Friday, August 18, 2006

David Ignatius in today's Washington Post thoughtfully looks at the appropriateness of calling Hezbollah and other Islamic radical groups "Islamic Fascists." The piece has a few problems. Ignatius dervies his definition of fascism from a controversial, comparative study by the German historian Ernst Nolte, who later evolved into a Nazi apologist. He neglects to mention that "Islamic Fascism" was used by the Bush administration at the behest of the neo-conservatives. Third, although he rejects the use of "fascism" to describe all Islam, he does not ask whether this label might fit some folks closer to home. Nevertheless, his unpacking of the term shows why the neo-conservative narrative, analyzed below, uses it to label any Muslim resistance to its vision of the New Middle East. Juan Cole in his blog of August 8, question the meaningfulness (internal consistency) of the term: fascism is state-glorify, war-worshipping and racist. Islam, at least in doctrine, is none of these. It transcends state boundaries, embraces people of all races and regards war as a means to an end rather than an end in itself. These discussions are useful for me, since I grew up in a political culture where you called any power-grabbing shithead "a fascist."


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