This Is Not My Beautiful Fascism!

|

The networks (especially the one named after a member of Genus Vulpes) have been buzzing all day about new polls, including the NBC/Wall Street Journal that shows Pres. Bush surging to a Herculean, Democrat-smashing 42% approval rating. But the very last question of the poll's what I paid attention to. (PDF link):

President Bush has compared the war in Iraq to the fight against the Nazis and fascism. Do you believe that this is an appropriate comparison that reflects the danger of the current situation, or an inappropriate comparison that is only being made to justify the Bush policy in Iraq?

Appropriate comparison/reflects the current danger: 32%
Inappropriate comparison/made to justify the Bush policy: 61%
Not sure: 7%

Obviously I'm not against evoking Hitler and the Nazis to make a point. What I'm against is conflating the problem of Islamic terrorism with the civilizational struggle of World War II; especially since it's framed that way by war junkies scrambling valiantly for a new frame. Wonderful news that the frame's crashing and burning.

NEXT: Tonight: Gillespie on Booze on TV

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. In 1981, when the Polish Communist government suppressed the Solidarity trade union, Susan Sontag denounced Communism as “Fascism with a Human Face.”

    In response Jacobo Timmerman said you don’t have to call Communism “Fascism” in order to denounce it – that Fascism and Communism are both evil, but it is better to use language with more precision.

    Islamic extremism that kills people is evil, and Bush’s war that kills people is also evil, but they are not the same, and we can oppose each evil with more precision if we don’t resort to cheap slogan.

    To paraphrase Reason magazine’s slogan – “there is more to Fascism than slogans,”

  2. Were communists much of a threat in 1910? No, because there was no major country then ruled by communists. Were fascists a threat in 1925? Not really because the only country controlled by fascists was the perennially militarily incompetent Italy. That kind of where we are now with radical Islam; maybe say 1925 or so. Radical Islamists control a country, Iran. Granted Iran is not Germany, but it is not Afghanistan either. There are radical Islamist political parties (just like there were communist parties and fascist parties in the 1910s and 1920s) in every country in the Middle East. They already have one country and there is no guarantee that they won’t get others. If they do, the comparison to WW II becomes pretty damn real. That would suck. In addition, they didn’t have nukes in the 1920s and terrorism was not as refined. There was no danger of the communists or the fascists sneaking a nuke into the U.S. There is a real danger of Islamists doing so.

    http://www.thebulletin.org/article.php?art_ofn=so06allison

    The world war II analogy is not that far off, it is just the we thank God haven?t’ gotten to 1941 yet and hopefully we won’t ever get there.

  3. We called the German’s Nazis because that’s what they called themselves. We called the Italians and their ideological progeny fascists because that’s what they called themselves. We called the Soviets Communists because that’s what they called themselves. Why don’t we call the terrorists Jihadists and be done with it?

  4. Same as it ever was. . .same as it ever was. . .same as it ever was. . . .

  5. Do you believe that this is an appropriate comparison that reflects the danger of the current situation, or an inappropriate comparison that is only being made to justify the Bush policy in Iraq?

    What the hell is wrong with pollsters? Why do they conflate three different questions into one? It certainly isn’t in order to determine the true sentiments of people about the purported topic.

    “Appropriate” and “inappropriate” are indeed antonyms and can be set against each other. But “reflects the danger of the current situation” and “is only being made to justify the Bush policy in Iraq” are neither opposite nor exclusive.

    How about phrasing it: “Do you believe that this is an appropriate comparison or an inappropriate comparison?” Oh, that’s right. If you ask it that way, you don’t get to suggest to the responder what he’s supposed to think about Bush. Stupid me…

  6. Ooh, 42%. It’s funny what passes for good news to Republicans these days. My favorite was:

    You remember when the White House leaked that CIA agent’s name?

    Uh, no.

    You know, they leaked it after her husband wrote an editorial about George Bush.

    Oh, yeah.

    Well, you remember how there was a big investigation, and they indicted the Vice President’s Chief of Staff?

    Yeah. I remember that.

    Well, you remember how Karl Rove was also fingered for providing the same information.

    Yeah! That’s right, he did, didn’t he.

    Well, the prosecutor announced today that Rove isn’t going to be indicted! Isn’t that great news?

    &$%^*^@ jerks!

  7. You remember when the White House leaked that CIA agent’s name?

    Except, you know, the White House didn’t. The State Department did.

    You know, they leaked it after her husband wrote an editorial about George Bush.

    Except, you know, the White House didn’t leak it. An anti-Bush, anti-war State Department careerist did.

    Well, you remember how there was a big investigation, and they indicted the Vice President’s Chief of Staff?

    Incredible, no, that a man was indicted under an investigation where the prosecutor had concluded months ago there was no underlying crime, and also knew months ago that the leaker was not from the White House, yet continued to hound White House staff until he got enough inconsistent statements to put up a weak perjury charge.

    Well, you remember how Karl Rove was also fingered for providing the same information.

    Yeah, that’s right, when asked if he had heard the rumor that the ambassador’s wife worked for the CIA, he said yes, he had heard that rumor. The fiend! I bet you could practically smell the brimstone.

    Well, the prosecutor announced today that Rove isn’t going to be indicted! Isn’t that great news?

    Actually, it is. He didn’t commit any crimes, so he shouldn’t be indicted. Nice that the prosecutur finally got around to confirming this years after he knew it himself.

    I knew joe was still holding out for Fitzmas. Poor joe.

  8. R.C. Dean,

    Do you remembe when Patick Fitzgerald was every Dems’ favorite prosecutor who was crusading to get to the bottom of the Plame crime? Now that he hasn’t indicted anyone, I am sure he is part of the great Rovian conspiracy. How dare he investigate a Republican and not send someone to jail!! The nerve of him!!

    Joe ought to know better than to grasp at straws like this.

  9. I heard that shortly after the Knovak’s op-ed piece Rove held a press confrence and announced that he was one of Knovak’s White House sources cited in the piece thereby making the investigation un-neccesary

    It could have happened

  10. RC Dean and John,
    You are correct that the investigation didn’t draw the blood that the Democrats would have liked (or any!). I’ve never understood why Plame was such a big deal. Libby got nailed for lying, which is pretty lame, but the GOP made it an issue during Monica-gate, so I guess it has to be an issue now (seems stupid).

    The point I have to rebut is RC Dean’s characterization of Armitage as a completely non-partisan career State Department guy. He held high ranking posts in GOP administrations (as well as in Bush’s administration) and held less important posts during Democratic administrations (and none during Clinton). I don’t disagree that Armitage was not a Dick Cheney neocon (Armitage was anti-war, I believe), but he was a key figure in the Bush Administration, nominated by Bush, and confirmed by the Senate. A “career” State Department person is more like a foreign service officer, not the Deputy Secretary of State.

  11. “Actually, it is. He didn’t commit any crimes,……”

    If he would have stepped forward 3 years ago he would have saved the taxpayers millions of dollars…..of course some people have no problems with the wasting of taxpayers dollars….right RC?

  12. If he would have stepped forward 3 years ago he would have saved the taxpayers millions of dollars.

    In a perfect world, that’s what I’d like to think I’d do. But I can’t really fault Rove for not opening up to Fitzgerald. Having seen what Ken Starr did to the Clinton administration, just stepping forward and raising your hand to say “oops” could put you in as bad a place as just clamming up and hoping the whole thing blows over.

    And once you’ve clammed up, it’s really hard to unclam without looking even more suspicious.

  13. This latest WSJ/NBC poll shows a swan dive at its aesthetic apogee.

    Tony Snow is as slick as the Music Man, but I can’t imagine a good outcome for him. I wish I could, because I like him. (Is he a Bizarro rat scrambling to board a sinking ship?)

  14. That kind of where we are now with radical Islam; maybe say 1925 or so.

    Do you mean to say that I missed the Beer Hall Putsch? Eh, always a day late and a dollar short.

  15. “He didn’t commit any crimes, so he shouldn’t be indicted.”

    RC, thanks for making my point about the low bar for what qualifies as “good news.”

    Woo hoo, leaking that name isn’t indictable! Par-tay! Didn’t you people used to brag about 90% poll ratings and the passage of major legislation?

    Fitzmas came and went, btw. It was a blast.

    John, “Do you remembe when Patick Fitzgerald was every Dems’ favorite prosecutor who was crusading to get to the bottom of the Plame crime? Now that he hasn’t indicted anyone, I am sure he is part of the great Rovian conspiracy.” I’ll give you one of your favorite dog biscuits if you can fetch me a quote from a Democrat making such an assertion. Go on, I dare you.

    What’s that? I didn’t think so.

    Lamar, Plame was such a big deal because the people who’d spent the past three year proclaiming their superior patriotism, eagerness to fight terror, and ability to keep the country safe – the ones who had just started a major war, supposedly to stop a hostile Middle Eastern regime from developing nukes and sending terrorists to use them on us – got caught blowing the cover of a covert CIA spook who was working on…wait for it…the Iranian nuclear program. They outed a covert operative, in the middle of a political campaign, to win a news cycle. Then, they transparently dithered and covered up for the people who did it.

    It blew a hole in their entire narrative, one that they’ve never recovered from. If they still had the national security credibility they had in 2002, the White House might have been able to sink John Murtha when they called him a coward, for example. But they didn’t, and they couldn’t.

    That Karl Rove made sure to stay within the letter of the law as he did doesn’t change what happened, or take the stink off.

  16. Did you miss the beer hall Pusch? How about taking over two countries in Iran and Afghanistan? That sounds a lot better than a failed second rate coup attempt.

  17. Did you miss the beer hall Pusch? How about taking over two countries in Iran and Afghanistan? That sounds a lot better than a failed second rate coup attempt.

    The point is well taken but if the jihadis ever take over a state it will be as economic and militarily as weak as Afghanistan or the Palestinian territories. For leaders of states to be powerful enough to be threats to anybody outside their own borders requires stability and consensus building at home.

  18. I personally think the FIRST questions in the survey were the most interesting.

    Bush’s policies are very unpopular…Bush, the man and President, keeps bouncing back – it only takes the feeblest “good news”.

    Bush’s congugation “misunderestimate” may well endure in the language – because half of the problem for Democrats, is that they keep “mis-estimating” the target.

    You CAN beat Bush on his policies…you CAN’T beat Bush on all this crap about “competance” and “corruption”. Isn’t that obvious?

    (Yes. But it takes courage.)

    Americans WANT to like their Presidents, mostly they do, and with this one it’s easy. They liked his father too – not one guy who voted against the first George Bush disliked him…they just sent him back to Barbara in Texas.

  19. How about taking over two countries in Iran and Afghanistan?

    By your analogy, 1939 seems to be the timeframe, not 1925. Austria and Czechoslovakia.

    Time to sell that vacation home in Poland?

  20. I guess I’d be a lot more worried about the imminent threat of jihadist takeovers if I could think of a single Muslim country that comes close to holding the position Germany did in the 1920’s and 30’s. Even under the Weimar government, Germany was the pre-eminent economic power in Europe with a thriving scientific and technological base. At this point in time, the US and Western Europe have more military, economic and political power than the entire Muslim world combined; any state stupid enough to launch a rogue nuke would be receiving a boatload of Trident missles in short order.

    The Muslim state that does concern me is Pakistan – not as a direct threat to the US, but rather as a source of regional instability. A nuclear India/Pakistan war won’t do anyone any good, and a chaotic Pakistan plays into the hands of the Taliban in Afghanistan and Waziristan.

  21. Muslim States of Asia is this reality?
    VAHABISM this is “Fascism with out a Human Face.”

  22. The Qatari government is Wahabbist, and they let us use their country as a giant base for invading Iraq.

    Maybe this a brilliant scheme by Islamic fanatics to get rid of a hostile, secular regime while bogging down the Great Satan in a quagmire, but more likely, it’s just an example of how Muslim dictatorships are, for the most part, no different than any other dictatorship.

  23. Radical Islamists control a country, Iran… They already have one country and there is no guarantee that they won’t get others. If they do, the comparison to WW II becomes pretty damn real. That would suck.

    Yes, it would. But since the situation you describe isn’t here yet and you have provided no evidence that it is ever likely to happen, I guess the Nazi/fascism analogy is no good, right? And how unfortunate that our anti-terrorism policies have gone astray as a result of a typographical error: a Q for an N.

    I like to throw one question out there: have the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan (with our strange bedfellow Pakistan) made it more likely or less likely that these radical factions of which John speaks will come to power in nations such as Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Iraq?

  24. Ethan,

    I think the invasion of Afghanistan was necessary. The connection between elements of al Qaeda and the Taliban government were simply too strong to ignore.

    Iraq, of course, was and is a different story. Honestly, I think even the Iranians understood the situation well enough to accept our actions to their east–9/11 was sufficient provocation for any nation, even a heathen one like ours.

    To address your question, I don’t think our first post-9/11 invasion radicalized anyone who wasn’t already radicalized. I do think we stirred the pot with our invasion of Iraq, however. Whether that will ultimately be a major mistake on our part is something history will answer, but it indubitably made our job much harder and opened the door to more terrorism in the future. Yippee.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.