The term “Islamic fascist” has risen to the front of President Bush’s neural queue, it seems. He used it on Monday in reference to Hezbollah, and then Thursday he again applied it to the British plane-bombing ring.
It’s a big, heavy word, freighted with history that seems weirdly inapplicable in these cases. Fascism was all about fusing the power of the state and party with modern mythology cobbled together from odd remnants dug up from the bottom of the nationalist dustbin (Mussolini tried to drag in the grandeur of Rome, and Hitler loved his Valkyries), and it tended to be in conflict with organized religion, whose hold over the popular imagination it sought to supplant. As such, fascism seems a strange label to apply to the enemies we face today, in their statelessness and devotional fervor.
Yes, they share some of the traits we associate with fascism — a yearning for a lost era of glory, an indifference to civilian carnage (a trait that, alas, they hold no monopoly over). But why reach for this ill-fitting word when another “F word” lies so readily at hand and fits the bill so much more snugly?
Is there some reason that President Bush might not want to refer to the enemy as “fundamentalist”?
[tags]president bush, islamic fascism, political rhetoric[/tags]
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