Our Mad Mad World: "Islamo Fascism"    
 "Islamo Fascism"13 comments
picture28 Aug 2006 @ 17:59, by Paul Quintanilla


One fantasy leads to another.

The Neocons are great admirers of Winston Churchill. They love to constantly trot out how he stood up to Hitler when all the appeasers back in the thirties were shirking. They even do this, often enough, as if the rest of us don’t know what appeasement was all about. As if we are too ignorant to ever truly understand the present danger.

This is insulting.

It is also misleading. For the true appeasers way back then, in the thirties, were the spiritual forebearers of today’s rightwing. Chamberlain and Stanley Baldwin and Edouard Daladier and the America Firsters all hoped Hitler would eventually take on Stalin in order to block the expansion of Soviet Communism. They were not merely hoping, at all costs, to avoid a war, but were often sympathetic with fascism’s various objectives. And they frequently had good things to say about “Herr Hitler,“ as Chamberlain called him. It was the left, way back then in the thirties, which desired to halt the rise of fascism: who warned against appeasement. Such as all those American and European volunteers who went to Spain to fight for the Republic.

But today’s right equates those of us on the left with the rightwing of the thirties. A peculiar juxtaposition. But it fits their contrived intellectual needs. They can brush us off as “appeasers” if we don’t buy their Neocon worldview.

Yes, the Neocon right loves Winston Churchill: the English imperialist and conservative. And loving to bring forth that “appeasement” analogy may also be why they have chosen the label “Islamo Fascism” to contextualize their great enemy. Since the phrase is so “Churchillian” and reflects back on those defining times.

Now there is a very important reason why we should all be concerned about this language. This talk may lead us into more and greater wars.

If the Neocons and Christian right create an enemy, an omnipotent enemy of one and a half billion fanatical jihadist Muslims, all of whom desire to slit our throats, then we will have to deal with this enemy. And the Neocons’ warnings may become a self fulfilling prophecy. Armageddon may actually be at our door: a war so horrible and senseless that it will actually appear like the end of the world. A war, perhaps, to the end: one which in their eyes may even resolve the final conflict between good and evil.

If Americans believe in this fiction then they will support our administration’s continuing war in the Middle East and elsewhere. “Islamo fascism” has become the rampant “Communism” of today: a pervasive threat weaving its tendrils throughout the whole of the world, never allowing us to rest. Evil incarnate. The “war of civilizations.” Need more be said?

The real threat is that the American people may swallow this sumptuous garbage. And that the fear of the boogie man will blind us to our true enemies.

Here’s Katha Pollit on the subject. Is it futile to hope that at least a majority of Americans will understand the fraud the Bush administration is offering us?

(A comment regarding her piece. I can most certainly assure you that the Spanish Republicans would not have sided with Joe Lieberman and his fellow Neocons. And it’s safe to doubt the American left in the thirties would have either: they were, after all, the ones who warned and shouted out against appeasement.)



The Trouble with Bush's 'Islamofascism'

By Katha Pollitt, The Nation Posted on August 26, 2006, Printed on August 26, 2006 [link]

If you control the language, you control the debate. As the Bush Administration's Middle Eastern policy sinks ever deeper into bloody incoherence, the "war on terror" has been getting a quiet linguistic makeover. It's becoming the "war on Islamic fascism." The term has been around for a while -- Nexis takes it back to 1990, when the writer and historian Malise Ruthven used "Islamo-fascism" in the London Independent to describe the authoritarian governments of the Muslim world; after 9/11 it was picked up by neocons and prowar pundits, including Stephen Schwartz in the Spectator and Christopher Hitchens in this magazine, to describe a broad swath of Muslim bad guys from Osama to the mullahs of Iran.

But the term moved into the mainstream this August when Bush referred to the recently thwarted Britain-based suicide attack plot on airplanes as "a stark reminder that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists." Joe Lieberman compares Iraq to "the Spanish Civil War, which was the harbinger of what was to come." The move away from "war on terrorism" arrives not a moment too soon for language fussbudgets who had problems with the idea of making war on a tactic. To say nothing of those who wondered why, if terrorism was the problem, invading Iraq was the solution. (From the President's August 21 press conference: Q: "But what did Iraq have to do with September 11?" A: "Nothing." Now he tells us!)

What's wrong with "Islamo-fascism"? For starters, it's a terrible historical analogy. Italian Fascism, German Nazism and other European fascist movements of the 1920s and '30s were nationalist and secular, closely allied with international capital and aimed at creating powerful, up-to-date, all-encompassing states. Some of the trappings might have been anti-modernist -- Mussolini looked back to ancient Rome, the Nazis were fascinated by Nordic mythology and other Wagnerian folderol -- but the basic thrust was modern, bureaucratic and rational. You wouldn't find a fascist leader consulting the Bible to figure out how to organize the banking system or the penal code or the women's fashion industry. Even its anti-Semitism was "scientific": The problem was the Jews' genetic inferiority and otherness, which countless biologists, anthropologists and medical researchers were called upon to prove -- not that the Jews killed Christ and refused to accept the true faith.

Call me pedantic, but if only to remind us that the worst barbarities of the modern era were committed by the most modern people, I think it is worth preserving "fascism" as a term with specific historical content.

Second, and more important, "Islamo-fascism" conflates a wide variety of disparate states, movements and organizations as if, like the fascists, they all want similar things and are working together to achieve them. Neocons have called Saddam Hussein and the Baathists of Syria Islamo-fascists, but these relatively secular nationalist tyrants have nothing in common with shadowy, stateless, fundamentalist Al Qaeda -- as even Bush now acknowledges -- or with the Taliban, who want to return Afghanistan to the seventh century; and the Taliban aren't much like Iran, which is different from (and somewhat less repressive than) Saudi Arabia -- whoops, our big ally in the Middle East! Who are the "Islamo-fascists" in Saudi Arabia -- the current regime or its religious-fanatical opponents? It was under the actually existing US-supported government that female students were forced back into their burning school rather than be allowed to escape unveiled. Under that government people are lashed and beheaded, women can't vote or drive, non-Muslim worship is forbidden, a religious dress code is enforced by the state through violence and Wahhabism -- the "Islamo-fascist" denomination--is exported around the globe.

"Islamo-fascism" looks like an analytic term, but really it's an emotional one, intended to get us to think less and fear more. It presents the bewildering politics of the Muslim world as a simple matter of Us versus Them, with war to the end the only answer, as with Hitler. If you doubt that every other British Muslim under the age of 30 is ready to blow himself up for Allah, or that shredding the Constitution is the way to protect ourselves from suicide bombers, if you think that Hamas might be less popular if Palestinians were less miserable, you get cast as Neville Chamberlain, while Bush plays FDR. "Islamo-fascism" rescues the neocons from harsh verdicts on the invasion of Iraq ("cakewalk... roses... sweetmeats... Chalabi") by reframing that ongoing debacle as a minor chapter in a much larger story of evil madmen who want to fly the green flag of Islam over the capitals of the West. Suddenly it's just a detail that Saddam wasn't connected with 9/11, had no WMDs, was not poised to attack the United States or Israel -- he hated freedom, and that was enough. It doesn't matter, either, that Iraqi Sunnis and Shiites seem less interested in uniting the umma than in murdering one another. With luck we'll be so scared we won't ask why anyone should listen to another word from people who were spectacularly wrong about the biggest politico-military initiative of the past thirty years, and their balding heads will continue to glow on our TV screens for many nights to come. On to Tehran!

It remains to be seen if "Islamo-fascism" will win back the socially liberal "security moms" who voted for Bush in 2004 but have recently been moving toward the Democrats. But the word is already getting a big reaction in the Muslim world. As I write the New York Times is carrying a full page "open letter" to Bush from the Al Kharafi Group, the mammoth Kuwaiti construction company, featuring photos of dead and wounded Lebanese civilians. "We think there is a misunderstanding in determining: "'Who deserves to be accused of being a fascist'!!!!"

"Islamo-fascism" enrages to no purpose the dwindling number of Muslims who don't already hate us. At the same time, it clouds with ideology a range of situations -- Lebanon, Palestine, airplane and subway bombings, Afghanistan, Iraq -- we need to see clearly and distinctly and deal with in a focused way. No wonder the people who brought us the disaster in Iraq are so fond of it.

Katha Pollitt is a columnist for The Nation.

© 2006 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved. View this story online at: [link]


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13 comments

29 Aug 2006 @ 11:30 by rayon : apologies
In the last few days on our TV, we have seen a mullah in Lebanon apologizing for Hezbollah kidnapping the Israelis. Or so viewers were told in translation. We also saw a young Lebanese man saying about 90% of Lebs dislike the Hez v much but are too afraid to say in public. My definition of F..ism, is when nausea arises in the stomach area and clinches the throat like when watching a film on Goebals, or attending an insider lecture on the run away train perniciousness of Mussoluni.

He doctored old village battle songs of lost loved ones to glory death and in particular blood, for an ideal so utterly obscure that it can only be for itself, in other words the poor individuals caught up in this red vortex have totally lost control of themselves, they are allowing themselves to be used by a zietgeist. A Black Hole in Astronomical terms, sucks them in, with no way out. Even the artwork of Mussoline, the giant statues around his Stadia in personification of Art Deco mode, appear without soul or heart, they are lock, stock and barrel within the Spectrum of Linear Time frames.

Let us be grateful for our feet on the ground, with eyes to see, hearts to feel, and hands to grab hold of ladder rungs into some, any, form of light. In the end, we can only take on responsibility for ourselves, no one else.

The Nausea level prevents an articulate political response to this long complex article linking many thoughts, so I apologise for the paultry comment. I do have to say that for those who wish to attain a form of Self, America is still almost the best place in which to do so, to my mind, despite all other critisisms. I do not think that in the West we are aware of the extent of peoples who are unable to be consistent enough at a basic level, to create a minutest Truth between two people, for the embryo of a "Conversation" to emerge.
That such are called fundamentalists is wishful thinking.  



29 Aug 2006 @ 22:43 by Quinty @68.226.88.25 : Speaking of which....
it appears as if the "appeasment" argument is really getting hot....


Rumsfeld Lashes Out at Bush's Critics

Tuesday August 29, 2006 9:31 PM

By ROBERT BURNS

AP Military Writer

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (AP) - Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Tuesday the world faces ``a new type of fascism'' and likened critics of the U.S. war strategy to those who tried to appease the Nazis.

In unusually explicit terms, Rumsfeld portrayed the Bush administration's critics as suffering from ``moral or intellectual confusion'' about what threatens the nation's security. His remarks amounted to one of his most pointed defenses of President Bush' war policies and was among his toughest attacks on the president's critics.

Speaking to several thousand veterans at the American Legion's national convention, Rumsfeld recited what he called the lessons of history, including the failure to confront Hitler in the 1930s. He quoted Winston Churchill as observing that trying to accommodate Hitler was ``a bit like feeding a crocodile, hoping it would eat you last.''

``I recount this history because once again we face similar challenges in efforts to confront the rising threat of a new type of fascism,'' he said.

``Can we truly afford to believe that somehow, some way, vicious extremists can be appeased?'' he asked.

``Can we truly afford to return to the destructive view that America - not the enemy - is the real source of the world's troubles?''

Rumsfeld spoke to the American Legion as part of a coordinated White House strategy, in advance of the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, to take the offensive against administration critics at a time of doubt about the future of Iraq and growing calls to withdraw U.S. troops.

Rumsfeld recalled a string of recent terrorist attacks, from 9/11 to deadly bombings in Bali, London and Madrid, and said it should be obvious to anyone that terrorists must be confronted, not appeased.

``But some seem not to have learned history's lessons,'' he said, adding that part of the problem is that the American news media have tended to emphasize the negative rather than the positive.

He said, for example, that more media attention was given to U.S. soldiers' abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib than to the fact that Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith received the Medal of Honor.

He did acknowledge that the U.S. military has its own ``bad actors - the ones who dominate the headlines today - who don't live up to the standards of the oath and of our country.'' But he added that they are a small percentage of the hundreds of thousands of troops who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

``Those who know the truth need to speak out against these kinds of myths and lies and distortions being told about our troops and about our country,'' he said.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was addressing the American Legion convention later Tuesday, and Bush is scheduled to speak here later in the week. On Monday, Vice President Dick Cheney and Rumsfeld made separate addresses to the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Reno, Nev.

Rumsfeld made similar arguments in Reno about doubters of the administration's approach to fighting terrorism, saying too many in this country want to ``blame America first'' and ignore the enemy.

Rumsfeld's remarks ignited angry rebukes from Democrats.

``It's a political rant to cover up his incompetence,'' said Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., a former Army officer and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Reed said he took particular exception to the implication that critics of Pentagon policies are unpatriotic, citing ``scores of patriotic Americans of both parties who are highly critical of his handling of the Department of Defense.''

Rep. John Murtha, the hawkish Pennsylvania Democrat who voted in favor of the war but recently called for troops to withdraw, said in a statement: ``It's interesting to me that they generalize the support for the war. They're not realistic with the fact that there's no progress.''

Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., chimed in that Rumsfeld's remarks were trying to ``shoot the messenger'' rather than examine failed policy.

Rumsfeld defended the war in Iraq, saying that while U.S. military tactics have changed as conditions on the ground have changed, the administration's war strategy has remained constant: ``to empower the Iraqi people to defend, govern and rebuild their own country.''

In arguing against giving up in Iraq, he said people should know from history that wars are never easy.

``You know from experience that in every war - personally - there have been mistakes and setbacks and casualties,'' he said. ``War is,'' as Clemenceau said, `A series of catastrophes that results in victory.''

Guardian

Now, if only Enrique Lister could rise from the dead to lead our troops on to victory in this clash of civilizations...... Quinty  



29 Aug 2006 @ 23:01 by Quinty @68.226.88.25 : Nraye
you appear to have taken a step beyond me.

Blood, zeitgeist, and fascism - some cocktail.

What can I add to that? Well said.

I'm an admirer of Cavafy too.  



30 Aug 2006 @ 13:14 by rayon : No trouble,
still with the thread, it occurred that even if the US and UK did not exist, Mussolini and co could still have been there. Because these things happen when a people are looking the other way. The same can be said for the Middle East. Ultimately, the West is trying to solve a problem, acted in good faith (despite the oil), sent brave chaps out there which in itself calls for a different rhetoric. Non combatants can sing Peace, but its a Peace dependent on their safety first. This is not advocacy for war.

With Clemenceau I argue: War is something in which no one wins (except the Media), because the "winners" have their losses too, the end of war is just end of argument, for a time. We are trying to help them in Iraq to win, no one could imagine it would be so bad, so different to our thought processes.

My own peaceful means of solution would require my learning Arabic to illustrate some miracles in life. People have to experience truth before it can be revealed to them, all else is just words to 15th century thinking. In Pakistan, a civilised nation, a woman needs the witnessing of four men to claim rape, otherwise she is not recognised. If your women (and I am absolutely no Feminist) are married off at twelve, perhaps sold, and treated as chattel, their experiences will tell little of what is right or wrong in terms of their existence. Clear headedness does not just emerge on its own accord, it is in the genes and is given the correct environment to grow decade by decade. In the name of Equality, all our most glorious achievements we take for granted, discussion, courtesy, for its own sake, this and more is divested into others on assumption they must surely have them too. "By their fruits you shall recognise them". But we are greatly mistaken.

By treating women as chattels, Men are depriving themselves of exactly HALF of what the world has to offer in every possible line of thinking imagineable. Sounds like to Hell on earth to me. If men have no one to talk to not even their women (in the majority of cases of course) they will be rushing around "madly" appealing for something please please, with arms outstretched. The solution is on their doorstep, go to the west, try to see the women there, try to like what happens in the interaction. Unfortunately we do not make films for this perspective, The situation has greatly been underestimated. Facism is a short straight road to annihilation.

America's only fault lies here, which everyone acknowledges, America is very little aware of the culture of others. Not all culture and tradition is good, bodily mutilation of the Sahara for example, but in order to get through to a people some understanding has to be there (my counsins were invited to a party where they suddenly discovered what was going on on the table in the middle, and these were the civilised of the area, for God's Sake), alot of real sympathy has to be shown, and respect for their customs, in order talk on their own terms and then lead them out with you from their DARKNESS.


 



30 Aug 2006 @ 14:29 by vaxen : Hell...
some good thoughts in your comments. Many forget that it was American money, Brown and Root, Koen and Loeb, the Bush family, Henry Ford, U.S. Standard Oil of New Jersey, Rockefeller, etc., ad nauseum, whose ''moneys' supported the third Reich and brought Adolph, their boy, to power!

You might examine just who potted to get us into a world war and why it was so easy to get us there. The Hegelian dialectic of thesis antithesis and synthesis was and is being used for the manipulation of the masses... for profit.

Give the government the money issuing power and you will get naught but war as the 'government' destroys itself from within. Onwards, then, to Teheran? Nah, it's about Eurasia. Always has been. Who controls Eurasia controls the world. Fascism is about Big business or rather Corporatism. The Americans are fascists in the true sense of the word and the Arab block countries need to be eliminated or made to serve them in their all out bid to conquer Eurasia.

Welcome to World War three.
The British Strategy.  



30 Aug 2006 @ 23:11 by Quinty @68.226.88.25 : Yeah, Vax
it was DuPont, Lindburgh, Father Caughlin (remind you of Hannity, Coulter, and O'Reilly?), Joseph Kennedy, the Dulles brothers, GM, Texaco, Coca Cola (fer Christ sakes), Ford Motors, Standard Oil, ITT, IBM, RCA, and other mega US business interests which supported Hitler....

And now I see that the Bush administration appears to have adopted the "Islamo Fascism" mantra to build support for their wars. (One could call this a "campaign" without blushing.)

The mass media appears to finally be bucking though, and may not fall into lock step the way they did in the leed up to the 2003 war. Bush is low in the polls. Very low. Has the media's spine bent with Bush's drooping poll numbers? Or are they actually standing up tall? While it may be a breath of relief and fresh air for some of the "reporters" to be actually able to report what they see, rather than "create" the news (entirely at least), I somehow suspect the American people, in all their magesty, may have influenced the change in the mass corporate media attitude. They, the media types, like to talk the talk - and in any journalism workshop do - but, the sad truth is, they rarely walk the walk.

The Bushies, though, know no decency whatever. And while George Bush parces his doubletalk in order to be more convincing the rest of us, and the world, will have to pay the consequences.  



31 Aug 2006 @ 12:07 by rayon : Converted
But now trying to follow all your ideas here Quinty. Is there a difference between the idea and how it is expressed, while the idea is quite correct, sometimes it is difficult to get the right stance for one's own understanding to transfer across to another.

Today we read of the latest converts to Islam. Pinocchio, Tom Sawyer, D'Artagnan (3 Musketeers), Pollyanna, and more. This has caused controversy in Turkey whose publishing houses have made alternations to the classic books they publish. What did I say about the Italian movement changing the words to nursery rhymes and village songs? Heidi is included, who is told that praying to Allah will help. Pinnochio asks for bread for Allahs sake, and Pollyanna says that she believes the end of the world as predicted in the Koran. Tom Sawyer is given a special treat for learning Arabic words. La Fontaine and Victor Hugo have also been doctored. These are all in the Turkish School curriculum. It includes over a hundred books.

Link can be provided tomorrow this is today's Telegraph.  



31 Aug 2006 @ 17:01 by Quinty @68.226.88.25 : National myths

Well, at least they haven't rewritten the story about George Washington cutting down the cherry tree. That would really be a blow to our self esteem and image.

Yes, I agree: it is very important to be clear and precise when writing. In fiction a mood can be created which captures the reader. And that will lead him on. As art, fiction creates a world and it is up to a reader to be able to enter into it with understanding. Contrary to the tenets of modernism, an author owes his reader clarity and consideration when attempting to offer a factual description or a thought. Nor is this form of consideration always easy. But we have to try. (Please forgive the somewhat pompous tone of these literary remarks.) On the web, what's more, I find myself extremely error prone: not only making errors which reveal my own ignorance but numerous typos and howlers.  



31 Aug 2006 @ 20:19 by vaxen : The Big Lie:
Thought y'all might find this interesting...


The Big Lie About 'Islamic Fascism'

by Eric Margolis


The latest big lie unveiled by Washington’s neoconservatives are the poisonous terms, "Islamo-Fascists" and "Islamic Fascists." They are the new, hot buzzwords among America’s far right and Christian fundamentalists.

President George W. Bush made a point last week of using "Islamofacists" when recently speaking of Hezbullah and Hamas – both, by the way, democratically elected parties. A Canadian government minister from the Conservative Party compared Lebanon’s Hezbullah to Nazi Germany.

The term "Islamofascist" is utterly without meaning, but packed with emotional explosives. It is a propaganda creation worthy Dr. Goebbels, and the latest expression of the big lie technique being used by neocons in Washington’s propaganda war against its enemies in the Muslim World.

This ugly term was probably first coined in Israel – as was the other hugely successful propaganda term, "terrorism" – to dehumanize and demonize opponents and deny them any rational political motivation, hence removing any need to deal with their grievances and demands.

[link]  



31 Aug 2006 @ 20:30 by b : It's just a label
that is being used to discribe those who are part of a conspiracy of some Muslims in the 56 muslim countries that want the destruction of the USA, Israel and the rest of the unbelievers of Islam in the world. Gotta call them something. Do you have a better name? For Muslims who want the USA to submit to Islam and accept sharia law or be destroyed.  


31 Aug 2006 @ 20:38 by Quinty @68.226.88.25 : Margolis piece

"Terrorism is the war of the poor, and war is the terrorism of the rich."

Very nice.

Dark forces out there. Hold up the mirror and the dark will reach out for the dark, as one of the Watergate conspirators said about Richard Nixon.  



1 Sep 2006 @ 20:20 by Quinty @68.226.88.25 : More on the genesis of Neocon Talk

More has arrived here in Neo Fascism Center (a broad claim but we should be used to them by now) and those of us interested in Right Speak (we should be - they're calling the shots nowadays) know that the lurid and purple scare prose has been nocking about for quite a while. The Neocons love this stuff. But then I'm being redundant.


Published on Friday, September 1, 2006 by the Inter Press Service

"Fascism" Frame Set Up by Right-Wing Press
by Jim Lobe

WASHINGTON - The aggressive new campaign by the administration of President George W. Bush to depict U.S. foes in the Middle East as "fascists" and its domestic critics as "appeasers" owes a great deal to steadily intensifying efforts by the right-wing press over the past several months to draw the same comparison.

The Rupert Murdoch-owned Fox News Network and The Weekly Standard, as well as the Washington Times, which is controlled by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church, and the neo-conservative New York Sun, have consistently and with increasing frequency framed the challenges faced by Washington in the region in the context of the rise of fascism and Nazism in the 1930s, according to a search of the Nexis database by IPS.

All of those outlets, as well as two other right-wing U.S. magazines -- The National Review and The American Spectator -- far outpaced their commercial rivals in the frequency of their use of key words and names, such as "appeasement," "fascism", and "Hitler", particularly with respect to Iran and its controversial president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Nexis, for example, cited 56 uses of "Islamofascist" or "Islamofascism" in separate programmes or segments aired by Fox News compared with 24 by CNN over the past year. Even more striking, the same terms were used in 115 different articles or columns in the Washington Times, compared with only eight in the Washington Post over the same period, according to a breakdown by Nexis.

Similarly, the Washington Times used the words "appease" or "appeasement" -- a derogatory reference to efforts by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain to avoid war with Nazi Germany before the latter's invasion of Poland -- in 25 different articles or columns that dealt with alleged threats posed by Ahmadinejad, compared to six in the Post and only three in the New York Times.

Israel-centred neo-conservatives and other hawks have long tried to depict foreign challenges to U.S. power as replays of the 1930s in order to rally public opinion behind foreign interventions and high defence budgets and against domestic critics.

During the Cold War, they attacked domestic critics of the Vietnam War and later the Ronald Reagan administration's "contra war" against Nicaragua -- and even Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon -- as "isolationists" and "appeasers" who failed to understand that their opposition effectively served the interests of an "evil" Soviet Union whose ambitions for world conquest were every bit as threatening and real as that of the Axis powers in World War II.

Known as "the Good War", that conflict remains irresistible as a point of comparison for hawks caught up in more recent conflicts -- from the first Gulf War when former President H.W. Bush compared Iraq's Saddam Hussein to Hitler; to the Balkan wars when neo-conservatives and liberal interventionists alike described Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic in similar terms; to the younger Bush's "global war on terrorism" (GWOT), which he and his supporters have repeatedly tried to depict as the latest in a series of existential struggles against "evil" and "totalitarians" that began with World War II.

Given the growing public disillusionment not only with the Iraq war, but with Bush's handling of the larger GWOT as well -- not to mention the imminence of the mid-term Congressional elections in November and the growing tensions with Ahmadinejad's Iran over its nuclear program -- it is hardly surprising that both the administration and its hawkish supporters are trying harder than ever to identify their current struggles, including last month's conflict between Israel and Iran-backed Hezbollah, specifically with the war against "fascism" more than 60 years ago.

As noted by Associated Press (AP) this week, "fascism" or "Islamic fascism", a phrase used by Bush himself two weeks ago and used to encompass everything from Sunni insurgents, al Qaeda and Hamas to Shia Hezbollah and Iran to secular Syria, has become the "new buzzword" for Republicans.

In a controversial speech Tuesday, Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld was even more direct, declaring that Washington faced a "new type of fascism" and, in an explicit reference to the failure of western countries to confront Hitler in the 1930s, assailing critics for neglecting "history's lessons" by "believ(ing) that somehow vicious extremists can be appeased."

But Rumsfeld's remarks, which drew bitter retorts from leading Democrats, followed a well-worn path trod with increasing intensity by the neo-conservative and right-wing media over the last year, according to the Nexis survey. Significantly, it did not include the Wall Street Journal whose editorial pages have been dominated by neo-conservative opinion, particularly analogies between the rise of fascism and the challenges faced by the U.S. in the Middle East, since 9/11.

Thus, the Washington Times published 95 articles and columns that featured the words "fascism" or "fascist" and "Iraq" over the past year, twice as many as appeared in the New York Times during the same period. More than half of the Washington Times' articles were published in just the past three months -- three times as many as appeared in the New York Times.

Similarly, the National Review led all magazines and journals with 66 such references over the past year, followed by 48 in The American Spectator, and 14 by The Weekly Standard. Together, those three publications accounted for more than half of all articles with those words published by the more than three dozen U.S. periodicals catalogued by Nexis since last September.

The results were similar for "appease" or "appeasement" and "Iraq". Led by the Review, the same three journals accounted for more than half the articles (175) that included those words in some three dozen U.S. magazines over the past year. As for newspapers, The Washington Times led the list with 46 articles, 50 percent more than the New York Times which also had fewer articles than its crosstown neo-conservative rival, the much-smaller New York Sun.

Searching on Nexis for articles and columns that included "Iran" and "fascist" or "fascism," IPS found that the Sun and the Times topped the newspaper list by a substantial margin, as did the Review, the Spectator, and the Standard among the magazines and journals. Nearly one-third of all such references over the past year were published in August, according to the survey.

Nexis, which also surveys the Canadian press, found that newspapers owned by CanWest Global Communications, a group that owns the country's Global Television Network, as well as the National Post, the Ottawa Citizen, and the Montreal Gazette and several other regional newspapers, were also among the most consistent propagators of the "fascism" paradigm and ranked far ahead of other Canadian outlets in the frequency with which they used key words, such as "appeasement" and "fascist" in connection with Iraq and Iran.

The group is run by members of the Asper family whose foreign policy views have been linked to prominent hard-line neo-conservatives here and the right-wing Likud Party in Israel.

Copyright © 2006 IPS-Inter Press Service  



1 Sep 2006 @ 20:34 by Quinty @68.226.88.25 : Shades of Spiro Agnew

Was anyone reminded by Rumsfeld's recent performance (see above) of Spiro Agnew's colorful turns of phrase, which so delighted the right back in Nixon's days: such as "nattering nabobs of negativism" and "effete corps of impudent snobs" to describe the administration's critics?

Do you think Carl Rove may have sent Rumsfeld out to speak in that manner? To put the "elitists" and pusillanimous "appeasers" in their place? To stir up the base and scare the pants off everyone else?

The indictments haven't come down (yet) so history isn't exactly repeating itself. But the same minds applying the same tactics appear to be at work.

Bush is very loyal to his friends. And he should be. Rumsfeld is a true team player.  



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13 Jun 2009 @ 23:10: Communal Capitalism
6 Mar 2009 @ 17:33: One Writer's Oddyssey
15 Jul 2008 @ 23:06: Not Peace but Apartheid
24 Mar 2008 @ 20:50: Is it time?
4 Mar 2008 @ 21:24: Writers Take Sides
4 Feb 2008 @ 19:45: Citizen McCain
31 Jan 2008 @ 19:53: The King of Mountebanks?
14 Jan 2008 @ 19:59: "Yes We Can"
21 Nov 2007 @ 23:59: An Easy Solution Missed
6 Oct 2007 @ 20:17: Bringing Back the Fairness Doctrine



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