Re: The Islamofascist account

Michael Ledeen, apparently seeking cheap hits from hilariolized left-wing bloggers, rolls out this this slow-moving kickball:

Who would have thought that one could have a serious scholarly discussion of fascism on The Corner?

Above: Public intellectual in da hizzouse

Who, indeed? (And who says that’s what transpired?) Ever since the president legitimized the viral marketing term “Islamofascism” that emerged in the damp fever swamps of the right-wing blogosphere, those same emboldened bloggers have been scrunching other words together, in the German style I so admire, hoping to rebrand everything they see – but coming off more like PR flaks naming their fantasy football teams:

We are struggling to come up with a term that (1) accurately describes the network of ideologies and movements that have risen up with the “Muslim world� (I hate that phrase) and which seek to defeat America and its allies, a term which also (2) clearly conveys to the average person in the West that this is an enemy who must be taken seriously.

What, is “suiciders” too played out? Or are you looking for something a little more, you know, outside the box?

I think the answer stares us in the face. We should call them what they call themselves.

Recall World War II. Just weeks after Pearl Harbor, the 1942 Declaration of United Nations described Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, and Imperial Japan together as “brutal and savage forces seeking to subjugate the world.” Besides that, we let them have the names they chose for themselves. “Fascist” became a vile word because the fascists themselves made it so.

Same goes for the “Wahabis” and “Hamas” of the Sunni and the “Mullahs” and “Hezbollah” of the Shia. I don’t see the point in reviving the terms of another era. There are important differences between the Wahabis and the fascists, because the Wahabis are in many ways much worse, when you get right down to it. Today’s “savage and brutal forces” are the Janjaweed, and the Hamas, and the Mullahs, and the Taliban. History will preserve all their names in infamy.

I like where you’re going with this, rejecting the terms of another era while evoking that same era with a nod to that whole “day that will live in infamy” speech. Wait, can you hold for a sec? Lemme check this e-mail from Tim, down in marketing:

An itty-bitty thought on Islamic fascism: perhaps the guardians of Islam’s name might want to actually show more interest in creating a religion that can tolerate other religions within its republics and seem compatible with democracy before they take offense at authoritarian descriptions.

Anyway. You were saying?

Mario, that’s accurate, but it is not useful to employ so many terms. It doesn’t help people understand who the enemy is or what it is we are fighting.

Imagine a speech in which the President vows to “win the war against the Wahhabis, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Janjaweed, the Taliban and the Shia mullahs of Iran.�

This is one of the reasons the war was, initially named with reference to a tactic rather to an ideology: “The War on Terrorism.� But the shortcomings of that phrase have become all too apparent.

Also, we need a term that will help people recognize now that this enemy is a serious menace. You’re right that after the war, the loser’s brand is always left tarnished. But at this point, I’m not so confident about who will lose.

Jeez, way to be downer, dude. Didn’t you read Jonah’s column today? Yeah, he cited some Atlantic Monthly article that says we’re winning the war on terror and – What? No, I didn’t read it – it’s subscription only. Well, I mean, he doesn’t quote the article or anything, but he said it was really long and well-researched or something. “Exhaustive” – that’s how he described it. Have you gotten Jonah’s take on this whole rebranding the enemy thing yet? Yeah, me neither. I saw him headed into the can a couple hours ago, but that’s the last I saw – Huh. That’s weird. No, I just sent this e-mail to Lawrence Auster, but it got bounced back for some reason:

Lawrence –

Among Muslims, to call someone a jihadist does not have a pejorative ring. So while the term may be accurate it’s not very useful.

To use terms such as “Islam� or “Muslims� is to cast as enemies millions of people who have not been convinced they should fight the Free World rather than join the Free World, people who should and could be on with us and against bin Laden, the Iranian mullahs, Hamas, Hezbollah, etc.. More Muslims than Jews or Christians have been murdered by the groups we’re talking about. Every day in Iraq, it is these groups who suicide bombing Muslims shopping at the market or applying for jobs as policemen.

I think the evidence suggests that the number of Muslims who aren’t eager to see their children become suicide bombers, who don’t want to live in a Taliban state, is fairly large.

The number of genuine and outspoken Muslim reformers—those who will stand up to the Islamists and even fight the Islamists — is small, for many reasons. But do you really think Fouad Ajami and Amir Taheri are the enemy? Surely, you’re too intelligent for that.

Your strategy appears to include declaring war on 1.2 million people around the world. I don’t see where that is either justified or wise.

No, I didn’t read Hanson’s column yet. Why? Oh, okay. Good point. Hey – what if we just created a logo? The swastika worked pretty well for the Nazis, right? I mean, that’s like a classic – exactly, Indiana Jones. And the hammer-and-sickle pretty much defined the commies. Awesome. You want me to call the art department, or – Right, right, think “serious.” Yeah, I’ll tell them, and they can just take over from here. Cool.


So you hitting Applebee’s after work? Heh – you know it, bro.

Travis adds: I said “serious,” Gavin. Shouldn’t Darth Vader be wearing a turban?


Comments: 32


well, the problem the poor hardly-ever-right wing is having with lumping a huge variety of different loosely-organized cults, political wings, gangs and trains of thought into one easy-to-remember slur, is the very fact that these various factions have but one thing in common: the corner hates them.

the reality of the situation, of course, is so much more complex and nuanced than “us vs. them.” many of those “them” are actually very much against each other. and many of them are not committed to the “downfall” of america, but rather the “get america the f*ck out of our country” variety.

as to the term “islamo-fascist” (or, as a wag said on another blog discussing the usatoady piece about how the blogs were “wrong” about lieberman’s comeback as an independent as well as snakes on a planes being a blockbuster, the “herpofascists”), is that the very nature of the groups stated above (loosely organized, no central point of command, very much fighting amongst themselves) is the exact antithesis of fascism.

these muslims guys are alot of things: fanatical, fujndamentalist, suicidal, but they sure ain’t fascist.

(speaking of suiciders, didn’t you hear, fox news insists they are “homicide bombers,” as if there were any other kind of bomber. (“gee, i only wanted to annoy people with that c-4 i detonated at the mall. who knew i would kill somebody?”)


This must be the ‘screaming at the top of their lungs in the checkout line’ phase of the temper tantrum.


There are, of course, many reasons why “fascism” is the wrong label for Islamic extremists, but the biggest one has got to be that it makes no sense to apply a political label that elevates the nation-state above all else to a group that doesn’t have a nation-state to begin with.

I mean, at least for now. We’ve pretty much custom-built Iraq to meet their needs. And do we get a thank you? Noooooooo.


Ganja weed. Mmmmmm.


1.2 billion, not 1.2 million, right?


You’re a braver man than I, Travis, I don’t know how you can read these guys – it’s like watching a group of developmentally challenged toddlers enthusiastically pushing their ka-ka around in their potties.

If anyone would like to read Michael Ledeen’s thoughts transcribed in musical form, this is the link for you –

I know he says someone else wrote it, but I have doubts.


This discussion is chaff to keep you from focusing on Cliff May’s “half-dozen” reasons that the whateveritiswearecallingthem are as big of a threat as Hitler (11:04AM). Number 1 – they have cell phones and internet access, and Hitler did not.


This whole Islamofascism rebranding effort forgets the fact that that fundementalists (Islamic or otherwise) are arguably just religious fascists, just as fascists are secular fundementalists – two sides of the same coin. To call them “Islamofascists” is just plain silly, when they could more accurately be called Islamofundies or some variation thereof.

However, it’s clear WHY the right would never conflate terrorism with religious fundementalism, since it would soil fundementalism in general (not a bad plan, actually). Calling it a War on Fundementalism would not only be more accurate, it would extract the assumed negative connotations toward any faith (islamo-, christo-, buddho-, FlyingSpagettiMonstero-, etc.) giving moderates free reign to join in to oppose the common foe without being painted as traitors.


Some day, at least in my dreams, I’ll be on Hardball or Tim Russert opposite one of these clowns. And I’ll be able to ask: Hmm, you say these muslims are a threat to America? Please describe the actual threat, as opposed to just saying there is one. I mean, this is the United States of America. You know, that country isolated from the world by two very large oceans? The one that spends more on it’s armed forces than the next 44 largest nations COMBINED? Yeah, that one. Now, without air power, armor, sea lift, 20 or so combined arms divisions, a powerful navy with the ability to project power halfway around the world and without one whit of a cohesive military organization, you all are sitting around quaking in terror, somehow likening thir terrorist rabble to the Wehrmacht or the Imperial Japanese Marines is beyond silly.

Look. This is NOTHING but the latest version of political fear mongering. These people can kill some Americans – and if we keep killing them, trashing their countries and meddling in their internal affairs, they will. But we do know how to fight that. And it doesn’t include invading nations, killing on a grand scale or threatening to bomb sovereign countries. The American right needs to understand that even grandma realizes that they are over reacting to a terror attack, and this is not the way people want to live. An eternal state of war is good for nobody but the men in power – and it’s a dark stain on their souls that they would cling to power in that way…



It feels like, the Nation was at the bar, drinking our drinks and singing our drinking songs, when we got punched in the face. And rather then finding out why they punched us in the face, our leaders are swinging at anyone in a red shirt.
Are they dangerious? Sure. Are they a threat to out way of life? Not even remotely.


What mikey said, yup. We, as a country, can’t be doing this whole war on terrorism thing right. I mean, all reports say terrorism across the globe is worse than it was pre-9/11, and all success against terrorists have been via folks who aren’t doing what the Bush Administration and the bull-goose looney wingnuts yowl must be done to keep us from becoming a shia-controlled state.

I find it very difficult to live in fear that a bunch of poorly trained, haphazardly funded, spottily organized and basically despised lulus have it in them to completely subjegate the country that gave the world the all-you-can-eat catfish buffett, LSD, Looney Tunes and Jenna Jameson. I mean, seriously. So far, they’ve managed to kill barely one percent of the population, and that was only because (at the very best) they caught us not only with our pants down, but waggling our national pecker on the conveyor belt. There’s statiscally a greater chance of getting mauled by a rabid coon dog than there is the average American dying in a terrorist brouhaha, but it seems the wingnuts are convinced Team America was a documentary. They seem to be convinced that if the Islamofacistnazicommiegayimmigrants attack again, the entire country will fold like a pup tent just cause they will. In other words, we’re supposed to all be as pants-pissingly scared of super terrorist ninjas as the Atlas Shruggeds and Goldsteins of the world are.

Ya know, I wanna an effort against organized global terrorism seriously, I really do, but the looney right just make it so damn difficult. It’s like I’m supposed to swear off swimming because my 8-year-old cousin saw Jaws for the first time.


I think I consider this the highlight of depressing moments in Bush history. If just a train wreck before, now he’s talking like Christopher Hitchens and orianna Fallacci to boot. Great. Why do we always import the shittiest things from Europe? Instead of Universal healthcare or talented soccer, we pick Coldplay and Andrew Sullivan.


> There are important differences between the Wahabis and the fascists, because the Wahabis are in many ways much worse, when you get right down to it.

Don’t the Cornerites know by now that when they slander the Fascists they’re talking about Ledeen’s homeboys?

Some respect, Jonah… please.


I just… I don’t know… I just feel… so… a-low-ho-hohn [sob, sob].


As has been pointed out numerous times, fascism is not a synonym for “evil”, or even “totalitarian”. This is as stupid as thinking that since bears and dangerous and sharks are also dangerous, we are justified in calling the latter “bearosharks”.
That kind of bad logic leads us to bad conclusions (eg that shark repellent will protect us from grizzlies, or that curling into a ball is a good last resort when faced with a shark). The key to handling the threat is understanding it in detail, not lumping it in with other threats.
That is, the key to handling the threat. The key to exploiting the threat for political purposes is very different, as the GOP apparently already understands.



I’m stealing that, and there’s nothing you can do about it.


Not to be pedantic, but actually, the big bad brown guys only manage to kill one-thousandth of one percent of Americans


Who would have thought that one could have a serious scholarly discussion of fascism on The Corner?

Um, I dunno… Gary? I mean, sure, there’s those who can’t tell the difference between Whizzo Butterâ„¢ and a dead crab, but most of us don’t make that mistake.


Ah, rats–TC made the nit-picky math point before I could. And correctly, too.


Lemme guess what the top candidates for the new name are.
Osama Bin Hitlers
The law firm of Dean, Sheehan, Moore, and Churchill

At least we don’t have to worry about them having any genius insights on the ‘problem’.


Amir Taheri as a Muslim reformer? Holy shit.


If somebody wants to see real fascism, check out last week’s Time magazine, in which Pat Buchanan gives an interview where he claims we are currently in a fight to preserve the “blood and soil” of America.

I keep having these visions of the Muse of Irony trapped in an endless alcoholic bender, passed out behind a seedy bar in Newark somewhere. Sooner or later, someone is going to have to go and help her sober up.


I’m sorry, Jillian, to be the one with the bad news. Please sit down. Kleenex? She died a few years ago. January 20th, 2001, actually. We suspect foul play…



As has been pointed out numerous times, fascism is not a synonym for “evil�, or even “totalitarian�.

Actually, for many people it is. We can call them stupid all we want, but if we dont offer another “truthy” label that is more accurate they are going to stick with Islamofascist rather than “nebulous association of bad guys who all just happen to claim to speak in the name of Islam (but we cant call them ‘Islamic’…)”.

For 5 years I heard “Terror is a tactic and you can’t declare a war on a tactic” (true) without anyone actually offering a better expression. Now its the rightwingers who are saying that, but they have an answer – “its not the war on terror, its the war on Islamofascists (aka. all muslims, butwe cant say that outload)”. Catchphrases work and “Islamofascist” is going to stick if another, better, one isn’t offered up by the opponents of these Goombas.


So something with ‘crusade’ in its title is a no-no.


I think we should call them “Islamoconservatives” … really strike terror in people!


It’s really way simpler than any of that. It’s not a war. There are some non-state extremist organizations, loosely affiliated around a fundamentalist religion, some of whom are actually willing to murder americans. Just as is the case with espionage and counterfeiting, there are established methodologies for defeating the plots and mitigating their impact. Unfortunately, if all you have (or are willing to use) is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. And if on the basis of your ideology and your unhealthy sense of ‘destiny’, all you are willing to use in international affairs is your military, everything looks like a war.

Terrorism will be a problem for generations, for a number of countries. But generations of war? My gawd, that would be hellish for all concerned…



There are some non-state extremist organizations, loosely affiliated around a fundamentalist religion, some of whom are actually willing to murder americans.

True, but this kind of language and ambiguous labeling doesn’t sell as well as “The Islamofascist Conspiracy and their Liberal Appeasers”. It would help to have simple metaphor that people can relate to – something they can “get”. I’m not sure it will happen, though – the opposition includes a lot of different perspectives on how to approach the problem and boiling it down to a few words can bring those differences out.


“The Islamofascist Conspiracy and their Liberal Appeasers�

I have all their albums.


What’s wrong with “Islamic Extremists?”

Its not exactly long, only a touch longer than “Islamofascists” and easier to pronounce than nookler and terrists.


Let’s just call ’em barbarians and be done with it.


” find it very difficult to live in fear that a bunch of poorly trained, haphazardly funded, spottily organized and basically despised lulus have it in them to completely subjegate the country that gave the world the all-you-can-eat catfish buffett, LSD,”

Actually, the Swiss get the credit for LSD…Dr Hofmann and Sandoz Labs.


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