Monday, August 14, 2006

Islamofabulism

The Virginian Pilot my local paper, ran a pair of pieces on Saturday that illustrate the fabulist conservative view of the "war" on terror.

The editorial page featured "highlights" of an interview the Pilot editorial board held with Drake earlier in the week.
U.S. Rep. Thelma Drake believes that perception is a big part of the reason some Americans have doubts about the wisdom of the war, she said.

Drake's perception is that perceptions are why Americans perceive the Iraq war was a bad idea and is going badly. Drake's perception is that Americans' perceptions are skewed because they don't see the reality she's seen. Drake's perception of the reality in Iraq is formed by the two trips she's taken to that country, the latest of which--made in April--lead her to perceive that "things are getting better."
In the spring, she didn't have to wear a flak jacket all the time; she could stay in Baghdad overnight.

Ah. She could take off her flack jacket while she had dinner and slept in the U.S. embassy. Yeah, that's a positive sign, all right.
The global battle against terrorism, at the moment, is quite simply a war for peace in Iraq, a war her constituents overwhelmingly support, Drake said. U.S. soldiers must continue to fight it, she said, to keep terrorists from attacking us in America.
"We're going to have to be there until we defeat this enemy," she said.

A war for peace? Land o' Goshen. How in the wide world of sports, arts and politics did Drake's GOP handlers come up with that piece of Orwellian absurdity?

Having followed Drake's short but colorful career in Congress, I have little doubt that she actually believes the "global battle on terrorism" is "quite simply" the war in Iraq, despite the fact that actual terrorism threats to America had, and still have, nothing to do with Iraq.

Yet, Drake insists that we're going to have to be in Iraq until we defeat "this enemy." The Pilot editorial staff apparently felt that pressing Drake to elaborate on whom exactly "this enemy" is would be a waste of time because she wouldn't have a clue how to answer.

Fortunately for the right, it has plenty of skilled spokespersons who can step right up and tell us exactly who the enemy is.

Islamofabulism

Columnist Cal Thomas is the right wing yahooligan who first used the phrase "Taliban Democrats" after Ted Lamont defeated Joe Lieberman in the Connecticut Democratic primary. And he was among the first conservative pundits to support young Mister Bush's use of the "Islamic fascist" line the day the British terrorist plot was revealed.

In his August 11 column "Time to go on offense," Thomas asks "…are we fighting the war aggressively on American and British soil, or are we merely playing defense? Defense, alone, does not win football games; neither can it win a war against islamofascism."

Thomas's idea of aggressively fighting the "war" is to call the "enemy" bad names, and he seems to think labeling people "Islamic Fascists" is the key to a winning strategy. The likes of Thomas have no patience for politically correct types who prefer not to assault the dignity of law-abiding citizens by grouping them in with violent criminals and insulting them with de-humanizing epithets. In other words, Thomas's idea of offensive counter-terror tactics is being, well, offensive.
Health officials respond to plagues by isolation and eradication. Their objective is not only to control the spread of a disease, but also to kill it so it won't infect others. If that is an effective method for combating a plague, why is it not also a good strategy for combating the islamofascist plague?

That's classic Thomas: stuffing an entire category of humanity into a convenient pigeonhole, reducing it to the status of a disease, and calling for its complete eradication. I don't know how that strikes you, but Thomas and his rhetoric remind me of the guy who called Jews a "cancer on the breast of Germany."

"Islamofascism" was a Rovewellian stroke designed to put a face on "terrorism," but all it really did was trade one ism for another. And the notion that the "war" on terror is taking place in Iraq right now is a fairy tale: believing it won't make it true.

What the struggle against terror needs is a lot less trash talk from fabulists like Thelma Drake and Cal Thomas and a lot more competent intelligence and police work like the Brits appear to have done.

Postscript
If you caught Imus this morning, you probably witnessed Don's pal Bo Dietl condemning the entire Muslim religion, calling it a cancer that needed to be eliminated with chemotherapy.

What a lovely human being, that Dietl.

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Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes from Virginia Beach, Virginia. Read his commentaries at ePluribus Media and Pen and Sword.

12 comments:

  1. Anonymous9:59 AM

    The United States has always had a lunatic fringe: the Know-nothings, the KKK, (to some extent,) the John Birchers, etc, etc, who were sheltered behind a very able state department.

    But if this anti-everythingism becomes mainstream, it all but makes a continued American preeminence inconceivable. Picking a fight with a billion plus people is not a bright idea.

    In 1901, almost everyone was sure that 1900-2000 would be the German century. By 1945 English or Russian as a second language were de rigeur. Such are the fruits of militarists and demagogues.

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  2. "Such are the fruits of militarists and demagogues."

    Well said.

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  3. The Dutch would have no patience for this type of name calling and it never seizes to amaze me, that Americans do not speak up more loudly against this immature stupidity. The British did great work and it seems that some here in the US are trying to piggyback their way back into the people's consciousness ...Lamont equals taliban democrats? How dumb can you get.
    Well, for those who leave their brains at the door at church it will make complete sense no doubt..
    Ingrid, from the 'bright' state of Texas with the gezillion size churches..eekh!

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  4. Anonymous said: "...By 1945 English or Russian as a second language were de rigeur..."

    In the 60s, State Department professionals were divided into two separate groups. The optimists were all studying Russian, while the pessimists were learning Chinese.

    As for Ms Drake and Mr Thomas:
    Perception is Reality. Facts are negotiable.

    Although Mr Limbaugh, that great logician prefers:
    What you believe is wrong. My opinion is fact.

    I also wonder, re: Mr Thomas's logically faulty analogy of Islam as disease - isn't the real problem fundamentalist Islam? Perhaps the sensible Muslims in many countries are rather like us; products of the Islamic Enlightenment and trying to deal socially and politically with the wingers in THEIR society.

    I suspect there's some validity in that. The problem is fundamentalism, which desires to stultify, to turn back the clock of time to when people didn't read, but where preached to, hence learning religious doctrinal lessons by word of mouth. Consider American fundamentalism, where entire books of the Bible are ignored in order to hammer specific political points with carefully chosen quotes.

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  5. Ingrid,

    Something I took out from the first draft of this were a few examples of things Thomas types would come up with to describe urban gangs and Hispanic immigrants. Can you imagine this kind of open racism being shown against any other group?

    Lurch,

    The "disease" analogy frightens me so much because it lends itself to the "mad cow" mentality--if one cow in the herd has it, the whole herd has to be exterminated.

    Scary stuff.

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  6. Jeff, I disagree with your analogy, based solely upon my understanding of mad cow treatment. Factually, I don't think American meat packers do any g_ddamned thing at all other than isolating a "downer." That's a result of worshipping profit as a deity, rather than the common good. But in the civilized, science-based world meat packers test the rest of the herd at that point.

    But I take your point, and it's a valid one, when discussing the fascist wing of our political spectrum. We've discussed eliminationism before. Isn't it odd that those who don't think rationally are so easily moved to advocating ethnic cleansing? I suppose from there it's an easy step to advocating a full-spectrum program of eugenics.

    If we ever reach that point (and I hope we don't) will anyone note the irony of the "every sperm is sacred" crowd defending all blastocysts and then euthanizing after birth those that are defective in some way?

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  7. Jeff, greetings from the Virginia Peninsula! Your notes on Thelma Drake's pronouncements to the Pilot's editorial board are pretty much par for the course for all loyal Republican stooges, though I think Ms Drake must have been wire brushed after her stunt of staying in DC "for a critical vote" the day that Bu$h came to your town for a fundraiser for her.

    Now what's been interesting up here is that on Saturday our Joanne Davis was quoted in our Daily Press as calling for Rumsfeld's departure! Shocking.

    Or is it? I have to wonder if the Minions of the Decider sent her forth with a trial balloon message. If it plays well, perhaps we can see our Beloved SecDef canned.

    But let's start a pool as to when that will come to pass. I got dibs on late October so Karl Rove will have a few days to make hay before the elections.

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  8. Nav,

    Let's make it this: Which comes first, Rumsfeld's ouster or bin Laden's capture? ;-)

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  9. Anonymous9:57 AM

    Ingrid,

    You'd probably greatly enjoy HL Mencken's the "Sahara of the Bozart" and, for that matter, all the essays on the South in the Mencken Chrestomathy. Many things that I only had a notion of before reading the book became very clear to me.

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  10. Jeff, I hold that the last thing this administration wants is for bin Laden to be captured. If that happens, they'll have to find a new bogeyman to frighten us into obedience.

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  11. LOL. Yes, there's the theory that says that's why he's still on the loose.

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  12. Compartmentalization is a fundamental property of the human brain - and one of the most dangerous ones.

    American - not-American
    Muslim - not-Muslim
    Republican - Democrat
    Liberal - Conservative
    my race - not my race
    my socioeconomic status - not my socioeconomic status

    and on and on. It is a dangerous mentality that is all to present in the world and in our country. It is a survival mechanism that allowed our distant ancestors to survive, but serves now primarily to allow prejudice to thrive. Think about people you know and see if most of them don't subscribe to at least one of the above-listed categorizations.

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