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August 30, 2006 1:00 PM   Subscribe

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. Donald H. Rumsfeld in a speech to an American Legion convention in Salt Lake City said [of his critics, they are] trying to appease "a new type of fascism."

Before it was "cut and run", which was tested using a focus group. On the Senate floor, Sen Hagel earlier decried the tactic: "Focus Group-Tested Buzz Words…Like ‘Cut and Run’…Debase the Seriousness of War." What will they come up with next?
posted by ArunK (138 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Did I miss the memo about today being AgendaFilter day on MeFi?
posted by keswick at 1:04 PM on August 30, 2006


Damn, just when I was warming up to the "Struggle Against Global Extremism"
posted by prostyle at 1:06 PM on August 30, 2006


The Fallacy of Islamo-fascism. Mostly it annoys me as a further dilution of what the word actually means.
posted by jefgodesky at 1:06 PM on August 30, 2006


Do they have to pay royalties to Christopher Hitchens?

"Islamofascism" is basically the same kind of construct as Rush Limbaugh's "Environazis" or "Feminazis". Take the thing you don't like, meld it with the thing everybody doesn't like and voila! Condemnation by chimaera, hoorah. But it doesn't matter how many times you refer to dogs as dogfish, a dog still isn't a fish and you look like a fucking idiot for saying it.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:06 PM on August 30, 2006 [1 favorite]


Sorry, but the new buzz words are "adapt to win".
posted by giantfist at 1:06 PM on August 30, 2006


George Orwell on the definition of fascism (and on obfuscating that definition).

Umberto Eco, "Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt."
posted by blucevalo at 1:07 PM on August 30, 2006 [2 favorites]


I thought that Agenda Day was any day that ends with a "y".

Yeah, I just noticed how the rhetoric had drifted away from "The War on Terror." I'm guessing that they just couldn't get enough milage or results out of Terror. The links between any kind of organized terror groups and Iran have proven to be tenuous at best (to my knowledge).
posted by lekvar at 1:07 PM on August 30, 2006


Islamofascism is a stupid term.
posted by chunking express at 1:11 PM on August 30, 2006


Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them. The Party intellectual knows in which direction his memories must be altered; he therefore knows that he is playing tricks with reality; but by the exercise of doublethink he also satisfies himself that reality is not violated. The process has to be conscious, or it would not be carried out with sufficient precision, but it also has to be unconscious, or it would bring with it a feeling of falsity and hence of guilt. Doublethink lies at the very heart of Ingsoc, since the essential act of the Party is to use conscious deception while retaining the firmness of purpose that goes with complete honesty.

To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies — all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth. Ultimately it is by means of doublethink that the Party has been able — and may, for all we know, continue to be able for thousands of years — to arrest the course of history.


- George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:11 PM on August 30, 2006 [1 favorite]


war against Islamic fascism... well I guess any other type of fascism is ok then? fwiw this seems like juggling with chainsaws, fascism is one of those tags that may have tried to apply to this administration.
posted by edgeways at 1:13 PM on August 30, 2006


Paging Dave Emory, Dave Emory, white courtesy telephone please..
posted by doctor_negative at 1:15 PM on August 30, 2006


My pet peeve was the term "Freedom-haters."
posted by yeti at 1:15 PM on August 30, 2006


I am just happy that the acronym for the war is waif, because that is just awesome.
posted by LoopyG at 1:16 PM on August 30, 2006


Waif me, waif me, my friend..
Waif me, waif me, again...
posted by keswick at 1:17 PM on August 30, 2006


Propaganda by Edward Bernays

Learning from 2004... Winning in 2006 and Communicating The Principles Of Prevention & Protection In The War On Terror and The Environment: A Cleaner, Safer, Healthier America by Frank Luntz , whom I was (stupidly) surprised to see featured prominently in this book.
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:19 PM on August 30, 2006 [1 favorite]


Ooo, this "CNN" website seems to have lots of interesting stuff! Thanks for the link!!
posted by thirteenkiller at 1:19 PM on August 30, 2006 [1 favorite]


The main problem here is that Rummy is said to have said things that in fact he DID NOT SAY...the press gave him words he never said, for which, see
http://www.qando.net/details.aspx?Entry=4496
I am not taking a pro-White House line but at least the press and readers at this site ought to know that what was attributed to the guy's speech was not in fact what was in the speech.
posted by Postroad at 1:22 PM on August 30, 2006


I'm a lil' bit ashamed to admit that I've got Tucker on in the other room, and even he was quick to point out that while there was a healthy streak of fascism in Iraq under Saddam, there wasn't much Islamo.

And if a douche like Tucker can connect the dots, maybe more Americans can as well. Maybe.
posted by bardic at 1:22 PM on August 30, 2006


What will they come up with next?

they totally need to throw a bone to the Jesus Folk now, or they won't go to the polls. something about the gays. gay adoption. gays destroying embryos to obrtain kickass moisturizers. or maybe gays burning flags, even better. anyway, something involving gays. gay abortion practitioners.
posted by matteo at 1:24 PM on August 30, 2006


Typical Chri$tofascist diversionary tactic.
posted by Artw at 1:24 PM on August 30, 2006


"Fascism... is a smear word more often used to brand one's foes than it is a descriptor used to shed light on them." NYTimes, May 2004.
posted by yeti at 1:24 PM on August 30, 2006


I support the war against Islamosarcasm.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:25 PM on August 30, 2006


making claims of fascism is a lot easier when you yourself are a fascist.
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 1:26 PM on August 30, 2006


I smell Frank Luntz's filthy fat hand at work here. It smells like Cheetos.
posted by damn dirty ape at 1:28 PM on August 30, 2006


Hehe. We know Karen Hughes isn't behind this attempt at meme shifting, because it doesn't have anything to do with reminding us that brown people might possibly love their children as well as Americans do.
posted by bardic at 1:32 PM on August 30, 2006


I wish "I'm John Kerry, and I'm reporting for duty" had been run past a focus group before he used it in his acceptance speech for the Democratic nomination. It's years later and I still cringe.
posted by Jatayu das at 1:35 PM on August 30, 2006


Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

Whose a fascist here?
posted by caddis at 1:36 PM on August 30, 2006


what's hysterical is that what's really happening is perfectly summed up by the father's loser catchphrase--They're gonna stay the course, no matter what.
posted by amberglow at 1:38 PM on August 30, 2006


"who's" - agghhh
posted by caddis at 1:38 PM on August 30, 2006


I thought that Agenda Day was any day that ends with a "y".

No, Agenda Season only takes place during May through August, and all the months with the letter "R."
posted by jonp72 at 1:40 PM on August 30, 2006


fas·cism

1 often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition
2 : a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control

The Google ads say it all.
posted by zennie at 1:48 PM on August 30, 2006


Reading these responses reminds me why, even though I don't support Bush or his war (think he's a dimwit and a liar, etc.), I have absolutely no faith in his opposition. "Islamofascist" is not the perfect word to describe Muslim theocrats, but it is more likely to gain general usage than the more accurate "World's Biggest Assholes."
posted by Faze at 1:50 PM on August 30, 2006 [1 favorite]


...but it is more likely to gain general usage than the more accurate "World's Biggest Assholes."

That's sadly true, and yet, does nothing to change the fact that it's a horrible abuse of the term. We already have a perfectly good word for religious authoritarians: theocrats. "Islamo-fascism" is an oxymoron, because fascism is a secular form of authoritarianism.

Mystical, yes, but not religious. It's a product of Romantic nationalism.
posted by jefgodesky at 1:55 PM on August 30, 2006


The irony of american soldiers dying daily to take down a largely secular leader from a ME country which probably has the least to do with terrorism would be funny if it wasnt so tragic. So that makes Saddam a SecularFascist then?

I'm with faze, the opposition usually does worse. At least the goppy types keep it catchy.
posted by damn dirty ape at 1:56 PM on August 30, 2006


jefgodesky: It's like your hinting that they don't want to give the word "theocracy" a bad image.
posted by boo_radley at 1:57 PM on August 30, 2006


Can we call it Fascofundamentalism and roll right wing Christianity in with the whole definition?
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:59 PM on August 30, 2006


fas·cism

1 often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition
2 : a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control


Let's consider this definition. One could argue (and I would certainly agree) that the Bush regime could be called fascist under the 2nd definition. That is, his government seems to be trying really hard to achieve a fascist state.

That being said, the first definition does cover many Muslim theocratic regimes, almost point by point.

It seems to me that in this case, the Bush administration isn't as guilty of deception as it is of hypocrisy.
posted by SBMike at 2:02 PM on August 30, 2006


So that makes Saddam a SecularFascist then?

Ah'dunno, a Qu'ran written in blood, persecution of the religious majority, sweeping secularizing reforms on land ownership laws and the status of women, constant evocations of national pride with any religious expression being, at best, window dressing (e.g., Saddam's supposed descent from the Prophet)....

Saddam WAS a fascist--he was secular. Bin Ladin et. al are theocrats. They're both types of authoritarianism, but one is religious, and the other is secular.

jefgodesky: It's like your hinting that they don't want to give the word "theocracy" a bad image.

That may well be it, but I'd hate to speculate. For now, I'll confine myself to the pedantic matters of lexicon and rail against the absurdity of any kind of religious fascism.

That being said, the first definition does cover many Muslim theocratic regimes, almost point by point.

No, Muslim theocratic regimes exhalt religion over the individual, and in fact usually denounce divisions by nation and race as Western constructs. Authoritarian, yes; fascist, no.
posted by jefgodesky at 2:05 PM on August 30, 2006


SBMike, which Muslim theocratic regimes did you have in mind. No, seriously, name 3. You said many, so it shouldn't be that hard. I can only think of 2 and a half, and one and half of them are supported by the United States.
posted by cell divide at 2:08 PM on August 30, 2006


Godwin!
posted by spiderwire at 2:11 PM on August 30, 2006


takes one to know one!
posted by proof_nc at 2:13 PM on August 30, 2006


As Orwell points out, that "fascism" is never used in a clear and consistent way doesn't mean it's uses are always without sense. Seems to me that it's phenomenon that could occur in many different cultural contexts, in many different ways.

Does the Futurist Manifesto, for instance, shed any light on the way this phenomenon interacted with the cultural currents of pre-Mussolini Italy? Could this document and other manifestations of what we call "fascism" be said to share a common "spirit"? To me, it seems so . . . So I'm guess I'm not persuaded by claims that "fascism" should be used only describe Nazi Germany, Franco's Spain, or Mussolini's Italy. To me it seems much more "primordial"/"archetypal" than that, a kind of ground-zero or default form of political/economic organization haunting the entirety of recorded human history.

I suppose I would agree, though, that "Islamo-Facsism" is problematic inasmuch as it implies that all Muslims are inherently fascists, or that fascism is written into the very fabric of every possible form of Islam.
posted by treepour at 2:13 PM on August 30, 2006


That being said, the first definition does cover many Muslim theocratic regimes, almost point by point.

No, Muslim theocratic regimes exhalt religion over the individual, and in fact usually denounce divisions by nation and race as Western constructs. Authoritarian, yes; fascist, no.


I'd also add that, from what I understand (and please anyone who knows better, correct me where I'm mistaken) structurally, Muslim theocratic regimes are at least theoretically less centralized than dictatorships--interpretation of Muslim law at the local levels is left up to local clerics, and while there's certainly some centralization of authority through the various Ayatollahs, the Ayatollahs aren't really analogous to Western-style dictators. So, no, they don't meet any of the technical criteria really.
posted by saulgoodman at 2:14 PM on August 30, 2006


No, Muslim theocratic regimes exhalt religion over the individual, and in fact usually denounce divisions by nation and race as Western constructs. Authoritarian, yes; fascist, no.

I'll concede your point here, but I'll bring up an important exception.

Post-revolution Iran is clearly a Muslim theocratic regime, but also one that uses strong nationalism and ethnic (Persian as opposed to Arab) identity in its propaganda. This language has been toned down in recent years as they attempt to ascend to a position of political dominance in the mideast. They don't want to play up the ethnic differences between them and the Arab world they claim to speak for and protect.
posted by SBMike at 2:15 PM on August 30, 2006


... For Don Rumsfeld the problem isn't that we are not winning the war in Iraq, the problem is that we are not properly spinning the war in Iraq. ...
posted by amberglow at 2:18 PM on August 30, 2006


Eh, I still use the good ol' tried-and-true "Islamic fundamentalist."
posted by furiousthought at 2:18 PM on August 30, 2006


If euphonia is desired, how about "Islamofundies"? Everybody's happy, except Luntz.
posted by sonofsamiam at 2:20 PM on August 30, 2006


SBMike That being said, the first definition does cover many Muslim theocratic regimes, almost point by point.

Hmm, not. Look at the definition in question:

a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition

Islamic fundamentalists exalt their religion above the individual, but they consider it open to all nations and races. Indeed, that is part of the problem: in their eyes, whoever fails to accept the superiority of Islam, independently of his nation, race or culture, is a wicked infidel.

As for the "dictatorial leader" thing, while many such movements, particularly on the Shiite side (think Khomeini, Nasrallah or Sadr) appear to have a weak spot for personality cults, as a whole Islamic fundamentalists seem a remarkably "collegiate" lot.
posted by Skeptic at 2:22 PM on August 30, 2006


Ironic, since republicans are totally fucking facist.
posted by delmoi at 2:23 PM on August 30, 2006


didn't the ones in afghanistan used to be called "freedom fighters"?
posted by saulgoodman at 2:23 PM on August 30, 2006


That's true. Iran is a rare place in that Shi'ites are a majority and enjoy political power (as opposed to Iraq, where they've long been an oppressed majority), so there was always a lingering link of Iran = Persian = Shi'ite Islam.

It's also true that they're now bidding for regional power, and shedding the national and racial claims to become the patron of all things Shi'ite across the Middle East, the same way that Saudi Arabia has become the patron of all things Sunni. Saudi Arabia vs. Iran is the backdrop of all the current tensions in the Middle East, and even that's but the most recent manifestation of the older fight of Sunni vs. Shi'ite.

Does this make Iran fascist, rather than theocratic? I'd argue it does not: religion was always the primary distinction, though there were certainly shades of it when they started playing national and racial themes, but those were never equal to the important of religion in defining the Islamic Revolution.

Muslim theocratic regimes are at least theoretically less centralized than dictatorships

Historically, yes, and even if al Qa'ida got its way, they'd have a hard time erecting the strict caliphate they envision, since any legitimate Sunni caliphate would need to be informed by an ummah that is much more moderate than they are, but it's true that historically, if you had to be stuck in a theocracy, Muslim theocracy was where it was at. It's also true that the current crop of Muslim theocrats are hardline militant fanatics, so I doubt their vision of the caliphate would share many of the kinder, gentler aspects of previous caliphates. But, as I mentioned before, that wouldn't be entirely up to them, even in the case of their success.
posted by jefgodesky at 2:24 PM on August 30, 2006


But it doesn't matter how many times you refer to dogs as dogfish, a dog still isn't a fish and you look like a fucking idiot for saying it.

Hmm...

posted by delmoi at 2:26 PM on August 30, 2006


Still ain't a dog, is it?
posted by jefgodesky at 2:27 PM on August 30, 2006


they totally need to throw a bone to the Jesus Folk now, or they won't go to the polls. something about the gays. gay adoption. gays destroying embryos to obrtain kickass moisturizers. or maybe gays burning flags, even better. anyway, something involving gays. gay abortion practitioners.

How about goosestepping-gay-Islamofascists? The GOP should test-market that one out, see if it gets any play.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:29 PM on August 30, 2006


Ironic, since republicans are totally fucking facist.

Ironic, or completely self-aware and intentional? Luntz's (EXTREMELY successful) methodology compares polls which state the same goals with different words and determines Republican rhetoric based on that.

Is it a big stretch to imagine he might have noticed the "fascist" keyword becoming associated with Republicans and decided to try and nip that trend in the bud? It seems to me that the Republicans have recently begun pulling out the IF-bomb again after a long period of sticking to "extremism."
posted by sonofsamiam at 2:30 PM on August 30, 2006


The Right’s banal and inept use of the “Appeasement” mis-analogy
posted by homunculus at 2:36 PM on August 30, 2006


I like Roger Griffin's definition: "Fascism is a political ideology whose mythic core in its various permutations is a palingenetic form of populist ultra-nationalism."

If we accept the whole "they wanna re-establish the caliphate" claim, then maybe you can give them palingenetic, but I think populist ultra-nationalism is a stretch. You could even redefine "nationalism" to mean Muslims rather than folks of a particular nationality (which would be a huge stretch), but I still wouldn't give you populist.
posted by nickmark at 2:40 PM on August 30, 2006


"It helps dramatize what we're up against. They are not just some ragtag terrorists right wing extremists with strong corporate ties. They are people with a plan to take over the world and eliminate everybody.
posted by TechnoLustLuddite at 2:42 PM on August 30, 2006


How about goosestepping-gay-Islamofascists? The GOP should test-market that one out, see if it gets any play.

Wait! I have an idea...

posted by Stauf at 2:47 PM on August 30, 2006


Who needs Islamofascists when we can buy American?

Arabic T-shirt Sparks Airport Row
"An architect of Iraqi descent has said he was forced to remove a T-shirt that bore the words 'We will not be silent' before boarding a flight at New York.

Raed Jarrar said security officials warned him his clothing was offensive after he checked in for a JetBlue flight to California on 12 August.

Mr Jarrar said he was shocked such an action could be taken in the US.

US transport officials are conducting an inquiry after a complaint from the US Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

JetBlue said it was also investigating the incident but a spokeswoman said: 'We're not clear exactly what happened.'

Mr Jarrar's black cotton T-shirt bore the slogan in both Arabic and English.

He said he had cleared security at John F Kennedy airport for a flight back to his home in California when he was approached by two men who wanted to check his ID and boarding pass.

Mr Jarrar said he was told a number of passengers had complained about his T-shirt - apparently concerned at what the Arabic phrase meant - and asked him to remove it.

He refused, arguing that the slogan was not offensive and citing his constitutional rights to free expression.

Mr Jarrar later told a New York radio station: 'I grew up and spent all my life living under authoritarian regimes and I know that these things happen.

'But I'm shocked that they happened to me here, in the US.'

After a difficult exchange with airline staff, Mr Jarrar was persuaded to wear another T-shirt bought for him at the airport shop.

'We Will Not Be Silent' is a slogan adopted by opponents of the war in Iraq and other conflicts in the Middle East.

It is said to derive from the White Rose dissident group which opposed Nazi rule in Germany."

[BBC News | August 30, 2006]
Raed Jarrar's Blog.
posted by ericb at 2:49 PM on August 30, 2006


[Salam Pax's friend Raed Jarrar - Iraqi blogger, previously discussed here and here].
posted by ericb at 3:00 PM on August 30, 2006


I smell Frank Luntz's filthy fat hand at work here. It smells like Cheetos.

Actually he's a democrat now, or so I heard. Doing a little googling it turns out that Luntz is actually responsible for the linguistic turd of calling the democratic party the "democrat party".
posted by delmoi at 3:02 PM on August 30, 2006



posted by ericb at 3:03 PM on August 30, 2006


I Am Not A Terrorist T-Shirt (in Arabic).
posted by ericb at 3:05 PM on August 30, 2006


Walter Benjamin and the Aesthetics of Power
posted by hortense at 3:08 PM on August 30, 2006


Kyra Phillips's husband is an Iranian Muslim, so they can't be all that bad.
posted by delmoi at 3:11 PM on August 30, 2006


Did I miss the memo about today being AgendaFilter day on MeFi?
posted by keswick at 1:04 PM PST


Yes. And there is a reason you are not on the memo list. Ya see, you were fired. Let go. Made redundant.
posted by rough ashlar at 3:15 PM on August 30, 2006


'downsized'
posted by raedyn at 3:23 PM on August 30, 2006


Ya see, you were fired.

Obviously, keswick didn't get the e-mail.
posted by ericb at 3:26 PM on August 30, 2006


Fourteen Defining Characteristics of Fascism

describes the current administration quite nicely.
posted by Leather McWhip at 3:27 PM on August 30, 2006


Let's consider this definition. One could argue (and I would certainly agree) that the Bush regime could be called fascist under the 2nd definition. That is, his government seems to be trying really hard to achieve a fascist state.
1 often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition
Oh, no --- Bush does quite well by the first definition every time he invokes the words, 'the American people'. He's calling upon the vaderland and the lumpenprole. Rove has him schooled-up at least that much...
posted by vhsiv at 3:29 PM on August 30, 2006


Yes. And there is a reason you are not on the memo list. Ya see, you were fired. Let go. Made redundant.

Not fired--he's part of the "ownership society" now ; >
posted by amberglow at 3:45 PM on August 30, 2006


Kettle, I'd like to introduce you to Pot. Today's debate is, "Who's Black?" You'll each have 4 minutes, and a 30 second rebuttal.

Begin.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 3:54 PM on August 30, 2006


What will they come up with next?

10. Abortonistas.

9. Ecoverts.

8. Factmongers

7. Libratizis

6. Healthcarenauts

5. Lattesipinists

4. Freedomophobes

3. Hippy's

2. Librarians

1. Criticalthoughtocrats
posted by tkchrist at 3:54 PM on August 30, 2006 [1 favorite]


Wait! I have an idea...

Springtime for Osama?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:08 PM on August 30, 2006


Oops.

I forgot the other tie for #1:

Fagarchists

and

Atheistators
posted by tkchrist at 4:19 PM on August 30, 2006


All this jibber-jabber and none of you have tumbled to even the half of it. We've actually co-opted all your words. While you're kissing "fascist" goodbye, be aware that "racist" "sexist" and "homophobe" are all Republican words now. As of this morning (Wednesday), 8 AM GMT, saying or writing any one of these is enough to mark you indelibly as a Known Republican. Use of two or more makes you a sustaining member of Focus on the Family.

Oh, and the GOP is officially changing its name to the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.
posted by jfuller at 5:23 PM on August 30, 2006


It makes sense. Clearly "War on Terror" doesn't fit the bill of what we're looking at here. For instance, when a Texas man (presumed white and Christian) was convicted of possessing cyanide gas and planning to use it in a terrorist attack on home soil, he was sentenced to less than 12 years' imprisonment. Apparently he was missing the right religious affiliation to warrant life in prison, or a trip to Gitmo. George W. Bush has promised to put an end to the use of violence for political ends, but he's also a staunch ally to the one country in the Middle East that actually has an official policy of assassinating political leaders in Palestine; America itself began the war in Iraq by pointedly attempting to assassinate that country's President.

So, any move to be more specific about exactly who is targeted by this new perpetual war is welcome. At least it defines the terms more clearly. About a year ago this attempt at redefinition began, but clearly "the global struggle against Islamic extremism" just doesn't have the sex appeal and pizzazz that's automatically gained whenever someone unleashes the term "fascism". This time around the White House really seems to have done its PR homework.
posted by clevershark at 5:35 PM on August 30, 2006


It's all succeeded in pushing Katrina and their continuing failures off the front pages and tv.
posted by amberglow at 5:45 PM on August 30, 2006


Battling Hysterical Mythology
posted by amberglow at 6:25 PM on August 30, 2006


But it doesn't matter how many times you refer to dogs as dogfish, a dog still isn't a fish and you look like a fucking idiot for saying it.


Actually, I think "Furry Landfish" tested better.

"Islamofacism" doesn't work because it can't apply to Iran, et. al, which are actually theocracies. "Theocracy" doesn't work because it can't apply to Iraq, which was actually a secular fascist state, and is now a war zone. And "Royal Pig-Fuck" doesn't work because we can't say it on television. So here's my line of thinking.

Essentially, the republicans (and far too many democrats) were thinking the middle east the way a beekeeper thinks of his bees, i.e. I wouldn't want them at a picnic with me, but as long as I can get the honey, we cool. Then Bush jams his hand in there, because of inexperience with the finesse of honey-gathering, and gets stung. So Bush responds to the bee-sting by thrashing his hand around, hoping that by doing so, the bees will eventually learn who's boss, and so the bees get ever more agitated, and so Bush thrashes more furiously, and on and on, but he can't leave, because he needs the honey.

I know it's not a perfect metaphor, but can't we think of some terms that are more indicative of that?
posted by Navelgazer at 6:30 PM on August 30, 2006 [1 favorite]


Keith Olbermann tonight
posted by amberglow at 6:42 PM on August 30, 2006


"Since the 1930s, “fascist” has been a term of hate and abuse used by the Left against the Right...
Unsurprisingly, it is neoconservatives, whose roots are in the Trotskyist-Social Democratic Left, who are promoting use of the term...
The term represents the same lazy, shallow thinking that got us into Iraq."

Pat Buchanan
. yes, THAT Pat Buchanan.
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:53 PM on August 30, 2006


Olbermann was absolutely brilliant tonight.
posted by clevershark at 6:55 PM on August 30, 2006


Thanks for the link, amberglow.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:04 PM on August 30, 2006


Hmm, I was just about to link to the Olberman vid. Intresting, if overwrought.
posted by delmoi at 7:29 PM on August 30, 2006


the text of it is here if you don't want to watch.
posted by amberglow at 7:38 PM on August 30, 2006


I was about to link to Olbermann too, but I linked to this post for context and saw it's already here.... so. fucking. awesome.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:43 PM on August 30, 2006


Holy cow that was remarkable.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:01 PM on August 30, 2006


That's his best work since his Katrina editorial. Wow.
posted by brundlefly at 8:29 PM on August 30, 2006


To repeat Olbermann's Edward R. Murrow quote :
"We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof, and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine. And remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to associate, to speak, and to defend the causes that were for the moment, unpopular....Good night, and good luck."
posted by ericb at 8:31 PM on August 30, 2006


Whoa. Olbermann fires with both barrels, reloads, and fires again. That was awesome amberglow. Awesome - and way, way overdue.
posted by djeo at 8:49 PM on August 30, 2006


Olbermann was good, and Murrow awe-inspiring.
posted by caddis at 9:16 PM on August 30, 2006


war against Islamic fascism... well I guess any other type of fascism is ok then?

Given the lionization of the military, the flag-idolatry and the nationalist indoctrination so prevalent within the corporate plutocracy of the 'good guys', I'd say the distinction is important.

Also, what jfuller said.
posted by pompomtom at 9:25 PM on August 30, 2006


Keith Olbermann tonight
posted by amberglow at 9:42 PM


I didn't see Rumsfeld's speech and wondered what Rumsfeld could have said that raised Olbermann's public ire to that level.

I admit to being a little startled by what I found. Here is the second 2/3 from Stars and Stripes:
A transcript of the address delivered at the 88th Annual American Legion National Convention by Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, Salt Lake City, Utah, Tuesday, August 29, 2006:

[...]

The American Legion — actually the members of the American Legion — have achieved a great deal since its founding in the months following World War I, when those small number of folks got together in a hotel room in Europe looking for a way to help some of their fellow veterans who would be coming home soon.

That year — 1919 — turned out to be one of the pivotal junctures in modern history with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, the creation of the League of Nations, a treaty and an organization intended to make future wars unnecessary and obsolete. Indeed, 1919 was the beginning of a period where, over time, a very different set of views would come to dominate public discourse and thinking in the West.

Over the next decades, a sentiment took root that contended that if only the growing threats that had begun to emerge in Europe and Asia could be accommodated, then the carnage and the destruction of then-recent memory of World War I could be avoided.

It was a time when a certain amount of cynicism and moral confusion set in among Western democracies. When those who warned about a coming crisis, the rise of fascism and nazism, they were ridiculed or ignored. Indeed, in the decades before World War II, a great many argued that the fascist threat was exaggerated or that it was someone else’s problem. Some nations tried to negotiate a separate peace, even as the enemy made its deadly ambitions crystal clear. It was, as Winston Churchill observed, a bit like feeding a crocodile, hoping it would eat you last.

There was a strange innocence about the world. Someone recently recalled one U.S. senator’s reaction in September of 1939 upon hearing that Hitler had invaded Poland to start World War II. He exclaimed:

“Lord, if only I had talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided!”

I recount that history because once again we face similar challenges in efforts to confront the rising threat of a new type of fascism. Today — another enemy, a different kind of enemy — has made clear its intentions with attacks in places like New York and Washington, D.C., Bali, London, Madrid, Moscow and so many other places. But some seem not to have learned history’s lessons.

We need to consider the following questions, I would submit:
  • With the growing lethality and the increasing availability of weapons, can we truly afford to believe that somehow, some way, vicious extremists can be appeased?
  • Can folks really continue to think that free countries can negotiate a separate peace with terrorists?
  • Can we afford the luxury of pretending that the threats today are simply law enforcement problems, like robbing a bank or stealing a car; rather than threats of a fundamentally different nature requiring fundamentally different approaches?
  • And can we really afford to return to the destructive view that America, not the enemy, but America, is the source of the world’s troubles?
  • These are central questions of our time, and we must face them and face them honestly.

    We hear every day of new plans, new efforts to murder Americans and other free people. Indeed, the plot that was discovered in London that would have killed hundreds — possibly thousands — of innocent men, women and children on aircraft flying from London to the United States should remind us that this enemy is serious, lethal, and relentless.

    But this is still not well recognized or fully understood. It seems that in some quarters there’s more of a focus on dividing our country than acting with unity against the gathering threats.

    It’s a strange time:
  • When a database search of America’s leading newspapers turns up literally 10 times as many mentions of one of the soldiers who has been punished for misconduct — 10 times more —than the mentions of Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith, the first recipient of the Medal of Honor in the Global War on Terror;
  • Or when a senior editor at Newsweek disparagingly refers to the brave volunteers in our armed forces — the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines, the Coast Guard — as a “mercenary army;”
  • When the former head of CNN accuses the American military of deliberately targeting journalists; and the once CNN Baghdad bureau chief finally admits that as bureau chief in Baghdad, he concealed reports of Saddam Hussein’s crimes when he was in charge there so that CNN could keep on reporting selective news;
  • And it’s a time when Amnesty International refers to the military facility at Guantanamo Bay — which holds terrorists who have vowed to kill Americans and which is arguably the best run and most scrutinized detention facility in the history of warfare — “he gulag of our times.” It’s inexcusable. (Applause.)
  • Those who know the truth need to speak out against these kinds of myths and distortions that are being told about our troops and about our country. America is not what’s wrong with the world. (Applause.)

    The struggle we are in — the consequences are too severe — the struggle too important to have the luxury of returning to that old mentality of “Blame America First.”

    One of the most important things the American Legion has done is not only to serve and assist and advocate, as you have done so superbly for so much of the past century, but also to educate and to speak the truth about our country and about the men and women in the military.
    Not so long ago, an exhibit — Enola Gay at the Smithsonian during the 1990s — seemed to try to rewrite the history of World War II by portraying the United States as somewhat of an aggressor. Fortunately, the American Legion was there to lead the effort to set the record straight. (Applause.)

    Your watchdog role is particularly important today in a war that is to a great extent fought in the media on a global stage, a role to not allow the distortions and myths be repeated without challenge so that at the least the second or third draft of history will be more accurate than the first quick allegations we see.

    You know from experience personally that in every war there have been mistakes, setbacks, and casualties. War is, as Clemenceau said, “a series of catastrophes that result in victory.”

    And in every army, there are occasional 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 you also know that they are a very, very small percentage of the literally hundreds of thousands of honorable men and women in all theaters in this struggle who are serving our country with humanity, with decency, with professionalism, and with courage in the face of continuous provocation. (Applause.)

    And that is important in any long struggle or long war, where any kind of moral or intellectual confusion about who and what is right or wrong, can weaken the ability of free societies to persevere.

    Our enemies know this well. They frequently invoke the names of Beirut or Somalia — places they see as examples of American retreat and American weakness. And as we’ve seen — even this month — in Lebanon, they design attacks and manipulate the media to try to demoralize public opinion. They doctor photographs of casualties. They use civilians as human shields. And then they try to provoke an outcry when civilians are killed in their midst, which of course was their intent.

    The good news is that most Americans, though understandably influenced by what they see and read, have good inner gyroscopes. They have good center of gravity. So, I’m confident that over time they will evaluate and reflect on what is happening in this struggle and come to wise conclusions about it.

    Iraq, a country that was brutalized by a cruel and dangerous dictatorship, is now traveling the slow, difficult, bumpy, uncertain path to a secure new future under a representative government that will be at peace with its neighbors, rather than a threat to their own people, to their neighbors, or to the world.

    As the nature of the threat and the conflict in Iraq has changed over these past several years, so have the tactics and the deployments. But while military tactics have changed and adapted to the realities on the ground — as they must — the strategy has not changed, which is to empower the Iraqi people to be able to defend, and govern, and rebuild their own country.

    The extremists themselves call Iraq the “epicenter” in the War on Terror. And our troops know how important their mission is.

    A soldier who recently volunteered for a second tour in Iraq captured the feeling of many of his peers. In an e-mail to some friends, he wrote the following, and I quote:

    “I ask that you never take advantage of the liberties guaranteed by the shedding of free blood, never take for granted the freedoms granted by our Constitution. For those liberties would be merely ink on paper were it not for the sacrifice of generations of Americans who heard the call of duty and responded heart, mind and soul with ‘Yes, I will.’”

    Some day that young man very likely will be a member of the American Legion attending a convention like this. I certainly hope so. And I hope he does that and that we all have a chance to meet. And one day a future speaker may reflect back on the time of historic choice, remembering the questions raised as to our country’s courage, and dedication, and willingness to persevere in this fight until we prevail.

    The question is not whether we can win; it’s whether we have the will to persevere to win. I’m convinced that Americans do have that determination and that we have learned the lessons of history, of the folly of trying to turn a blind eye to danger. These are lessons you know well, lessons that your heroism has helped to teach to generations of Americans.

    May God bless each of you. May God bless the men and women in uniform, and their families. And may God continue to bless our wonderful country.

    Thank you very much. (Applause.)
    posted by zennie at 9:40 PM on August 30, 2006


    Oops, meant to link: Full transcript at Stars and Stripes.
    posted by zennie at 9:43 PM on August 30, 2006


    Republinazis
    Democratofascists
    Republifascists
    Democratonazis.

    Hey, it works -- americanofascists, unite!
    posted by NewBornHippy at 10:55 PM on August 30, 2006


    Rumsfeld's Four Questions
    posted by homunculus at 11:08 PM on August 30, 2006


    Well, well, well--- In a move to satisfy the GOP's most conservative supporters,
    President Bush on Wednesday nominated five people as appeals court judges, including one whom Democrats have threatened to block with a filibuster.


    News that Bush had decided to nominate the five conservative jurists came just before Bush spoke at a fundraiser for Bob Corker, who faces a tough Senate race against Democratic nominee Harold Ford Jr. ...


    Such sneaky shit from them all the time, especially when they're shouting, "hey, over here! look! look!"
    posted by amberglow at 1:14 AM on August 31, 2006


    Islamosaurus.
    posted by emf at 2:20 AM on August 31, 2006


    Is a transcript of that Olbermann segment available anywhere?
    posted by COBRA! at 7:02 AM on August 31, 2006


    Is a transcript of that Olbermann segment available anywhere?

    Scroll up.
    posted by LordSludge at 8:45 AM on August 31, 2006


    Olbermann ftw. Honestly, if it takes a former sports journalist and comedians like Stewart and Colbert to actually speak truth to power once in a while, old media can suck it. I'll enjoy watching newspapers go the way of the dodo, because they've earned their early demise.
    posted by bardic at 10:43 AM on August 31, 2006


    (And the Kaplan piece in Slate is good too.)
    posted by bardic at 10:43 AM on August 31, 2006


    On a related note, the latest salvo from spin central: Bush: U.S. in fight against single, worldwide terrorist network
    posted by saulgoodman at 10:48 AM on August 31, 2006


    Unscientific poll: Do you agree with President Bush when he likens the struggle against Islamic fundamentalism with the fight against Nazis and communists?
    posted by ericb at 10:50 AM on August 31, 2006


    Rumsfeld and Cheney and Bush are. And believe me -- you can check -- there are four or five different strains of venereal diseases more popular than Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld. And so, as a Democrat, I want to Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld to...
    posted by amberglow at 11:32 AM on August 31, 2006


    White House ‘Cuts And Runs’ on ‘Stay the Course.’
    posted by ericb at 11:46 AM on August 31, 2006


    It all comes to an end next October
    posted by caddis at 11:56 AM on August 31, 2006


    Bush: U.S. in fight against single, worldwide terrorist network

    Do you have a better link? 'Cause when I click that all I get is "Safari can’t open 'bush:' because Mac OS X doesn’t recognize Internet addresses starting with 'bush:'."
    posted by kirkaracha at 12:36 PM on August 31, 2006


    His actual words: "Despite their differences, these groups form the outlines of a single movement, a worldwide network of radicals that use terror to kill those who stand in the way of their totalitarian ideology.

    And the unifying feature of this movement, the link that spans sectarian divisions and local grievances, is the rigid conviction that free societies are a threat to their twisted view of Islam.

    The war we fight today is more than a military conflict. It is the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century.
    "^v^v
    posted by caddis at 1:03 PM on August 31, 2006


    kirk, the network is made up of the GOP, Carlyle Group, Halliburton, Blackwater and its ilk, and various Oil and Gas companies, aided by rightwing thinktanks and media outlets.
    posted by amberglow at 1:55 PM on August 31, 2006


    kirkaracha: not sure what happened to the link. or the story for that matter. i originally found the headline on ABCNews; the closest thing i can find now is "Bush Says U.S. in 'Ideological Struggle'" (which has a decidedly less vitriolic flavor) at this URL: http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=2379866. i thinks it's the same story, though.
    posted by saulgoodman at 2:01 PM on August 31, 2006


    lol! ... "Rumsfeld declaring war on fascists is like Dracula declaring war on vampires."
    posted by amberglow at 2:10 PM on August 31, 2006


    Thanks for the link.
    But he also said that those responsible for bringing down the World Trade Center are united with car bombers in Baghdad, Hezbollah militants who shoot rockets into Israel and terrorists who wanted to bring down the flights between Britain and the United States.
    First of all, they're not. Second of all, if he'd followed through on his pledge that "the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon," they wouldn't be able to.

    these groups form the outline of a single movement, a worldwide network of radicals

    Which network? SPECTRE? KAOS? Could somebody please remind President Bush that we do not live in a James Bond movie?


    posted by kirkaracha at 3:15 PM on August 31, 2006 [1 favorite]


    KAOS, definitely, and Bush doesn't even rise to Maxwell Smart's level ; >

    dibgy: ... I have to give the administration credit for their smooth pivot from their Katrina failure to defeating Hitler. It was savvy, you have to admit, to go down to New Orleans and give a couple of plodding, desultory speeches while Rummy delivered a half-mad stemwinder about appeasement in the 1930's. Then, the minute the Katrina "anniversary" was over, Bush hightailed it out of town and immediately evoked the spectre of the Nazis, commies and martians coming to kill us all in our beds. I'm not seeing much about New Orleans anymore.

    But I think it's important to remember, nonetheless, that while Bush drones on and on about terror and fear and struggle and pain and sacrifice this morning, one year ago today Katrina was far from over. Indeed, the story of his incompetence was just beginning....

    posted by amberglow at 3:43 PM on August 31, 2006


    and rude pundit: ...So our job, then, see, if we are capable of understanding the Almighty in the way the President apparently does, is only to reveal to all people of the world the gift of the Almighty. You might call it "evangelizing" democracy. It's not war, you see. We're just putting the missles into missionary work. ...
    posted by amberglow at 3:47 PM on August 31, 2006


    Which network? SPECTRE? KAOS?

    No, silly. As Napoleon, Illya and others at U.N.C.L.E. know -- it's THRUSH.
    posted by ericb at 5:48 PM on August 31, 2006


    "Fascism should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power." - Benito Mussolini
    posted by jeffburdges at 2:15 AM on September 1, 2006


    If you want to see a modern mature fascist state, China fits the bill perfectly.
    posted by homunculus at 12:55 PM on September 1, 2006


    Roundup of editorials from all over the country hitting the administration for this desperate shit
    posted by amberglow at 1:02 PM on September 1, 2006


    homunculus: on that opinionjournal piece you linked... I read the author's bio line and retroactively filed the whole piece under agenda-driven right-wing propaganda:

    "...Mr. Ledeen, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute"

    Don't know what the angle is, but if it comes from anyone affiliated with the American Enterprise Institute, it's sure to have one. Probably it's part of some broader attempt to confuse the historical fact that Fascism is considered an extreme right-wing political movement, a fact that's pretty inconvenient to Republican pols these days, who'd like voters to forget that authoritarianism comes in more than one flavor.
    posted by saulgoodman at 1:48 PM on September 1, 2006


    The Pentagon's just-released 63-page quarterly report on Iraq (labelled "grim" by the New York Times and "notably gloomy" by the Associated Press) stands in stark contrast to Bush's, Cheney's and Rumsfeld's current PR blitz:
    "The report comes amid a new effort by President Bush and his administration to shore up sagging public support for the Iraq war in advance of the fall elections, but may do little to help the president's case. Administration officials have tried to portray Iraq as the front line in the war on terrorism and have described the effort as part of a larger struggle against Islamic extremists. However, by putting hard numbers to the perception that Iraq is increasingly chaotic, the new Pentagon report stands to further undermine support for the administration's strategy in Iraq.

    The violence in Iraq, according to the report, cannot be attributed to a unified or organized insurgency. Instead, violence is the result of a complex interplay between international terrorists, local insurgents, sectarian death squads, organized militias and criminal groups. The armed militias and other sectarian groups are contesting integrated neighborhoods in a bid to expand their area of influence, the report says.

    'This is a pretty sober report,' said Peter Rodman, the assistant secretary of Defense for international security. 'The last quarter has been rough. The level of violence is up. And the sectarian quality of the violence is particularly acute and disturbing.'"
    posted by ericb at 2:17 PM on September 1, 2006


    Harry Reid on the report:
    “The Pentagon’s new report today indicates that President Bush, Vice President Cheney and Secretary Rumsfeld’s speeches are increasingly disconnected from the facts on the ground in Iraq. Even the Pentagon acknowledges Iraq is tipping into civil war. Failed Republican policies have left America bogged down in Iraq, with our military stretched thin and less able to fight and win the war on terror. With the security of the American people at risk, Republicans’ failed stay the course strategy is not acceptable. It is time for a new direction to end the war in Iraq, win the war on terror, and give the American people the real security they deserve.”
    posted by ericb at 2:19 PM on September 1, 2006


    Rahm Emanuel on the report:
    "Can someone at the Pentagon please make sure that Secretary Rumsfeld has this for his weekend reading? Instead of continuing his political barnstorm across the country, he should get to work at the Pentagon devising a real strategy for success in Iraq."
    posted by ericb at 2:20 PM on September 1, 2006


    Rep. Jon Murtha: Bush And Rumsfeld Are The Ones Ignoring History.
    posted by ericb at 2:23 PM on September 1, 2006


    "Yesterday, the White House complained to the Washington Post that their critics were smearing them with inaccurate labels:
    'Many Democrats accuse the president of advocating "stay the course" in Iraq, but the White House rejects the phrase and regularly emphasizes that it is adapting tactics to changing circumstances, such as moving more U.S. troops into Baghdad recently after a previous security strategy appeared to fail.'
    Where did anyone ever get the idea that President Bush advocates 'staying the course' in Iraq? Let’s go to the videotape."
    posted by ericb at 2:27 PM on September 1, 2006


    saulgoodman: I'm familiar with AEI and Ledeen, who is one of the main neocon cheerleaders for military action against Iran. I don't trust him and I almost never agree with him, but I think he got it mostly right in that piece.
    posted by homunculus at 2:38 PM on September 1, 2006


    Report to Congress: Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq [PDF]
    posted by ericb at 3:57 PM on September 1, 2006


    "Most people worry that the cost in blood and money may be too high, and they don’t think al-Qaida kingpin Osama bin Laden will ever be caught, an AP-Ipsos poll found."
    posted by ericb at 4:29 PM on September 1, 2006


    Rumsfeld is still talking and blaming the press now too
    posted by amberglow at 5:04 PM on September 1, 2006


    Bush vs. Ahmadinejad: A TV Debate We'll Never See
    posted by homunculus at 5:19 PM on September 1, 2006


    "The Pentagon distributed the report on a Friday afternoon before a long weekend, a common time for government officials to put out bad news. A Pentagon officials denied that this was the intent and said the report was issued when it completed."
    posted by CunningLinguist at 8:45 AM on September 2, 2006


    Bush's New Outlook Echoes LBJ's “Domino Theory” In Vietnam.
    posted by ericb at 9:46 AM on September 2, 2006


    Nary a peep from Bush, Cheney, Condi or Rummy on the new Pentagon Report.
    posted by ericb at 9:58 AM on September 2, 2006


    Harper's on Godwin and Bush: ...it's commonly understood that once Godwin's Law is invoked, a conversation is dead—and that any person who invokes Nazis almost definitely has failed to make his point. ...He may not have been contributing to an online bulletin board, but Rumsfeld's invocation of Nazis and the G.O.P.'s sudden interest in fascism seem to be a perfect illustration of how deep this war's supporters must dig in order to justify a deadly folly. ...
    posted by amberglow at 3:32 PM on September 2, 2006


    today's Frank Rich column, from MoJo: Donald Rumsfeld’s Dance With the Nazis
    posted by amberglow at 9:27 PM on September 3, 2006


    Rich pretty much took him apart in that column. Poor Rummy. His ideas about efficiency in the military are so pre-9/11. Doesn't he realize that 9/11 changed everything?
    posted by caddis at 10:57 PM on September 3, 2006


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