Friday, September 08, 2006

Politics and the Blogish Language

The good news is that the more coarse thinking becomes in this country, the sharper the smart people seem to get in pointing out how things have gone wrong. Case in point is Katha Pollitt in The Nation the past few issues, as she deftly dissects the new Bush Bogeyman term Islamo-fascism. Here's a taste of what she's written:

"Islamo-fascism" looks like an analytic term, but really it's an emotional one, intended to get us to think less and fear more. It presents the bewildering politics of the Muslim world as a simple matter of Us versus Them, with war to the end the only answer, as with Hitler. If you doubt that every other British Muslim under the age of 30 is ready to blow himself up for Allah, or that shredding the Constitution is the way to protect ourselves from suicide bombers, if you think that Hamas might be less popular if Palestinians were less miserable, you get cast as Neville Chamberlain, while Bush plays FDR. "Islamo-fascism" rescues the neocons from harsh verdicts on the invasion of Iraq ("cakewalk...roses...sweetmeats...Chalabi") by reframing that ongoing debacle as a minor chapter in a much larger story of evil madmen who want to fly the green flag of Islam over the capitals of the West. Suddenly it's just a detail that Saddam wasn't connected with 9/11, had no WMDs, was not poised to attack the United States or Israel--he hated freedom, and that was enough. It doesn't matter, either, that Iraqi Sunnis and Shiites seem less interested in uniting the umma than in murdering one another. With luck we'll be so scared we won't ask why anyone should listen to another word from people who were spectacularly wrong about the biggest politico-military initiative of the past thirty years, and their balding heads will continue to glow on our TV screens for many nights to come. On to Tehran!

Indeed, nothing like a political debate that paves over any nuance and reduces ideas into "they're Evil!" Islamo-fascism is just the stand-in for Communism, which stood in for Nazism. And all god's children in the military-industrial complex are blessed.


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