Thursday, August 17, 2006

Bush calls Muslim Terrorists "Islamo-Fascists" again

Geoffrey Nunberg is the author of Talking Right, a book about politics and language. In today's LA Times, Nunberg says Bush doesn't really know what he's talking about. Bush has used the term before, but the current use of the phrase signaled that the administration was shopping for new language to defend its policies at a time when the evocations of the "war on terror" don't seem to stem rising doubts about the wisdom of "staying the course" in Iraq.

Nunberg rightly says that this administration is attempting to link its "War on Terror" to World War II, the last "just war." He quotes Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) from last month, as he raised the specter of the Islamists' dreams of "a new, global caliphate where Islamic fascism will rule mankind," and he reminded the audience that "we had no problem understanding that Nazism and fascism were evil racist empires. We must now bring the same clarity to the war against Islamic fascism."

By lumping ex-Baathists, Al Qaeda and Shiite mullahs; Chechens and Kashmiris; Hezbollah, Hamas, British-born Asians, and the ACLU together as Islamo-Fascists, the neo-cons are attempting to turn the complexity of the world into a simple fable. (Perhaps they'll call it "My Pet Goat.")

But what is Fascism? Well, The Project for an OLD American Century lists the 14 points of fascism.

1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism.

2. Disdain for the importance of human rights.
Bush threatens to veto $442b defense bill if Congress investigates detainee abuses.

3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause. (Ann Coulter: Godless: The Church of Liberalism

4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism. Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

Funding for job training, rural health care, low-income schools and help for people lacking health insurance would face big cuts under a bill passed Friday by the House.
In a pop culture allegory of military might, three cable channels now feed news, information and entertainment about the armed services into millions of living rooms 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

5. Rampant sexism. The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy. (The whole "Gay Agenda" thing.)

6. A controlled mass media. Sometimes the media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

7. Obsession with national security. Terror Alert Level

8. Religion and ruling elite tied together. Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.

9. Power of corporations protected. The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated. Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts. Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.
Bush's new economic plan cuts funding for arts, education
Artists from all over the world are being refused entry to the US on security grounds.

12. Obsession with crime and punishment. Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

The problem with Gonzales is that he has been deeply involved in developing some of the most sweeping claims of near-dictatorial presidential power in our nation's history.

13. Rampant cronyism and corruption. Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent elections. Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

Robert F. Kennedy's Rolling Stone Article about the 2004 election.

Remember, it's not fascism when WE do it.


betmo said...

so it's christian fascism versus muslim fascism- is it like the wrestling on tv? may the best ideology win? this is a last ditch effort to try something new to instill fear back into the hearts of the american people. they are a one hit wonder- no new material. they need the war to go on indefinitely to increase the profits of war that a select few are amassing. i find it disgusting that anyone falls for this crap anymore. radical islam is no different than rightwing nutjob christians- except they blow themselves up to rid the world of infidels. the christians like this world too much to want to move on to the next. amazing what running water, electricity, etc., can do to change your world view.

Anonymous said...

Hey, you have to fight fascims with fascims, 'specially them there Islamo-fascinists! George W., your leader.

Anonymous said...

Bush really needs to shut his pie-hole.

In PA yesterday, he implicated Americans who advocate an end to the war in encouraging terrorists to come attack us in the United States. This is the kind of corrosive rhetoric that is going to encourage some right wing nuts to act out their violence fantasies on the opposition, and Bush should f*cking know better!

DivaJood said...

Betmo, the subtle disintigration of our Constitution has stopped being so subtle anymore. But, follow the money. It leads to the personal profit of Bush, Cheney, etc.

Why Shrubya, thanks for stopping by.

Kvatch, that's the whole problem: Bush does know better. His rhetoric, and the rhetoric of his supporters, is all designed to inflame people. You are right, there will be some violent neo-Nazi who will tromp the shit out of someone who opposes the war - it is inevitable. But they continue to spew hatred.

Anonymous said...

We ain't got no intrest in money, if Syriberia wood just stop this shit, Yo, Diva, can you get Syriberia to stop this shit? Them there terrists gonna blow some shit up! Where's my beer? Hey, twins, which one of you's mine anyway? Hey, come here and bring Daddy a beer and a hug. Yo, twins, can you get Syreberia to stop this shit? George W., your leader!

Thanks for thankin' me Diva. Just trying to get you blogo-facisvists to stop this shit.

Lew Scannon said...

The neocons are really just neofascists.

DivaJood said...

Lew, absolutely. What's deeply frightening to me is how smoothly and fairly quickly they've managed to bypass the Constitution. On the other hand, Justice Digg Taylor's decision was a huge comment on how wrong this administration is.

Jack said...

I have to disagree. This is one point that Democrats should concede to Bush. Although you make a good point that it might not be diplomatically savvy, I can't think of a better way to describe radical islam than fascism. If you examine the regimes of iran and syria, it's very similar to those of hitler and mussolini. The dogma that is enforced on society in the form of islam and anti-semitism/anti-westernism is a textbook fascism. Terrorists organizations have never campaigned for anything resembling democracy.

- BlueWaveNJ

DivaJood said...

Jack, good point about radical Islam - however, I believe that Bush is using the term Islamo-Fascist to lump ALL Muslims, and Arabs, into a faceless blob. The intent is to dehumanize all Arabs. Thanks for the visit!

Kati said...

I think the fascism of Italy and Mussolini has more in common with the U.S. and Britain than it does with Islam. Here, in some ways, "follow the money" applies. The efforts to control the demands of workers for better wages and working conditions, the neglect of social programs are made so much easier by identifying an outside enemy.

DivaJood said...

Kati, thanks for coming by - yes, the evolving fascism in the US has more similarites to Italy and Mussolini; the radical Islam that Jack refers to is also fascism. But what Bushco is trying to do is lump ALL Muslims under this label and that is wrong. And yes, absolutely in the case of the Iraq war, "follow the money" completely applies.

Helen Wheels said...

These points can't be stated often enough. Thanks for posting them. I think I'm due for a fascism points posting myself.

Yeah - "it's not fascism when WE do it", indeed.

DivaJood said...

Helen, right - after all, we are American, so how could it be fascism?