Some days it’s just not a good idea to read the news. Today seems to be one of those days when the outright bias of a news network leaps out, wraps its tentacles around your neck, and adheres itself to your face. CNN is the face-hugger du jour and it’s latest bit of spin is that Republicans have found a “buzzword” that is “new” for them: fascism. Here’s how it explains itself:
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bush in recent days has recast the global war on terror into a “war against Islamic fascism.” Fascism, in fact, seems to be the new buzz word for Republicans in an election season dominated by an unpopular war in Iraq.
Bush used the term earlier this month in talking about the arrest of suspected terrorists in Britain, and spoke of “Islamic fascists” in a later speech in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Spokesman Tony Snow has used variations on the phrase at White House press briefings.
Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pennsylvania, in a tough re-election fight, drew parallels on Monday between World War II and the current war against “Islamic fascism,” saying they both require fighting a common foe in multiple countries. It’s a phrase Santorum has been using for months.
Okay, so Rick Santorum, no newcomer to the debate, has been using the word for months. That’s not “new” by any reasonable definition of the word. And speaking of definitions, let’s introduce a couple.
Main Entry: 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
Main Entry: buzz·word
1 : an important-sounding usually technical word or phrase often of little meaning used chiefly to impress laymen
Now. Let’s review. Islamists are fighting all over the world in order to bring about an Islamic Caliphate over which they will preside, which will be headed by an Imam that has absolute power, will regiment the believers and the non-believers into strict social and economic castes (and will force the non-believers to pay a tax to remain alive), and will use the sword to keep the unbelievers in mind.
In every single where Islam controls the government, all of the conditions required by Mirriam and Webster’s definition of fascism is present. Every single country.
There is a problem with the definition, though. What the Islamists have been doing is indeed fascism, but it’s a sort of fascism we’ve not really seen on this scale. It’s a fascism of religion, where Islam replaces nation and race. Islamists owe their alliegance solely to Islam, not to any notion of country or origin. That is as much fascism as was Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia or Mussolini’s Italy.
But CNN apparently doesn’t think so. It believes, and reports as fact, that our President’s insistence that we are fighting a specific and dangerous form of fascism is just some technical term he whips out to dazzle the rubes. They tell us, as impartial reporters of news, that the the word “fascism”, as the administration uses it, has little meaning at all.
That, folks, is a huge truckload of bollocks.
So is the contention that Republicans have glommed onto the word as some “new” thing. The article even says as much.
Conservative commentators have long talked about “Islamo-fascism,” and Bush’s phrase was a slightly toned-down variation on that theme.
Who are conservatives, largely, but Republicans? Does CNN expect us to believe that these “conservative commentators” are mostly Democrats and Libertarians? Hardly. It’s a plain lie – a deception that it then turns to the scoffers to attempt to bolster. Let’s bring in Scoffer the First:
Dennis Ross, a Mideast adviser to both the first Bush and Clinton administrations and now the director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said he would have chosen different words.
“The `war on terror’ has always been a misnomer, because terrorism is an instrument, it’s not an ideology. So I would always have preferred it to be called the `war with radical Islam,’ not with Islam but with `radical Islam,”‘ Ross said.
Why even mention the religion? “Because that’s who they are,” Ross said. “Fascism had a certain definition. Whether they meet this or not, one thing is clear: They’re radical. They represent a completely radical and intolerant interpretation of Islam.”
With some deference to Mr. Ross, whose commentary I generally find accurate and helpful, he’s wrong in part. When he says that the Islamists “represent a completely radical and intolerant interpretation of Islam” he ignores evidence to the contrary. It is hard evidence to examine, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t examine it closely.
Look first at the nations which are majority Muslim. On that list, can you find a single nation that has a government that is even remotely “liberal” in the classical sense of the word? Can you find a nation there that allows homosexuals to live openly and without threat of being put in jail? Is there a nation there that allows women the full spectrum of civil rights? Do any of those nations have an open government that is accountable to its people to any large degree at all?
I don’t find one. In fact, even the most progressive of those nations – Turkey, the UAE, and Kuwait – still fall well short of even the UN’s tepid requirements for acceptable human rights. Most of those nations are mired in poverty, run by wealthy aristocrats or brutal strongment, treat their women like chattel, and routinely kill those they deem “impure”. Most of them, to a large degree support the fascist goals of the Islamists
Are we to believe that every one of those nations employ a “completely radical and intolerant interpretation of Islam”?
Now, it is quite posible that only those at the top of those repressive and backward regimes are the only practitioners of Mr. Ross’ “radical” strain of Islam. I admit that could be true. But it is far simpler, and more plausible based on observation, to believe that this “radical” Islamism is not the exception but the rule.
IN April, 2005 the venerable bank Lloyd’s of London instituted a separate set of bank accounts for its Muslim patrons. These accounts follow the mandates of sharia law, which do not allow the asking for or paying of interest on loans. These special sharia accounts are held completely separate from the funds of other accountholders to comply with those strictures.
This is important because sharia law is also the law that demands that women be afforded far fewer rights than men (they may only inheret half the amount a man might inherit, they must go in public completely covered, they may be beaten by their husbands who also may divorce them for any reason at all, they may be one of up to four wives a husband may have at any one time, and a woman must be granted permission to marry from an older member of her family in every case). This is also the law that demands death for any Muslim who converts to any other religion for any homosexual, forbids any criticism of Islam.
Most notably, this is the law that Islamists wish to impose on the entire world with its global Caliphate. And it is hardly the “radical interpretation” of a minority of Muslims. It is the law as practiced by millions of Muslims around the world every single day.
And it is wholly incompatible with freedom, self-determination, and basic acceptable human rights.
Let’s go back to the article for Scoffer the Second:
While “fascism” once referred to the rigid nationalistic one-party dictatorship first instituted in Italy, it has “been used very loosely in all kinds of ways for a long time,” said Wayne Fields, a specialist in presidential rhetoric at Washington University in St. Louis.
“Typically, the Bush administration finds its vocabulary someplace in the middle ground of popular culture. It seems to me that they’re trying to find something that resonates, without any effort to really define what they mean,” Fields said.
I wonder if Mr. Fields has considered the possibility that the administration is using exactly the word it intends and that, contrary to CNN’s propaganda, we know full well what fascism is, aving seen it in full effect about 60 years ago. I somehow doubt he has. Regardless of the mistakes the Bush administration has made, and there have indeed been many, it rarely if ever minces words. George W. Bush has never been known for dissembling in his public statements, caterwauling accusations from the lunatic leftists aside. He says what he intends to say, even if some of us find what he says to be too harsh or, as I think is often the case, too mild. If the President says “fascist”, he means “fascist”. He used the word on purpose, to remind us exactly what’s at stake in this war.
It seems to me that Mr. Fields suffers from a particular malady that remembers fascists forevermore as men in black uniforms with lightning bolts on their collars. That’s not the case, and we know it’s not because we’ve seen it to be otherwise. Fascists come in different varieties and what we shuld be judging here is now they act and what they intend. On those points, the President has been unwavering, even if it has taken him five years to use a word that quite accurately describes the Islamists.
CNN ought to be ashamed of itself for this sort of shoddy reporting but I don’t imagine that it will be. Stories like this simply demonstrate that in this war against those who wish to kill us, or enslave us in a global Muslim Caliphate, there are those who take it seriously and wish to fight the Islamic fascists on every front and there’s CNN.
UPDATE: The Anchoress read the CNN article, too. She has some very arch words for those who hypocritically leap on the President for using the word, but when it’s done from the left.
Really interesting, isn’t it? When the president or conservatives use the word “fascist” and “fascism” to describe a means of movement and an ideology, well…that’s all a “tactic.” It’s been focus-grouped. It’s just a cynical ploy to which no one need pay attention. They’re just floundering around with that word, they don’t really know what it means, after all. Of course they don’t. They’re too stoopit.
But when the left uses the same words, it’s not cynical, it’s not a political tactic – it’s apparently something real and noble.
Well, sure, because the Right are a priori cartoonishly evil – a bunch of pinstriped Dick Dastardlys while those on the left are crusaders for all that is right and good. So when someone on the right uses the word “fascist”, it’s obvious to the folks at CNN that they are simply trying to divert attention from their own fascism. Of course it must be a ploy because Bush is a fascist, and a dumb one at that.