if Hosni Mubarak or Pervez Musharraf were deposed tomorrow?

    And this thing happens everywhere. We spent most of the twentieth century essentially vetoing public will in Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America through assassinations, engineered coups, and funding for contras.

    But we sail obliviously on, blithely ignoring the contradiction of our constant call for ‘democracy’ and our insistence on picking and choosing from among its outcomes.

  72. “It was only with the crumbling of the Soviet Bloc that conditions were right for the Czechs and Slovaks to seize their liberty. Others have not yet been so lucky.”

    That’s something else: “Seize their liberty.” The Czechs and Slovaks (and Ukrainians and Lebanese and sloats and fruit bats and orangutangs . . .) did indeed “seize their liberty.” They wanted it and once the external constraints on them were removed, they got it.

    But our first hint that something was terribly wrong with our Grand Plan in Iraq was just after the fall of Baghdad when, rather than rejoice in the streets, widespread looting took place. Hmm, I remember thinking even at the time, This may yet all end in tears.

  73. J:

    … Fair enough. But can you think of one example of people who were “given” democracy by Western military fiat in such a case OTHER than domination by a foreign power that came to a good end?

    The Axis countries from WW II. Although Germany did get partitioned for a good long time.

    … Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Palestine, Ahmadinejad in Iran: These people all got their jobs in perfectly fair, clean, democratic elections.

    I doubt that: terrorists tend to terrorize their own people, perhaps even moreso then their putative targets. As for Ahmadinejad, to be honest I haven’t been following Iranian politics closely enough to know whether he was elected despite unfair elections, or because of them. Nonetheless your point stands that given a choice “the people” may very well elect rather unsavoury representatives, and in any event will elect people that represent them, not the Dole fruit company.

  74. Way, way up the thread, ERN said “So I’m having trouble undestanding what the issue is, here.” This thread is nearly dead, but I did want to say that this headline on CNN, which was yanked shortly after appearing, sums up the way that I feel about Bush’s new choice of words:

    Bush 3.0 Releases Patch For Iraq War

    K

  75. NJSoldier

    LaGringa is exagerating, but you know, the Bush Administration has claimed and acted upon some very totalitarian notions:

    1) The notion of enemy combatants — that the US could arrest a citizen and keep him/her locked away froever with no trial, no appeal to a judge, and now access to the utside world. They did this to Joseph Padilla

    2)They recently denied entry to the country to two American citizens. These people have not been so much as charged with a crime.

    3)They had a man arrested for putting Hezbollah’s cable station on his satellite service.

    And we haven’t even touched upon the implications of the unitary executive or their habit of attacking the patriotism of their political opponents. Are they fascists? No. But they certainly are authoritarian in leaning and they certainly haven’t had any qualms about pushing for a much more authoritarian country.

  76. Could I have cites for the last two of these? I only vaguely recall #2 and I ‘ve never heard of #3.

  77. John,

    For that third cite, believe it wasn’t Al-Jazeera. But guy was arrested in New York last Thursday for providing his cable customers with a feed that included al-Manar — apparently a small Hezbollah-sponsored channel that’s shot to top ten popularity in the Arab world with the recent Israel-Lebanon conflict.

    First big media ref on it I can find fast is The Washington Post:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/24/AR2006082401461.html

    Story says the guy’s lawyer is “not aware of another instance in which someone was accused of violating U.S. laws by enabling access to a news outlet.” And the ACLU worries it sets yet another deeply troubling precedent. Again.

    On another topic: way to go with the Campbell crown, guy! Wish I could have been at Worldcon to see you win it. Sob.

  78. As an American living in Europe, I’m very, very grateful that the use of the word “fascist” has not been noted by the news outlets here.

    The people who lived through the real war on Fascism (and their children) aren’t that receptive to this use of the label. Certainly, the folk I’ve quoted that usage to have been evenly split between incredulous laughter and eye-rolling exasperation.

    Basically, if Bush is trying to make Americans look like historically illiterate idiots who favor hyperbole over truth, he’s doing a great job. If he’s trying to convince Europe that his analysis of current world politics is worth the bandwidth it’s transmitted on, well, umm…no.

  79. Ahhh, the judiciary, the branch that ignores prescedent and attacks programs like the NSA wiretapping, which btw helped prevent an attempts to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge. Judges like Anna Diggs Taylor whose a liberal, appointed by a liberal/anti American President, and tried to subvert law by stealing an affirmative action case away from one judge to give to more liberal one. lol

    As for the label facist, what’s more anti-semitic and socialistic than Islamism today? Hmmm? Hollywood? Paris? So yeah, the label seems to stick to the Wahabbist and Bin ladenists of today.

  80. Insults, I love it. It proves my point about you folks. OOooooo, can’t think so insult the person. Can’t address the argument or the facts so retreat into self inflicted myth and legend. Mindless but predictable. Take a bow kiddo. Heh heh

  81. Liberal Twit:

    “Can’t address the argument or the facts so retreat into self inflicted myth and legend.”

    Correction: Your argument (as presented) is not worth addressing, bounded as it is pointless and stupid rhetorical nonsense, so I did not.

    Glad you liked the book. People seem to either love or hate the 1-inch aliens, I’ve noticed.

  82. Scalzi says,
    “Correction: Your argument (as presented) is not worth addressing, bounded as it is pointless and stupid rhetorical nonsense, so I did not.”

    Nah, In what way is it stupid or pointless? You can’t argue the facts since they true. Diggs Taylor did interfere with an affirmative action case which questions her judicial integrity a bit does it not? Don’t run from that. She dismisses prescedent seemingly without much thought, including the fact (again with the facts heh?) that both your guys Clinton and Carter used warrantless wiretaps. But monitoring right wing militias is fair game but Islamist are off limits? Hmmmm….. The Brookyln Bridge was targeted and largely foiled using domestic surveillance. I don’t pontificate or claim any specific expertise, just reporting from sources you’ve been ignorant of.

  83. Sorry for the shoddy grammar. I get excited yeah?

    As for the Islamo facist label. You do know the Bin ladenists are a tad bit anti-semitic don’t ya? And that facism share an awful lot in common with socialism. More so than capitalism or conservatism so I’d wager.

  84. Libertal Twit:

    “I don’t pontificate or claim any specific expertise, just reporting from sources you’ve been ignorant of.”

    I’m not entirely sure on what basis you have to claim that, unless you’re standing directly behind me while I read my news. This is the sort of rhetorical sloppiness of which I speak.

    Likewise, your poke at Diggs Taylor, which is entirely irrelevant to her ruling regarding the NSA (unless you can point to a specific aspect of that ruling which speaks to genuine judicial malfeasance, which you cannot), does not negate the fact that Bush’s overreaching has been checked by the judiciary at all levels, and by judges appointed by both parties, up to and including the Supreme Court, which, one should say, is not entirely packed with liberals. Unless you wish to suggest Scalia was attacked by zombie liberals when he voted against the Bush Administration in Hamdi.

    Liberal Twit, please don’t waste my time any further. I’m immune to your stupidities. Your arguments are poor, your rhetoric is worse, and it’s late. Go pester someone else.

  85. Scalzi says,

    “I’m not entirely sure on what basis you have to claim that, unless you’re standing directly behind me while I read my news. This is the sort of rhetorical sloppiness of which I speak.”

    Sloppy? Cmon now. I can only base in what you give me man. You make no mention of her questionable history which hurts your argument. You also ignore prescedent for warrantless wiretapping which anyone who wants to be taken seriously by non-liberals would be wise to point out. You leave out Diggs Taylor background as a civil rights attorney appointed by the only American President given a Nobel Prize for a sham peace accord (North Korea anyone?) Damn, maybe I oughtta throw Teddy Roosevelt in the mix (also involving those dang Koreans again-heh heh). All this displays serious lack of facts on your side. Talk about sloppy hombre. Do I really need to be your shoulder stalker to figure that out?

    “Likewise, your poke at Diggs Taylor, which is entirely irrelevant to her ruling regarding the NSA (unless you can point to a specific aspect of that ruling which speaks to genuine judicial malfeasance, which you cannot), ”

    Uh, the fact that she ignored prescedent is not a specific aspect? Hmm, here then:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/17/AR2006081701540.html

    And how is it irrelevant to point out her flawed behavior in the past? Might it not reduce the credibility of her decisions? I don’t see much restraint from you Bush haters in casting all types of blame and character aspersions on the thinnest of rumor. lol What about her seeming conflict of interest in at least one of her dealings with the ACLU?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anna_Diggs_Taylor

    Does that speak loudly enough? No? Well the Wikipedians aren’t known for absolute authority but there’s plenty more bout it.

    “does not negate the fact that Bush’s overreaching has been checked by the judiciary at all levels, ”

    ‘Overreaching’ is one interpretation. Another is that such arguments are shallow and baseless, especially when prescedent and common sense seem to be ignored.

    “Unless you wish to suggest Scalia was attacked by zombie liberals when he voted against the Bush Administration in Hamdi.”

    It makes me laugh when a liberal actually points to a conservative opinion they like. How schitzo it seems to me.

    “Liberal Twit, please don’t waste my time any further. I’m immune to your stupidities. Your arguments are poor, your rhetoric is worse, and it’s late. Go pester someone else. ”

    Since you couldn’t man up actual responses to my arguments and points which aren’t superficial, personal and deep fried in ignorance; I must accept victory. Thank you.

  86. Uh-huh.

    Like I said, Twit, come back to me when you can show that Diggs-Taylor’s ruling in this particular case was legally flawed (beyond the standard partisan bellowing) or otherwise tainted by jurisprudential malfeasance. Unless you can show that, you’re handwaving, here. It’s cute that you think laying down a lot of irrelevant links gets you a “victory,” but, you know, if it makes you happy, go crazy.

  87. Scalzi says,
    “Like I said, Twit, come back to me when you can show that Diggs-Taylor’s ruling in this particular case was legally flawed (beyond the standard partisan bellowing) or otherwise tainted by jurisprudential malfeasance.”

    Like I said kiddo, I’m no expert but I thought you kool aiders took the Washington Post seriously as one of your own. I like how you completely dodged the editorial I offered. They’re not exactly the ‘right wing conspirators’ you Hillary folks love to bleat about. lol

    Partisan doesn’t necessarily make it weak or incorrect. But take a look at a fellow blogger you’re also ignroant of who’s taken the logic apart on Diggs Taylor (if I say so myself)

    http://tigerhawk.blogspot.com/2006/08/nsa-case.html

    “It’s cute that you think laying down a lot of irrelevant links is gets you a “victory,” but, you know, if it makes you happy, go crazy.”

    Riiighht irrelevant because you’re too lazy or scared to study them? Okay. Again the Washinton Post is a respectable news outlet, even if it’s liberal. heh heh Here’s another:

    http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/tbray/?id=110001857

    I win not simply because of the links I offer. After all, anyone can offer links. It’s the fact that, like most liberals, you do not have the courage to engage in ideas or arguments. You name call those you disagree with. Not always but enough times to disply a common pattern found more among your breed than with ours. I don’t recall anybody on our side as wacko as Dean or McKinney or Gore or Kerry (Bender?) or Krugman….

  88. Liberal Twit, the fact that I ask for proof that the ruling is legally flawed or malfeasant and you offer opinion is one primary reason you’re not worth arguing with.

    Once again, unless you can offer concrete proof this specific ruling is legally malfeasant, then all your blatheration is simply irrelevant to the point at hand. It’s not my responsibility to make you understand that, or to give your irrelevant linkage any creedence.

    Now, because you’re clearly not taking the hint: Move on. Subsequent stupidities and irrelevancies from you on this topic will be deleted, because I find your inability to parse the difference between opinion and fact on this subject tiresome.

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