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Bush and Israel: The Greatest Threats to World Peace:

The Winter 2006-2007 issue of egards, a French-Canadian conservative journal, contains an article by editor Jean Renaud, "The conservative French-Canadians and the Destiny of America: The lesson of Edmund Burke." The article analyzes what the author sees as the various contemporary intellectual pathologies, including the belief, according to opinion polls, of the English, Canadians and Mexicans that George Bush is a greater threat to world peace than is Iran's president Ahmadinejad. But then Renaud acknowledges that they are right, and his argument seems convincing:

In the 1930s also, persons of good intentions accused this flamethrower [lit. cannon-igniter] Winston Churchill of being the principal danger towards world peace. In a sense, these people were correct. Churchill, in opposing Nazism, menaced world peace, a peace of which the terms had been defined by Hitler. The rejection of tyranny and the resistance to totalitarianism have always been a grave menace to world peace.

(My translation for the text and the title.) Many thanks to the VC readership for informing me, and, I hope, others, about the fine journal, with which I do not always agree, but which does have a vivid appreciation of the importance of Western Civilization resisting Islamofascism. BTW, the article never discusses Israel, but it seems to me that the point about polls regarding Bush as a menace is also apt regarding the polls showing that many Europeans regard Israel as a greater threat to world peace than Iran (or, more precisely, than Iran's dictatorship).

martinned (mail) (www):
L.S.,

Such polls are inherently flawed.
After all, it takes two to tango, so any breach of the peace always involves at least two parties, each of which is a sine qua non. So when it comes to, say, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, each of the two is 100% responsible for any breaches of the peace.
Instead, if a breach of the peace does occur, or is hypothesised to occur, the whole thing turns into a popularity contest.
As a result, such questionnaires should not be taken at face value, but simply considered as what they are: popularity contests.
5.8.2007 4:38am
Nathan_M (mail):
I don't see why the suggestion that Mr. Bush is the principal danger to world peace is so ridiculous, although not for the reason Mr. Renaud gives.

I imagine the argument for this proposition would be along the following lines. (1) Mr. Bush incorrectly believes he is in an epic war against "Islamofacism," and to defeat it he has invaded Afghanistan and Iraq. (2) These invasions (or, more importantly, the subsequent occupations) have been incompetently managed, have gravely radicalized many Muslims, and have created many new enemies for the west. (3) The action in Afghanistan has contributed to the destabilization of Pakistan, and increased the danger of a radical regime taking power there, and correspondingly the risk that Pakistan's nuclear weapons will be used against India, or acquired by terrorists. (4) The war in Iraq has destabilized the Middle East, and inparticular there is a danger Mr. Bush's incompetence and belligerence will cause a disastrous war with Iran. (5) Mr. Bush has made it difficult to respond militarily to future threats (such as Iran acquiring nuclear weapons) because the US military is overextended, and the US government now lacks the credibility necessary to convince allies to join it.

No doubt Mr. Renaud probably would not agree with these premises, but I expect the majority of people in Canada and Britain (I have no idea about public opinion in Mexico) largely would. Under this analysis, Mr. Bush probably is more menacing than Mr. Ahmadinejad. Mr. Bush is better intentioned, but his power, incompetence, poor judgment, and mistaken worldview make him far more dangerous than a man who doesn't control his own country, and couldn't seriously threaten the west (with the exception of Israel) even if he did.
5.8.2007 5:56am
dearieme:
After Bill Clinton was so derelict of his duty in the business of the Islamiloons, it might have been a good idea to have a President who took his duties seriously. But not if his judgement's as lousy as W's. Two duds in a row. Pity.
5.8.2007 5:59am
martinned (mail) (www):
L.S.,

"Pity" implies this is simply a case of bad luck. I'm not sure about that one. (Pertinent quote: "Never underestimate the stupidity of people in large masses.")
5.8.2007 6:40am
LTEC (mail) (www):
I think Nathan_M illustrates the point. Bush supposedly responded in an incompetent way to the wrong threats. What would have been more competent in Iraq and Afghanistan? Going after the enemy more aggressively and killing him in greater numbers? But surely that would have angered even more all the people that Bush is accused of having angered. Or does the "incompetence" lie in overly harsh treatment of prisoners and too many civilian casualties; if so, how does this compare with Churchill, and does anyone really think this is why all those mass-murdering, mass-torturing loonies hate us? Can't one be explicit about what the "incompetence" consists of?

And what threats should we be responding to? Presumably we should wait until Iraq (under Saddam) had Nuclear weapons or Iran acquires them, and then somehow respond. How? For one thing we should be competent. And we shouldn't respond in a way that destabilizes the Middle East or Pakistan. Or that gravely radicalizes many Muslims.

The entire world scene is being framed as reactions to America's actions.
5.8.2007 9:22am
Bretzky (mail):
It's not surprising that people in Canada, Mexico, Brazil, South Africa, etc., would view American actions as a destabilizer of world peace. As far as they are concerned, by not just sitting down and taking what the terrorists dish out, the US is not only acting unpeacefully, but is also endangering their little island of peace. I would guess that they view American actions as potentially causing a wider conflict between Islam and the West that will most likely make a target of any Christian country and, therefore, implicate them in any military action the US carries out.

The conflict with the Soviet Union was fundamentally different from the one with radical Islam. The conflict between communism and liberal democracy was a family affair played out all over the world. Communism was an offspring of Western intellectual thought (even though Russia and China were the two most important adherents) that challenged liberal democracy throughout the world.

Radical Islam, by comparison, is viewed in much of the West as a purely Islamic intellectual movement whose range is limited to the Islamic world with its Arab heartland as the main focus. Most Westerners seem to believe that the only reason the US has been involved in this conflict is because of its need (or choice) to be involved in Arab politics.

Rightly or wrongly, the Bush administration has made the decision that radical Islamic terrorist organizations will not stop attacking the US if it just leaves the Muslim world alone (whatever that means). So, in order to prevent these groups from obtaining weapons of extreme destructive capacity that they will use most likely on either the US or Israel, America must take the fight to them to temporarily destabilize these groups. This temporary destabilization is supposed to create a window of opportunity for Islamic states to develop democratic institutions and governments that will, it is hoped, provide the kind of outlet for grievances in the Islamic world that had, in the past, been served by terrorist organizations.

I believe that the Bush administration views the situation as such: a quagmire in (insert Arab country) is better than a hole in the ground where (insert large American city) used to be. As such, the way they saw it was that destabilizing military action was the only option and Iraq was the most available target.
5.8.2007 9:23am
LTEC (mail) (www):
Here is proof that World War II was started by England and France:

Why do we date the beginning of the war from the invasion of Poland by Germany? Why don't we say that it began with earlier invasions by Germany or Italy or Japan? It's because England and France only declared war after the invasion of Poland. It is their fighting back (or claiming they would) that causes us to say that World War II began.
5.8.2007 9:29am
AppSocRes (mail):
LTEC: Just a little reminder: WW II started when Poland was invaded by Germany and the USSR. Also, let's not forget that the first major atrocity committed on Polish soil was the Katin Forest massacre, personally directed from Moscow by Stalin and carried out in a particularly blood-thirsty manner by soldiers of the Red Army.
5.8.2007 9:39am
Houston Lawyer:
This is similar to those who claimed that the man who shot the burglar on his porch last week should have just let him take the money. Then no one would have been hurt.
5.8.2007 10:02am
Truth Seeker:
Let's not forget that the intellectual leftists in the 1930s wanted to sit down with Hitler and work thngs out. If they were in charge the Nazis would still rule much of Europe and how many more would have gone to ovens?

Today the leftists want to sit down with the Islamofascists! It can't be done. They want to kill us or enslave us. Either we kill them or they kill us. You decide.
5.8.2007 10:17am
Truth Seeker:
Many people agree that another major terrorist attack on our soil is inevitable. If it doesn't happen until, say, after Jan. 20, 2009, then maybe the Bush years will look like a peaceful interlude when we kept the terrorists busy in Iraq and Afghanistan. Time will tell...

I agree with dearieme that if only CLinto had spent more time chasing Bin laden and less chasing Monica Lewinsky, 9/11 might never have happened. What evidence did Sandy Burger destroy? It must have been really damning if he risked committing a felony over it.
5.8.2007 10:22am
Anderson (mail) (www):
LTEC: Just a little reminder: WW II started when Poland was invaded by Germany and the USSR.

Wrong. Russia invaded Poland 2 weeks after the Germans rolled and the Allies declared war.
5.8.2007 10:30am
Justin (mail):
Is the point that David Kopel trying to make, that conservative intellectuals can be just as absurd as the populations of Mexico, England, and Canada?

And yes, George W. Bush is, in a technical sense, a greater damage to world peace. Although Ahmadinejad is by a great deal more unstable, less tolerant of human rights, more nationalist, etc., he also lacks the resourcees at his hand. George W. Bush (and Putin, for that matter) are dangerous to world peace in EXACTLY THE WAY THEY HAVE PROVEN THEMSELVES TO BREACH IT - they can start wars without the type of commitment to the war, and start larger wars, just by the nature of their size.

I mean, what war wouldn't have happened if Ahmadinejad was not leading Iran? I think people here can volunteer the same answer for the United States, no?

Nathan_M's post is certainly right on the money there, although I think any President would have invaded Afghanistan.
5.8.2007 10:37am
byomtov (mail):
What would have been more competent in Iraq and Afghanistan? Going after the enemy more aggressively and killing him in greater numbers?

Yes. But going after the enemy more aggressively would have meant sticking to Afghanistan and not wasting lives and effort in Iraq.
5.8.2007 10:49am
A.C.:
Another reason for putting the blame on western actors, or on Israel, is because people living in the west perceive a chance to influence such actors. It's possible to vote out a Bush or a Blair, or to nag at Israel until it changes its policies. Therefore, putting all the blame on the west puts it where it appears that something can be DONE to avoid conflict.

If the blame is all on the Islamofascists, though, what can be done? Nothing, really. The choice is fight or surrender, ultimately, although there can certainly be various stalling tactics along the way. This is not to disparage stalling tactics, of course -- they held off World War III until the Soviet Union fell apart of its own volition. But nobody marches in the street in favor of stalling tactics, much less surrender, so instead they make a cartoon out of Bush and march against that. They did the same to Reagan, and will no doubt do the same to other politicians in the future.
5.8.2007 10:55am
chris c:
I'm pretty confident that if you'd polled this same question in the 80s people in many foreign countries would have named Reagan as a greater 'threat to peace' than the Soviet leader of the moment.

Also, there's probably a solid 1/3 of every country in the world that for reasons of envy or historical grievance or ideological dictate dislikes the US, no matter who is in charge.

Finally, AC nails it. People assume the US can be argued with or persuaded. No one puts much faith in swaying your avg 3rd world despot.
5.8.2007 11:15am
eczebeche:
I usually consider this site a good read, even though (or, rather, especially because) I almost always disagree with the ideological position of the blogger in question. Indeed, entries at the Volokh conspiracy (including those of David Kopel) are usually so well written and, consequently, so thought-provoking that the underlying partisan affiliation of the author becomes a bonus.

However, this post is riddled with so many fallacies and intellectually-barren concepts ("... Western Civilization resisting Islamofascism ..." -- ouch, writing that scorched 10,000 neurons) that it severely lowers the otherwise very high standard.

I hope it's just the exception that confirms the general rule.
5.8.2007 11:19am
Adeez (mail):
Nathan M: your post is spot-on, although I disagree with your assuredness that Bush's intentions are so good. I don't understand why many can't accept that a person in power could be both incompetent AND evil.

And it's perversely humorous that some commenters are using the phrase "Islamofacists," as if it actually meant something.

I saw a Fukiyama interview--ya know, PNAC defector. He stated unequivocally that the US NEEDED a new enemy after the fall of the USSR. So for those who accept this nonsense wholesale: you've been duped, as those swell PNAC guys hoped and predicted.
5.8.2007 11:28am
loki13 (mail):
I have a question-

since I see the term 'Islamofascist' used so often, I was hoping someone could tell me who the Islamofascists were, and what countries they control?

Are they Shia?
Sunni?
Sufi?... nah, they can't be Sufi....

Is Al-Qaeda the Islamofascists? They're Sunni-Wahhabi/Salafi (heretical). Is that the same as the Al-Saud government (Sunni-Wahhabi/Salafi (mainstream)? Clearly, they are not the same group as the government of Iran (Shia). Or the insurgency in Iraq (some Sunni, some Shia). As opposed to the government in Iraq (mostly Shia, some Sunni, but not Kurds- they're Sunni).

Oh wait... is Islamofascist just a catchall term for Moslems who currently don't like us (Osama Bin Laden now) as opposed to Moslems who we are currently using (Govt. of Saudi Arabia, Osama Bin Laden in the 80s)? Isn't calling all these groups (like Iran's government, and Al-Qaeda) the same thing conflating real difference in goals between them?

Just asking...
5.8.2007 11:29am
Prufrock765 (mail):
Loki:

Please define the term "Yankee" for me.
5.8.2007 11:32am
Just a thought:
Adeez, eczebeche, et al.,
If you think the term "Islamofacist" is intellectually barren and means nothing, what term would you suggest to describe those adherents of Islam who fanatically believe that their religion dictates the destruction of Western civilization and the subjugation of all people to their culture?
5.8.2007 11:34am
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
Loki, it's fair to say that whatever minute subtleties are lost in the term "islamofaschist," the term can nonetheless be fairly applied to all muslims who include in their goals the violent imposition of islam on the world. Forgive me if "islamofascist" unfairly collapses Abu Bakr worshippers together with Ali worshippers.
5.8.2007 11:36am
loki13 (mail):
Prufrock765,

That's easy!

Yankee-
Member of a team that recently signed traitor and man without scruples Rogah Clemens, ensuring that their current drought of World Series titles will continue and hopefully ensuring that they will finish in the basement below even the D-Rays.
5.8.2007 11:40am
Adeez (mail):
"If you think the term "Islamofacist" is intellectually barren and means nothing, what term would you suggest to describe those adherents of Islam who fanatically believe that their religion dictates the destruction of Western civilization and the subjugation of all people to their culture?"

Hmmm: "fuckin nuts?" I could come up with dozens of others, but I just gave you the first that came to mind.

But considering that I'm not the commander-in-chief of the world's most powerful military and what I call a purported enemy does not suddenly upend the lives of millions into endless war, it's pretty irrelevant.
5.8.2007 11:42am
keypusher (mail):
Could any of those who support the egards writer's thesis care to respond substantively to the points made by Nathan_M? It might lead to a more productive discussion than the usual tired tropes (resisting burglary, the 1930s, appeasement, "b-b-but Clinton!" etc).
5.8.2007 11:48am
Justin (mail):
"fairly applied to all muslims who include in their goals the violent imposition of islam on the world."

Both of them?

I mean, you really need to take a lesson on nuance.
5.8.2007 11:50am
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
Does the word 'both' apply, to "muslims," "islam" or "world?" I don't understand what you are saying. You apparently had no one explain to you the "I poked the gorilla with the banana" ambiguity problem.
5.8.2007 11:56am
Montie (mail):
Loki,

You are right. The term can obscure many important nuances and differences. However, the terms Communism and Fascism obscured many important nuances and differences in the 20th Century.
5.8.2007 11:56am
Tex:
Hasn't this whole WWII analogy already worn a bit thin? It didn't make me support GWB's insane war before, and it certainly isn't doing the trick now.

If you conservatives are really interested in persuading people that George W. Bush and his war in Iraq are not complete disasters, you're really going to have to come up with some new arguments; trying to make the old talking points look new by quoting a Canadian newspaper simply won't work.
5.8.2007 12:02pm
loki13 (mail):
Yes, I think the term Islamofascist is intellectually barren. Why? As my question above (attempted) to show, it is the way it is used.

If I used the term, 'Christianofascist' to describe both sides fighting in Nortern Ireland, that would not be very helpful, would it? I could try to defend it (Christian= their religion, fascist= I don't like them), but using the same word to describe two groups that have very different aims doesn't really help.

In the same sense, the common use of 'Islamofascist' as a proxy for 'Bad Moslem' or 'Terrorist' or 'People that Disagree with US Policy' is intellectually lazy (not just barren) and dangerous. The old saw, "When all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail" can be adapted to "When the world is divided into Good Moslems and Islamofascists, there is no diplomacy, only military action."

Calling Iran 'Islamofascist'in the same way that Al-Qaeda is 'Islamofascist' is just wrong. We have (covert) diplomatic ties with Iran. Hence the occasional capture of an Al-Qaeda member as they 'leave' Iran. They are similar to the old Soviet Union- a regime they it is not trustworthy, but can occasionally be bargained with. This is truly different than Al-Qaeda.

In the same vein, the goals of Ba'ath Sunni insurgents, Shia militia, Al-Qaeda in Iraq (a *very small group*), the Kurdish Peshmerga, the Turkomen self-defense forces, and the foreigner freelancers, not to even get into Syrian and Iranian and Turkish agents are all very different. But, they're all Moslem. Which of them is Islamofascist?

What do I suggest? At the very least, have some nuance. Iran is not the same ass Al-Qaeda. The vast majority of attacks in Iraq are for sectarian reasons and have notingg to do with intl. terror. etc. etc. etc.
5.8.2007 12:05pm
Justin (mail):
Mike,

I think the point I was trying to make is that even Al Queda's goals, no matter how wrong and atrocious, are not as substantial as the violent imposition of muslim on the world. More to the point, Al Queda wants its own Monroe Doctrine, whereas Iran wants a Shia dominance over the middle east.
5.8.2007 12:09pm
Justin (mail):
"We have (covert) diplomatic ties with Iran. Hence the occasional capture of an Al-Qaeda member as they 'leave' Iran."

Shhh. Don't tell Mother (Bush).
5.8.2007 12:11pm
Steve:
I find it hard to believe one had to go all the way to some French-Canadian journal to find this incredibly trite WWII comparison. Yes, Saddam was Hitler, Ahmadinejad is Hitler, they're all Hitler, and anyone who doesn't agree is Neville Chamberlain. We get it already.
5.8.2007 12:17pm
Montie (mail):
Justin said:

More to the point, Al Queda wants its own Monroe Doctrine, whereas Iran wants a Shia dominance over the middle east.


Ayman al-Zawahiri said:

"It is rather a jihad for the sake of God until the religion of God is established. It is jihad for the liberation of Palestine, all of Palestine, as well as every land that was a home for Islam, from Andalusia to Iraq"


For the record, Andalusia is in Spain. The Balkans are between Spain and Iraq.
5.8.2007 12:31pm
Ron Mexico:
"I agree with dearieme that if only CLinto had spent more time chasing Bin laden and less chasing Monica Lewinsky, 9/11 might never have happened."

I love these political posts. A site that normally discusses law and other tangentially related concepts in a (somewhat) civilized and very engaging manner turns into a freakshow when the politics are mentioned. Is there a full moon out or something? The level of discourse---and average IQ of commenters---drops so significantly in these posts that is remarkable. My only question is this: do these moronic commenters wade through every post hoping for some type of political one to pop up so they can spew their idiocy (oh no! not another stupid Supreme Court opinion or appellate court analysis!)? Or do they have some kind of radar that lets them know? Fascinating.

And yes. I'm sure if Bill Clinton spent less time chasing around Monica Lewinsky that 9/11 would have been prevented. Genius.
5.8.2007 12:34pm
Montie (mail):
Oh, I missed the next sentence the Ayman al-Zawarhi quote:

The whole world is an open field for us.


What could he possibly mean by that?
5.8.2007 12:42pm
Adeez (mail):
I feel you Ron. Although I don't identify as conservative, I'm humble enough to know that we can learn from one another on many issues. So I look forward to hearing what actual conservatives have to say on, for example, guns, what to do about global climate change, economics, etc.

But there are a few rogues who turn everything into 'the liberals and Democrats are responsible for all the bad in the world.' So of course when a topic is posted that is directly political, the discourse only worsens and the Fox watchers and Limbaugh listeners go gaga.
5.8.2007 12:49pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
loki, the parallel to NI is, no offense, preposterous. The combatants there are defined by actions vis-a-vis each other, exclusively. Shia and Sunni have some serious shit between them, but we care mostly about what unites the violent elements among them - hatred for the West. With respect to this trait, a single term can be used to describe the two. Surely, you see that.
5.8.2007 12:51pm
Houston Lawyer:
It sure is comforting to know that all of the violent followers of Islam who would ever mean to do us harm are or were located in Afghanistan, where they intend to stay out in the open so we can conveniently kill them.

So there are several flavors of violent Muslims out there who are doing their best to kill or intimidate all who don't agree with their particular schism. These are not people who have any intention of negotiating in good faith or who only wish to be left alone. Most Americans are not interested in sorting out the mother-rapers from the father-rapers of the bunch and the term Islamist or Islamofascist works just fine.

It would be nice if other Muslims who wish only to live in peace would deal with the bad apples in their midst, but they don't seem to be so inclined. But its always our fault when the bombs start to drop in their neighborhoods.
5.8.2007 12:58pm
loki13 (mail):
Mike,

No offense, but I cannot. I have seen the term Islamofascist is used to describe Al-Qaeda, Iran, Hezboallah, Hamas, the multiplicity of factions in Iraq, the tribesmen in the border regions of Pakistan, the Taliban, the previous Somali govt., the Al-Saud Govt, those seeking to overthrow the Al-Saud Govt, and, well, shall I keep going on?

Many of these groups can be defined better in terms of each other than in terms of their actions to us. In other cases, their actions towards us have more to do with our presence and/our policies in the region than with an undying hatred of all things Western.

When a single term is used to group such disparate elements together, you lose perspective on how to treat them differently. I believe that my analogy is correct, at least as applies to Iraq. We do not classify the two sides in N. Ireland with the same term- we understand that they have different goals. But when a see some posters assume that all terrorism in Iraq is the action of 'Islamofascists' or even 'insurgents', well.... which ones? The different groups all have different goals with their actions. Some are amenable to a political solution. Some may not be. Some want an Islamic state. Some don't. Some want American out. Others want Americans to stay.

Do you think that if there was a post devoted to the conflict in N. Ireland and it attributed all terrorism from both the Protestant Royalists and the Catholic/Sinn Fein/Ira side as being the work of Insurgents or Christanofascits that it would help you understand what was going on in over there? How does it help you understand how to deal with Iran by labelling them with the same term ass Al-Qaeda? Is Hezboalla the same as Hamas? If the Syrian government is Islamofascist, and the Muslim Brotherhood is Islamofascist, does that mean that when the MB is trying to revolt against the Syrian Govt. that it is an IF/IF war?
5.8.2007 1:06pm
bigchris1313 (mail):

This is similar to those who claimed that the man who shot the burglar on his porch last week should have just let him take the money. Then no one would have been hurt.


Although it appears apt, this analogy is simply wrong. The cost-benefit analyses are utterly lacking. If you shoot a guy on your porch (who is presumably breaking your door down or something), you'll probably have to file a police report. If you try to fight all possible terrorism everywhere on earth, it's a very expensive proposition that leaves you more militarily vulnerable than a terrorist attack ever could. Furthermore, why we're in Iraq at all was a gross miscalculation. Sadaam never really threatened us. There's no way he was ever getting a missile with that kind of range. He knew if he ever launched any WMDs at Israel, he'd be hearing explosions in his backyard very quickly. And we certainly had an interest in a stable, secular Iraq at almost no cost to us rather than this expensive debacle.

That being said, I do agree with much of Nathan M.'s post. Bush is the chief threat to world peace (to be discussed below). We're just lucky that he's on our side and that we can afford to make mistakes. If (when?) we fall down the totem pole and lose our title of the sole remaining Superpower, we won't be able to afford idealistic foreign policy anymore. Don't get me wrong--Bush doesn't have malicious intentions. He's just enacted a foreign policy based on airy-fairy ideas of a new world order with a 4th Wave of Democratization mirroring the period directly after the fall of the Soviet Union. He figured we could take out a dictator and set up a democracy stat. Unfortunately, like many airy-fairy ideas, it didn't work. The administration's neoconservatives--that's not a jab; it is merely the proper moniker--overgeneralized their findings on democratization. So now we have an actor on the international scene that is not acting in its best interests. This is not good, both for us and everyone else, given the regime's current ability to destabilize regions.

Is it a dream to think that the new president just might utilize some good ole-fashioned realist FP? *sigh*
5.8.2007 1:12pm
Mark Field (mail):

With respect to this trait, a single term can be used to describe the two. Surely, you see that.


In addition to what loki said, it strikes me as tactically and strategically foolish of us to treat these groups as our common enemy. Even if they were in some sense, we should be distinguishing between them in order to exacerbate their own internal differences. Divide and conquer is good advice; increasing the number of our enemies through terminology is not.
5.8.2007 1:14pm
bigchris1313 (mail):
Oh, Nathan M:

The best part of your post was how you made sure to shoot down the idea that Ahmadinejad's comments have any weight to them. Every time I hear a commentator call him the new Hitler, I laugh. As the president of Iran, he's almost a figure-head.
5.8.2007 1:17pm
A.C.:
"Islamofascist" is a fairly rough and ready category, but I believe that it serves the purpose of distinguishing ordinary Islam, the religion, from an ideology that takes certain elements from that religion and mixes them with bits and pieces of European totalitarian ideologies to come up with a new and toxic brew. The brew comes in many flavors, of course -- even the European ideologies it cribs from varied greatly among themselves -- but my goal when I use the term is to emphasize that the problem is a POLITICAL ideology and not a religious faith. There may be a better word to make that point, but I haven't come across it.

After that comes the teasing-out process that loki13 describes... is group X more or less like the totalitarian ideology that should, rightly, have people worried? Someone whose name I recognized (although I can't remember it now) once wrote that people didn't have any difficulty telling the difference between Helmut Schmidt and the Khmer Rouge, even though both could be lumped together under a very broad heading as "socialist." People in the west are now learning to make the same distinctions among different groups that espouse different degrees of politicized Islam, but that takes time and is complicated by the fact that the groups themselves seem to be shifting rapidly. And, occasionally at least, talking out of both sides of their mouths.
5.8.2007 1:38pm
jvarisco (www):
If Iran could start a world war perhaps one might make comparisons. But it can't. I doubt it can even invade France.

I don't think anyone argues Israel is a threat to world peace. It's a threat to peace in the Middle East. This is a fact; if Israel did not exist, the Middle East would be more peaceful. One might believe its existence is worth war, but that does not change this.
5.8.2007 1:58pm
loki13 (mail):
A.C.

Don't mean to highjack the thread, but I don't understand your post for two reasons:

1. Mixing in European influences. While that is generous of you (I guess), I can safely assume that while the ideology of Al-Qaeda may have some totalitarian elements, the restoration of the Caliphate (hence the reference to Spain) in no way borrow from the European fascist tradition, but are a mixture of fundamentalist Islamic traditions together with a (mis)understanding of history. While the glorification of a religious/national identity is associated with Fascism, it was definitely not borrowed from Eurpoean fascism. Moreover, Al-Qaeda's ideological bent is much closer to American Christian / Israeli Jewish / India Hinduatva Fundamtentalism than it is to political fascism. So Islamofundamentalism would be more appropriate.

2. Many elements of Fascism require the operation of a political state. But assuming (arguendo) that this is a proto-fascist movement, it would not meet the definitional requirements of fascism espoused by, well, anyone (with the possible exception of Eco). What we are left with is that the employment of islamoFASCIST is simply an epithet to refer to groups that we don't agree with.

The problem I have is that this catch-all term truly confuses any reasoned discourse. If Iran is Islamofascist, then Ahmedenijad is Hitler (wrong). And any diplomacy with them is appeasement (wrong). And it papers over huge differences between antagonistic regimes...
Al-Qaeda= islamofascist
Iran = islamofascist

Therefore, Iran and Al-Qaeda agree! (wrong) In fact, Iran and Al-Qaeda are implacable enemies (shia and sunni). I realize that our government doesn't do nuance well (many of our Congressmen couldn't tell the difference between a shia and a sunni if you spot them the 'h'), but this is a crucial difference. The big showdown in the middle east that is brewing isn't 'Them v. US' or even 'Arabs v. Israelis', increasingly it's internecine warfare with a host of shifting allegiances.
5.8.2007 1:58pm
David Drake (mail):
I'll try to take up Keypusher's challenge and OUTLINE a rebuttal of Nathan_M

" imagine the argument for this proposition would be along the following lines. (1) Mr. Bush incorrectly believes he is in an epic war against "Islamofacism," and to defeat it he has invaded Afghanistan and Iraq.

My response:
I believe that we are in the first stages of a war against militant Islam--not just the U.S., but the world. I call them "jihadis" rather than Islamofascists, but there is little doubt that the jihadis think they are in a war with us and everyone else who does not believe exactly what they believe. After all, Al Qaida declared war on the U.S. years ago and on any brand of Islam they disagree with years before that. Read the Wikipedia article on Sayyid Qutb, who is apparently the intellectual father of militant Islam and Ch. 2 of "The Dream Palace of the Arabs" by Fouad Ajami. Read the blog "Counterterrorism" to see how many attacks around the world--mainly in Muslim countries--are conducted every day by them. Then come back and tell me that they are not at war with the civilized world.

(2) These invasions (or, more importantly, the subsequent occupations) have been incompetently managed, have gravely radicalized many Muslims, and have created many new enemies for the west.

My response:
I agree that the occupations have been incompetently managed; almost everything any government does is incompetently managed. I don't believe, however, that persons who were ideologically or religiously neutral turned into active jihadis simply because of the occupation of Iraq or Afghanistan. And I am not sure how many more enemies would were created than would have been the case had the U.S. hammered Iraqi and Afghani cities and villages with airpower following the invasions, which would have been the most logical alternative response to the guerrilla we are now facing.

(3) The action in Afghanistan has contributed to the destabilization of Pakistan, and increased the danger of a radical regime taking power there, and correspondingly the risk that Pakistan's nuclear weapons will be used against India, or acquired by terrorists.

My response:
I agree with this, but only because Pakistan is our (apparent) ally in the war against the jihadis. However, keep in mind that we are in Afghanistan with an international coalition, acting under UN resolutions, and with the approval of both political parties and having given the Taliban the opportunity to hand the Al Qaida leaders over. Moreover, do you believe that we would be better off if Pakistan was not an ally?


(4) The war in Iraq has destabilized the Middle East, and inparticular there is a danger Mr. Bush's incompetence and belligerence will cause a disastrous war with Iran.

My response:
I see the attitude of the Bush administration toward Iran as being very non-belligerent, so I would have to see proof of this so-called "belligerence." Iran is the belligerent here--refusing the demands of the world community to stop its nuclear weapons program. The U.S.
has to date pursued its goals exactly the way that the left claimed before the Iraq invasion that the U.S. should have pursued its goals vis a vis Iraq: gathering an international coalition, going through the UN, NATO, etc., putting on international pressure, etc. (BTW, we tried all of that with Iraq, combined with bombing during the Clinton Administration prior to the invasion)

If you disagree with the administration's course, then what should we be doing vis a vis Iran?

(5) Mr. Bush has made it difficult to respond militarily to future threats (such as Iran acquiring nuclear weapons) because the US military is overextended, and the US government now lacks the credibility necessary to convince allies to join it.

If we are overextended, why not withdraw our forces from the countries we have been occupying for the last 50 years or so (Germany, Japan, Korea, Italy), plus the Balkans in the short term and build up the Army and Marines in the long-term? When we talk about being overextended, we are really talking about the Army and Marines.

I do not believe the U.S. lacks the credibility to persuade its allies to join it. Lots of our allies are in Iraq and Afghanistan with us, and all of our allies are acting together vis a vis Iran and North Korea (with some differences around the margins.)
5.8.2007 2:27pm
Dr. Weevil (mail) (www):
Doesn't anyone know what 'fascist' actually means? If you go by the strict definition, then calling Iran fascist makes Ahmadinejad Mussolini, not Hitler. That seems unfair to Mussolini, who was more interested in conquest than out-and-out extermination. If I wanted to compare the leaders of the more brutal and expansive strains of modern Islam to Hitler, I'd call them 'Islamonazis'. That would not be totally unfair: it's Mein Kampf, not some work of Mussolini, that is a best-seller in the Arab world, and quite a few Islamist leaders have called for the total extermination of Jews (and Americans).

Of course, many people use 'fascist' to refer to something broader than 'followers of Mussolini' but narrower than 'people I dislike'. It is often used as a handy catchall term for Mussolini's Fascisti, Hitler's Nazis, Franco's Falangists, Tojo's Japanese imperialists, plus the parties of various smaller countries, some allied to the Axis (Hungary, Romania), some not (Salazar's Portugal, Peron's Argentina), not to mention more contemporary examples. The term is ambiguous, but it's still useful. Despite their differences, all those regimes had a good deal in common, particularly their hatred of democracy, and most of them were willing to help each other, despite their differences. You wouldn't think that Aryan-supremacist Nazis would get along with non-white Japanese, but they did. (Not having to actually meet their allies probably helped.)

Again, this is not totally unlike the current situation, in which Shiites and Sunnis, secular Ba'athists and religious fanatics, have often cooperated to target Americans, Jews, and Arab democrats. They do not generally cooperate with similar thugs of different religions, like the equally vicious LTTE in Sri Lanka or the IRA. If someone has a better one-word description than 'Islamofascists', let them present it.
5.8.2007 2:39pm
Vovan:
Loki13, have I got the job for you!! :)

As was already mentioned, the term "Islamo-fascism" stifles debate - but at the same time remains effective for domestic consumption, since it combines two elements that are not wholly understood, but at the same time invoke somewhat negative connotations (of course in different degrees) in the general voting public. As such I don't think that term is going anywhere from the media scene.
5.8.2007 2:46pm
Yankev (mail):

If Iran could start a world war perhaps one might make comparisons. But it can't. I doubt it can even invade France.

Okay, everyone sing along with me: "We Heil, Heil, right in the Fuehrer's face."

Now repeat after me: Mao and his followers are peaceful agrarian reformers.

While we're at it, Abbas is a moderate and Hamas are militiants.

One assassin from a tiny dependent country at the right time and place was all it took to start the first world war. One doesn't need the world's strongest military; one simply needs to be able to use money, propaganda, covert agents, alliances (both your own and your enemies'), spheres of influence, and the interests of one's country and its allies and enemies to start one, whether wittingly or unwittingly.
5.8.2007 2:52pm
Andrew Okun:
Let's not forget that Bush's attacking "islamiloons" was at first actually quite popular among liberals, Democrats, the French, and at least understood or tolerated by many Muslims in the Middle East. We have no problem with fighting our enemies or showing some backbone. We split when the backbone became disconnected from strategy.

Let's go back to the WWII analogy. If Churchill had been PM and had responded to the threat of fascism by invading Spain or Greece in 1938, he would have arguably been at least engaged in the fight against fascism, but could have been criticized for having a strategy that failed to take account of the real enemy. If he had, before finishing in Greece or Spain, invaded Turkey, dismantled it's armed forces and put the government in the hands of Kurds and Greek emigres, one would begin to wonder if he was on the right track. No problem with fighting "the enemy," but a huge problem with his identification and targeting of the enemy and with the underlying "grand strategy>"

Bush invaded the wrong country, stirred up a civil war with three huge regional cleavages, sunni v. shiite, modernist arab v. islamist and kurds v. everyone, only one of which is even tangentially related to the "islamiloon" enemy, and then proceeded to fail at his most basic goal of providing a safe, stable, democratic society. I doubt the goal was achievable. And the grand strategy that justified invading a secular dictatorship with few terrorist links strangled by sanctions and pretty much in permanent lockdown as part of a war against islamiloons was, frankly, as stupid as it would have been to attack Hitlerian fascism by invading giant, ungovernable, neutral, mountainous, independent-minded Turkey. That grand strategy, the elements of which I won't repeat here cause yall know em, is in shreds.

Now the right in the US is perpetrating a fraud to follow it up. We are, they claim, fighting "the enemy." The article is always there now ... they are no longer "our enemies." "The enemy" is best fought in Iraq, "the enemy" can be beaten, "the enemy" will be emboldened by a withdrawal or a timetable for withdrawal. It is a plain old civil war and there is not one enemy of the US, there are a half dozen enemies in shifting array, using hatred of us to mobilize, using us as targets, then using us as allies and security, all the while killing other Iraqis in droves using tactics that we cannot prevent in a million years.

Another WWII analogy for our refusal to cut deals with countries like Iran. If Churchill had acted on his gut instinct that Stalin was a bastard and refused to ally with him notwithstanding the needs of strategy ... ?

It reminds me of von Hammerstein-Equord's division of officers into four types. Bush falls into the "stupid and industrious" category, and therefore a danger to peace, war, life, the US, whatever you want.
5.8.2007 3:15pm
Rick Rockwell:
If you value "peace" above all else, sign up with the nearest totalitarian regime, freedom requires a lot of clamor and conflict. Plus they'll make the trains run on time.
5.8.2007 3:28pm
Adeez (mail):
Dr. Weevil: Someone famous stated the following. But I don't know who, so I guess let's just say I made it up:

When the government controls corporations, we have communism. When the corporations control the government, we have fascism.

Under my definition, then, the War on Marijuana is the textbook example of pure fascism: laws that stifle freedom, harm individuals, and harm society-at-large, all so corporations can prosper. In carrying-out such laws, the truth is replaced by lies, science suppressed, and phony moralism invoked so that the real, fascist, reason cannot be stated.
5.8.2007 3:36pm
Andrew Okun:
It would be nice if other Muslims who wish only to live in peace would deal with the bad apples in their midst, but they don't seem to be so inclined. But its always our fault when the bombs start to drop in their neighborhoods.

It sure is when we drop bombs in their neighborhoods with no conceivable way of gaining politically or militarily from doing so. We killed more Afghan innocent civilians in doing over the Taliban than innocents who died on 9/11, but the criticism was muted because the Afghan campaign had legitimate goals and a prospect of success. The Afghans were unable to get rid of the bad guys and the outside world needed to weigh in. The reasoning was understood.

Bush could have had broad support for the war in Iraq if either (a) he were winning, which he ain't or (b) he was thoughtful, careful, flexible or intelligent in trying to figure how to turn it around when things go badly, which he ain't.
5.8.2007 3:46pm
Montie (mail):
Hamas apparently has some global aims as well:

"You and I are laying the foundation for a world led by Islamists," Farfour squeaked on a recent episode of the show, which is titled, "Tomorrow's Pioneers."


Would someone please draw all the careful distinctions between this and Fascism so that we can pretend that there isn't a problem here?
5.8.2007 4:23pm
ed o:
uh, when concentrating on Afghanistan, what were we going to do about the ones in Pakistan? would our "legitimate" invasion of Afghanistan logically have been followed by the occupation of Pakistan, given the the jihadists are smart enough to cross the border. this is where that argument about Afghan good, Iraq bad starts to break down-it presumes that the bad guys are too stupid to move on and it also presumes that the movement is not global.
5.8.2007 4:25pm
A.C.:
Loki13 -

Just one more and then I'll stop. See Dr. Weevil's 1:39 pm post for an example of how I use the term "fascist" outside the context of "Islamofascist."

As for European influences, I refer mostly to arguments I've read about European intellectual influences on Sayyid Qutb, mentioned above. He was educated both in the Islamic tradition and in the ghastly ideological stew of Western thought in the early 20th Century, and I've encountered claims that BOTH these influences show. The result is not the same as European fascist ideologies -- if it were, there would be no need to stick "Islamo-" on the front to represent the fusion. (The Baathists, for example, seemed to be pretty straightforward fascists early on. They picked up some "Islamo-" quirks along the way, but they didn't start out that way.) Nevertheless, there does seem to be a family resemblance between certain bad western ideas and certain bad eastern ideas.

I used to say "Islamic fundamentalist" in place of "Islamofascist," but people persuaded me that the intellectual strain in question is actually quite modern and therefore not "fundamentalist" in any real sense. "Politicised Islam" and "Islamist" have also been suggested, but I have trouble with those because they would seem to encompass even political movements based on moderate or liberal interpretations of Islam, should any such emerge. (And wouldn't it be nice?) So "Islamofascism" still seems to be the best term, flawed as it is. "Islamototalitarianism" might be more accurate, but somehow I don't see it catching on.
5.8.2007 4:53pm
Andrew Okun:
uh, when concentrating on Afghanistan, what were we going to do about the ones in Pakistan? would our "legitimate" invasion of Afghanistan logically have been followed by the occupation of Pakistan, given the the jihadists are smart enough to cross the border.

An excellent question. Do you think the answer is "invade Iraq"?

You put legitimate in quotes. It was legitimate without quotes. Legitimacy of action in foreign policy is important. If you do something perceived by many as legitimate, you are in a stronger position than if you do something widely perceived as illegitimate. The fact that carpet bombing Muslim fighters in Afghanistan was widely perceived as legitimate outside the United States, around the Middle East and even around much of Afghanistan was not just important, it was an effing miracle.

But Bush didn't see it as a miracle. He saw it as "of course it's legitimate, (a) I think it is and I'm right (b) my gun is bigger than yours and (c) we have the right to defend ourselves." He missed that (c) was the only valid portion of that. (a) is contrary to the meaning of legitimacy and (b) is not true, certainly not if the war you plan to fight is to control every portion of the Middle East in which a Jihadist can hide with US forces. When it came to Iraq, he tried to make the case internationally and failed, so he went to war on (a) and (b) and we're screwed because of it.

So your question is what to do about Jihadists who were living in the open in Afghanistan and are now hiding in Pakistan. If we can invade one place, why not the other? And if we can invade one but not the other, why bother invading the one?

Invading the one was useful because Afghanistan was a completely safe harbor for Al Qaeda types to train and operate with impunity. Forcing them to go underground and reside in places with the governments are hostile to them or can be held accountable for letting them operate is useful. But Jihadists can hide in lot of places. Occupying the entire Middle East to hunt them down will not work. Having denied them the open government support of one country, the only reasonable next step is to try to convince other governments to keep them hiding and on the run.

But to do that, we need those governments to be relatively safe and stable, which involves not stirring up domestic opposition to them based on our perceived illegitimate actions.

Bush's grand strategy is vast in scope, bold and visionary. If he could pull it off, it would be amazing. He can't. He has no subtlety, no flexibility and no understanding of compromise. Some of what a president does in this area needs to be quiet, careful, even cynical and manipulative. Instead we have the international equivalent of a playground bully who's starting to lose it and starting to cry.

His failure to pursue reasonable goals and his failure to win broad support for his actions undermine our legitimacy. His creation of a new failed state is even starting to undermine the legitimacy of our efforts in Afghanistan. None of this does anything about Jihadists hiding in Pakistani basements.
5.8.2007 5:08pm
Justin (mail):
Montie,

It's called a platitude. It's also called propoganda.
5.8.2007 5:34pm
Andrew Okun:
Would someone please draw all the careful distinctions between this and Fascism so that we can pretend that there isn't a problem here?

Aside from the 100 other reasonable criticisms of lumping this guy in with so many others which have been made here, there is the question of the function of this label and the consequences of using it. The label is being used by this administration and its supporters to reframe the complexity of the Middle East in simple form, good people and good forces against a single entity "the enemy." I think much of this is being done as a matter of domestic politics ... it is about the 10th reframing since 9/11. It was a war against "terror," then against an "axis of evil," then to prevent a certain kind of terror, then to spread democracy in the Middle East and so on. It is inaccurate in the sense that lots of entities we have taken on as enemies, i.e. Hamas and the PFLP types, Baathists and so on, are not Islamofascists seeking world dominion for their religion, and others, even if their are Islamist in some way, are much more motivated by other rivalries, such as Sunni v Shia, than by trying to make Topeka, Omsk or Ascunsion part of the Umma.

The other consequences of using the label are dire. First and worst, you take a small group of visionary lunatics like Bin Laden, and, having shown you can't stamp them out, elevate them to the grand historical stage. The US government stating "We are engaged in a long-term struggle against Bin Laden and his associates, who constitute a dangerous movement trying to conquer the world for Islam. It will be a long and difficult fight but, in time, we will prevail" merely confirms Bin Laden's worldview in its entirety. You may convince 5 million more Americans to back involvement in fighting there, though I doubt it, but you convey to a billion Muslims that Bin Laden resembles Lenin or Mao or Mussolini, when you would much rather convey that he resembles the Baader-Meinhof gang. Had Germany and the US identified Baader-Meinhof with the world struggle against Communism, it would have been a collossal act of stupidity.

Second, if Bush himself believes the inaccurate labelling, he is going to continue to make mistakes. The label may accurately apply to some of these goons, but it gives no guidance whatever in deciding, say, whether or to cut a deal with the likes of Amedinajad or al Sadr.

Third, it makes it harder to get and keep allies. If other countries see this label for what it is, the 10th verbal gimmick of a gang of proven clods, they are less likely to join up with our initiatives. As Bush Sr. and Churchill and Dulles and another of others know, allies are worth it. We're losing them in droves and inaccurate rhetoric is not helping.

Fourth, it antagonizes Muslims. Doesn't matter, if it were right or fair or accurate, it would still be stupid to antogonize a billion people already disposed to not liking us very much.
5.8.2007 5:37pm
Andrew Okun:
I believe that we are in the first stages of a war against militant Islam--not just the U.S., but the world. I call them "jihadis" rather than Islamofascists, but there is little doubt that the jihadis think they are in a war with us and everyone else who does not believe exactly what they believe.

More bad labelling. If we are going to fight this war they declared on us, it cannot be just by killing them. Because of the peculiar nature of this war, the more of them we try to kill, the more they win. They are, or were, a tiny political movement within the Muslim world and will win or lose there. We can only win by separating them from from Muslims, which means we have to play and win at Muslim-region politics.

The label "jihadi" may be more accurate in a sense, since it at least reflects their subjective state of mind, but even more than Islamofascism, the ratifies their view of themselves and their role in history. It is a word from Islam and when we use it, we invoke a range of ideas in the minds of Muslims that don't help us one bit. Both terms strengthen the idea of a clash of civilizations, not a winning idea for us.

Bush's invasion of Iraq was actually partly a reflection of this concern. He thought that the irrelevance of Bin Laden could be demonstrated by showing the Muslim world that its politics could constructively proceed along other lines, good ones, and that we were their friends and allies in that effort. The concept is a brilliant and visionary one ... but some folks convinced him that the way to accomplish it was to give them use of the US armed forces to seize Arab country and show them Middle Easterners how it's done. Stupid.
5.8.2007 5:54pm
Montie (mail):

It is inaccurate in the sense that lots of entities we have taken on as enemies, i.e. Hamas and the PFLP types, Baathists and so on, are not Islamofascists seeking world dominion for their religion, and others, even if their are Islamist in some way, are much more motivated by other rivalries, such as Sunni v Shia, than by trying to make Topeka, Omsk or Ascunsion part of the Umma.


Hold it right there. I don't know if you clicked on the link or not. However, you would find that the speaker was from Hamas dressed in a mouse suit saying that on a children's television show. (It sounds absurd in 2007, but what happens in 2027 when the children who where watching it are grown?)

I also understand that Hamas is part of the Muslim Brotherhood, so excluding them from the global Islamist movement seems inaccurate.
5.8.2007 7:19pm
LM (mail):
The debate on this thread is encouragingly civil. Compliments and thanks.
5.8.2007 7:55pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Several commenters have said the following, in various ways:
If you give in to aggression, there is no fight.
If you resist aggression, there will be a fight.
Bush and Israel will resist aggression. Therefore, the fight is their fault.
And you can't deal with them crazy islamonuts, so they're like a force of nature. It's all up to Bush and Israel whether there will be a fight.
5.8.2007 9:12pm
Justin (mail):
Richard, you wrote that after reading the post, but you clearly didn't bother reading the comments.
5.9.2007 12:23am
Beem:
Oh dear, now Bush is the modern day Churchill. I thought Bush was the modern day Truman. Or the modern day Lincoln. Or the modern day FDR. Or the modern day Kennedy. Or the modern day Washington. Or the modern day Reagan. Or the modern day...

And these people want to talk about other people's pathologies! When do the cult meetings begin? Great men do great things, they don't spend their entire lives trying make preposterous and self-flattering comparisons to other historical greats. If Bush actually had redeeming qualities, he and his deluded supporters wouldn't need to borrow the luster of great men to try and prop up their dud of a president. That delusions of grandeur, folks.
5.9.2007 12:41am
Yankev (mail):

Oh dear, now Bush is the modern day Churchill. I thought Bush was the modern day Truman. Or the modern day Lincoln. Or the modern day FDR. Or the modern day Kennedy. Or the modern day Washington. Or the modern day Reagan. Or the modern day...

Gosh, from the signs at all the demonstrations, I thought he was supposed to be the modern day Hitler.


Great men do great things, they don't spend their entire lives trying make preposterous and self-flattering comparisons to other historical greats.

I'm not aware that President Bush has compared himself to any of these men.

If Bush actually had redeeming qualities,

So he has none? I think this tells us more about you than about him or his supporters.

he and his deluded supporters wouldn't need to borrow the luster of great men to try and prop up their dud of a president.

The point is not that President Bush is the great man that any of these men were. The point is that actions and points of view that these men took, and are admired for, are seen as signs of demonic possession or worse by people suffering from Bush Derangement Syndrome, and the country and the world are worse off as a result.

I wish President Bush had Churchill's eloquence, Truman's maverick courage, or Lincoln's ability to inspire. He doesn't. But I wish even more that the little people who attack him for everything from being physically fit to the DWI records of his daughters, and who embrace every lie about him no matter how preposterous (e.g. 60 Minutes' forged National Guard memo) could put aside their hatred of the man and their partisan politics long enough to see that there is a real, present and violent threat not only to our country but to the western liberal (in the 19th century sense of the word) tradition. Unforturnately for us all, ridiculing the existence of that threat better fits their view of the world and validates their contempt for President Bush.

If GWB has made mistakes (and of course he has), it has been in an attempt to make us safer. If you want to accuse someone of endangering us in a quest for historical grandeur, a couple of other Southern ex-Presidents come to mind.
5.9.2007 10:15am
loki13 (mail):
Yankev,

I am uncertain what you mean by 'Bush Derangement Syndrome'? Would this be the syndrome that allows the fewer than 30% of the American public to continue to give him support, despite the alienation of our allies, the gradual destruction of the World's greatest fighting force, the disappearance of an American city, and the exposure of raft partisanship and cronyism at the highest levels of the Government? Is this similar to the Nixon Derangement Syndrom that existed before he resigned, and Johnson Derangement Syndrome that occured before LBJ withdrew during the primaries?

Snark aside, the conflation of non-substantive criticisms of the President with valid criticisms under your rubric of BDS trivializes the many missteps he has made. What we were facing was a terrorist group that managed a successful attack in the United States. What we have *created* is much worse. Right after 9/11, we had the sympathy and support of the world, a mandate to attack Afghanistan and pursue Osama Bin Laden, and create a new internation consensus on terror, and work (diplomatically) to moderate the Arab regimes.

What we have now is a war we cannot win (Iraq), Osama Bin laden still on the loose, Afghanistan spinning out of control (because we sent the troops to Iraq), a new generation of radicalized youth in the madrassas, and the emnity of our allies around the world.

I want America to succeed, but our next President has a mighty task ahead of them to dig themselves out of the hole left by the current inhabitant of the office.... and (because of massive deficits) very little fiscal ability to maneuver. But Republican or Democrat, I wish them good luck. They'll need it.
5.9.2007 1:06pm
abb3w:
Dr. Weevil: I suspect that fear of Godwin's Law keeps people from calling those with Nazi-like political views "fascists"... even when the former descriptor is more apt.
5.10.2007 5:37pm