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.The article goes on to explain that the use of the term 'fascism' is probably meant to attach some of the 'good war' feelings about World War II to Bush's 'War on Terror' or whatever he wants to call it. What the article fails to do in any meaningful way is explain what fascism really means.
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.
"I think it's an appropriate definition of the war that we're in," said GOP pollster Ed Goeas. "I think it's effective in that it definitively defines the enemy in a way that we can't because they're not in uniforms."
The right term?
But Muslim groups have cried foul. Bush's use of the phrase "contributes to a rising level of hostility to Islam and the American-Muslim community," complained Parvez Ahmed, chairman of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
From the Wikipedia article 'Definition of Fascism,' Umberto Eco's essay "Eternal fascism" provides a list of features of Fascism, :
- "The Cult of Tradition", combining cultural syncretism with a rejection of modernism (often disguised as a rejection of capitalism).
- * "The Cult of Action for Action's Sake", which dictates that action is of value in itself, and should be taken without intellectual reflection. This, says Eco, is connected with anti-intellectualism and irrationalism, and often manifests in attacks on modern culture and science.
- * "Disagreement is Treason" - fascism devalues intellectual discourse and critical reasoning as barriers to action.
- * "Fear of Difference", which fascism seeks to exploit and exacerbate, often in the form of racism or an appeal against foreigners and immigrants.
- "Appeal to a Frustrated Middle Class", fearing economic pressure from the demands and aspirations of lower social groups.
- "Obsession With a Plot" and the hyping-up of an enemy threat. This often involves an appeal to xenophobia or the identification of an internal security threat. He cites Pat Robertson's book The New World Order as a prominent example of a plot obsession.
- "Pacifism is Trafficking With the Enemy" because "Life is Permanent Warfare" - there must always be an enemy to fight.
- "Contempt for the Weak" - although a fascist society is elitist, everybody in the society is educated to become a hero.
- "Selective Populism" - the People have a common will, which is not delegated but interpreted by a leader. This may involve doubt being cast upon a democratic institution, because "it no longer represents the Voice of the People".
- "Newspeak" - fascism employs and promotes an impoverished vocabulary in order to limit critical reasoning.
Elements within the Republican party are inoculating themselves against the charge of 'Fascism' by saying it's Fascism that they're fighting against.
Despite the fact that yesterday I predicted a new Great Depression (twice) this blog isn't about hysterics or wild accusations. I'm not calling the Republican Party Fascist. I'm not even calling George W. Bush a Fascist.
All I'm saying is that certain elements within the Republican party are treading dangerously close to some very frightening ideas. The fact that they're throwing the word Fascism around like a football doesn't reassure me.
Returning to the subject of the AP piece, I agree that the 'War on Terror' is possibly the worst name for this war. War against Islamic Fundamentalism would be better. Perhaps even War against Radical Islamic Fundamentalism - WARIF.
Anyway... No more posts today. Real life is keeping me busy.