Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Juan Cole deconstructs George Bush

Informed Comment:

Monday August 7, 3:57 pm ET WASHINGTON, Aug. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- The following is a transcript of remarks by President Bush and Secretary of State Rice in press availability:
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8:59 A.M. CDT
"'They try to spread their jihadist message -- a message I call, it's totalitarian in nature -- Islamic radicalism, Islamic fascism, they try to spread it as well by taking the attack to those of us who love freedom. '"

There are many problems with this passage.

The first is that the Israelis are not confining themselves to bombing Muslim radicals. They dropped 3000 bombs on Aitaroun in a single day. They are leveling the towns of the south altogether. They are hitting people who are not Muslim fascists.

In fact, they are hitting Christian areas such as Jounieh."
[ . . . ]
"The Israelis have also bombed Ashrafiyah, a Christian area of Beirut. They have ruined Christian businesses-- restaurants, nightclubs, retail shops, by destroying bridges, roads and ports and by killing tourism for years to come. "
[ . . . ]
The Shiite Muslims of the south have been subjected to collective punishment on a mass scale. Whole towns and villages have been destroyed. Nearly a million people are displaced and homeless. The deliberate deportation or forcible transfer of a civilian population during war time is a crime against humanity, as is unnecessary expulsion of civilians from their homes.
[ . . . ]

Then there are other problems with what Bush said. He contrasted "Islamic fascism" to "democracy," presumably a reference to the Lebanese Hizbullah.

This point is incorrect and offensive for many reasons.

It is a misuse of the word "Islamic." "Islamic" has to do with the ideals and achievements of the Muslims and the Muslim religion. Thus, we speak of Islamic art. We speak of Islamic ethics.

There can be Muslim fascists, just as there can be Christian fascists (and were, in Spain, Italy and Germany, and parts of Central and South America; the Spanish fascists and the Argentinian ones, e.g., were adopted by the United States government as close allies.)

But there cannot be "Islamic" fascists, because the Islamic religion enshrines values that are incompatible with fascism.

Fascism is not even a very good description of the ideology of most Muslim fundamentalists. Most fascism in the Middle East has been secular in character, as with Saddam Hussein's Baath Party. Fascism involves extreme nationalism and most often racism. Muslim fundamentalist movements reject the nation-state as their primary loyalty and reject race as a basis for political action or social discrimination. Fascists exalt the state above individual rights or the rule of law. Muslim fundamentalists exalt Islamic law above the utilitarian interests of the state. Fascism exalts youth and a master race above the old and the "inferior" races. Muslim fundamentalists would never speak this way. Fascism glorifies "war as an end in itself and victory as the determinant of truth and worthiness." Muslim fundamentalists view holy war as a ritual with precise conditions and laws governing its conduct. It is not considered an end in itself."
There's a lot more.


Blogger M1 said...

I've always had a difficult time with the term collective punishment as applied to Israeli actions against The Lebanon and the occupied territories.

As I humby see it, charitably doling out punishment is one thing, life eroding military operations against civilians to grab land is quite another. I don't think Israel would waste armaments on such a massive scale to hand out a bit of bro bono punishment.

Sure there are plenty of examples of retributive hits in the histroy of Israel - but the war of late on Lebanon and the occupied territories hs nothing to do with punishment for punishment's sake.

But again, that's just my 2 cents of meatballs.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006 at 11:42:00 AM PDT  
Blogger steve said...

I think you are completely correct.

Just because Israelis themselves are using the term to describe pounding the crap out of Lebanon towns doesn't make is accurate.

I think Cole is just using the same term they use, and demonstrating what it actually means in real life.

But I'm sleepy now.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006 at 12:58:00 AM PDT  

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