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View Diary: If I Were Ben Domenech (252 comments)

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  •  Bush overenunciated the word (2+ / 0-)
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    MichaelPH, rlteiken

    in yesterday's Press Bashing.  When someone in the administration, let alone the pResident uses the term, one must ask:

    1. Is the word a Rove creation?
    1. Did the administration adopt it after spending countless hours reinforcing their warped view of reality by reading RedState, the FreeRepublic, Malkin, Coulter, et al?
    •  First heard it a couple of years ago (0+ / 0-)

      used by Michael Savage.  Talk about twisted views of reality.  Talk about a rapid descent in public discourse by Bush.

    •  dunno (0+ / 0-)

      I don't think it's Rove. But Bush's use of it is clearly a shout-out to the hardcore base, such as FR.

    •  The Independent, a Muslim scholar and Hitchens (1+ / 0-)
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      The Wikipedia has a good entry on the word and its origins. Apparent first use was in the Independent in 1990 (hardly a hard-right rag). Then Hitchens responding to the fatwa against Rushdie, called it "Islamic fascism," and has used "Islamofascist" often since. Note this use by Hitchens was prior to his reaction to 9/11 and subsequent support of Bush. It was the fatwa against Rushdie that woke him up to how evil some of the Islamists truly embody.

      Of course, the accuracy of the comparison of the Islamists' movement to the European fascist movements is wide open for debate. Some claim that Islamists aren't nationalistic, but don't they want a larger Islamic nation? Some say they aren't corporatist as the Italians were, which seems true. Cole argues that it is insulting — comparible to "Christo-fascist" (a term he invents) in insulting a religion. Doesn't he ignore that the Christian fascists were not, at the center of their ideology, Christian in the way that the "Islamic fascists" are Muslim?

      We need ways of discussing this. Ruling out certain descriptive words because we don't like some of the people who've used them doesn't get us there. Isn't it better to co-opt the vocabulary of your enemy rather than demonize the words themselves? There are true demons here, both in the White House and among the Islamofascists. Mincing words is not how to make them go away — nor is surrendering to their exclusive use the more colorfully descriptive terms.

      •  I think this is part and parcel (0+ / 0-)

        of their strategy of "projection" - preemptively deflecting attention on a weakness or failing by painting the enemy (Muslims, Kerry, former admin officials and detractors) with the same brush.

      •  it's not a particularly helpful word (1+ / 0-)
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        strangely enough

        ... if one wants to understand how muslim extremists operate, and why.

        For one thing, as I have said before, fascism is a form of government.  Al Qaidah is not; they may have some imaginary government in mind, but nothing close to a real political philosophy a la Mussolini or Hitler.  Muslim concepts of statehood ('ummah and sunnah for example) do not quite map the same as  western concepts of the state.  And the differences between the muslim view of statehood and western views , and misunderstandings that arise from those differences need to be recognizes and understood better.

        For another, it allows us to gloss over the very real and significant differences among various actors in the Middle East.  They do not all have the same program, or ideals, or goals.  For example, Al Qaidah's number one enemy is not "freedom loving America" but the Saudi royal family who have, in their eyes, defamed the holy land.  Assuming that the Middle East is "bichromatic" as it were, has led to many of the great failings of our utterly failed Middle East policy.

        Finally, it is loaded with western connotations that are inappropriate.  Fascism is no longer a descriptive term in our vocabulary -- it is inherently tied up in the bloody struggles of the 1st half of the 20th century.

        I agree that we need ways of discussing this, but we need accurate ways, ways that acknowledge the differences among various Islamic extremists, and the differences between those groups and the western mindset.  Islamofascism is closer to an advertising term, an invitation to take a particular stance, than a means of accurately and meaningfully describing anything.

        •  It's branding. (0+ / 0-)

          Pure and simple. As far as "co-opting" the language, unfortunately, so much of it has been loaded with ideological, and quite often, racist connotations, that it is hard to see what benefit would come from it. It seems like it endorses a framing of issues that simply reinforces the more reactionary point of view. That may not be the case universally, but it that instance, it's hard to see the benefit.

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