Friday, September 01, 2006

More Politics of Fear

Bush and company are becoming more strident as election time nears, pushing the “fear button” harder and more frequently, and trying harder to disguise just how badly their “War on Terror’ is failing. That war is failing every bit as badly as the entirely separate war in Iraq.

I predicted this one, “…we will face the terrorists in the streets of our own cities.” He only left out the part about gunning down women and children.

“The security of the civilized world depends on victory in the war on terror.”

Dramatic words but short on real meaning, like defining what such a victory would consist of.

Bush and company had been using the word “they” a lot, trying to distract us from the fact that the main terrorist is Osama Bin Laden who is still at large because we quit chasing him to invade Iraq.

The problem is that “they” is not a very scary term. “They will follow us home.” Well that is not really very horrifying, because we don’t know who “they” is that’s going to be following us. Could be a bunch of house cats following us home, which is a somewhat less than heart-stopping picture.

So Bush and company have started using “fascist,” “Islamic fascist” and “Islamo-fascist” instead. “Islamic fascists will follow us home.” See how much more frightening that is?

Like most demagoguery, however, this usage lacks accuracy.

Merriam Webster defines fascism as "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".

So, are the terrorists that attacked the WTC political? No.
Do they exalt nation? No.
Do they exalt race? No
Centralized autocratic government with dictatorial leader? Yes.
Severe economic regimentation? No.
Severe social regimentation? Yes.
Forcible suppression of opposition? Yes.

According to Bush and Company, if you meet three out of seven parts (and the central government part is questionable) of a definition we can use the term in reference to you unless you are our ally. Look at that list of criteria again and ask the same questions of Saudi Arabia. That nation, which we support, clearly meets at least four of the criteria.

The problem with slinging mud at your enemies is that you risk getting some of it on your friends, and if you get enough of the mud on your friends they may become your enemies.

The more we use the term “Islamic” in connection with the enemy in this so-called “War on Terror” the more we convince the entire world that we are the enemy of all Islam. When we add daily pictures of American military occupying an Islamic nation to the inflammatory rhetoric about “Islamic fascism” coming from our leadership we don’t win against terrorism, we spread it.

We need less demagogic rhetoric and more leadership.

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