The White House Surrenders to Hitler

|

Just out from the White House: the National Strategy for Combating Terrorism. Finally, a crystal-clear document (PDF) that lays down the gauntlet against our Hitlerian Other in this eternal conflict.

America is at war with a transnational terrorist movement fueled by a radical ideology of hatred, oppression, and murder.

Uh… ok. I thought it was fueled by the reincarnated spirit of Heinrich Himmler, but this is a start.

Our effective counterterrorist efforts, in part, have forced the terrorists to evolve and modify their ways of doing business. Our understanding of the enemy has evolved as well. Today, the principal terrorist enemy confronting the United States is a transnational movement of extremist organizations, networks, and individuals—and their state and non-state supporters—which have in common that they exploit Islam and use terrorism for ideological ends.

Look, what's going on? Why won't the White House come out and call the terrorists Islamofascists? Oh, wait:

Through outreach programs and public diplomacy we will reveal the terrorists' violent extremist ideology for what it is—a form of totalitarianism following in the path of fascism and Nazism.

That's a start, but who here is satisfied? It's important, like Sen. Rick Santorum and Cliff May have told us, to label the enemy by the neologism that really nails them: Islam-o-fascism. Hell, the way the White House is talking, you'd think that was just a bullshit term war hawks invented to scare voters.

NEXT: Norman, Was That You?

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “Our effective counterterrorist efforts, in part, have forced the terrorists to evolve and modify their ways of doing business.”

    Translated: The terrorists are one step ahead of us.

    “Our understanding of the enemy has evolved as well. Today, the principal terrorist enemy confronting the United States is a transnational movement of extremist organizations, networks, and individuals – and their state and non-state supporters – which have in common that they exploit Islam and use terrorism for ideological ends.”

    Translation: What do we know about terrorism? The same thing we’ve always known. We call this evolution.

  2. What the hell is the point of this post? I am starting to think that Weigal is just Maureen Dowd writing under a pseudonym using jokes that don?t even make the cut of her NYT column. Can this write one thing of any substance about anything? Just once? So, they didn’t use the dreaded “Islamofascist”. So what?

  3. “Hell, the way the White House is talking, you’d think that was just a bullshit term war hawks invented to scare voters.”

    And so it is.

  4. I’m kinda with John on this one. What’s the point of this? This is what you’ve got?

  5. John, what’s going on is that Wiegel has convinced himself that he’s interesting.

  6. You know, back in the good old days, Julian Sanchez was the one who was destroying Reason. And he had to walk through 10 feet of snow to do it! Uphill both ways!

  7. “What’s the point of this?”

    That there is a substantial constituency that hysterically rolls on the floor rending their garments and gnashing their teeth over the ongoing “failure” of the Bush administration to declare total war against Islam?

  8. The president and his allies claim it’s extremely important for us to redefine our enemies as Islamofascists and stay the course on the war on terror. The president’s official statement on terrorism 1)doesn’t redefine our enemies and 2)stresses that we can’t just stay the course because terrorists adapt and learn. The POTUS and his party are running on an aggressive message they don’t actually believe in, because it’s stupid and incorrect.

    Yeah, this is completely uninteresting. What was I thinking?

  9. You guys don’t get it. This post is supposed to show there is absolutely nothing this administration can get right. nothing.

    Gillespie ought to be glad the magazine is better than Hit n Run. As it stands, I’m still not embarrased to have Reason magazine on my coffee table. If H& R continues on this Kos-like slide, I’m going to start to hide it under my Maxim.

  10. Nobody else finds it shameful that the Administration is trumpeting a new report that says absolutely nothing new? Presumably, the Administration spent a lot of taxpayer money on what is basically a spin job. I guess the new wave of libertarians just don’t get the old issues.

  11. Lamar, if you think it is shameful to trumpet something that says absolutely nothing new, why did you respond to Weigel’s post?

  12. “The president and his allies claim it’s extremely important for us to redefine our enemies as Islamofascists and stay the course on the war on terror. The president’s official statement on terrorism 1)doesn’t redefine our enemies and 2)stresses that we can’t just stay the course because terrorists adapt and learn.”

    Where does the President say that we must use the term “Islamofascist”? Further, the quotes you give from the statement redefine our enemies not as religious fanatics or any representation of Islam but rather, “a form of totalitarianism following in the path of fascism and Nazism.” They just don’t use the magic term ?Islamofascists?.

    When did anyone ever say that the U.S. should fight terrorists the same way all the time? You say the President says we should “stay the course”, but what the hell does that mean? Couldn’t “stay the course” mean continue to fight and not give up? I don’t see where that term has to mean that the U.S. never changes its tactics or means and methods of fighting.

    Again, I don?t see any point to this post.

  13. David, just out of curiosity, when did the president claim “it’s extremely important for us to redefine our enemies as Islamofascists?”

    To clarify, I know he has used the term “islamo-fascists” but you are saying he claimed that term is particularly important in defining the enemy correctly.

  14. Rudy,
    Perhaps there is a small difference between spending taxpayer money to trumpet an old definition for PR purposes and accidentally saying something similar, though adding additional thoughts, to Weigel’s previous post? Just perhaps? Or is there another explanation for your razor sharp wit and rock solid sensibilities?

  15. David, just out of curiosity, when did the president claim “it’s extremely important for us to redefine our enemies as Islamofascists?”

    To clarify, I know he has used the term “islamo-fascists” but you are saying he claimed that term is particularly important in defining the enemy correctly.

  16. Lamar, there is another explanation.

  17. Perhaps the increasingly flippant nature of H&R posts is a handy reminder of why so few take libertarianism seriously?

  18. anon,

    Read the post. Weigel says that Santorum and Cliff May are the one’s who make the claim that the terminology is import. There’s even a link to a Cliff May article!! You should know by now that the President let’s his henchmen carry out the Rovian tactics.

  19. Perhaps the increasingly flippant nature of H&R posts is a handy reminder of why so few take libertarianism seriously?

    Perhaps we could get people to take it more seriously if we dubbed it libertarofascism.

    Oops, did I ruin Reason again?

  20. I apologize for the atrocious editing.

  21. I would be curious to see if and under what context the President has ever used the term “Islamofascist”. I don’t know that he has, but I don’t listen to many of his speeches either. The term as I have seen used by Bush’s alleged allies in the media and in the blogsphere is used in some ways to bludgeon Bush. Bush has never claimed this is a war of civilizations and has always held to the “religion of peace” line. The people I have seen use the term “Islamofascist” seem to do so as a direct rejection of Islam being a religion of peace. The term is used to define Islam as part of the problem and as the enemy; thus, the “Islamo” part of “Islamofascist”. The people who use the term seem to think that it is a war against Islam or significant parts of it.

    Looked at this way, it makes perfect sense that the President would not use the term “Islamofascist” in this document. By sticking to the “no war of civilization” “Islam is a religion of peace” line, Bush is at least implicitly rejecting the term “Islamofascist”.

  22. Oops, did I ruin Reason again?

    You’re not that innocent.

  23. RUN RUN FOR THE LOVE OF GOD RUN THE HITLERITE ISLAMAFASCISTS ARE COMING TO BLOW UP OUR SCHOOLS AND MALLS AND VARIOUS TALL BUILDING DUCK AND COVER CHILDREN RUN FOR THE BOMB SHELTERS OH JESUS H CHRIST THEY’RE HERE SAVE US BUSH SAVE US FROM THE HITLERITES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. I think the staff meeting where they decided to hire David Weigel went something like this:

    Evil Deity: CHOOSE THE FORM OF THE DESTRUCTOR!!

    Tim: Oh, I get it, we’re supposed to think of something and then that’s what the destroyer will look like.

    Nick: Alright, everybody, just stop thinking.

    Evil Deity: The choice is made.

    Tim: Who thought? We told all of you stop thinking!

    Julian: I…I couldn’t help it. I decided to think of someone harmless and good. Someone pure. And that nice David Weigel kid just seemed so nice and harmless. There’s no way he could possibly destroy Reason.

  25. The President used the term “Islamic Fascism” in a speech after the story of the trans-atlantic plot broke. While I am following the thoughtful debate about whether or not “Islamic Fascism” is an accurate term in the case of groups such as Al Qaeda, such thoughtless entries as this add absolutely nothing to critiques of foreign policy.

    Also, I really wish more people would learn basic grammar. In the term “Islamic Fascism,” the first word is an adjective, the second is a noun. This means that the fascists described exhibit traits associated with Islamism. This, by no stretch of the imagination, either explicitly or implicitly means that all those associated with Islam are fascists.

    As a previous poster noted, the phrase “stay the course” could mean a number of different things, but in this specific topic, it appears to mean that the United States should not drastically shift attention or support away from the “War on Terror.”

    With this in mind, I do not see the point of the original post, other than to showcase the author’s snark. Maybe the reason the President, an figure paid international attention, does not shout “ISLAMOFASCISM” from the rooftops is because many do not seem to make the separation between adjectives and nouns. A less influential figure, like Rick Santorum would cause much less damage to his cause by being misunderstood.

    Instead of attacking the use of term “Islamic Fascism” on the grounds that it is a buzzword rooted in the cynical lust for power of Republicans, why not actually call it inaccurate and explain why? Do terms like “blood-thirsty extremists” really scare voters less?

    If you believe that the term is being used inaccurately, and instead just a ploy to convince citizens that the conflict must escalate, then you should probably say it. I understand that such a piece might not fit into a blog entry, but to give such a matter short shrift is without value.

    The report is not inconsistent with the stance that we should “stay the course” or name our enemies. Firstly, there are many differing points of view within what is commonly called the neoconservative movement, and if so-called “henchman” propose a change of policy, it does not mean that is the view of the entire school of thought. Secondly, the author’s assumption that he has the final say on what exactly naming our enemies, and “stay the course” means prevents any meaningful points being made.

  26. I agree with many, the whole Islamofascism angle is boring non-point. Yes, it’s rhetoric. Surprise. Niggling about it is silly. No one is going to put any significance behind it.

    I think a more interesting point is that the document rarely references Iraq (aka “Central Front of War on Terror”)

    …and when it does, it’s often in ridiculously whitewashed ways I think few will swallow whole.

    Like, contemplate this floater on the tree of whatever:

    Terrorism is not simply a result of hostility to U.S. policy in Iraq.

    esus, that almost reads as though there is a tacit admission that SOME terrorism (e.g. Sunni/Shia reprisals) has something to do with US Policy in Iraq?? Say it aint so!?

    The rest of it of course makes Iraq sound like a great place to spend the holidays.

    Seriously, parts of the document read like, “My First War Plan: A Children’s Guide to International Conflict”

    This took 5 years to write?

    JG

    re: people picking on David….

    i actually, I share some of the sentiment.

  27. Critical thinking is not one of the current administrations strong suits.

  28. Addendum: For a more clear description of who the current administration thinks they are fighting, go here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/nsc/nsct/2006/sectionIII.html

  29. Alfie, if you’ve come here for thoughtful foreign policy critiques, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. I love Reason and all, I sincerely do, but c’mon, this comment board isn’t exactly swimming with the up and coming innovators of IR theory. It should be titled “Everything that’s wrong with our foreign policy and few credible alternatives.”

  30. International Relations Innovation #1: Offer and sell statehood to any nation that can pony up $100 billion (in an easy installment plan–zero percent interest until 2010!). Although this would mean adopting a U.S.-like legal, political, and economic culture, it also would mean military protection and a free nuclear umbrella to the first ten nations to join! No need to adopt English–we can accommodate any language. And all cultural mores welcome. . .well, so long as they don’t involve drug use. That’s right out.

  31. PL — I really do think that’s an awesome idea. Meanwhile, maybe we can sell Ohio to Canada for cheap.

  32. OK PL, that’s a constructive start. But we’ve got a long way to go before we can publish the authorative Hit and Run IR reader for all those libertarian foreign policy lectures.

    And we should sell Michigan long before we sell Ohio. Goddamn Wolverines.

  33. World dominion through subscription. It’s so American that I can’t believe that we aren’t doing it already! And even with our little troubles here and there, no one can really call the average American citizen “oppressed”, so everyone wins! Imagine the change in a country like Iran if they could tell their neighbors to screw off, because the State of Iran is part of America! Yeah! Sure everyone hates us, but who wouldn’t want to be a part of the biggest and baddest nation in the entire history of man? Why emigrate when we can come to you?

    Ohio for cheap? I understand what you’re saying, but let’s not put states on the clearance rack just yet. For instance, if Canada were to shell out a mere $200 billion for this established state before midnight tonight, it could claim to be the home country of the first man to walk on the Moon! Yes, the Province of Ohio has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

    Actually, I’m not much for selling states. Let’s buy ’em all and thus achieve Pax Americana. I wonder if we could do this on eBay?

    WEB SPECIAL! Bring George Bush the head of Osama bin Laden and get $1 billion in cash! Tax free! With U.S. citizenship thrown in!

    No IR innovators indeed.

  34. We could keep Michigan and sell Detroit to Canada or, better yet, to Japan.

  35. No deal on Ohio.

    Put Hawaii or Arizona or another warm state on sale and we may be interested.

  36. Hmm, let’s ask the Iraqis if they’d be willing to hand over oil money in exchange for the protection of the US military.

    I’m sure their response will be explosive.

  37. This post is supposed to show there is absolutely nothing this administration can get right. nothing.

    I don’t think that was his point. But if it had been, it would have been a pretty difficult point to argue with (which I notice you don’t).

    Perhaps the increasingly flippant nature of H&R posts is a handy reminder of why so few take libertarianism seriously?

    Heh, not only has David Weigel destroyed Reason, he’s now destroyed libertarianism itself. Which is quite a feat, since libertarianism hasn’t been taken seriously by more than a few since his grandfather was in diapers.

    You’re not that innocent.

    thoreau, if anything will destroy Reason, it is gratuitous Britney Spears references. Consider yourself warned.

  38. The importance placed on terrorism in our politics show just how little reason plays in human affairs. 9/11 was five freaking years ago. A terrorist has not hurt a single American on American soil since.

    Imagine, if only Mohammad Atta had broken his foot or had a change of heart five years ago there would’ve been no war in Afghanistan, Uday Hussein would still be raping pretty girls in Iraq, John Kerry (!) would probably be president and we would have spent the last 5 years arguing about tax cuts and school vouchers.

    No Michael Moore, no freedom fries, no (or a reduced amount) of Ann Coulter, no “Islamo fascism”, no those two stupid 9/11 commission bipartisan guys appearing on Meet the Press being all good natured and talking (God I hate those guys! What are there names? They’re so freaking annoying. “Look at us, we’re bipartisan and trying to come up with the best things to protect us. blah, blah, blah cops need more radios and we should check out ports blah, blah, blah).

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.