Islamofascism ... Bush Is on to Something





Dr. Daniel Mandel is a Fellow in History at Melbourne University and author of H.V. Evatt and the Establishment of Israel: The Undercover Zionist (Routledge, 2004).

When speaking of today's affairs, are historical analogies and allusions helpful? Several commentators think not, at least when it comes to US President George W. Bush's recent references to "Islamofascism." Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson has argued that "the jihadists are pretty much sui generis – they aren't fascists or Nazis and certainly aren't communists." Center for Strategic and International Studies security expert Daniel Benjamin  agrees – " The people who are trying to kill us, Sunni jihadist terrorists, are a very, very different breed."

Very different, perhaps, but in what way? Dictionary.com  defines analogy as " Similarity in some respects between things that are otherwise dissimilar." The key therefore is not that two things can be shown to be different, even very different, but rather that their similarities can be demonstrated to be significant.

Fascism differs from Islamism most obviously in its glorification of the state, its sometimes covert but firm rejection of religion and its preoccupation with racial exclusivity. It is for these reasons that some scholars of Islam have found it more useful to compare Islamism to Marxism-Leninism. Here, too dissimilarities exist – most obviously the Marxist-Leninist radical rejection of religion.

However, where all three can be said to be similar is in their pursuit of a utopian re-ordering of the world; a willingness to use unbridled violence and terror to bring it about; and in anchoring justification for the consequent barbarism in immutable, iron laws. Consequently, all three have claimed to know where history is, or should be, headed and decreed the complete obliteration of all opponents – whether whole classes, peoples or states – as the necessary and beneficent prelude to an epoch of orderliness and justice.

All this is reasonably well known and acknowledged today of fascism and Marxist-Leninism, but was not at the time. An interesting analogy with the 1930s therefore lies in the fact that today, too, it is hard to obtain similar acknowledgment about Islamism.

In a penetrating but largely forgotten analysis of the mainsprings of anti-Semitism entitled The Great Hatred (1940), Maurice Samuel observed that liberals and  conservatives in the 1930s commonly failed to see in anti-Semitism anything more than an ordinary bigotry and political manoeuvre issuing from certain local grievances and economic conditions. In fact, anti-Semitism was central to Nazism's assault on the Judeo-Christian values under-girding Western civilization.

Samuel argued that whereas Christianity can be subverted internally or uprooted externally, the Jews stand for better or worse as eternal representatives of that which totalitarians wish to destroy. Thus the extraordinarily lurid Nazi hatred and fantasies about Jews – rife today in much of the Muslim world – that would never obtain a hearing if spoken about any other people. A totalitarian temptation seems built into modern life and thus the anti-Semitism common to such ideologies has always found a certain receptivity even in democratic societies.

The failure to comprehend this was perhaps the most profound factor in blinding the democracies to the demonic quality and implacable belligerence of Nazi Germany. But for this failure, the democracies in their own interest probably would have moved swiftly to deter or defeat the Axis Powers when that course was still relatively easy. They didn't, because they hadn't penetrated to the heart of anti-Semitism and the danger inherent in it for themselves – much like today's pundits, who similarly speak of the Middle East in 1930s terms of "legitimate grievances," "self-determination" ad nauseam.

Putting aside a hundred Islamist sermons and speeches about destroying America and subduing the West, the demonic quality of Islamist anti-Semitism should be therefore an unmistakable warning signal.

When Iran's leadership prepares to arm with nuclear weapons and speaks openly of Israel as its intended target; when Ahmadinejad speaks as Hitler did of destroying Jews collectively; when his Lebanese satrap, Hassan Nasrallah, observes that "If [the Jews] all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide", and when Hamas dedicates itself in its Charter to the elimination of Israel (Article 15) and the murder of Jews (Article 7), something more incisive and discerning is required than fastidious differentiation between ideologies.

Affirming that Islamists are totalitarian while discounting all past manifestations of totalitarianism as irrelevant empties the term 'totalitarian' of any meaning that can inform readers of the danger and significance of Islamism.

Accordingly, for all its obvious shortcomings, Bush's reference to "Islamofascism" has merit. For reasons that are indeed similar to those of the 1930s, peace has proved elusive, conflict is brewing and the only question is if the democracies will again allow themselves to be gulled into sleep on the eve of a supreme test.

Related Links

  • Ron Briley: Must We Put Up with Munich Analogies Yet Again?

  • Martin Kramer: Islamism and Fascism ... Dare to Compare


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    omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007






    I-The Need for and the Value of precision of meaning and accuracy of expression.

    Professor Mandel's piece adds nothing of real value to the discussion re the correctness and meaningfulness of substituting the plainly defined and defining term "Islamism", in all its present and future various forms, by "Islamo-Fascism" is meaningless and facile . Except, possibly, as his personal contribution to the anti Islam/anti Moslems hate campaign and as his declaration of solidarity with the Zionist-neocon political platform of President Bush.

    However as a Professor Dr Mandel should be more aware of the pitfalls that go with his endeavour.
    For one thing the term lacks "exactness" and precision:
    should a truly/genuinely "fascist-Islamist" movement arise, not an unlikely occurrence, how would he et all distinguish it from nonfascist-Islamist movements in his future writings?
    By coining a new term?
    Islamist is a general term that could, should the need arise, as is the present condition, be conflated with "Socialist", "Democratic" ,"Nationalist" etc etc for precision of meaning and accuracy of expression /information ; that is in the ,seemingly unlikely, event that that is of relevance to Dr Mandel.

    "Islamist” is a general term much like "Socialist" which, when conflated with other terms, gave rise to "Christian Socialist", "National Socialist" etc ; terms of widely and wildly different meanings!
    However the intent behind the adoption and propagation of the term ”Islamo-Fascism” is plain for everybody to see : the term is loaded with hatred and is , ultimately ,disinformation and prejudice with a definite political goal in mind ; as admitted and noted by several of its most ardent users here at HNN including "Prof" Eckstein in a rare state of mental lucidity!

    The conflation of "Islam" and "fascism" into "Islamofascism" to stand for Islamism in all its present and future forms is ultimately sloganeering and is a cheap appeal to mob consciousness and mob action!

    II-Dr Mandel's Absurd "Significant Similarities" Hypothesis:

    Another point Professor Mandel makes in his defense of this disinformation ploy is based on the relevance of "significant similarities"!
    Quoting him:

    “Dictionary.com defines analogy as " Similarity in some respects between things that are otherwise dissimilar." The key therefore is not that two things can be shown to be different, even very different, but rather that their similarities can be demonstrated to be significant.”

    As a professor Dr Mandel is undoubtedly aware that similarities DO exist between ALL socio/political dogmas that could easily lead, in hands and minds that DO NOT care about exactitude of meaning and accuraccy of expression, to the perverted conclusions he reached re Islamism.


    Should we apply Dr Mandel’s hypothesis:
    ”… but rather that their similarities can be demonstrated to be significant.”
    In conjunction with Wikipedia’s “definitions “of the word “fascist” which is, inter alia,:
    (Start of quote)
    “A recent definition is that by former Columbia University Professor Robert O. Paxton:
    • "Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victim-hood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion."
    • D-[4]
    Paxton further defines fascism's essence as:
    • "1. a sense of overwhelming crisis beyond reach of traditional solutions; 2. belief one’s group is the victim, justifying any action without legal or moral limits; 3. need for authority by a natural leader above the law, relying on the superiority of his instincts; 4. right of the chosen people to dominate others without legal or moral restraint; 5. fear of foreign `contamination." [5]
    (End of Quote)

    Do we NOT find amble grounds to coin the term;
    A-“ Americanofascism “ as far as the following significant similarities exist with the present American administration neocon creed and politics:
    a-"1. a sense of overwhelming crisis beyond reach of traditional solutions;
    b- obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victim-hood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, and
    c- and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion."

    AND do we not have the grounds for coining ,much more deservedly and to the point, the term:

    B-Israelofascism:

    With which the following significant similarities DO EXIST in abundance:
    a-“"Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victim-hood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity,”
    (Note: victim-hood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, (Of race: the “chosen people” syndrome/my addition)”

    b-“"1. a sense of overwhelming crisis beyond reach of traditional solutions;
    c- 2. belief one’s group is the victim, justifying any action without legal or moral limits;
    d- abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion."(In the occupied territories under Israeli administration and in Arab “sections” of 1948 occupied Palestine)
    And capping it all the unmistakable occurrence/presence of an essential “fascist”, “Nazi” formative component, criterion:the racial (racist)superoiority/distinctiveness/prerogatives/privilges of the absurd concept of “chosen people” versus the “goyim” of the Zionist creed and the Jewish faith!!

    However the need for neither terms “Americanofascism” and “Israelofascism” exists since the whole world already has ”American imperialism” and “Zionism” and such new conflated terms will only efface the need for, and the value of , precision of meaning and accuracy of expression.


    omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

    Simon
    Begin,Shamir,Sharon and Natanyahou are the real face, mind and conscience(?) of Israel.
    The first two were decisive/moulding buiders of the vile racist state and left behind them a legacy that survived them in the present Likud and Kadima.
    Begin was hailed for long as King of Israel and King of the Jews by Israelis for his past bloody performance and for the massacre of Sabra and Shatilla.
    Do you,Simon, disown them now?


    omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

    Professor Eckstein had this to say along the line:

    "Re: Hogwash (#98335)
    by art eckstein on September 26, 2006 at 11:54 PM
    I'm in basic agreement with your position above, Norman. Of course, no doubt this will only reinforce Omar Ibrahim Baker's view of us as some sort of secret cabal of Jews.

    best,

    Art"
    (End of Quote and Art's post).
    This shorter post than usual is a good indicator of Prof Eckstein mentality for it says the following:
    1-"I'm in basic agreement with your (Feuerbach's) position"
    and then goes on to very strongly implore, urge him NOT to declare it openly because:
    2-"no doubt this will only reinforce Omar Ibrahim Baker's view of us as some sort of secret cabal of Jews."

    That is Prof Eckstein wants to silence any disagreement and clam down on any fact or idea, including ones he approves of, for fear it might play into the hands of his adversaries and/or exposes the fallacy of his own; ie he, Prof Eckstein, wants ONLY ideas that further his point to be aired and heard by others!

    Other facts and/or ideas, even if true and valid, should NOT be openly aired and should be communicated to him in private, if possible.

    That is how the sick mind of an unworthy Professor works: restrict the spread of facts/ideas as much as possible so as NOT to unsettle his hypothesis no matter how rediculous and fallacious it is!

    "Authorized eyes only"!...is that the modus operandi of a university Professor or of a, say ,Mossad ,or equivalent, operative ?
    (Of which I do NOT accuse him to be.)

    "Professor" used to be a term highly loaded with the search for all kinds of facts and ideas , their dessimination (not restriction) and openly discussing them!
    It is no longer so with so many unworthy of the designation around.
    I pity the U of....and his students.


    omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

    Prof
    I hardly believe my eyes.
    Is it not silly, inane etc etc etc to make a statement that runs :
    "Every time Omar posts, he defames the intellectual tradition of Islam. Quite amazing."?

    One man ,whoever he happens to be "defames the inellectual tradition of Islam, or Christianity or Judaism or Marxism or whichever old and great intellectual tradition that happens to be!

    The whole tradition Prof? defamed by ONE man Prof?

    I would NOT say that a Pope's speech defames Christianity nor Obedia Yusuf's, erstwhile and possibly still Israel's grand Sephardi rabbi, utterances defame Judaism.

    How small minded , to be polite, are you or can you get.
    Amazing Professor!!!

    Prof..reread what you write before posting it..consult somebody, any body, do wait for Simon.
    You need a vacation Prof.


    omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

    "ONE man defames a whole Tradition?"

    Prof...that is what you wrote.
    Why did you NOT wait for Simon?...he would have shown you a better approach.
    You need a vacation Prof ..if not for your own sake then for the sake of your poor students!
    If the vacation does not work then you better retire...for the sake of your poor unlucky students.

    Can you ever consider retracting a silly expression that came out of your mouth?
    I hope, out of pity for your students, it was only that(out of your mouth) had it been equally out of your
    brains then the predicament of your students would be hoplessly tragic . Take a vacation Prof!


    omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

    IS it worth the time and the effort to respond to the irresponsible utterances of an obsessed and, ultimately, unworthy Professor?

    Unworthy of the title that is.

    Having failed to demonstrate the veracity of any of the many accusations he hurled against me (for the simple reason that they are contrived AND untrue) Professor Eckstein resorted to the well worn Gobbles dictum: keep repeating your lies no matter how fallacious they are as often as possible ; some of it is bound to stick, with the inattentive reader I should add.

    The following are two quotations from Professor Eckstein :


    1- From post # 98646
    “: that lying totalitarian Omar Ibrahim Baker to be called a fascist when he reveals his Sharia wetdream, then we must be getting somewhere. “

    2-From post #98600
    “And for me the similarities were enough to justify the use of the concept and the term, especially if it makes the Islamofascists themselves very uncomfortable (take a look at Omar, a totalitarian who protests against having it applied to him), and gives comfort to Muslim moderates.”


    Re the above two quotations from Prof Eckstein about my humble self and for the record I state that:

    a- I am NOT an "Islamist" so, obviously, I cannot be an "Islamofascist".

    b- I am not a "totalitarian" ( having absolutely no temporal power to be one) nor do I condone "totalitarianism" in any form or provenance be it Marxist or Islamist based.

    c- I DO NOT LIE; I do and did commit mistakes, factual errors, to which I was quick to add, when corrected, by declaring "I stand corrected" to no less than Yehudi Amitz.

    The trouble with Prof Eckstein is that he uses a very "selective" mode of reading, picking those expressions more liable to be misconstrued , particularly by dishonest minds as his or inattentive readers, and twisting and distorting them into whatever meaning(s) his sick mind is after.

    The prime example being his totally unfounded, and untrue, accusation that I am an anti Semite; anti Semite being, in his perverted mind equal to , synonymous with, anti Zionist and anti Zionist Israel; both of which, anti Zionist and anti Zionist Israel, which I certainly am and have never denied.

    Had he be reading what I write dispassionately and critically , as a Professor should, he would have noticed that I have several times bemoaned the Jews for the lurch into which Zionism has led them and wrote about the "deZionizing” (not the destruction) of Israel/Palestine; hardly anti Semite feelings or attitude.

    Obviously I DO NOT subscribe to the "silencing technique" that anti Israel and
    Anti-Zionism = anti-Semitism;
    a perversion of words and meaning as Prof Eckstein blindly does.

    Enough of this personal, but sadly necessary, note and back to the real substance of Professor(?) Eckstein.

    Let us note together that in quote (1) he states:
    "....when he reveals his Sharia wetdream, then we must be getting somewhere."
    Is that (sharia wetdreams) the language and perception of a University Professor?

    Equally note worthy are other expressions in both quotes:
    From quote (!):
    ”If it angers…”
    And in quote (2):
    ….“ if it makes the Islamofascists themselves very uncomfortable.”

    So the Prof is after making some people “angry” and others “uncomfortable” and by doing that he is “… getting somewhere”

    Is that the mission of a university Professor at HNN or of a cheap PR firm in a NY tabloid?
    But poor Prof Eckstein can not do any better…that is what he has.
    (I advised him several times to take a vacation.)
    Back to the initial question “ Is it worth the time and the effort to respond to this Prof?”
    Definitely NOT except that there are others on this Forum than Professor Eckstein.
    I commiserate with his students and rue their bad luck.








    omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

    Backtracking Prof?
    It was "defame"...now it is "betray".
    Is this the way you say that you were wrong.
    Not enough courage to say you were wrong?
    Say it explicitly that you uttered an inanity ;retract it and apologize....that is not hard...much greater men than you did...Prof.


    omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

    "Prof" Eckstein
    1-Why did you apologize for "wet dreams of sharia"?
    That was YOU...your real YOU!
    Do you recant or just apologize?
    Spell it out Prof.
    2- Not, fortunately, being one of your poor, unfortunate students; is it not presumptuous of you to ask me questions in the tone, formulation and manner you used.
    3- Out of respect for the general reader, not for you, I did answer some of your questions in the past; do not make it a habit!
    Are you applying for a job at Quantanamo? The Mossad? The CIA? and want to pad your CV?
    (Good move for the U of...)
    Reread my earlier answers and posts and you might, just might, understand where I stand.
    If you fail to ….you would have a reading and comprehension problem.
    4-Answering your questions would give them and you unwarranted importance and respect, would give you; a Zionist/AIPAC/Likud mouthpiece, of all people, the right to question me!

    NB: Politely formulated Questions from objective, open-minded readers would be treated with the respect they deserve!
    Certainly yours deserve none.
    (Take a vacation Prof...You certainly need it.)


    omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

    Prof
    You write:
    "she sent an email urging female students to strip to the waist at Horowitz's lecture as a way to disrupt it (Omar's eyes must be popping)." #98675
    It has long been evident that you suffer from mental and moral obssessions and frustrations born out of defending a racist cause and state.
    Your "wet dreams of sharia" indicated an equally deeply ingrained sex obssession and frustration that I was too polite to refer to.
    Not everbody does suffer as you do Prof ...why the inane remark re Omar?
    Why ask an unworthy Professor ?
    would be a better question.


    omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

    Selective reading Prof? did you or did you NOT note my NB?

    "NB: Politely formulated Questions from objective, open-minded readers would be treated with the respect they deserve!
    Certainly yours(Eckstein's) deserve none.
    (Take a vacation Prof...You certainly need it.)"


    omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

    Selective reading Prof? did you or did you NOT note my NB?

    "NB: Politely formulated Questions from objective, open-minded readers would be treated with the respect they deserve!
    Certainly yours(Eckstein's) deserve none.
    (Take a vacation Prof...You certainly need it.)"
    Questions from others than you are welcome.


    omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

    Take a vacation Prof,,,you certainly need it.


    omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

    Well said Mr Fraser...very well said indeed.
    The comparison is silly and facile but is, nevertheless, dangerous in that it would appeal to the simple minded pseudo intellectual with the semblance of erudition hanging over it.

    Your post renders a great service to the American reader who is being gradually brainwashed, by a cabal that does NOT have American interests in mind or at heart, into believing that Islamism="islamofascism" .

    Thus needlessly,unnecessarily and pointlessly, making 1.5 billion Moslems intractable enemies of the USA .

    Keep the good work of defending/protecting America's real intrinsic interests...hope to read more often from you.


    omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

    After settling on a title for his subject Yehudi has precious few remaining things to say,

    A relief.

    However his inanities should be countered and challenged.

    Moslems know perfectly well what they are , what they like and they dislike.

    The Islamists among them ,ie those with a socio/economic/political platform of their own based on their own particular interpretation of Islam and shariaa have names for their movements of their own choice:Moslem Brotherhood, Hizb Allah, Al Jama Al Islamia, Hizb Al Tahrir,Mujahidi Khalek etc.

    They neither worry nor care what people like Professors Furnish, Mandel, Eckstein etc etc or plebians like Yehudi, Friedman ,Simon etc etc call them.

    The term Islamofascism is never written or aired in Arab and Moslem media that their , or the general,public peruse ; it is hardly known to them at all.

    So..how can Yehudi tell whether they like it or dislike it?

    Another inanity.

    Should it ever come to their attention , through translations or, for the few, through direct perusal of western media ,it will only confirm their well founded belief that it is only a ploy to disinform Western public opinion ; a cheap mob appeal for solidarity with the imperialistic and racist Zionist-neocon war against Moslems and Islam waged by Israel and the USA/Bush.

    They, the Islamists, and Moslems in general, have no problem with the term.
    It is the Western , paricularly American, general public that is being disinformed through its use and as such it is the Western and American public that has, or should have, a problem with HIS media and its use of the term.


    omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

    Jewish "extremists" were/are so "isolated" and so "not condoned by the Jewish public" to the point that two of them, confirmed "terrorists" both:Begin and Shamir became Prime Ministers and icons of "democratic" Israel.

    Zionist "logic", and morality, at its most flagrantly flexible ;responding to the demands of the situation irrespective of the truth and of historical facts!!!!

    Their faithful disciple, Netanyahu,followed them more recently into the PM office and will soon out of "isolation" and out of not being "condoned by the Jewish public".
    Ditto!!!


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Calm down, boys. The storm troopers are not coming for you in the night. At leaast, not any time soon, nor with my blessing. I do not endorse Holocaust denial lite from Williams or Holocaust denial wacko from Smith or Holocaust denial evil from Irving. I am on the record here many times opposing all forms of anti-Semitism. And you guys (at least Friedman and Simon) know this damn well, so cut the silly misattributing. I think Simon is arrogant and irrelevant in his hundreds of posts, always hijacking other threads and never daring to comment directly on an article himself, and should either clean up his act or get lost, and I think that all three of you are far too unquestioningly loyal to a fantasy Israel that never existed and thus inclined to be aligned with the interests of the Likud contingent there, and that you're also rather excessively anti-Islam. But, Simon obviously has little intention of following either commendable course of action, and zebras aren't going to change stripes and so be it.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    ...another correction. Sorry folks. Maybe this proves conclusively that I am bloodsucking Nazi-Jabbering-Jihadist.

    "and not very directly by me"

    should have been

    "and NOT ONLY in my very direct comment"


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    You are not going to like this, Friedman, and I don't endorse such practices as anything other than a not very reliable last resort, but your track record on this website shows that carefully constructed insults do sometimes manage to overcome your reading comprehension problem when simple patient historical explanations fail to.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Williams skirts around the edges of Holocaust denial as you do with anti-Moslem prejudice, and with roughly the same inattention to historical accuracy and civility as you. The difference is that your variety of distortion and polemics outnumbers his on this site by about 10-1. What I said, and say was that I welcome the shift towards less one-sidedness which his joining the page represents. That was it. Despite your typical incessant missattributing, Eckstein, I have in no way ever given any sort of general endors ment or support of Williams's views here (we have had in fact some rather sharp disagreements from time to time in the past, in fact). I do think he has a viable pot and kettle point about those most enthusiastically using the historically dubious term "Islamofascist."


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    The correct word is extremist, for the Moslem groups who, for example, blow up world heritage statues of other religions, and terrorist for those who crash hijacked planes into skyscrapers of civilians in order to set traps for wet-behind-the-ears American presidents. There is no need, except for rhetorical spice, to resort bastardized ahhistorical conflations such as "Islamofascist."


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Mr. Friedman, This thread has become yet another example, in the long series of examples on HNN over many months, of your problems with reading comprehension and with projecting your disabilities onto others. (There is another example of the latter on this page. While incorrectly accusing me here of not “addressing the topic of the article,” you jumped into the discussion between Feuerbach and Eckstein three threads below, trying to change the subject (to “violence” which is barely even mentioned in the original article, and has nothing to do with Feuerbach’s cogent historical and semantic distinction between Islam and Fascism and the inappropriate and highly questionable practice of lazily combining them.)

    Here is what has happened in this thread in reality, which seems, once again, to be seriously disconnected from your mind, Friedman.

    1. The article endorsed the concept of "Islamofascism." Evidently the HNN editors were impressed by the deluge of comments made in response to previous discussions of this same topic. Nothing like recycling the S.O.S. for generating hits.

    2. Mr. Crocker, who began this thread, disagreed with the article's author. He called "Islamofascism" a "loaded word" designed to "short-circuit" the reasoning process of American voters and frighten them into supporting foreign policies they might otherwise disagree with. He suggested “totalitarianism” as a better characterization of "Islamism," saying that it “captures most of what people claim to mean” when they say 'Islamofascist' without the ulterior emotion-generating motive.

    3. In the second post of the thread, I took issue not with Crocker's general disapproval of "Islamofascist" but with his proposal of "totalitarian" as a viable alternative phrase. I did this by making use of an ironic analogy. My point was that one needs to distinguish between fantasies, goals, threats and deeds. Bin Laden might LIKE to become some kind of latter-day Hitler, but he is nowhere close to being a ruler of a major, technologically-advanced country such Hitler was in Germany. Osama is about where Hitler was in 1923 after the failed Beer Hall Putsch except, of course, that Hitler in ’23 was not a stateless fugitive wanted for mass murder, and did still have good medium term political possibilities to take over one of the world’s all-time major industrial and military powers.

    I also added some further opinions about the unsavory motives behind those in the current American government pushing the use of what I believe are deliberately misleading phrases such as “Islamofascist”.

    4. You then barged into the thread, Friedman, suggesting in your subject line, that I was not “addressing the topic of the article.” Your actual comments under the subject line, however, suggest that a more descriptive title would have, “not addressing the topics I prefer to discuss”. Your main points were that radical Islam is dangerous (who here ever said it wasn’t) and that hundreds of million of Europeans in dozens of sovereign states speaking dozens of different languages are monolithically “appeasing” one billion Muslims. As usual, you added not the slightest qualification to the terms Europeans and Muslims. Given the actual size and diversity of these groupings, which I point out to you here again for probably the 20th time (see reading comprehension – difficulties with it), this would be a foolish generalization even if there were any real solid evidence for the relevancy of such a term between huge groups of peoples, rather than between heads of government (e.g. Chamberlain and Hitler). In this context, I recommend the excellent comment of Mr. Karr above, where he points out the extreme dissimilarities between the 1930s (fascism and appeasement, global economic collapse) and today (no major ideology sweeping governments, longstanding economic growth in the major world powers). Your repeated stereotyping of these massive and heterogeneous groups of people, by the way, strikes me as rather like “throwing around insults as if they were arguments”, so if you think using insults on HNN requires apologies (in which case HNN would probably need a new server to cope with the deluge of required comments) you might start by apologizing to Europeans such as Tony Blair, who has not had a policy of appeasing Al Qaeda, for example, to the troops from European countries being wounded and killed in Iraq for an occupation that was destined to fail on Day1 due to its inept conception and execution, and to the hundreds of millions of Muslims who have never supported Al Qaeda.

    5. In my reply, I complained about “Big Liars.” That phrase may be what has particularly irked you. I did not specifically mention there, and I was actually not thinking mainly of you, or even about “lies” per se, but about the propaganda technique (attributed to Hitler, incidentally) of repeating an idea or concept or term so forcefully, so aggressively, so extremely, and so incessantly, that eventually people start to think that there must be to “something to it,” even if there really isn’t.

    6. I think that “Islamofascism,” under the tutelage of propagandists such as Karl Rove, is well on its way to becoming such a “Big Lie.” If you want to join me in soundly rejecting that deliberately deceptive phrase, I will acknowledge your agreement and relevancy to the article.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    My post “word to the wise (#98526)” comment above, posted on September 28, 2006 at 8:23 PM, which threw Mr. Eckstein into tizzies of irrational ad-hominens against me, continues to discombobulate his strange presence on this website, and even stranger absence from his university duties. I have had many long feuds with Mr. Friedman over many months on HNN, but I will say this much in praise, albeit faint, of him. Despite his frequent errors and often stubborn reluctance to confront or correct them: In his many hundreds of posts, I can never recall him accusing me of anti-Semitism, or of primitive viciousness, or his turning on the caps in rage.

    I have learned one useful thing from Mr. Eckstein on this page: citing the time of prior posts, for easy tracing. This does not excuse his arrogance, sloppy memory or serial misattributing, however.

    His post on September 29, 2006 at 4:49 PM has characteristic examples. (That whole thread having gone inconveniently far to the extreme right, pun unintended but applicable, I am relocating my comment here.)

    What I actually said in my quite rude but sorely provoked post of 8:23
    was

    “On a website stuffed to the gills with egomaniac Likudnik rapers of history, an occasional anti-Israeli conspiracy theorist or Zionism-obsessed Arab is a welcome change of pace.”

    Intending that the name-calling be at least even-handed, despite Mr. Simon -the all-time HNN record holder for simultaneously arrogant and irrelevant posts on HNN- being the instigator of my sounding-off, I did indeed mean to imply Mr. William in my reference to an “anti-Israeli conspiracy theorist.”

    However, I did NOT say what Mr. Eckstein says I did in his 9/29 4:49 remarks:

    “Clarke--not me--characterized Williams' website, which he also said was an Israeli conspiracy website, as a welcome breath of fresh air.”

    In reality, I never mentioned any “website” of Williams. I have in fact no knowledge whatsoever of him having any website at all.

    I also mentioned no “Israeli conspiracies.” My recollection of Williams’ odd grab bag of conspiracy theories is that they tend more towards Octupus-like Corporate America, but in any case Mr. Eckstein in his paranoid haste evidently read “anti Israeli-conspiracy theorist” instead of what I actually wrote: “anti-Israeli conspiracy theorist.”

    I also never said “breath of fresh air.” What I was talking was clearly much more analogous to a new and rarer form of stale air.

    This lazy misattributing of Mr. Eckstein, like his sophmoric confusion between Islamofascist and fascist above, his periodic and childish and often laughably wrong “fish in barrel” hurrahs, and the paranoid terrorist-under-every comment post with which he began his strange egomaniacal sojourn on HNN, pervades his remarks here, and is probably related to his immature inability to control his temper, and to why he is spending hours here instead of doing his job as a university historian: Academia despite its many faults and sins, generally has a low tolerance for supposedly senior scholars behaving with the sloppiness of novices.

    P.S. re David Irving. I have posted scores of comments about his nosediving career (ON HNN PAGES CONCERNING HIM), so I will only reiterate here that while many if most of his most vociferious accusers are cowardly hypocrites through and through, his ostracization from society, except for the neo-Nazi wacko crowd, is completely deserved. He, chose -much more deliberately and malaciously than his faint echoers on this page- to exert his considerable talents as a historian to serving the cause of history-raping instead.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    A ray of evenhanded hope for Mr. Simon

    but

    More unfavorable revelations re Mr. Eckstein.

    Among the major objections to "Islamofascist" (beyond the Orwellian doublespeak motives behind its principal appearance in contemporary commentary), is that it caters to intellectual laziness. Instead of thinking things through, looking at them critically but open-mindedly, and judging them on their factual merits, categories and labels are clung to and recycled in kneejerk repetition, such as "International Left" or the now newly dressed-up (mainly to clothe the self-smitten rear) "fascism/Islamofascism."

    It is, however, understandable that such laziness might be assidously endorsed and endlessly defended by a self-described specialist in Imperialism. Of all the dubious and overwrought "isms" which plague discussions of history, this is one of the most slippery, time-wasting, and confusion-creating. Classifying Cecil Rhodes and George W. Bush together is like Linneas putting elephants and wildebeests together in the same species because both inhabit Africa.

    It should be acknowledged that Hobsen wrote a very important book, and some of what followed (e.g. Schumpeter) is well worth reading today. But, one key reason that America has been trashing its national security in Iraq for over three years now, and with no end in sight, is that too voices which might have been raised to help head off this predictable and predicted disaster could not let ago of cherished security blanket concepts like Empire long enough to see that it was Incompetence with which they and the world were being smothered.

    The ultimate victors are the murderers needlessly raised to the status of religious dictators. The crazed thugs labelled as great ideologues. The terrorists elevated to warriors. As if America were to have spent hundreds of billions bombing every U.S. county with a backwoods militia, in its "war on terror" against Christo-fascists Nichols and McVeigh.

    Okay, I know. Al Qaeadas has more followers, "state sponsors" even. And Moslems (which is how my New York Times almanac spells it) are too often and readily inciteable to violence, and Islams lacks the equivalent of render unto Ceasar church-state distiction, or a sufficient tolerance for Lockean God-given rights (such free speech applying to every one including Rushdie). That is still no reason to call a spade an air conditioner.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Mr. Eck.,

    My life does not center around the relation of my ideas to those of Williams just because you seize upon that irrelevancy in a pitiful attempt to distract from and excuse your demonstrated sloppiness. I don't give d--n whether I am or am not a supporter or critic or both supporter and critic of Williams. I care even less -if that is possible- about what you pretend to think about what my net opinions of Williams might be. Meanwhile, the post of mine which you are so weirdly obsessed and confused by has almost nothing to do with Williams in the first place.

    Your sloppiness is matched in your latest post by your dishonesty. In my tangential dig at Williams in that comment of mine you are so wowed by, I made a little slam against him for being biased against Israel and also for being prone to occasional espousal of conspiracy theories. (Not exactly nice of me, but I know from past experience that he is enough of man to accept the sort of rhetoric he also dishes out.) Two distinct criticisms there: in "anti-Israeli conspiracy theorist." And yet you try to pretend that YOUR misreading of where I put my punctuation is MY "misplaced hyphen."

    I pity any student whose opinions get under your paper-thin skin and who is cheated and abused in the evaluation of his writing as a result.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    When will you ever stop making up flushable fantasies and then believing your own waste water, Eckstein? Where did I ever bring up this Kelly clown?


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    "Think about that one a bit, and get back to me"

    Think about what?

    As usual Simon, it is again difficult to discover the nuggets of meaning or even insight within the deluge of insults in your writing here


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Let's have a few examples from that long pedigree then. Quoted IN CONTEXT and WITH TRACEABLE CITATION. If you have time to make a couple of hundred posts to HNN (none of which to my recollection had any substantive discussion of the failings of the most hated American president in world history), then surely it should not be too hard to enlighten us with credible details on how Islamofascist is other than a piece of phony conservative (aka "neo-conservative) excrement.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Whatever you think you mean with your obscure misattributions about me and the 16th century, Simon, I suppose loyalty according to the standards of that era is less barbaric and backward than the "eye for an eye" loyalty of 18th century BC Babylonia.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code_of_Hammurabi


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    This stuff is old hat for me. Which is not to say that I am advocate of all of it or even most of it. As you begin to gradually get a clue what the H you are talking about, perhaps there might some day be a basis for a discussion. There remains the problem of your evident inability to post an original comment on the topic of the page, any page (based on having apparently never done so in hundreds of posts).


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Interesting. I had wanted to know a bit about this "PCP," ever since the days of Rodney King's little incident. I wonder, if Karl Rove were tied to one of Mr. Rodriguez's stretchers, whether "Islamofascist" would feature prominently in the "outburst of emotional fireworks, pressured speech, and hurled insults." An new explanation, perhaps, of the degeneration of American government under the adminstration of the first president known to be a cocaine abuser.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Time for me to check out of here!
    Get ALONG was what Rodney said, and I meant in my subject line above.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Thanks for the 4 part non-answer, Mr. Eckstein. I try avoid Foucault whose whenever possible, so this is an interesting bit of trivia on Le Monde and the Muslim Brotherhood.

    My question, however, was on the pedigree of "Islamofascist," not the commonly known commonplace use of "fascist" as an insulting adjective or a boilerplate political category. If you want to answer the question instead of dodging it, you might Google in the direction of the Project for a New American Century. Compared to their other crimes treason against the USA and general foolishness, the assault upon History and the English language associated with BS like "Islamofascist" (if indeed part of their handiwork) is of course minor.

    P.S. Remember the Shah of Iran and his "Islamic-Marxist" enemies? And to think that We in the "West" were supposed to be influencing and elevating the backwards Orientals.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Very good comments, Mr. Huff, and well put. But Eckstein, though he is almost as new here at HNN as you, is several hundred posts ahead of you. Have read a fair sampling thereof, I think its clear that you've got him in the wrong box, if you think he is a Bush-supporter. He may incidentally end up on the same side of the living room as Karl Rove's couch potato audience, but it is a fundamentally different set of biases and delusions which are eating up his university sabbtical.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Eckstein, you are a lousy BSer. What you "demonstrated" in "the postings immediately above" was little more than your own arrogant sloppiness. You confused fascism and Islamofascism (falling into exactly the trap which Rove set for people of lower IQ than the typical college professor) and now, without a shred of evidence, you assign me to the category of "Left", in an attempt at irrelevany to evade your own foolishness. Since you have gotten pitifully personal, I will say in reply that this sorry show of juvenile behavior makes me wonder what is really going at your university.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    So let's just agree to call bad Moslems, bad. And cut the Hogan's Heroes crap about them all wearing invisible swastikas while George W. Hogan saves western civilization with his wit and charm.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    I hope you are (By his second response, not the first, or the lack of acknowledgement of its mistakes).

    "Note":

    -name of periodical
    -date of periodical
    -name of author
    -no remarks about how I have to going on wild goose hunt for something HE remembered, or am a bad reader, if HE remembered it wrong


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    "all" refers most obviously to "bad Moslems" in my comment. Any unintended ambiguity about it possibly meaning good Moslems or neither-bad-nor-good ones is quite irrelevant to my points:

    1. bad is bad

    and

    fascist means a whole host of things most of them having absolutely nothing to do with religion of any kind

    2. the term is Islamofascist is objectionable because -whatever its obscure origins (see one POSSIBLE explanation above)- its use by the current US administration is clearly designed to deceive not inform


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    With reference to the above comment of Mr. Eckstein (Re: irrelevant (#98445)
    by art eckstein on September 28, 2006 at 2:35 AM), there is an extended discussion of the origins, use, and validity of "Islamofascism" on Mideast section of the H-Net website, which is better known than HNN for attracting scholars and recognized professional historians commenting on issues relating to their professional specialties.

    http://www.h-net.org/~midepol/

    Suffice to say, the article by Malise Ruthven, which is the first comment by Wikipedia in an article which is the first item to come up if one Googles "Islamofascism," is hardly the final word on the origins of the phrase, let alone justification for a tirade of HNN-rule-violating adhominen attacks.



    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Juan Cole, once regularly featured on HNN, before it became host to the blogs of "Judeo-fascists" Pipes and Klinghoffer, had the following to say on Islamofascism back during the days of Israeli PM Olmert's great skillful and victorious acts of bravery in Lebanon. It may be noted that Professor Cole is not a "specialist in the history of Roman imperialism" (more on that in later post):

    http://www.juancole.com/2006/08/bush-islamic-fascism-and-christians-of.html

    "...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."


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    http://www.inthesetimes.com/site/main/article/2827/

    The Neocons’ Lexicon
    By Salim Muwakkil

    The Republicans’ deployment of the term “Islamofascism” to define the enemy in the Bush administration’s war on terror is clearly an attempt to improve their prospects in the midterm elections. By conflating contemporary terrorist threats with historical enemies, the GOP is hoping to divert attention from the failed occupation of Iraq...

    Certainly, there are troubling tendencies among the radical Muslims who increasingly see the United States as the enemy. Caught in colonialism’s lingering legacy, they have gripes similar to the “communist” and “nationalist” dissidents before them. In those days, United States ignored their concerns and subverted their secular leadership. “Godless communism” was the enemy, so we encouraged piety.

    Americans now are living with the results of that failed policy, having apparently learned little. Deploying focus group-tested words for political advantage, the Bush administration is seeding fields of antagonists yet to come.



    http://nuralcubicle.blogspot.com/2006/08/islamo-fascism-george-bushs-fallacy.html


    Islamic Fascists by Sergio Romano (Corriere della Sera, 12 August 2006)

    Today, the word, fascist, has lost its original meaning and simply signifies a violence and intoleranance and perhaps even a scoundrel.

    The movement most resembling fascism among those groups which appeared in the Middle East during the 1900s was a movement founded in Syria in 1940. Its founder, Michel Aflaq, was a Syrian Christian. He had studied at the Sorbonne in the Thirties and had participated in the battles between Left and Right in the streets of Paris, and had absorbed an intoxicating cocktail of political literature, from Mazzini to Lenin. He was anti-colonial, pan-Arab, proud of the Arab past but resolutely secular and socialist. When he returned home, he founded the Ba’ath Party (Resurgence or renaissance, in Arabic) and one of his first actions was to join the al-Gaylani revolt against Great Britain in 1941. Aflaq died in 1989, probably in Baghdad, as the guest of a man who had much admired him and who drew on this teachings to organize the Iraqi state. That man was Saddam Hussein.

    It was he who created the Party, Saddam Hussein told an interviewer in 1980. How could I possibly forget what Michel Aflaq did for me? If it were not for him, I would never have come to this position. Iraq was therefore the most fascist regime of the Middle East in the last few decades. Saddam used the Ba’ath Party to militarize the society, to set up a cult of personality modeled from that of Il Duce and Der Führer, to put the bureaucracy in uniform and to emphasize public works. At the same time, he was a nationalist and, in his own way, a socialist. This was the extent of fascism in the Arab world.

    But it would be very difficult for me to identify fascism in religiously inspired movements from the Muslim Brotherhood to those that following the Iranian Revolution, the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and the First Gulf War in 1991. Between the Ba’ath and religious fanaticism, even against a common enemy, there is an unfathomable divide. Standing apart from his predecessors, George Bush seems to have forgotten that the greatest enemy of Khomeini’s Iran was Saddam Hussein and during the long war between the two countries, from 1980 to 1988, the United States was on the side of the fascists against the Islamists.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    http://www.history.umd.edu/Bio/eckstein.html

    "Professor Eckstein is a specialist in the history of Roman imperialism."


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Simon, when will your motormouth insults EVER be relevant to the subject of the page?

    When will you EVER have the courage and decency to start your own thread, instead leaving just leaving your rude marks, like a territorial canine, on other people's threads?


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    The non-ad-hominem substance of Mr. Eckstein's comment #98455, two above this one, is based on two misunderstandings or misrepresentations:

    1. I did NOT invite Eckstein to back up his claim (Hogwash (#98378) September 27) that the term “Islamofascist” has “a long and quite distinguished scholarly pedigree,” by asking him to show that the term was “not in origin Bush propaganda” as he erroneously claims in that comment #98455 just above.

    What I ACTUALLY asked him (in my comment “long and quite distinguished scholarly pedigree" (#98385) of September 27) was whether he could demonstrate that “Islamofascist” was not basically a term used by “neo-conservatives” for unsavory purposes.

    2. He has so far offered one possible and documented counterexample to the clear pattern of prominent use of "Islamofascist" by neo-cons. That example appears to be an exception to the general trend, based on what scholars who have expertise in the field, such as Juan Cole, are saying. This one documented example hardly amounts to his having “obviously proved” his original claim of Islamofascist” having “a long and quite distinguished scholarly pedigree.”

    Meanwhile, folks, if you want to see what “scholarly discourse” looks like, have a look at the “H-Net” link I gave already (you may have to retype it because clicking on HNN links often does not work - maybe because the powers that be don't want them to):

    http://www.h-net.org/~midepol/

    One difference between that H-Net discussions and HNN comment boards is that former set of discussions is “moderated” (checked over by an editor with scholarly expertise in the field, and rude or irrelevant comments tossed out). Let me assure every one here that I would GLADLY submit to such “moderation” on HNN, because it would dispose of the majority of comments by posters such as Eckstein, and thereby greatly reduce the deliberate polemicizing and historical distortion that is rampant here. I don't doubt but that that is the main reason why Eckstein is here in the first place. Certainly nothing he has said on HNN runs counter to such a hypothesis.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    I am not going to get involved in the discussion of Lipstat vs Irving, which I consider utterly irrevelant to a page with nearly 300 comments already, but I did little google research on Mr. Eckstein and the results require clarifcation on a prior remark of mine above.

    Apart from his incessant distortions of what he has written on this very page, and crass misattributions of what others have written, Eckstein is not a "fellow traveller" to the notorious and fundamentally unAmerican "neo-con" movement. He is a professional "card-carrying" member, and his behavior and remarks among the closest thing to "fascist" ever seen on HNN.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Eckstein, in your short and rude career on HNN you have probably posted more times than any other university professor, yet I don't find any articles on HNN by you. I doubt whether this is a coincidence.

    You are involved with the demagogical campaign led by Horrowitz et al to try to censor university professors, yet you abuse your own such position to launch deceit-ridden attacks on anyone running afoul of Likudnik Political Correctness. Such cowardly hypocrisy has nothing to do with any a peon such as me might write on an obscure website such as this.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Conflict is not only brewing, it is being served daily: In Afghanistan, in Iraq, on the West Bank, in Sudan, and everywhere vile murderous Islamic terrorists -pretending to be great warriors and heroes of nations- are aided and assisted by the pigheaded and pathological blunderings of the Cheney-Bush administration, which claims that its massively failed anti-terrorism campaign is a "war" which America and the world has no choice but fight using its arrogantly incompetent non-plans.

    Bush, and his apologia such as the article here, like to compare the Draft-Dodging Frat Boy to Churchill in the Battle of the Britain or FDR in his fireside chats. He is actually more like Mussoulini in Ethiopia. A still closer analogy would be Kaiser William II. The remaining difference being that the Kaiser wanted peace and did not need war to be re-appointed.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    I do not "hate" Cheney's tool


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    The "drawback", of course, Simon, is scarcely a single one of your hundreds of posts on HNN so far would pass muster on a site for genuine scholars of History.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    If you want true confessions, go ahead. Never mind the HNN rules you are the all time worst violater of. Tell us how long you've been battering your "significant other," and all about your hateful FEELINGS towards Moslems, and what History courses you ever took in your life.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Well Mr. W..
    Long time, no comment.

    Interesting theory you advance here.

    It is true, I think, that fascist-like aspects are involved.

    Consider:

    Many American Neo-cons, like Mussoulini and Hitler

    a) started out as "socialists"
    b) are pathological BSers and liars, if not skilled "Big Lie" broadcasters.
    c) are ready to betray their countrymen at the drop of a hat
    d) cannot tolerate the slightest criticism

    BUT, the real fascists of the 1920s,'30s and '40s also had considerable courage. Many were decorated veterans from World War I.

    The neo-con clowns of today (and I think the ones on this page are "fellow travellers" more than true practitioners & motivated more by phobias and prejudices than by bold ambition) are chickenhawks to the bone. Ever since the non-cakewalk to Baghdad, the non-discovery of Saddam's WMD, and their Quagmire Accomplished trumpeting, they have been in cover-up mode. "Islamofascist" is just the latest attempt at distraction from their monumental incompetence.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Okay, Eckstein. Enlighten us then on "Imperialism Theory." How exactly did capitalism reach its highest stage in 1916? For all its faults, HNN does fill some market niches, e.g. for people unwilling to put up with what Arthur Pap has called the "pathos of obscurity." But, after scores of HNN posts, your fire and brimstone have only impressed the choir, and you have exposed zero terrorists. Time for a new tack.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    On a website stuffed to the gills with egomaniac Likudnik rapers of history, an occasional anti-Israeli conspiracy theorist or Zionism-obsessed Arab is a welcome change of pace. Please shout your silly heads off at each other the way your idols do in every dust-clogged Mideast desert hell-hole. Real Americans, whenever they bother to pay attention, are not fooled. Take that into your solopsistic cocoon Simon and spin it into whatever tirade of crybaby insult retorts you wish. I could not care less what you think. You are dishonest to the core. Should you ever get a clue re basic historical reasoning and civilized discourse, I'll look forward to reading you on some website such as H-Net. You have the brains to be something of value. Pity about the morals.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    If official history departments were not choked with outdated 80 year old Marxist mumbo jumbo and post-modernist rot, HNN might have a run for its money. Here the BS is blatant and diversified rather served with a thick coating of monological philosphical pomposity. I think I finally get it, though: your kind of pathological rudeness is not tolerated at AHA and the like, so you need a venting outlet elsewhere. Not that I have anything against reading Schumpeter or Lenin, but there is more to understanding history than sophmoric haggling.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    ...is less inaccurate than calling it a jackrabbit, but still not very accurate, and still based on a fundamental intention to deceive, a below average IQ level, or an over-tolerance for Orwellian abuse of the English language.

    If Al Qaeda announced an ultimate goal of establishing a large moon colony to mine the millions of tons of tasty cheese deposited there, would Karl Rove, his followers in the White House, and his lackies on HNN insist on calling them Islamodairyfarmers?
    And would otherwise intelligent critics ape such nonsense?

    It is time to stop pussyfooting around with the liars and crooks running America's executive branch, and the ignorant cowards on Capitol Hill and in the news media who kowtow to these hypocritical serial-bunglers. It is time to stop catering to their attempts to cover up their reckless arrogant incompetence by trying to make great milennial dictators out of a bunch of scraggly murderers hiding in caves in Central Asia. I am also sick and tired of the endless narrowminded whining about 9-11-01, as if that disastrous failure of American intelligence, security, and goverance was a blanket excuse for endless idoicy and disgusting (I will resist the adjective fascist) jingoism in Washington DC. I have nothing for respect for the innocent victims and selfless rescuers in that tragedy, but it is also high time Americans got a clue about the rest of the world. Europe has suffered terrorist attacks for decades. The equivalent of a 9-11 slaughter happens in Iraq or Sudan monthly at least.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    nothing BUT "respect for the innocent victims" etc.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Paranoid and unfounded accusations: the last refuge of the intellectually lazy.
    I have not made the slightest pejorative remark about any religion. Go back to your neo-Wallersteinian mumbo jumbo, and sorely neglected, if not warped, Roman history, Eckstein, and leave the insult boards here to people not entrusted ('tis human to err) with tenured university instruction.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    I was making what is called an analogy, in order to show how phony and concocted the analogy between Bin Laden and Hitler is. "Perhaps we might try" using a dictionary?

    The issue of the bogus Rovian propaganda phrase "Islamofascist" has been discussed at great length on previous HNN pages, including by (that rarity on HNN) bonafide historians commenting WITHIN their fields of expertise. It is typically disingenous of the Big Liars on this website to suggest that it has not been addressed already, and massively, and not very directly by me at the top of this thread.


    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    (Calling on Crocker)


    john crocker - 10/8/2006

    NO it is not. You added qualifiers to my original question that subverted the purpose of the question. I asked you to remove those qualifiers.

    If you use these terms without pre-explanation the response would likely be quite different than casual usage of the term. The term Islamofascist is regularly used with no qualification. You argue that its use gives support to moderates and by extension brings them closer to us. I offered an analagous situation. Just as an experiment why don't you try casually using the terms I offered and observe the reactions you recieve. Feel free to explain afterward, but take an honest look at the initial response.

    tu quoque: a retort charging an adversary with being or doing what he criticizes in others
    Pointing out that the term you say is effective in one context would not likely be effective in an analagous contexts is not tu quoque in any meaningful sense.

    "You also seem to think there's no difference between a religious situation where there is a tiny radical fringe, and a religious situation where the radicals make up an enormous and substantial part of the religion."
    In this particularly context there is very little difference. Skinheads are a tiny fringe movement yet they are often referred to as fascists. The groups I mentioned are large enough to be of note and most people are familiar with them. They are large enough to have other epithets applied to them.

    I have not argued that the threat posed by the "Christianofascists" or "Judeofascists" is as great as that of the "Islamofascists." My argument is that none of these terms is constructive and none of them will win over religious moderates. We could try a little experiment right here on this board. I will wait for Yehudi to post on a related topic and will use the term "Judeofascist" in my reply to him and we can both watch the result. Do you seriously doubt what that result will be?


    E. Simon - 10/8/2006

    "Secular and moderate Muslims already exist. It is not necessary for Islam to have its own enlightenment. I think constructive engagement with moderates within Islam is more valuable in moving towards a more secular society than any label we choose to use on the extemists."

    On what or whose doctrinal authority would such individuals rely, Mr. Crocker? What standing does such authority - in which you seem to place such confidence - enjoy within Islam? Thanks for your consideration of these minor questions, Mr. Crocker.


    art eckstein - 10/7/2006

    Your response to my answering your question is to deny my information. You asked me a question; I answered it; you don't like the answer I'm giving you because it destroys your "tu quoque" argument.

    You also seem to think there's no difference between a religious situation where there is a tiny radical fringe, and a religious situation where the radicals make up an enormous and substantial part of the religion.

    To which I say, John: wake up. There is a HUGE difference in those situations.


    john crocker - 10/7/2006

    "My beliefs above about both Jews and Christians is not based merely on faith in them but on the Jews and Christians I personally know."
    Did you try using the terms with them? If you did, how did you couch it? An elaborate pre-explanation of your intent with an academic audience will doubtless get you a far different response than just using the label on a group. Try calling Dobson a Christianobigot, the "Bible Camp" Christians Christianofascists, or the radical settler movement in Israel Judeofascists without initial qualification and see what reaction you recieve from Christian and Jewish moderates. Try this with non-academics as well.

    Your argument above seems to rely on how many followers a movement has. How many supporters do you need before you can be called a fascist?

    The "Bible Camp" Christians who look to the Muslims laying down their lives for their beliefs and want Christians to be prepared to do the same are still a small group. How big does their movement need to be for them to be fascists?

    The radical settler movement in Israel that wants a return to rule by religious law is also a small group. How large must they grow to become fascists?

    I think these groups have more in common with each other than any of them have with historical fascism.


    art eckstein - 10/4/2006

    My beliefs above about both Jews and Christians is not based merely on faith in them but on the Jews and Christians I personally know. Since I'm Jewish, the former may not surprise you, but I also know plenty of committed Christians (including an entire group among the faculty at my state university), and I know how they would react..

    Art


    art eckstein - 10/3/2006

    John, I think that if there was a large violent movement among Jews, terrorists who intentionally targetted innocent civilians in, say, Britain and the U.S. with massive death-numbers, and with the aim of setting up a world-wide Jewish state, a state based on restoring Judaism as it was in the lst century B.C.,, that if outsiders called these people Judeofascists, the overwhelming majority of Jews would NOT be offended but would agree on that nomenclature, and work to eliminate such people.

    That, precisely, is the QUESTION we face with the Muslims. Are they really so touchy, so demanding that they NEVER be criticized by others (though God knows they dish out the criticism on others), that when we call a spade a spade among them this will make the moderates support extremists? Do you really think so little fo them? I do not. And I offer you the Jewish example as a parallel. On the other hand--if I'm wrong, then we REALLY have a problem with Muslims as a group and then we BETTER really face the reality of it. But I don't believe this. At least, not yet..

    Call me an optimist, but I also believe the Jewish example given above would hold for Christians as well. If such a situation existed among Christians (and of course, as with Jews, but not with Muslims, such a situation does not exist), the calling of such people Christian fascists or whatever by outsiders would not ferociously "anger" Christians at the others, and instead they would nod their heads in agreement and work to eliminate them. That's my belief, and I think your attempting to draw a parallel is extraordinarily off-base.

    Nor was the murder of van Gogh a simple hate crime, as you declare: it was SUPPORTED by many in the Muslim community in Holland, who believed he was righteously killed. When someone painted "Freedom of Speech! Freedom of Art!" on the wall where he was killed, the local mullahs PROTESTED--and the graffiti was removed by the government! Similarly with Redeker. These are not individual hate-crimes, any more than the Cartoon Jihad consisted of a multiplicity of individual incidents with no connection between them. John, it's part of a conscious campaign by Islamofascists to render Islam IMMUNE from criticism even in the West, via the use of ruthless terror against ANYONE who criticizes. To think that this is simply an individual hate-crime is extraoradinarily naive.

    We seem to be alone here, so there's no need to be testy. We are attempting to talk seriously about real issues.


    john crocker - 10/3/2006

    Do you think that labelling far right Christians and Jews as Christianofascists and Judeofascists is constructive and would help win over moderate Christians and Jews?

    The point of this question is not tu quoque, or at least not in the sense that you mean. The point of this question is that the answer is obvious that it would not either be constructive nor would it help win over moderates. There certainly are some Christian and Jewish groups that fit the broad characterization of fascism you use. These groups may be smaller and may not pose as great a danger to us now as the Islamic extremists, but that is not relevant to my point here. Labelling those groups Christianofascists and Judeofascists would not be constructive and would not help to win over moderate Jews and Christians. If you don't believe me try calling the extreme religious right Christianofascists and see how well that goes over in the moderate Christian community. Try calling the men who tried to bomb a Palestinian girls school and their supporters Judeofascists and see how well that plays with moderate Jews. I think you will find that you offend more than you encourage. That the point that you have so assiduously avoided. People tend to react negatively to their religion being hyphenated with abhorrent terms.

    Do you seriously believe that these terrorists pose as great a threat to the world now as the axis powers did to the world of 1938? Do you seriously believe that they have any realistic chance for global domination? That we are under a clear and present danger of global Islamic theocracy? They are a threat and need to be taken seriously but remain realistic.

    Re: Addendum
    What happened to van Gogh was tragic and people should be as upset about it as they are about any hate crime.


    art eckstein - 10/3/2006

    And don't you think, John, that people SHOULD be outraged about what happened to Theo van Gogh in Holland, and now what has happened to this teacher Redeker in France? Or do you think it's the government duty to keep them calm with their heads buried in the sand? What would be the impact in terms of the icnreased power of Muslim moderates if a million Frenchmen took to the streets in defense of Redeker's right to publish in Le Figero? What will be the impact on the increased power of the fanatics within the Muslim community if the French government's position is, "For God's sake let's not talk about this--and to hell with Redeker"?


    art eckstein - 10/3/2006

    Mr. Crocker, the situations are hugely different, and this "tu quoque" argument about Christianity and Judaism goes nowhere. There are no violent Jews blowing themselves up in Alexandria in Egypt to protest their loss of property there when forced to become refugees by Muslims 50 years ago, with hundreds of thousands of Jewish demonstrators in the streets supporting their murders, and streets being named after them. There are no Episcopalian terrorists flying planeloads of screaming civilians into the Kaaba. There are no Hindus calling for a world-wide Hindu state. ALL of that you will find in the Muslim community--not everyone, as I've repeatedly said, but enough people to be a very serious cause of concern. You need to see that the situation within Islam is sharply different from every other religious situation.

    You put yourself in the situation where you accept the warning of one of the main leaders of British Islam: "Stop implying that we Muslims have a special problem with being violent or you'll be faced with 2,000,000 terrorists in Britain, 700,000 of them in London."

    a. I'm not making up that quote.
    b. THINK about what it means.
    c. Daveed Gartenstein-Ross and Ayan Hirsi Ali, representing a moderate Islam, are all for calling the terrorist-elements bad names and say that the contempt shown by the west for such people strengthens the moderates, while respect shown by the west for such people--and that includes calling them Jihadists (which is a POSITIVE term in Islam)--only strengthens them.


    BTW: Mein Kampf is a best-selling book in the Muslim world (transl into Arabic? "Jihadi"--I'm not making this up either), while have you done what I asked and google-imaged "Hezbollah salute"?

    Do I think the American people need to be made MORE aware of the situation, and that they need to stop being told to politically-correct pussy-foot around it? Yes, I do. The first step to dealing with a problem is to recognize its existence and give it a name that is consonant with its seriousnes. Myown belief is that face today a civilizational challenge similar to that of the Nazis. I understand that you may not agree.

    Art E.


    john crocker - 10/3/2006

    No, my objection is both intellectual and political as I have detailed repeatedly.

    I think the American people should respond logically in their and the worlds interest. When fear and divisiveness dominate the discourse that is not what tends to happen. Do you think Americans need to be stirred up because they won't come to the decision you want unless they are stirred up or do you simply believe that Americans are incapable of making rational decisions based on the evidence?

    You have thus far provided no credible evidence to support your contention that this specific term helps moderates or bothers extremists. That it bothers Omar is far from sufficient proof.

    Again and again I ask you with no answer thus far:
    Do you think that labelling far right Christians and Jews as Christianofascists and Judeofascists is constructive and would help win over moderate Christians and Jews?
    Do you not have an answer or are you afraid of what your answer would mean to your argument?


    art eckstein - 10/3/2006

    In other words, Mr. Crocker, your objection to the phrase and the concept "Islamofascism" is political, not intellectual. But does it go beyond "I hate Bush, I HATE BUSH, I HATE BUSH?" That is, is it more serious than that?

    Is your issue that you don't want the American people stirred up? But why SHOULDN'T they be stirred up? Have you forgotten 9/11? SHOULDN'T they be stirred up when they read about what happened to Mr. Redeker, as I posted above? You can't win a war unless the enemy is fingered for what he is--and figured darkly as THIS enemy so easily should be. My own outrageous view is that Bush has not done enough to show the American public the evil nature of what we are facing in the Islamofascists or whatever you wish to call them.

    Or you worried about "all Muslims" getting tarred with the phrase? But they are not. The only Muslims who really object to the phrase are people such as Omar, who really IS an Islamofascist, as his discussion of ideology has made clear.

    Art Eckstein


    john crocker - 10/3/2006

    Secular and moderate Muslims already exist. It is not necessary for Islam to have its own enlightenment. I think constructive engagement with moderates within Islam is more valuable in moving towards a more secular society than any label we choose to use on the extemists.

    I have no objection to using a term for the terrorists that they are upset by, but the term Islamofascist in current US usage is meant for a domestic audience not for those it labels and in this context it does more to propagandize than to inform.


    john crocker - 10/3/2006

    I am not aware of Daveed Gartenstein-Ross's back story, but a quick google search reveals he is a writer for the weekly standard and front page. In short he is a member of the far right, not a moderate. Ayan Hirsi Ali I am more familiar with and she is much more about personal aggrandizement than any issue.

    "The idea that there are thousands of Jewish or Christian violent extremists, with millions and millions of supporters and sympathizers to violent actions against innocents on a huge scale, and that all these people are being kept in check soley (and somehow) by secular society--that's just absurd. What's your evidence?"
    Must you always construct a straw man version of my argument to respond to? The secular societies moderate the religious within them by many means, most of them insidious (def'n 2). The children of the religious are bombarded by the messages of the secular society in which they live and its ideas of what is acceptable and what is not. When the religious withdraw from society you see things like "Jesus Camp."

    As for the British poll, how was the question framed and when was it taken?

    Where is your evidence that extremist and terrorist are not negative terms? I have yet to see any of them self identify as either. On jihadist you may have a point, how about using the term false jihadist? From my limited understanding of Islam, Osama and the other terrorist leaders do not have authority to call for jihad. All those who respond to their call are not legitimate jihadists.

    You also have shown no evidence that the term Islamofascist bothers the extremists it is meant to label nor have you shown evidence that this particular term strengthens moderates. That is bothers Omar is not sufficient.

    In current usage the term Islamofascist is used for a domestic audience rather than the terrorists it is meant to label.

    The terrorists use their religion as justification for their actions, just as religius people who employ radical violence typically do.

    We do need constructive engagement with Islamic moderates and their criticism of extremists is much more useful than ours when attempting to marginalize extremists. Again you have presented no evidence that use of these specific terms helps moderates in any way.

    ONCE AGAIN I ASK YOU.
    Do you think that labelling far right Christians and Jews as Christianofascists and Judeofascists is constructive and would help win over moderate Christians and Jews?

    If any comment here gets you so hot under the collar that you feel compelled to respond in kind, perhaps you need to take a break. This should be fun.


    Don Williams - 10/1/2006

    Howard Dean is one of those who are trying to halt the fascism which is taking over the United States.

    That fascism is growing because corruption within the national Democratic leadership is allowing Bush to undercut Constitutional checks and balances without publicity, exposure or real challenge.

    The corrupt Democratic leaders in Congress are failing for the same reasons that the Social Democrats of Weimar Germany failed to halt Hitler: its hard to lead when the common citizen rightfully hold you in deep contempt.

    Page 7 of the New York Times article explains what Dean is trying to do:
    -----------
    “That would be true if we thought we had to be centralized,” Dean replied, raising an index finger. In fact, he went on, the Democratic Party needed to be decentralized, so that grass-roots Democrats built relationships with their state parties but had little to do with Washington at all. “State parties are not the intermediaries,” he said. “If I get them trained right, they’re the principals.”

    In other words, I suggested, he was talking about “devolving” the national Democratic Party, in the same way that Reagan and other conservative ideologues had always talked about devolving the federal government and returning power to the states. “That’s what I want to do,” Dean said firmly.

    This struck me as a radical idea, and one that went to the heart of what Howard Dean is really thinking. Now that Dean has wrested control of the national party, his real agenda, it seems, is to radically reduce its relevance, in the same way that Grover Norquist and his crowd of conservative activists talk about “starving the beast” of the federal government they now control. Once you understand that, it’s easy to understand why Dean isn’t troubled by having less cash in the bank than people think he should, and why he isn’t concerned about quantifying the success of the state parties he’s financing. In Dean’s mind, every dollar that goes to Alaska or Mississippi, or even to the Virgin Islands, even if it isn’t perfectly utilized, is a dollar that isn’t going into the pockets of the Washington syndicate of admen and pollsters who seem to profit more from each election cycle. And that is an end in itself. By shipping the party’s money out of Washington as fast as he can collect it, Dean is trying to finish what he started three years ago — namely, the slow dismantling of the Democratic establishment. "


    Don Williams - 10/1/2006

    The New York Times article re Howard Dean's attempt to remold the Democratic Party is here:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/01/magazine/01dean.html

    The Times' question: Is Howard Dean willing to destroy the Democratic Party in order to save it? is hilarious if you know how Dean was cornholed in the 2004 Democratic primary by another of the Democratic Party's "wealthy donors". Look at the
    sequence of events:
    -------------
    j) November 2000-2002: Another large Democratic donor is billionaire S Daniel Abraham of West Palm Beach, Florida --who donates over $2.3 million to the Democrats in 2000-2002. [9]
    Mr Abraham has long been a strong advocate for Israel in US foreign policy circles via his Center for Middle East Peace and Economic Cooperation [10]

    k) March 18,2003: S Daniel Abraham donates $2,000 to Howard Dean's campaign [11]

    l) September 11, 2003: Howard Dean receives a storm of criticism from the Democratic leadership after saying that the US needs to be evenhanded in the Israel-Palestinian issue [12]

    k) November 2003-Feb 2004: Howard Dean campaign is destroyed in Iowa primary by barrage of attack ads from a mysterious group "Americans for Jobs and Healthcare". Leader of group refuses to disclose funding sources. Disclosure to FEC not required until end of quarter. [13]

    l) March 2004: FEC report indicates that attack group "Americans for Jobs" received $1 million in funding, with the largest donation --$200,000 -- coming from S Daniel Abraham.[13]

    m) November 2004: Instead of $Millions, S Daniel Abraham only gives the Democrats $81,500 in the 2004 election [11]

    n) October 2004: John Kerry attempts to criticize Bush's invasion of Iraq but can only make incoherent, strangled sounds.

    o) Jan 2005: Capital Hill Democratic insiders are aghast when Howard Dean is put in as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee during a revolt by grassroots activists in the party. (It's easier to find out the membership of Al Qaeda than it is to find out who's on the "Democratic" Committee. )

    p) One Year Later on Jan 30, 2006: Roll Call reports that "Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill are privately bristling over Howard Dean’s management of the Democratic National Committee and have made those sentiments clear after new fundraising numbers showed he has spent nearly all the committee's cash and has little left to support their efforts to gain seats this cycle. ".[14] The specific war chest numbers are Democrats $5.5 million, Republicans $34 million.[15]

    ---------
    References:

    [9] http://www.opensecrets.org/indivs/index.asp , enter "Abraham, S Daniel"
    and 2000,2002

    [10] http://www.motherjones.com/news/special_reports/mojo_400/1_abraham.html

    [11] http://www.opensecrets.org/indivs/index.asp , enter "Abraham, S
    Daniel" and 2004

    [12] http://www.cbs2.com/politics/politicsla_story_254070009.html

    [13] http://www.public-i.org/report.aspx?aid=194&;;sid=200

    [14] http://www.rollcall.com/issues/51_74/news/11931-1.html

    [15] http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/news/politics/13751602.htm?source=rss&;;channel=kansascity_politics


    Don Williams - 10/1/2006

    Bush's Middle East policy makes a lot more sense when you realize that he's merely playing in a sandbox to court men like Haim Saban.

    Bush probably cracks up when the news media refers to the Iraq morass. From
    Bush and Cheney's viewpoint, Iraq is a priceless political victory. To see why, look at the events leading up to the Iraq invasion:
    -----------
    a) November 2000- 2002: The biggest campaign donor to the Democratic Party is Israeli billionaire Haim Saban, who contributes $12.7 million in the
    2000 and 2002 campaign cycles. (His wife Cheryl's donations raises the total to
    $13.7 million) See Reference [1] below

    b) May 2002: Haim Saban funds the "Saban Center for Middle East Policy" at the Brookings Institute. One of the four stated research areas is "the implications of regime change in Iraq". Another task is providing "future policymakers with a better understanding of the complexities of the Middle East and the process of developing effective policies to deal with
    them"[2]

    c) June 30,2002: St Petersburg Times notes that "leading congressional Democrats were concerned that Jewish voters and donors were reassessing their relationship "with the Democratic Party given Bush's strong pro-Israel stance [3]

    d) September 10, 2002: During a conference at the University of Virginia, high level intelligence adviser to the White House, Philip Zelikow, states: "Why would Iraq attack America or use nuclear weapons against us? I'll tell you what I think the real threat (is) and actually has been since 1990 -- it's the threat against Israel," [4]

    e) December 19, 2002: In a Los Angeles Times op-ed "Lock and Load", the Directors of Haim Saban's Center for Middle East Policy ,Martin Indyk and Kenneth Pollack, state "Saddam Hussein has failed to come clean. His denial of possessing any weapons of mass destruction makes that clear ... As former U.S. government officials who had access to the most sensitive U.S. intelligence on Iraq, we are well aware of Iraq's continued efforts to retain and enhance its weapons capabilities" They then advocate launching a war on Iraq.[5]

    f) January 17, 2003: Atlanta Jewish Times notes that " pro-Israel interests have contributed $41.3 million" in campaign donations over the past decade, with more than two thirds going to the Democrats. Article also notes that Republicans are making a strong push to court those big donors. [6]

    g) June 20, 2003: In a New York Times column, "Saddam's Bombs? We'll Find
    Them", Saban Center Director Kenneth Pollack tries to excuse his earlier claims re Iraq WMDs (see (e) above ) by stating "Where are Iraq's weapons of mass destruction? It's a good question, and unfortunately we don't yet have a good answer... In any event, the mystery will be solved in good time; the search for Iraq's nonconventional weapons program has only just begun." [7]

    h) September 2004: John Kerry attempts to criticize the Bush war on Iraq but can only make incoherent, strangled sounds.

    i) November 2004: Instead of $12.7 million, Haim Saban's campaign donations
    in the 2004 election only total $84,000 -- and $2,000 goes to George W Bush, in case
    the Democrats don't get the message.[8]

    ******
    References:
    [1]http://www.opensecrets.org/indivs/index.asp , enter "Saban, Haim" and select election cycles 2000,2002

    [2]http://www.brookings.edu/comm/news/20020509saban.htm

    [3] http://www.sptimes.com/2002/06/30/Columns/Jewish_voters_noticin.shtml

    [4] http://www.ipsnews.net/interna.asp?idnews=23083

    [5] http://www.brook.edu/views/op-ed/indyk/20021219.htm

    [6] http://www.atljewishtimes.com/archives/2003/011703cs.htm

    [7] http://www.brookings.edu/views/op-ed/pollack/20030620.htm

    [8] http://www.opensecrets.org/indivs/index.asp (enter "Saban, Haim" and
    choose 2004 )


    Don Williams - 10/1/2006

    1)The New York Times has major shortcomings but even a blind pig can find an acorn now and then.

    2) In an article today re Howard Dean's attempts to reform the Democratic Party, the Times finally revealed publicly what has been obvious to the intelligent for some time:
    ---------
    "The D.N.C. quit doing much of anything in conservative rural states, and the party’s presidential candidates didn’t bother stopping by on their way to more promising terrain. Every four years, the [Democratic] national party became obsessed with “targeting” — that is, focusing all its efforts on 15 or 20 winnable urban states and pounding them with expensive TV ads. The D.N.C.’s defining purpose was to raise the money for those ads. The national party became, essentially, a service organization for a few hundred wealthy donors, who treated it like their private political club. "
    ------------
    3) Of Course, the Times would be the last to mention is that some of those "wealthy donors" are strong advocates of Israel --of what Mearsheimer and Walt call "The Israel Lobby". Although Mearsheimer (University of Chicago) and Walt (Harvard) had to go overseas to publish their article.

    4) As I've noted before, Neocon propaganda about the "War on Terror" has such bizarre disconnects with reality because it is really being used as a deceitful cover for something else: a war between American elites for power and ,ultimately, for money.

    That is why Bush invaded Iraq (seen as a threat to Israel by the Likud) and left Al Qaeda free. That is why
    Bush hyped an ominious threat to the USA while leaving our borders wide open for years -- acting only recently when conservative grassroots groups grew restless over the anomaly between Bush's words and his deeds.

    5) Bush, Cheney and Karl Rove are trying to seduce major financiers of the Democratic Party --who are also strong advocates for Israel --over to the Republican Party in order to cripple the Democrats. The stakes are huge --who receives $Trillions in tax cuts , who receives $Trillions from the public Treasury, and whether the Rich have to pay off Bush's $Trillions in debt with higher taxes or whether that debt is paid off by cutting Social Security and letting the elderly starve and die prematurely from lack of medical care.

    6) Democratic leaders in Washington know what Bush is doing. But they are caught in a disconnect between the values of their grassroots citizens --values they publicly endorse -- and the desires of the wealthy men who pay them. That's why whenever John Kerry tried to criticize Bush re Iraq, Kerry could only make choked, strangling sounds.

    Kerry and other Democratic leaders in Washington cannot criticize Bush for whoring for Israel because they know they have been whores for Israel for decades.

    7)That's why Iraq is invaded for nonexistent and elusively defined
    "weapons of mass destruction" while Israel's 80+ nuclear warheads have been ignored for years.

    8) Given such huge stakes, political men who have never been within 500 miles of an active battlefield can be cavalier about the loss of 2500+ US soldiers in Iraq -- and the permanent crippling of thousands more.


    E. Simon - 10/1/2006

    'Tis all he's capable of; as truly "original" as he fancies himself.


    J. Feuerbach - 10/1/2006

    Mr. Friedman,

    I'm glad that you brought up the issue of secularism. Is there a place for secularism in the Arab world? Can Islam and democracy share the same bed? Can the separation between organized religion and state be maintained in the Arab world? Did the Bush-Cheney administration do their homework before deciding that it was time to transform the world by exporting values are very dear to most Western democracies? Or is the current US foreign policy delusional in nature?

    If you review Bush's speeches since 9/11, the US is in the business of changing the world in its own image and likeness. There's consensus in this administration that the American creed --belief in the constitution, law and democracy-- can be exported in its entirety and without significant adjustments to Iraq and other Arab countries.



    art eckstein - 10/1/2006

    More ad hominem attacks.


    art eckstein - 10/1/2006

    That's right, Clarke--don't get involved in the facts, as in the dispute with Williams where I've caught him in gross anti-semitism as well as in attempts to mislead the readership (i.e., Penguin got in "late in the game" in paying Prof. Evans), while he defends the indefensible Holocaust-denier irving..

    Just spew out more ad hominem attacks.


    art eckstein - 10/1/2006

    Oh, I just can't resist:

    Omar, if you'd ever bother to READ carefully, you would see that it was not ME who used the phrase about "chicks showing their tits"--that was Feuerbach! He was in fact chiding me for being too modest and indirect in expression! This was because of the way I had phrased what the undergraduate director urged her undergraduate girls do.


    art eckstein - 10/1/2006

    To judge from what Brian Whittaker says, Omar, it ain't ME whose obsessed with sex! :)


    art eckstein - 10/1/2006

    And if you're interested in obsessions with sex , folks, take a look at THIS--from the LEFTWING Guardian.


    Middle East dispatch
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Seminal questions

    As scholars question the place of nudity in marriage, Islamic clerics are hotly debating exactly what sexual practices are acceptable, writes Brian Whitaker

    Tuesday January 17, 2006
    Guardian Unlimited


    Veiled Muslim brides wait for the start of their mass wedding. Photograph: Ali Jarkekji/Reuters
     
    A curious religious debate is raging in Egypt. The question is: should you keep your clothes on when having sex?

    It began when Dr Rashad Khalil, an expert on Islamic law from al-Azhar university in Cairo warned that being completely naked during intercourse invalidates a marriage. His ruling was promptly dismissed by other scholars, including one who argued that "anything that can bring spouses closer to each other" should be permitted.

    Another religious scholar suggested it was OK for married couples to see each other naked as long as they don't look at the genitals. To avoid problems in that area, he recommended having sex under a blanket.

    It's not entirely clear whether Dr Khalil has considered the full implications of his edict. Doesn't the prospect of all those virile baton-wielding Egyptian riot policemen (for example) doing it in their boots and black uniforms sound just a little bit kinky? But we'll let that pass.


    Article continues
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Unlike Christianity, which tends to be squeamish about sex, Islam has a long tradition of talking about it openly. Up to a point, this is much more healthy. While Catholic priests are enjoined to remain celibate, Muslim clerics are expected to marry and indulge heartily with their wives in the pleasures of the flesh. In many parts of the Muslim world, especially where folk are poor and uneducated, the local imam is the person many turn to for guidance on matters relating to sex and marriage.

    Over the last few years, hundreds of Islamic "fatwa" websites have also sprung up on which clerics - often with uncertain qualifications - answer all manner of questions that have been sent to them by email, including questions about sex. Some of their answers about what "good Muslims" should or shouldn't do in bed are very explicit, so readers under 18 should stop here. While some of the advice is sensible, a lot of it is completely daft, so remaining readers over the age of 18 may wish to get a second opinion before putting it into practice.

    Actually, it had never occurred to me that Muslims might be required to keep their clothes on during their most intimate moments until a few months ago when I was browsing through IslamOnline, the website supervised by the prominent (and controversial) Qatar-based cleric, Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

    Delivering a fatwa on oral sex, 79-year-old Dr Qaradawi describes it as a disgusting western practice, resulting from westerners' habit of "stripping naked during sexual intercourse". But he continues: "Muslim jurists are of the opinion that it is lawful for the husband to perform cunnilingus on his wife, or a wife to perform the similar act for her husband (fellatio) and there is no wrong in doing so. But if sucking leads to releasing semen, then it is makruh (blameworthy), but there is no decisive evidence (to forbid it) ... especially if the wife agrees with it or achieves orgasm by practising it."

    On this issue, Dr Qaradawi's views are more permissive than those of several other clerics on the internet. One states that oral sex is definitely forbidden, adding that "this hideous practice will draw the anger of Allah". Another, asked if oral sex is permitted, replies: "I don't know what is oral sex, please define it."

    Masturbation is generally frowned upon by Islamic scholars, though they disagree about how sinful it is. The Inter-Islam website describes it as an indecent practice that has "crept into the youngsters of today". Masturbation has become prevalent, the website says, because of the modern tendency for young people to marry later (contrary to the advice of the Prophet). As a result, they feel a need "to fulfil their carnal desires but ... cannot do so in the normal way, ie sexual intercourse". Islamic Voice describes masturbation as an "abominable and wicked act" which is forbidden in Islam. "Its harms are great and it has disastrous consequences as established by doctors."

    The "proven" medical effects of masturbation - which, of course, include damage to the eyesight - were once listed by Abd al-Aziz bin Baz, the late Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, and his list is reproduced on numerous Islamic websites. According to bin Baz, masturbation causes disruption of the digestive system, inflammation of the testicles, damage to the spine ("the place from which sperm originates"), and "trembling and instability in some parts of the body like the feet". In addition, there is a weakening of the "cerebral glands" leading to decreased intellect and even "mental disorders and insanity". Furthermore, "due to constant ejaculation, the sperm no more remains thick and dense as it normally occurs in males". This results in sperm which is not "mighty enough" to make a woman pregnant or produces children who are "more prone to disease and illness".

    Other scholars argue that masturbation is basically forbidden but may be permitted if the person is unmarried or masturbates in order to avoid a more serious sin such as adultery, or if the masturbation is to release "sexual tension" rather than to fulfil "sexual desire". In a fatwa for IslamOnline, Sheikh Mustafa al-Zarqa says: "I conclude that the general principles of sharia [Islamic law] go against this habit, because it is not the normal way of fulfilling sexual desire ... it is a deviation - and that is enough to condemn it, even though this act does not fall under the category of absolute prohibition."

    There is generally more consensus among scholars on the question of kissing. Males and females should not kiss unless they are related by blood or marriage. Same-sex kissing, on the other hand, is allowed as long as it is done without "lust" and avoids the person's mouth. Hands and cheeks are the preferred places to kiss. The forehead is also good because the Prophet reportedly once gave a man a smacker between the eyes.

    In this context, the ethics of kiss-of-life resuscitation are considered by IslamOnline. The website quotes Dr Ahmad Muhammad Kan'an, head of the infectious diseases department at the Primary Medical Care Administration in the eastern region of Saudi Arabia: "The kiss of life is legally permissible because it is a means of resuscitation, if Allah wills. Yet, it goes without saying that it is impermissible unless necessary. So, if it is certain that the victim has already died, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation becomes impermissible, for there is no necessity in such a case." While administering the kiss of life, IslamOnline adds, rescuers should be careful to do it with "neither lust nor pleasure".

    There is much disagreement on Islamic websites about anal sex between men and women. Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the highest-ranking Shia cleric in Iraq, says it is "strongly undesirable", but permissible if the wife agrees. This seems to be quite a common view, though many Sunni clerics maintain that consent is irrelevant. "Anal sex is a grave sin and is completely forbidden, regardless of whether the wife agrees to it or not," one says.

    The most common religious objection to anal sex is that it frustrates the main purpose of marriage - to produce children - and the same objection is applied to masturbation. "Islam strictly forbids the waste of seminal fluid," one website says.

    It is precisely to avoid having too many children that some Muslims practice anal sex. One man, writing to the Islamic Q&A website, says that his wife doesn't have any problem with it. "I think this is the best way of family planning instead of using condoms," the man writes, though he adds that many of his friends have told him otherwise. "People are confusing me so please tell me what to do." Mufti Ebrahim Desai replies: "The futile excuse of it being better than a contraceptive doesn't carry any weight. If you are justified in using a contraceptive, then there are many different options on the market which could be adopted, instead of this hideous practice."

    Although Muslim scholars regard pregnancy as the primary goal of sex and marriage, they are generally more pragmatic than the Roman Catholic church about family planning. Contraception is allowed, though the rules can be rather complicated.

    Shia clerics often seem to be more flexible in sexual matters than Sunnis. For example, "temporary marriage" is a Shia tradition which in effect legalises prostitution. Sunni clerics, especially those influenced by Saudi Wahhabism, like to assert their authority by forbidding anything that might be remotely pleasurable.

    Much of the discussion is sadly reminiscent of the old Christian debate about the number of angels that can dance on a pinhead, but sex is only one part of the problem. The current fashion for online fatwas has created an amazingly legalistic approach to Islam as scholars - some of whom have only a tenuous grip on reality - seek to regulate all aspects of life according to their own interpretation of the scriptures. It is much harder to find any discussion on Muslim websites of matters that some would say form the basic substance of religion, such as the nature of love and spiritual experiences.

    Email
    brian.whitaker@guardian.co.uk


    And HEY, Omar, don't chop MY head off! This guy Brian Whitaker wrote it!








    Don Williams - 10/1/2006

    In reviewing my post above, I've noticed that one of the quotes I included from Lipstadt's book gives
    a misleading impression if read just with the other excerpt I quoted.

    To clarify:

    The quote begins: "Shortly thereafter, Helena Peacock , Penguin's
    general counsel, inquired about the indemnification clause in the contract I had signed..."

    The "Shortly thereafter" was referring to the time period after Irving filed his lawsuit in Sept 1996
    and several months after Lipstadt had answered Penguin's questions about her sources.

    The timeline as best as I can glean from Lipstadt's book is:
    a) Sept 1995: Penguin notifies Lipstadt that Irving may be considering a lawsuit
    b) Late 1995 -Summer 1996: Penguin sends Lipstadt questions about the sources upon which Lipstadt based her depiction of Irving
    c) Sept 1996: Penguin notified Lipstadt that Irving has filed suit
    d) Shortly thereafter: Penguin asks about indemnification clause in Lipstadt's contract


    art eckstein - 10/1/2006

    Omar, I was referring to YOUR sex obsession--both times. It was not an insult aimed at Sharia--but you.


    E. Simon - 10/1/2006

    In other words you only answer questions if the answers make you look good. Assuming you honestly have nothing to hide about what you think or know, that would mean that, failing a campaign of deliberate ignorance, you also have no room for self-improvement of any kind or intellectual stripe whatsoever. It must be nice to be so perfect.


    art eckstein - 10/1/2006

    Sigh.

    1. It was David Irving who initiated the lawsuit, HE was the attacker not the attacked, and his purpose was the prevention of the publication of a book--a book in which he was mentioned ONLY in passing. The lawsuit was thus purely voluntary on his part, his choice when he was barely mentioned in the book, and the penalty he was asking for was atomic. That was in 1996.

    2. Williams and I were discussing who paid Evans. He said Jewish billionaires did. I said it was Penguin. Eventually, Williams admitted it was Penguin but then said THIS:
    "Penguin ultimately agreed to pick up the tab for Evans research but that was pretty late in the game --not until May 1998."

    So, readers, the issue was who picked up the tab for Evanss' research, and Williams says, yes, it was Penguin, but only late in the game. But Evans was only contacted by Lipstadt's lawyers in December 1997, only went to work in January 1998, and was paid by Lipstadt's people only for five months, and then after May 1998 by Penguin, with work continuing for another FOURTEEN months before the report was complete. Now--is that Penguin paying Evans "only late in the game" or is it Penguin paying Evans from a point five months into the project out of 19 months on the project?

    3. As for ignoring the rest of Williams' points--given the way Williams has ignored everything I pointed out that was vile in his original Sept. 29 post which I printed here, at the top of the thread, I don't care who was helping Lipstadt defend herself against a lawsuit. Whoever it was, that cannot be portrayed as an attack by Jewish billionaires on a an innocent independent writer. It was Irving who was attacking Lipstadt. He didn't have to, he was barely mentioned in her book. And Williams-- despite Irving bringing this lawsuit under the very advantageous circumstances of British libel law, HE LOST THE CASE AND THE JUDGE RULED THAT LIPSTADT'S CHARACTERIZATION OF IRVING WAS CORRECT. Therefore, you think it would have been a GOOD thing if she'd had to surrender to Irving for lack of money, do you?

    4. In any case, the issue was whether--to put it bluntly--Evans was a gentile prostitute for Jews, who is STILL getting paid off by Jews for his services, via the publication of his "shit" on the Third Reich, to quote Mr. Williams. That was Williams' charge against Evans, if you go back to where this debate originated: and that is what we are debating. So I quote (with a couple of comments) from that original posting by Williams, so we can be clear what we are talking about:

    "Could you please stop lying, Mr Eckstein?? (#98599)

    by Don Williams on September 29, 2006 at 6:12 PM.

    What follows is DIRECT QUOTATION:

    "...2) What I SAID was that "When a historian comes under attack in an effort funded by a billionaire, it attracts my interest".

    "I personally think there are many Jewish intellectuals who would cut their throat before they would try to defend Deborah Lipstadt's scholarship.

    "3) Which is probably why billionaire Steven Spielberg had to pay gentile historian Richard Evans to attack
    Irving's history. [READER, PLEASE NOTE THE LAST SENTENCE.] The idea of Evans doing such a critique is hilarious to anyone who has read Evans' "The Coming of the Third Reich". Strangely enough, Evans had no difficulty in getting that lucrative piece of shit published. [READER, PLESE NOTE THE LAST SENTENCE.]

    "4) Hardly a "Jewish conspiracy" --except to closet anti-Semites. Hardly even a conspiracy --more like commonplace , mutually beneficial logrolling. But if you desperately need to create a conspiracy, at least call it a Holocaust Industry conspiracy. An industry from which Spielberg has indirectly grown rich..." [READER, PLEASE NOTE THE UGLY IMPLICATIONS OF THE LAST TWO SENTENCES.]

    By the way, at the end of the trial Irving was assessed 2 MILLION pounds in court costs--and, surprise, he has never paid a dime though we are five years on.

    Give it up, Williams. You've lost.


    art eckstein - 10/1/2006

    I have apologized for an irritated remark on my part--though Omar had thrown literally DOZENS of vile insults at me before I responded in kind, notice that Omar can focus on, is only blazingly conscious of, my one response. That is instructive.

    So--this is his answer again: Omar refuses to answer my legitimate and reasonable questions, which are based on well-known facts. He just throws more insults.

    Under these circumstances, I take this to be a Fifth-Amendment response: "I refuse to answer on the grounds that it might incriminate me."

    Have you researched the Mt. Scopus Massacre yet, Omar--you know, the one you doubted ever occurred?

    And have you asked your Hebollah friends why they do the fascist salute? Just asking...


    Don Williams - 10/1/2006

    1)Penguin was "late in the game" because Irving's suit was filed in 1996, NOT in 1998. As I explicitly
    showed above, Lipstadt notes
    that Penguin responded in 1996 by pointing out that her contract freed them from having to support her legally. She notes the deep concern
    she and her lawyer had that Penguin would settle with Irving and leave her hanging in the breeze.

    2) If Penguin was willing to finance the fight "early in the game" then why did Anthony Julius and his law firm have to work pro bono for so long? Why did Rabbi Friedman have to launch the "quiet" fund raising campaign among billionaires like Steven Spielberg in order to raise $1.6 MILLION?

    What does Lipstadt say was the reason for Penguin finally agreeing in May 1998 to pick up the tab for experts like Evans --several months after Evans and his researcher had started work?

    3) You also duck my other point -- if
    Lipstadt had done sufficient work to justify her characterization of Irving in 1993, then why was Evan's research necessary? Didn't Penguin drag their feet in supporting Lipstadt for two years because when they looked at Lipstadt's evidence -- the footnotes in her book --, they discovered it was dreck?

    An excerpt from page 27 of Lipstadt's book:
    "Penguin's initial letter was followed by additional inquiries from their lawyers about the sources upon which I had based my critique of Irving. Then, inexplicably, this correspondence ceased."

    ha ha ha. It's not inexplicable at all -- if Lipstadt pricked up her ears, she might have heard oaths of "Oh SHIT!!!" echo across the Atlantic Ocean from Penguin's corporate office.

    4) How did Penguin respond to Lipstadt's
    "sources"? Lipstadt notes:
    ---------
    "Shortly thereafter, Helena Peacock, Penguin's general counsel, inquired about the indemnification clause in the contract I had signed with the Free Press, the American publisher of my book. At first, I wasn't sure what she meant, but an inspection of my contract revealed that I had agreed that, should my book provoke legal action, the Free Press could essentially leave me on my own."
    -----
    The quality of Lipstadt's "sources" was what I discussed with Sara Salzman in October 2004.

    5) Didn't Penguin come on board ONLY after Evans and his two researchers in 1998 had mounted a crash effort and constructed a POST-HOC case to defend some of Lipstadt's claims and opinions?

    But if Evan's work was not started until 1998, what historical review/evidence had Lipstadt and her backers done that justified the pressure exerted on US publishers circa 1994-95 to not publish Irving's work? A campaign that led Irving to file suit in 1996.

    6) PS I will explain why I think Evans' book is a piece of crap in a later post. I think it hilarious that you appear to think Evans book is validated simply because it has been published and praised by the same publishing system whose due diligence published and praised Irving's and Lipstadt's works.






    art eckstein - 10/1/2006

    Answer: Omar refuses to answer my legitimate and reasonable questions, which are based on well-known facts. He just throws more insults.

    Under these circumstances, I take this to be a Fifth-Amendment response: "I refuse to answer on the grounds that it might incriminate me."


    art eckstein - 10/1/2006

    That should be:

    "Essay Critical of Islam Leaves Teacher on the Run."

    The story explains that a French high school teacher, Robert Redeker, is under threat from Islamist death squads for publishing an article on Islam he publishe in Le Figaro on Sept. 19 in which he called the Koran "a book of incredible violence" and Mohammed "a merciless warlord, a looter, a butcher of Jews and a polygamist.

    And of course it's P.M. de Villepin...

    And: "I will have to move homes and live somewhere else, where..."


    art eckstein - 10/1/2006

    From Reuters, Oct. 1, 2006:

    "Essay Critical of Islam Leaves Teacher on the Run."

    The story explains that a French high school teacher, Robert Redeker, is under threat from Islamists death squads for publishin an article on Islam he publishe in Le Figaro on Sept. 19 in which he called the Koran "a book of incredible violence" and Mohammed "a merciless warlord, a looter, a butcher of Jews and a polybamist."

    Redeker now has to be moved from safe house to safe house every two days by the French police. Prime Minister de Ville pin said the threats against Mr. Redeker, who teaches philosophy in a suburb of Toulouse, "Intolerable."
    Redeker says, "I will have to mvoe homes and live somewhere else,w here I will now be forced to remain anonymous in my own country. The Islamists have succeeded in punishing me on French territory as if I were guilty of a crime of opinion."


    Mr. Crocker, what would you call this except FASCIST TERROR?

    It's in fact the same sort of tactics the fascists in Italy used against their journalist opponents.


    art eckstein - 10/1/2006

    Evans in the end was paid by Penguin Books and no one else. That's the statement of Penguin's lawyer.

    May 1998 was NOT "late in the game" for Penguin to start paying Evans. Evans did not begin work on the research until January 1998. The report was not COMPLETED until July 1999. Figure out the chronology, please.


    E. Simon - 10/1/2006

    "Most Christians and Jews live in secular societies that moderate the behavior of their fundamentalists. The problematic difference is one of a primarily secular society and a primarily religious society, not Christian or Jewish society and Muslim society."


    You've hit on a key distinction, Mr. Crocker; one that obviates your other questions about labelling extremist Christians and Jews. There are historical events that led to the development of such distinctions, and until Islam is compelled to undergo similar processes of reform, the distinction will remain the key point. Only from within will Islam be able to mature to the point where this distinction no longer exists, but there is not reason to disbelieve, and every reason to believe, that it can still be compelled to do so from outside labels that call attention to it.


    art eckstein - 10/1/2006

    Both Daveed Gartenstein-Ross and Ayan Hirsi Ali urge us to treat the extremists with disrespect, as the only way outsiders can strengthen the moderates.

    Both speak from direct experience.

    The idea that there are thousands of Jewish or Christian violent extremists, with millions and millions of supporters and sympathizers to violent actions against innocents on a huge scale, and that all these people are being kept in check soley (and somehow) by secular society--that's just absurd. What's your evidence?

    But in the Muslim communities there is plenty of evidence that this is the case, and I have presented it, chapter and verse, via polls, such as the appalling ones from Britain.

    Those don't show a majority, absolutely not, who are sympathetic with major violence against their British host society because it is not Muslim and ruled by Sharia. Those polls do show a significant minority (about 25%) who are sympathetic to this idea, and the number is higher among the young male (18-30) group.

    As I've said, "extremists" is not a negative term in the mind of such people, and neither is "terrorist" and neither is "Jihadist"--you MUST understand that this is a positive term in Islam and to call someone a Jihadist is therefore to give them a COMPLIMENT. Is that what you want to do?

    I choose a term that makes the extremists angry because it points to their weakness as totalitarians. You say it makes moderate Muslims angry because Islam appears with the term fascism. But as I have repeatedly said, the term has been endorsed, esp. in regard to the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots, by scholars who are Muslims themselves (Baali; Ajami).

    As for Omar, he obviously IS a fascist: he just doesn't like being called one, which is good enough for me, because I want him to confront the implciations of his ideal vision of society. He's talked about that. It is a vision of a totalitarian society in which each and every act of each and every individual is under the inspection of the religious police. If you look at my questions to him down below, you will also see that I am not asking questions about theoretical possibilities (as you are with "Judeofascism"); I am talking about the conduct of really-existing Islamic states in the present in terms of personal freedom. Obviously, I could have multiplied the questions and the atrocities. NO other religion provides a basis for the type of regimes I am describing--and the question is: why?

    The terrorists are NOT silent about claiming that the basis of their totalitarian vision and their massive violence against innocence is Islam. We must take them at their word that this is a war of ideas. Their ideas about Islam may be wrong, but it is very difficult for outsiders to say this; it has to be done by Muslim moderates. We must give them the courage to speak up by calling their enemies within Islam fascists.

    Not everyone accepts this idea, fine. But I have argued with evidence and logic. The result has all too often been ad hominem responses. The result has been to get me sometimes hot under the collar myself, and for that I apologize. But I would say that I have been subjected to the most vicious stream of personal abuse here on this blog of anyone. Take a look just at the titles of Omar's posts, or at Williams' titles.


    Don Williams - 10/1/2006

    1) Contrary to your implication, the suit was NOT Irving vs Penguin. The suit was Irving vs Penguin Books AND Deborah Lipstadt.

    What defense fund paid Anthony Julius's law firm after it told Lipstadt it would no longer work pro bono? Who put money into that defense fund?

    2) Penguin ultimately agreed to pick up the tab for Evans research but that was pretty late in the game --not until May 1998, according to Lipstadt. That was not until Evans presented his first set of findings, showing why he thought Irving was vulnerable.

    WHO does Richard Evans say brought him into the case 6 months earlier, in late 1997? Was it Anthony Julius (LIPSTADT's lawyer, NOT Penguin's lawyer) or was it Penguin's
    lawyer?

    Who hired Evans and his two researchers --at $160 per HOUR -- in late 1997, 6 months earlier? Who paid Evans and his two researchers to do the initial research in the period January 1998 to May 1998 when Evans presented his first report? Look at Lipstadt't book.




    art eckstein - 10/1/2006

    Now, folks, here is what Mr. Williams ACTUALLY said on Sept. 29 at 6:12 p.m., posting, The following statements appeared under the restrained rubric.
    "Could you please stop lying, Mr Eckstein?? (#98599)

    by Don Williams on September 29, 2006 at 6:12 PM.

    What follows is DIRECT QUOTATION:

    "...2) What I SAID was that "When a historian comes under attack in an effort funded by a billionaire, it attracts my interest".

    I personally think there are many Jewish intellectuals who would cut their throat before they would try to defend Deborah Lipstadt's scholarship.

    3) Which is probably why billionaire Steven Spielberg had to pay gentile historian Richard Evans to attack
    Irving's history. [READER, PLEASE NOTE THE LAST SENTENCE.] The idea of Evans doing such a critique is hilarious to anyone who has read Evans' "The Coming of the Third Reich". Strangely enough, Evans had no difficulty in getting that lucrative piece of shit published. [READER, PLESE NOTE THE LAST SENTENCE.]

    4) Hardly a "Jewish conspiracy" --except to closet anti-Semites. Hardly even a conspiracy --more like commonplace , mutually beneficial logrolling. But if you desperately need to create a conspiracy, at least call it a Holocaust Industry conspiracy. An industry from which Spielberg has indirectly grown rich..." [READER, PLEASE NOTE THE LAST TWO SENTENCES.]

    1. It is perfectly clear that Williams, exactly as I said, charged Evans with having been paid off by a Jewish billionaire, Spielberg, who was funding an attack on Irving. Indeed, he suggests that Evans, "a gentile historian," is some sort of intellectual prostitute who was paid off by Spielberg and other Big Jews to do work that Jews themselves refused to do. That is explicit as can be. But the facts are:
    a. Irving wasn't under attack. Penguin books was under attack. Irving was the attacker. He instituted the lawsuit because of a passing reference to him in Lipstadt's book, and was demanding that the book be recalled and pulped by Penguin.

    b. As the Solictor for Penguin Books said in the London Times, Evans was paid by Penguin Books, no one else. He was paid to write a report on Irving which Penguin might or might use in their defense against Irving's lawsuit (depending on Evans's findings: if Evans ended up saying that Irving was solid, they probably would have filed the report away, or else maybe settled the case with Irving), but for which IN ANY CASE Evans would receive the SAME payment. He was paid to write the report. He did. Period.
    c. Because of the shocking nature of the report's findings, however, Penguin continued its defense against Irving because it felt it could win, and Evans was eventually called as a defense witness in the trial. I suppose he received some pay for that from Penguin. On the other hand, he was on the stand for three days of vicious attack by Irving,during which the judge several times had to step in to reprimand Irving. An unpleasant experience, I would guess. Read the trial transcript.

    2. This Willaims slander on Evans is then followed by a conspiracy theory from Williams that Jews paid Evans to publish his two new volumes (so far) on the history of Third Reich--books which Williams also calls "a piece of shit."
    a. Well, Williams may consider this work "shit", on the basis of his scholarly non-credentials, but the first volume of Evans (2004) received praise in published reviews by distinguished historians such as Omer Bartov and Mark Mazower (the latter, whom I know personally, is a savage critic of Bush).
    b. The first volume also sold well enough that a paperback edition was issued a year later (2005).
    c. Two years after publication, the first volume is still ranked 58,000th or so on Barnes and Noble sales: for an academic book two years after publication, that is hugely successful (as I personally know...)
    d. the second volume is just out and is ranked about 35,000th on Barnes and Noble. That's also excellent sales.
    e. Conclusion: despite Williams, there's no Jewish conspiracy here to pay off Evans for his dirty work by publishing his shitty work! Evans is a distinguished Cambridge historian, whose books receive praise from the best professionals, and whos books also sell well. Period.
    f. But I ask readers: what does Williams's reconstruction of events here say about Williams' paranoid mind-set, eh?

    3. Williams ends his rant on Sept. 29 with an image of Steven Spielberg as leader of a "Holocaust Industry conspiracy," the motive in Spielberg's involvement in the conspiracy not even being so much to protect the memory of the millions of dead but instead being personal financial profit.. This image speaks for itself about Williams, in its own unspeakable way.

    4. In his current rant just above, Williams asks why Deborah Lipstadt didn't do the research Richard Evans did before she wrote what she wrote about Irving.
    a. What she wrote about Irving was one paragraph in a long book, so, no, she didn't engage in a months-long major research project before writing 300 words or so, but briefly reported what she knew of Irving's reputation before going on to her main targets in that book.
    b. And yet, after all, Mr. Williams, Judge Grey ruled--after months of trial instituted by Irving and no one else--that Lipstadt was CORRECT in her brief description of Irving! ABSOLUTELY CORRECT.
    c. The detailed research was needed solely because Irving instituted a lawsuit against Penguin. That research showed that Lipstadt was CORRECT in what she said.
    Live with it.

    5. Finally, David Irving wins the respect of Williams despite (a) his charge on his website that Evans was personally paid $250,000 by Spielberg, and (b) the fact that he published personal information about Sarah Salzman on a website that is frequented by violent neo-Nazis. Williams' response to Salzman's protest about this on HNN was to post an advertisement for a Jewish gun club. This, in turn, drew protests from other readers of HNN. That was 2 years ago.


    john crocker - 10/1/2006

    "Meanwhile, the answer to every reasoned argument or historical or contemporary fact that we present is simply more ad hominem attacks, a continuous flow of personal invective."
    You, Art, have engaged in far more ad hominem attacks and personal invective than I.

    Most Christians and Jews live in secular societies that moderate the behavior of their fundamentalists. The problematic difference is one of a primarily secular society and a primarily religious society, not Christian or Jewish society and Muslim society.

    I have never said that the terrorists and their supporters are not a serious threat that needs to be confronted. I have questioned the wisdom and effectiveness of cetain methods of confrontation. Treating the extremists with disrespect is fine, treating their religion with disrespect is not productive when trying to win over moderates.

    That some scholars find accept or use the term does not mean that it strengthens moderates. What evidence have you offered that use of the term strengthens moderates? That it upsets Omar is not sufficient.

    The question remains. Do you think that labelling far right Christians and Jews as Christianofascists and Judeofascists is constructive and would help win over moderate Christians and Jews?


    Don Williams - 10/1/2006



    1) Again, I make the point that I made above. The comments
    of several posters here re "Islamofascists" seem highly
    ironical given the fascist mindset that those posters show
    here.

    2) Consider Art Eckstein. When I cited specific facts
    re how Bush's corrupt foreign policy has brought disaster upon
    the United States, Eckstein diverted the discussion by making
    a stream of false slurs at me. Yet I no sooner refute one but
    he creates several more. Just as the Nazi
    Brownshirts did in the 1920s.

    3) Consider the October 2004 discussion between myself and
    Sara Salzman about which Art has raved -- calling me a
    "straightforward Holocaust denier".
    (See http://hnn.us/comments/98542.html )

    Yet Sara Salzman is a passionate
    Jewish activist out in Denver who has spent much time attacking
    Irving on the Web. If I am an anti-Semite and Holocaust denier why
    was one of Sara's last comments be an invitation to me to continue our
    long discussion offline -- because she was weary of arguing with some
    of the other posters?

    Come to think of it, why am I even having to respond to the false claims
    Eckstein makes up re me?

    3) Look at Eckstein's statement in his post of September 29
    at 8:58 PM:
    "I would thus be very interested to see if Williams can prove
    this accusation he has just retailed to us that Spielberg
    personally paid Evans $250,000. Can you, Don?" In the same post,
    Eckstein indicates I am repeating false info put out by David Irving.

    4) The FACT is that I never saw Irving's statement. Nor did I say
    that "Spielberg personally paid Evans $250,000". Note how Eckstein
    made up a story out of thin air and then attributed HIS story to
    me.

    My understanding re Spielberg's support for Deborah Lipstadt is
    taken from DEBORAH LIPSTADT herself.

    In her book "History on Trial" , Lipstadt notes that her British
    lawyer , Anthony Julius, came to her and indicated that his firm could
    no longer handle her case pro bono. He later submits an estimate of
    $1.6 Million for her defense. Lipstadt does not provide the dates of when this
    occured but subsequent events in her story suggest it was around the
    end of 1997.

    Lipstadt then describes in detail the massive financial aid she
    received from several Jewish billionaires, including Steven
    Spielberg, and from Jewish organizations
    after she discussed her situation/need for money with Rabbi
    Herbert Friedman at a conference of Jewish leaders.
    An excerpt from page 38 of her book:
    -----------
    "He [Rabbi Friedman] peered down at me and declared , in a slightly
    condescending tone, which , had it come from anyone else, I would
    have resented. "It's time to get organized". He then added, "Irving
    set his sights on you, but it's the entire Jewish community and
    historical truth that he is aiming at."

    And the Friedman took charge. He called his long-time colleague
    and benefactor, Leslie Wexner, and briefed him. Les responded in his
    characteristic straightforward fashion. He requested background
    material and after closely scrutinizing it, told Friedman. "This
    is not Deborah's issue. It's our issue." He then relayed a
    message to me that I was not to worry about funds. He would give
    whatever it takes. He and Abigail had only one prerequisite. I must
    have the best defense. After determining that Anthony [Julius] was,
    indeed, at the top of his field and would mount an aggressive defense,
    Les Wexner committed $200,000 for the fight. Soon a collaboration
    developed between Wexner and Steven Spielberg, whose own Shoah
    Foundation was deeply engaged in taking survivor's testimonies. This
    collaboration resulted in the effective solicitation of a number of
    $100,000 dollar contributors. Bill Lowenberg, a survivor who lived
    in San Francisco, whose daughter -- a participant in the Wexner
    programs --had briefed him on the case, called Friedman. He said
    he would raise 20 percent of the costs and began to contact members
    of the Bay Area Jewish community. Ernie Michel, a survivor who lived
    in New York, took out his Rolodex and began to call other survivors.
    Other people pitched in to help. All this was done quietly and without
    any publicity or fanfare."
    -----------
    Hmmmm. "quietly" and "without fanfare". Sounds almost like a conspiracy.

    5) Lipstadt then continues on page 39 of her book:
    ---------
    "Friedman asked David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish
    Committee (AJC) , to house a defense fund. The committee's board agreed
    and then voted to make a major contribution to the fund. The Anti-
    Defamation League and the Simon Wiesenthal Center stepped forward to
    contribute. The AJC's Harris assigned Ken Stern --the organization's
    specialist on antisemitism and extremism -- to assist me in any way
    he could. Ken, a lawyer, immediately established contact with Anthony
    [Julius] and James. In an unprecedented display of organizational
    restraint , none of these organizations publicized what they were
    doing."

    Hmmm. The last sentence almost sounds like a conspiracy.
    Meanwhile, David Irving breaks open his piggy bank, counts his
    nickels,and decides to represent himself. Truly an evenhanded
    review of the historical evidence.

    6) Richard Evans notes in his "History on Trial" that he became
    involved as expert witness in the Irving-Lipstadt case "on the
    initiative of Anthony Julius" [Lipstadt's --NOT Penguin's --lawyer]
    around the end of 1997.

    7) Lipstadt does indicate on page 44 of her book that Penguin
    agreed to a joint defense in MAY of 1998 and to pick up the tab
    for experts like Evans. (But it looks like Lipstadt was on the hook to pay Anthony Julius and his associates in his law firm.)

    But on page 45, Lipstadt indicates that
    Richard Evans and two of his researchers had already spent months
    reviewing Irving's work -- at a cost of $160 per HOUR, a fee
    set by Anthony Julius, her lawyer. (page 40)

    8) Penguin most likely would not have agreed to a joint defense --
    and to pick up shared costs -- if it had not became aware that
    Lipstadt had massive financial resources behind her and that she
    could now pursue an independent defense with unpredictable effects
    upon Penguin's interests.

    9) Lipstadt indicates that the prospect of any help from
    Penguin had looked much, much bleaker in the period
    Prior to the intervention of Rabbi Friedman. On page 28, Lipstadt
    notes that in September of 1996, Penquin had pointed to the
    indemnification clause in her contract and that Lipstadt's lawyer,
    when notified of this responded as follows:
    "When I told my lawyer, David Minkin, that Penguin was asking about
    the indemnification clause, his eyes opened wide and face grew
    taut. He seemed to be trying to mask his concerns, but the tension
    in his voice came through clearly as he explained that Penguin
    might be contemplating shifting the financial burden of the case
    to my shoulders." On page 28, Lipstadt indicates that she feared
    at that time that Penguin might settle with Irving.

    10) Of course, this raises a question: Why was tons of money having
    to be spent on Evans and two researchers in 1998-1999 to review
    Irving's work? Shouldn't Lipstadt have already done this review
    in the early 1990s before issuing her harsh judgment of Irving in 1993?
    Surely this review was redone in 1996 prior to interferring with
    Irving's contract with St Martin's Press.


    N. Friedman - 10/1/2006

    Mr. Feuerbach,

    First, I was distinguishing people from their inspiration. That, rather than my terminology, was my point.

    Second, Islam is, to use the Arabic term, a din (i.e. way of life). Religion is only one part of it, if you consider the word "religion" in the Western sense. In the Islamic sense, Islam is better described as a totality, meaning that it governs and has demands regarding all aspects of life: from cradle to grave, from sleeping to sex to eating to bathing and to politics. In fact, politics is rather central in Islamic thinking - not just in Islamism.

    After the destruction of the Ottoman Empire and the Persian empire, more and more secularized notions came to the forefront in Muslim areas. These notions were the product of European colonialism, perhaps among other things. Shari'a no longer was the law of the land as it had been before.

    Now, large numbers Muslims are rejecting the secular notions that were, in reality, forced on them against their will by Westerners. And, average people never believed in Western notions anyway as their lives were traditional and, hence, religious.

    In my view, Islamism is the attempt of Muslims to restore Islam to what it had been prior to European colonialism's attempted secularization. That means restoring Islam's role as leading voice in politics.




    N. Friedman - 10/1/2006

    Mr. Feuerbach,

    I am making an observation - an historical observation -. That observation is that the classical Islamic theological view is that violent Jihad is mandatory to spread Islamic rule. I do not claim that all Muslims so believe and I do not claim that such theological imperative has always governed what Muslims do. I am, however, correctly reporting the classical theological view.

    I really do not think that my above noted view is subject to any real doubt. Traditionally - for Sunnis - , the Caliph had the responsibility to call a Jihad. Which is to say, the theological position was taken as community obligation, not an individual obligation. Some scholars - for example, historian Ephraim Karsh, - say that such means that the classical Islamic position supports an imperial government policy -. Also, as I have noted, it was not unusual for individuals and groups, without regard to what the Caliph wanted, to engage in razzias into infidel territory. Such is reported in detail by famed historian of Islam, Patricia Crone. Historian Bat Ye'or reports that such phenomena also occurred regularly by raiding parties from Andalusia who would travel to what is now France.

    Now, I do understand that one may read the Koran anyway he or she wants. An observation about the known views of Muslim clerics is that classical Islamic theology remains the dominate strain and the contextualization that you would have me engage in occurs mostly where there are few Muslims living. As I mentioned, there are a very few who have openly attempted the literary historical method in Egypt. Such persons, to my knowledge, have had their lives threatened and fleed to Europe.

    It is true that people form their views from theology. Again, the theology is hostile.

    If I might be bold enough to suggest you read a book, I would highly recommend David Cook's book, Understanding Jihad. It is eye-opening.


    art eckstein - 10/1/2006

    I was trying to be discreet, I suppose.

    But the issue isn't the students' conduct: I'm well aware of both Tinker v. Des Moines. And the Charles James case (have you read "Freedom Spent"?) established that rights of peaceful protest (as long as not disruptive of class) held for teachers.

    The issue is that here you have a university official who breaks faculty rules of conduct about disruptive behavior and gets away with it, and does so by inciting the students who are under her specific charge (as director of undergraduate studies) to engage in lewd behavior for political purposes, in order to disrupt the presentation of an outside speaker, and gets away with it.

    Again, if the parents of these undergraduate girls who received the email urging them all to do this knew the story of the conduct of this faculty-member, I doubt that they would be very happy.


    J. Feuerbach - 10/1/2006

    Mr. Eckstein,

    The Supreme Court of the United States has long held that students do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.” --Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, 393 U.S. 503, 506 (1969); Healy v. James, 408 U.S. 169 (1972).

    The academic freedom of the speaker should be respected as well as the rights of students and faculty established by the First Ammendment.

    I wasn't supporting or criticizing the use of bare breasts as a way of protesting. Women know what captures guys' attention and flashing their breasts in public is number 1 or 2 on the list of techniques for grabbing attention. Personally I don't have any problem with their protest methodology. I'd rather have people show their private parts than resort to any type of violence. My post was just a response to the way you described their plan. The wording was too convoluted.


    art eckstein - 10/1/2006

    I provide no "free propaganda" to the Bush administration; I've made it very clear here that I do not agree with its policies.

    My disdain for Bush's stupidities does not change the intellectual validity of the term and concept "Islamofascist", which I have explained on intellectual grounds. The opposition to the term and concept, by contrast, is not intellectual but political, consisting mainly of the fact that Bush has used the term, and it can be reduced simply of the mantra: "I hate Bush, I HATE BUSH, I HATE BUSH!" That takes us nowhere.

    I think that you just can't face the real nature of the religiously-motivated Islamic enemy who threatens us all. (And, sigh, I don't mean all Muslims, and one reason I want to use the term Islamofascists is because moderate Muslims are begging us not to treat the medieval men with respect.) I know you're a man of the Left, Mr. Proyect, so I suggest you read the piece by Fred Halliday ("The Left and the Jihad") that I have referred to. Halliday, a man of the Left as well, finds the Left's bedding down with the Jihadists as if they were anti-imperialists, well, disgusting.

    Take a look at the vile anti-semitism put out by Hamid Dabashi at your University on al Ahram and tell me whether a professor who had said the same thing in print about ANY other ethnic group except Jews would still have a position. If you're worried about the sound of the hobnailed boot--look there.


    art eckstein - 10/1/2006

    Mr. Feuerbach, different universities have different rules but at Duke that's what the faculty handbook says--faculty may not disrupt an outside speaker. This has something to do with faculty respecting the academic freedom of the speaker.

    As for "urging chics to show their tits"--and are you SURE you really want to put it that way, sir?--I wonder how the parents of these undergraduate girls would have reacted if they had been told (as of course they were not) that a university official had urged this behavior upon the daughters whose tuition at UNC they were paying?
    You don't think there might have been...um...concerned raised about the way the University was operating?


    J. Feuerbach - 10/1/2006

    Are you sure that it’s forbidden for a faculty member at Duke to interfere in a visitor’s lecture?

    When Condoleezza visited BC, about 50 students seated on the stadium floor turned their backs and held up placards denouncing the war as Rice received an honorary doctorate of law. Some 200 faculty did the same and nothing happened to them either.

    Don’t take it the wrong way, but "to urge chics to show their tits" sounds less offensive than "to urge the employment of undergraduate female sexual characteristics."


    Louis N Proyect - 10/1/2006

    "Free inquiry when studying humanities in a US campus is, in our days, only a dream, in most cases students are bullied into absorbing in a noncritical way what the lecturer forces him to think and that's, usually, left wing propaganda."

    That's true. Why only the other day the Columbia Spectator reported on how Eric Foner dragooned a conservative student into his office the other day and began waterboarding him until he promised to sing Woody Guthrie's "Do-Re-Mi" in front of Low Library wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt.


    Louis N Proyect - 10/1/2006

    Art Eckstein: "I'm a natural rebel."

    I see, professors who spend every spare moment providing free propaganda for the Bush administration are "natural rebels".

    WAR IS PEACE
    FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
    IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH


    art eckstein - 10/1/2006

    Oops. That should read: "Well said, Y.A." Sorry


    art eckstein - 10/1/2006

    Well said, E.S.

    Horowitz is not a frightening figure to me; I'm a natural rebel and he and his proposals provide a tiny bit of balance to the situation where a fraud such as Ward Churchill can become a chair of a department and feels free to use the classroom as a propaganda site (as he has SAID he glories in doing). It's not that I support Horowitz's proposals. But Judith Butler and Hamid Dabashi are far more frightening figures to me.

    When Horowitz appeared last at Duke, the director of undergraduate studies in one department organized a protest: she sent an email urging female students to strip to the waist at Horowitz's lecture as a way to disrupt it (Omar's eyes must be popping). This was the act of a professor who was a university officer and it was an outright violation of the written code of conduct for faculty at Duke-- for it is forbidden by that code of conduct for a faculty-member to interfere in a visitor's lecture, let alone to organize interference in it (let alone to urge the employment of undergraduate female sexual-characteristics as a device to disrupt the visitor's lecture!!). The faculty-member involved suffered no penalty. Zero. That's the sort of hypocrisy and double standards that gets my blood boiling, Louis.

    This was the same campus that the year before hosted the International Solidarity Movement, a hate-fest at which suicide bombing of Jewish civilians was praised, and where the leading comment in the student newspaper began with the title "The Jews", and went downhill from there, essentially porposing the purging of Jewish faculty until there was a "racial balance" among the faculty. I repeat: that was at Duke too. Compared to those sorts of things,no, Horowitz doesn't frighten me.


    Yehudi Amitz - 9/30/2006

    "the spirit of free inquiry that is supposed to characterize higher education"
    That's a nice joke about the liberal arts higher education In the US. Anyone who tries to express a non politically correct point of view in a campus will suffer the consequences and lower test grades is the least of his/her problems. There are classes at Columbia where expressing anti Muslim ideas can get one thrown out of the class with eventual anti-Jewish slurs.
    I watched on CSPAN2 BOOKTV a speech David Horowitz gave on a campus and he had a bodyguard behind. If that's an example of free speech and inquiry on campus, that's very appropriate for Hitler's Germany or Stalin's Russia!
    Free inquiry when studying humanities in a US campus is, in our days, only a dream, in most cases students are bullied into absorbing in a noncritical way what the lecturer forces him to think and that's, usually, left wing propaganda.


    Louis N Proyect - 9/30/2006

    You seem like a serious scholar. Why are you involved with cryptofascists like David Horowitz? I honestly don't understand how you and Victor Davis Hanson can embrace ideologies that are so completely at odds with the spirit of free inquiry that is supposed to characterize higher education. It is really hobnailed boot stuff. Do you think reading a biography of Martin Heidegger would help me to understand your trajectory better?


    art eckstein - 9/30/2006

    Obviously, the second question 6 should be question 7. Now let's wait to here Omar's responses.


    art eckstein - 9/30/2006

    Omar, having apologized for some over-the-top language of my own above, I now have some questions of my own for you. These questions are asked in order to determine the extent of whatever totalitarian view you espouse. Perhaps we all misunderstood when you praised the rule of Sharia in the middle ages as the brief ideal state:

    1. Theo van Gogh, in Holland, made a film protesting the maltreatment of Muslim women by Muslim men in Holland; in one scene of that film, passages of the Koran were flashed across the semi-nude bodies of women.
    a. Was van Gogh righteously killed by Muhammed Bouyari, who cut his head off?
    b. Would you have advocated instead the imprisoning of van Gogh by the state?
    c. or did van Gogh have the right, in democratic Holland, to criticize what he perceived as Muslim male maltreatment of women in any darned way he pleased?

    2. In certain Muslim currently-existing states (including those ruled by versions of Sharia), apostacy from Islam is punishable by death from the organs of state power.
    a. Do you support this policy?
    b. If you don't support it, how do you nevertheless explain why so many Muslim states have this policy and base it on what they claim are the prescriptions of Islam?

    3. Safia Jan was teaching women to use computers, and didn't mind them working outside the home.
    a. Were those who murdered her in the name of Islam--are they going to heaven?
    b. Do you approve of their action--or should Safia Jan merely have been imprisoned by the state?
    c. If none of the above, how, again, do you explain the prevalence under the Taliban of laws that forbade women's education, on the basis of Islamic principles? If you think they got it wrong, WHY did they get it wrong. (Of course, if you think they got it right, this question is irrelevant).

    4. In some Muslim states, women's testimony does not count in a court of law except at one-half the value of men's testimony, and in one Muslim state I know of, a journalist who protesed this was threatened with the death penalty by the highest Islamic court in the land on grounds of blaspheming Islam.
    a. Did that Islamic court judge righteously?
    b. Should those who "blaspheme Islam" according to some Islamic judge or other--including, I suppose myself now--be murdered, executed, imprisoned?
    c. If your Islamic answer is "No," how do you explain why nevertheless this is the law in several Muslim countries? Where did they go wrong in understanding the Koran? Why is it so susceptible to misunderstanding?

    5. You've said you have friends connected to Hezbollah. Do you now acknowledge the anti-semitic statements of Hezbollah leaders, in an article in the New Yorker in 2002 which won a prestigious national journalism award--as well as the actions of official Hezbollah television station al Manar both in 2003 and 2004? Or do you still claim that the interviews in the New Yorker piece from 2002 are lies?

    6. Are you aware of the anti-semitic implication of the name of the "Khaibar" rockets fired by Hezbollah into Israel during the recent war? Do you understand the genocidal message that is sent when suicide-bombers blow themselves up in order to kill any old Jew--man, woman and child--in, say, a pizzeria? Do you condemn such racist acts?

    6. Have you started to research "the Mt. Scopus massacre", as I urged you to?


    art eckstein - 9/30/2006

    On other posts, Omar has made it clear that his vision of an ideal society is one ruled by Sharia. In other words, the Taliban. He only objects to the methods of Al-Qaeda because they tend to be counterproductive, but he "understands" them. Omar is thus for a totalitarian state where every act of every individual is overseen by religious police backed by state power. That's totalitarian enough for me. And Omar, it's a fascist dream.

    I do apologize for the phrase "Sharia wetdream." That was said out of anger, when I thought about the recent murder of innocent women's rights activist Safia Jan in the name of Islam--and the murder of Theo van Gogh. I should have said: Sharia nightmare.


    E. Simon - 9/30/2006

    I did see it.

    For what it's worth, however, I thought your responses were stated in such a way as to make it quite difficult for him to find a way to further rebut, even if in as intellectually illegitimate a manner as we might suppose he'd have tried.


    art eckstein - 9/30/2006

    Meanwhile, the answer to every reasoned argument or historical or contemporary fact that we present is simply more ad hominem attacks, a continuous flow of personal invective. It's the only argument they have, it seems.

    If you haven't seen it, E.S., Clarke's friend Williams' latest antic way up the blog is to defend the Holocaust denier David Irving by asserting that the Cambridge historian Richard Evans was paid $250,000 by the Big Jew Spielberg to create his attack upon Irving's shoddy work. His source for this information: um, David Irving. His evidence: nil.

    Evans was paid by Penguin Books, and no one else, to write a report on Irving. My source? The official Solicitor for Penguin Books, in the London Times on April 18, 2000.

    So it goes.



    J. Feuerbach - 9/30/2006

    Mr. Friedman.

    I wrote: "I think that deep down you are trying to say that the ultimate cause of violence is religious in nature, and more specifically Muslim."

    You answered: “That is basically it but I would say Islamic. The central inspiration here is religion and, more specifically, Islam and the Islamic tradition.”

    I once read that a Muslim is a practitioner of the Islamic religion. Would you agree with this definition? If you agreed, your distinction between the terms Muslim and Islamic would make no sense.

    Maybe you’re trying to distinguish between Islam and Islamism. According to unreliable Wikipedia, “Islamism is a set of political ideologies that hold that Islam is not only a religion, but also a political system that governs the legal, economic and social imperatives of the state according to its interpretation of Islamic Law. For islamists, the sharia has absolute priority over democracy and universal human rights.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamist
    According to the same article, Islamists argue that Islam is inherently a political religion, and that the rules and laws laid out in Quran and Hadiths mandate Islamic government.

    My point is that not all Muslims are Islamists (following the above definition). One thing is to say that Islam could, should or does influence the culture of an entire country (there are countries in Latin America in which abortion isn’t legal due to the influence of Christianity through the Catholic church) and a completely different thing is to say that Islam as a religion should supersede the culture of an entire country.

    By the way, did you hear the term “Reconstructionism?” In a nutshell, it’s a movement that can trace its origins to conservative Presbyterianism and that advocates the reconstruction of society. It teaches that biblical Christianity is to rule every sphere of society. http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/Psychology/cor/notes_on.htm
    We should keep an eye on these guys. My hunch is that reconstructionism has permeated the ethos of the current US administration.


    E. Simon - 9/30/2006

    I'll keep that in mind when reflecting on your contention that capitalism reached its height in 1916, and as well I'll also keep your unexplained nativist sympathies with that perspective, along with your not being an "advocate of all... or even most" of the concepts upon which the principles of modern political liberalism rest, in mind.

    Thanks, you've explained quite a lot about yourself here.


    E. Simon - 9/30/2006

    I have a feeling that the "I hate Bush" mantra as an answer to addressing problems in the world at large reflects a profound lack of understanding among most Americans of how foreign policy works. For your average voter, almost all of what he is able to discern of American foreign policy is filtered through the lens of whichever international NGO's that might capture his fancy have to say about it - if any, and the resulting melange of hazy perceptions leaves him with somewhat of a "don't ask, don't tell" attitude. If it ain't broke, or if it ain't reported to be broke, don't fix it. Unfortunately international relations and events are incredibly more complicated than this and in order for them to be addressed cogently require an attention to details that are less noticeable outside of election cycles and other eventful opportunities for sensationalized reporting than your average voter will ever realize. Therefore, the president is responsible for failing to make anything bad we hear about in the world "just go away."


    art eckstein - 9/30/2006

    I put this in the wrong place above. Here is my reply:

    Re: right winging it (#98646)
    by art eckstein on September 30, 2006 at 11:12 AM
    An advantage to the use of the term and concept is that it accepts that our enemies are motivated by IDEAS, not socio-economic-political grievances. Fascism was an idea (and an ideal) involving the achievement of totalitarian rule through massive violence. This isn't Eurofascism (where religion wasn't central), but the similarities in style (I urge people to go to google image "Hezbollah salute" and see what you find--it's startling), in techniques of ultraviolence, and in totalitarian goal are enough that it works for me. If it angers that lying totalitarian Omar Ibrahim Baker to be called a fascist when he reveals his Sharia wetdream, then we must be getting somewhere.

    In this case, the idea is to establish the rule of God on earth. Anyone who opposes this wonderful goal deserves death--that includes all non-Muslims (men, women and children).

    Is this what all Muslims think? No, no, no. I've repeatedly said that one main purpose of using the term Islamofascist is to strengthen the hand of the moderates by treating the extremists with disrespect. This is what the moderates WANT. And when we instead treat the extremists with respect, or as if WE are responsible for their endless list of grievances, we--conversely-- weaken the hand of the moderates.

    The extremist list of grievances is endless, but ultimately it is THEOLOGICAL--the failure to establish the worldwide rule of Allah. That is an IDEA, an ideology, and above all a theology. Many secular westerners just can't get their minds wrapped around the idea that people would think this way--beneath the ideology must be socio-political-economic grievances which are themselves capable of solution if we only bend over backwards and appease them enough. This is a fallacious approach, and reveals a profound lack of imagination: different cultures really are different.. In this case, the grievances include (as we see in the appalling results of polls of Muslims in Britain) the fact that Britain, for one, is not under Sharia law.. The fundamental grievance of the Canadian Muslim terrorists who wanted to slice off the head of the Prime Minister, as revealed in the emails of their relatives, was the same. This is an IDEA.

    Hitler too had grievances, and many in the West thought each grievance had some reason behind it, hence the stream of appeasement that occurred in his case, but it turned out that his ultimate purpose was not the satisfaction of particular grievances, but the establishment of a worldwide racist state. As Fred Halliday has said, we are dealing with an IDEA. "Those who wish to establish the rule of God on earth are not going to be satisfied even with, say, the total destruction of Israel."

    This is also an international, transnaitonal movement (as fascism was also, despite its nationalist tendencies!). Thus in the computer-desk of Muhammad Bouyari who murdered the film-maker Theo van Gogh in Holland were found numerous dvds of beheadings, including the beheading of Danny Pearl in Pakistan. We must remember that while western terrorists such as the IRA and Weatherman would NEVER have engaged in such barbarity, the Islamofascist Jihadists use beheading-videos as a RECRUITING device. They know their audience..

    To repeat: to me, the best evidence that the term and concept Islamofascist or just plain fascist is a good term and concept to use to describe these monsters out of the medieval darkness--and I've established it's got a quite long and distinguished scholarly pedigree--is that it makes the extremists angry and uncomfortable to be called this. "Terrorist" doesn't bother them--they glory in it! "Extremist" is a positive term to them! "Jihadist" is a GOOD thing. But we are in a war of ideas, and we should not let THEM determine the terms of discourse.

    It is true that the term and concept gives some political cover to Bush. I have never said a single thing on this blog in support of Bush or his policies. But that's a price I'm willing to pay to engage on an equal footing in what is fundamentally a war of ideas. The "I hate Bush, I HATE BUSH, I HATE BUSH!" crowd will obviously not accept this. But their entire proposal in dealing with the dreadful threat we face consists of repeating that "I hate Bush!" mantra. That leads nowhere.

    Finally, Mr. Crocker's attempt to "normalize" the widespread support for Islamofascism and Islamofascist terror as true of all religions, or as potentially true of Christianity and Judaism as well, fails on factual grounds. There is no groundswell of support among Christians or Jews for such conduct. When about 10 years ago a Jewish settler DID do something like the sort of things that Islamofascist terrorists do on a ROUTINE basis--shooting up a mosque and killing 30 worshippers--there were HUGE Israeli demonstrations against him and his behavior (500,000 people at one demo: i.e., 1/6 of the entire population). The man was convicted of murder and is in jail and will remain so. But among the Islamofascists such men are not viewed as criminals but are viewed as HEROES. Streets are named after them, their faces are on giant billboards. That's true in Hamasland and Hezbollah land. Get the difference, Mr. Crocker? You should drop this line of argument. Its empirically false.


    art eckstein - 9/30/2006

    An advantage to the use of the term and concept is that it accepts that our enemies are motivated by IDEAS, not socio-economic-political grievances. Fascism was an idea (and an ideal) involving the achievement of totalitarian rule through massive violence. This isn't Eurofascism (where religion wasn't central), but the similarities in style (I urge people to go to google image "Hezbollah salute" and see what you find--it's startling), in techniques of ultraviolence, and in totalitarian goal are enough that it works for me. If it angers that lying totalitarian Omar Ibrahim Baker to be called a fascist when he reveals his Sharia wetdream, then we must be getting somewhere.

    In this case, the idea is to establish the rule of God on earth. Anyone who opposes this deserves death--that includes all non-Muslims (men, women and children).

    Is this what all Muslims think? I've repeatedly said that one main purpose of using the term Islamofascist is to strengthen the hand of the moderates by treating the extremists with disrespect. This is what the moderates want. And when we treat the extremists with respect, or as if WE are responsible for their endless list of grievances, we weaken the hand of the moderates.

    The extremist list of grievances is endless, but ultimately it is THEOLOGICAL--the failure to estalbish the worldwide rule of Allah. And the grievances include (as we see in the appalling results of polls of Muslims in Britain) the fact that Britain, for one, is not under Sharia law. But many British Muslims originate in Pakistan, where the Saudis' huge spending on religious schools has resulted in the fastening Wahabism upon the people. But the fundamental grievance of the Canadian Muslim terrorists who wanted to slice off the head of the Prime Minister was the same. This is an IDEA.

    Hitler too had grievances, and many in the West thought each grievance had some reason behind it, hence the stream of appeasement that occurred, but it turned out that his ultimate purpose was not the satisfaction of particular grievances, but the establishment of a worldwide racist state. As Fred Halliday has said, we are dealing with an IDEA. "Those who wish to establish the rule of God on earth are not going to be satisfied even with, say, the total destruction of Israel."

    This is also an international movement. In the computer-desk of Muhammad Bouyari who murdered the film-maker Theo van Gogh were found numerous dvds of beheadings, including that of Danny Pearl in Pakistan. We must remember that while western terrorists such as the IRA and Weatherman would NEVER have engaged in such barbarity, these people use beheading-videos as a recruiting device. They know their audience. There is a theological justification for it.

    To repeat: to me, the best evidence that the term and concept Islamofascist or just plain fascist is a good term and concept to use to describe these monsters out of the medieval darkness--and I've established it's got a quite long and distinguished scholarly pedigree--is that it makes the extremists angry and uncomfortable to be called this. "Terrorist" doesn't bother them--they glory in it! "Extremist" is a positive term to them! "Jihadist" is a GOOD thing. But we are in a war of ideas, and we should not let THEM determine the terms of discourse.

    It is true that the term and concept gives some political cover to Bush. I have never said a single thing on this blog in support of Bush or his policies. But that's a price I'm willing to pay to engage on an equal footing in what is fundamentally a war of ideas. The "I hate Bush, I HATE BUSH, I HATE BUSH!" crowd will obviously not accept this. But their entire proposal in dealing with the dreadful threat we face consists of repeating that "I hate Bush!" mantra. That leads nowhere.


    J. Feuerbach - 9/30/2006

    Mr. Friedman.

    I read an article by M.J. Akbar in the Washington Post. Here’s an interesting paragraph.

    “The war verses are sent to the Prophet only when he has been in Medina for some time, and has become not only a leader of the community but also head of a multi-faith state. War, in other words, is permitted as an exercise in statecraft, and not for personal reasons, including persecution. Further, it is circumscribed with important conditions. Surely no one, including Pope Benedict, believes that a state cannot ever take recourse to war? Indeed, the history of the Vatican is filled with war. The Quran's view of war, as an answer to injustice, certainly merits more understanding than censure.” http://blog.washingtonpost.com/postglobal/mj_akbar/2006/09/name_the_persian_interlocutor.html

    The last sentence is one of the scariest things I’ve ever read… if it came from a “noted Muslim Islam scholar,” as you charactize him. Mr. Akbar is, according to the article, a leading Indian journalist and author but is he a reputed Islam scholar? Let's not forget that there are propagandists who also know their stuff and are very good at spinning almost anything to their advantage.

    My whole argument against your tendency to paint the entire Islam community with broad strokes boils down to the concept of theology. No one can access any sacred text directly. We use theological lenses to read and interpret any sacred text. The problem is when we don't wear any glasses or our lenses are dirty or when we need a new prescription to correct our myopia or other vision problems but we don't visit our eye doctor. This applies to the Koran, the Bible, and all sacred texts. Again, we ALL wear theological glasses. If we don’t wear them or the lenses are dirty or you don't have 20/20 vision but you refuse to get a new prescription, that’s when we make the sacred books say whatever we want them to say. It’s true, however, that there are people who claim that God speaks to them directly or that their deity of preference has given the only hermeneutic key to interpret a particular sacred book. They have names: David Koresh, Jim Jones, etc. (At a certain point, W had made it to the list but lately he has stopped discussing publicly who or Who actually told him to launch this insane military crusade.) Ah, people who think this way are also called psychiatric patients with delusional disorders.

    A basic hermeneutic rule is not to isolate texts from their contexts. If the information on the historical context that Mr. Akbar provides us with is accurate, the war verses can’t be applied in the here and now. Its application should be strongly repudiated. But the Koran isn’t the only sacred book that faces this problem. If you read the Bible, especially the Hebrew Scriptures, you’ll find that god would ask his people to do naughty things to those who were culturally and religiously different than the chosen people. Is this how God wants us to treat our culturally and religiously different neighbors today? Well, if you are a biblical literalist and/or you need some excuses to kill other people, you’ll argue that your God doesn’t change his/her mind and that anything and everything that’s in a particular sacred book can be applied in the here and now.


    E. Simon - 9/30/2006

    As progressive as the Sumerian codes were for their time, I suppose that could be your only frame of reference for identifying my own political sympathies, assuming that you actually do come from a 16th century perspective. Check this stuff out for a more accurate take:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_Enlightenment

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Locke

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classical_liberalism

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian_perspectives_on_immigration

    Looks like you've got a few topics to brush up on.


    E. Simon - 9/30/2006

    It seems Peter's going with the "he irked me into associating myself with anti-semitic holocaust denial" defense.

    I wouldn't discourage you, professor, at this point, since his personalizing acrobatics need to be confronted as arduously as does his ridiculous choice of debate-partner "alliances", but Mr. Clarke's primary paranoia centers moreso around a rather Nativist sentiment, and a conception of national loyalty that more closely resembles 16th-century notions of fealty. As such, they are remotely outdated and can be ridiculed in their own right, but given his penchant for whom he chooses to befriend in mutual "causes" based on that limitation on his part, you are entirely right to bring him to task for what he encourages. As you are for pointing out the level of immaturity he sinks to when he's exposed for having nothing left to say.


    Yehudi Amitz - 9/30/2006

    That's exactly what's expected from a "Real American" with subliminal attractions to terrorists and attackers of our freedom of speech. Being in cahoots with Holocaust deniers it's just normal.
    I wish you luck in your research for the Thomas Crapper institute! Flush well!


    E. Simon - 9/30/2006

    "Would similarly labeling extremist Orthodox Jewish illegal settlers of disputed territories Judeofascists provide comfort to and help us win over moderate Jews?"

    While they probably don't use a term as sloppy as the one you suggest, I'm sure they're not shy of plenty of pejoratives designed to do the trick.


    "Would labeling extreme right wing Christians Christianofascists or Christianobigots provide comfort to and help us win over moderate Christians?"

    See Andrew Sullivan on that one.


    E. Simon - 9/30/2006

    Do you mind my asking what your background is or what level of understanding you have in ideological history?


    john crocker - 9/30/2006

    You say that using the term Islamofascist gives comfort to the moderate Muslims. Using it will presumably somehow help us win over the moderates.

    Would similarly labeling extremist Orthodox Jewish illegal settlers of disputed territories Judeofascists provide comfort to and help us win over moderate Jews?

    Would labeling extreme right wing Christians Christianofascists or Christianobigots provide comfort to and help us win over moderate Christians?


    art eckstein - 9/30/2006

    More streams of personal abuse from Clarke: the only argument he apparently has.

    At 8:21 p.m. yesterday Sept. 28 on the thread above, I first referred to "the theory of democratic peace." Clarke's jumbled that into "post-modernist rot." I then gave a specific example of an adherent of "theory of democratic peace" who is not a post-modernist, namely Michael Kelly. The rest follows from that.

    Q.E.D.


    art eckstein - 9/30/2006

    Translation: Clarke is angry that he got caught speaking seriously as a supporter of Williams; now he's trying to argue that he was only being sarcastic. Maybe so, but readers, there's a reason I posted his entire and complete post just above, at my entry at 12:27 a.m.. Just think about "Likudnik rapers of history" trying to mislead "real Americans."

    Clarke's level of maturity is shown by his salutation to me: "Eck."--and the stream of abuse at the end.

    Meanwhile, here’s what E. Simon replied to Clarke's disgraceful post which I quoted at 12:27

    In any case (#98540)
    by E. Simon on September 28, 2006 at 10:27 PM

    I urge anyone following this to check out Peter K. Clarke's idea of what a mere "anti-Israeli conspiracy theorist" looks like. Since his context isn't clear, we are not sure whether Mr. Clarke considers Mr. Williams to also be a real American, as opposed to a raper of history...

    Be sure to pay extra special attention to the distortions and defamation that Mr. Williams employs, as Sara Salzman - who recounts Deborah Lipstadt's ordeals in discrediting the notorious Holocaust denier David Irving - in correcting Mr. Williams' gross errors, patiently and successfully walks him through some remedial historiography, despite his repeated personal attacks against her (and everyone else who doesn't outright buy his wholesale claims). This is the type of individual that Mr. "Clarke" considers a "welcome change of pace."

    You get the picture.

    http://hnn.us/articles/7259.htm


    art eckstein - 9/30/2006

    Here's what Clarke wrote:

    word to the wise (#98526)
    by Peter K. Clarke on September 28, 2006 at 8:23 PM

    "On a website stuffed to the gills with egomaniac Likudnik rapers of history, an occasional anti-Israeli conspiracy theorist or Zionism-obsessed Arab is a welcome change of pace. Please shout your silly heads off at each other the way your idols do in every dust-clogged Mideast desert hell-hole. Real Americans, whenever they bother to pay attention, are not fooled. Take that into your solopsistic cocoon Simon and spin it into whatever tirade of crybaby insult retorts you wish. I could not care less what you think. You are dishonest to the core. Should you ever get a clue re basic historical reasoning and civilized discourse, I'll look forward to reading you on some website such as H-Net. You have the brains to be something of value. Pity about the morals."


    It was "welcome change of pace", not "breath of fresh air". Okay. But who is trying to mislead the readership about the fundamental meaning here, eh? Hint: not me.

    It wasn't a website, it was instead the idiotic posting of Williams with the title, "I'm puzzled" a couple of lines above this current entry. Website was simply the first words Clarke uses Okay.. Still, Clarke evidently finds attractive Williams' theory presented in "I'm puzzled" (presented and denied at the same time) that Jews invented Communism. Clarke finds that amusing and enticing--a "welcome change of pace."

    Especially cause us "Likud rapers of history" might otherwise be misleading "real Americans." His words.

    I fail to see a huge difference between "anti-Israeli conspiracy theorist" and "anti Israeli-conspiracy theorist", a difference which so exercizes Clarke. This is supposed to be a reprehensible misrepresentation on my part of both Clarke and Williams?

    Clarke attacks David Irving as a fraud--good for him. But he's simultaneously a SUPPORTER and ADVOCATE of, Williams, who still aggressively asserts that the Holocaust-denying Irving is a fine historian, and who above towards the end of the posts that entitled "words to the wise", is even retailing gross Irving slanders against reputable historians who have rightly attacked Irving--and who won a 2 million pound (!!) judgment against him. Now that kind of behavior--not misplaced hyphens--IS a gross self- contradiction.

    Another contradiction is Clarke's support for Williams when Clarke himself believes Willaims is a Holocaust denier. To quote Clarke, he characterizes Williams as a supporter of "Holocaust denial lite".

    And yet Clarke wonders why people might be upset with him. Yeah--go figure.


    E. Simon - 9/30/2006

    Why not just call them "anti-American"? We know your flirtation with propagandizers more liable to more stark anti-semitic impulses is an alliance borne moreso of your Nativist sympathies than anything else, the casual bigotry behind which is really of a more mundane nature. So the question is, if Peter K. Clarke is not a leftist, not anti-imperialist, not really ALL THAT MUCH of a vile anti-semite, just your typical head-in-the-sand nativist with a sixteenth-century conception of the relationship between citizen and state who passionately, obsessively hates Bush and lacks much insight into international relations, what word should be used to show the moderates that we're on their side in encouraging them to confront and put the extremists effectively out of business for good: militarily, financially, culturally and ideologically?

    Think about that one a bit, and get back to me once you've got something that, with Linnean precision, is taxonomically perfect. And achieves the goals defined above. Remember, it's ok to think outside the isolationist wing of the Nativist box to do so, if you need to.


    art eckstein - 9/30/2006

    Williams is quite correct about antiquity: in fact, I've just written a book myself showing that the theory of democratic peace, which came about through study of modern interstate politics, does not apply to the ancient world because of the extreme savagery of the anarchic interstate situation there. Forthcoming, University of California Press.

    But my point was not the universal truth of Kelly's theory (which, like Williams, I disbelieve): it was simpler. Peter Clarke's untutored leap to the idea university history-departments are post-modernist, and Kelly is an example of it, was false and I wanted to show it: in fact Kelly is not a post-modernist, as one can see by his adherence to traditional political-science analysis of interstate interaction.

    I thought that Clarke wished to make sure that we were reading Lenin in my grad course on imperialism theory, and hence Clarke's reference to the high point of capitalism/imperialism as 1916 (i.e. depths of WWI; translation--the U.S. is in Iraq for econ purposes?), so I was pointing how out of date Lenin and Leninist analysis was. That's all.


    art eckstein - 9/30/2006

    I wrote:

    "It was ill-tempered of Watt to make such a statement, and natural for a sophomoric cynic such as Williams would to pick up on it."

    Should read:

    "It was ill-tempered of Watt to make such a statement, and natural for a sophomoric cynic such as Williams to pick up on it."


    art eckstein - 9/30/2006

    To this pile of pap I will just reply on only two issues.

    1. PENGUIN BOOKS paid all the fees of all the experts and researchers involved in the case, as well as all the fees for the law firm that handled the case (which worked on the case for the first two years pro bono). My source is the official Solicitor for Penguin Books, as published in The Times (Law), 18 April 2000.

    Evans was paid to write a report and turn it in. He asserts that if he had found Irving's work solidly based, he would have written the report that way, and would have received the same pay. The contract was to write the report, period. But what he found shocked him. Maybe he's lying. On the other hand, Don, he's not Jewish. (OH, but maybe Evans was corrupted by Jewish money--which IS in fact what Don the non-anti-semite is claiming. Sorry.)

    David Irving on his website has claimed that Evans was personally paid $250,000 by Spielberg. But Irving offers on the website not the slightest evidence for this assertion. Given his record and the heavy judgment against him at the trial in terms of lack of veracity, the burden is on him here. As it stands, this accusation is just slander which Williams is retailing as fact.

    I would thus be very interested to see if Williams can prove this accusation he has just retailed to us that Spielberg personally paid Evans $250,000. Can you, Don?

    2. D. C. Watt's statement that no historian could stand the kind of scrutiny under which Irving collapsed (in a trial IRVING started, remember) is--false. As Richard Evans has said about this, "I do not think that if I and my research assistants had looked at, one of Cameron Watt's books and followed back his depiction of key events via his footnotes to the sources, as a kind of control sample to set alongside our analysis of irving's work, that we would have found the same results." That is, professional historians do not routinely suppress or distort information as Irving routinely does.

    I challenge Don Williams to examine as carefully as he likes any of my books or articles, and look at the footnotes as carefully as he wishes, and see if he discovers a pattern of deception. In fact, I bleieve that any of the 45 historians in my Department could withstand that same scrutiny. It was ill-tempered of Watt to make such a statement, and natural for a sophomoric cynic such as Williams would to pick up on it. Go ahead, Williams--get to work on my books and articles. See what you find. Or I'll broaden it: pick any member of my Department.


    Yehudi Amitz - 9/29/2006

    Even if inaccurate, the term Islamofascism is descriptive enough and represents enough of the characteristics of the Islamic extremism and will remain the main term describing Islamic darkness. I make the big bulk of my money out of managing projects with mainly Indian and Chinese computer professionals (I would be happy to do it with Arabs but they prefer to blow up buildings). I am sure that one of my next projects will be advertising around blogs where sterile argumentation about Islamofascism takes place.


    Don Williams - 9/29/2006

    1) Regarding Eckstein's claims that I have admitted knowing little about German history, note that there is a huge divide between knowing a "little" of history and deep, abysmal ignorance.

    Anyone who knows a "little" of history knows the meaning of what I actually said: " I do not know enough about German history to judge Irving or Irving's detractors ".

    REAL historians know how hard it is to judge another historian. You have to go through an enormous mass of primary source material, weight it carefully, judge what is reliable and what is not, and determine the extent to which all major relevant facts have been addressed and whether anything has concealed in order to advance a misleading story.

    Sometimes historians make mistakes. Sometimes they overlook things. Sometimes they have bias. Sometimes they conceal contradictory information under the guise of judgment. Sometimes they disagree over what's relevant. Sometimes they are obviously dishonest on part of their narrative. Sometimes they are deeply dishonest over a wide range of the subject they are discussing.

    Unless you have looked at the primary sources in their subject, you are not entitled to an opinion.
    I did a little of that in the Michael Bellesiles Arming America controversy. While I thought Mr Bellesiles palmed the cards in some areas (see my posts on H-OIEAHC) I was surprised when the top three historians in the country indicted him for a separate issue in which I thought he might not be at fault.

    6)At the trial Richard Evans did score several hits on Irving. But recall how eminent historians judged that LEGAL (not academic) proceeding.

    From http://dir.salon.com/story/books/review/2005/02/07/lipstadt/index.html ,

    "Even this does not deter other historians from continuing to profess admiration for the WWII debunker. One even writes that the debunker possesses "an all consuming knowledge of a vast body of material." And another, apparently unaware of how he is defaming his profession, announces that no one "could have withstood [the] kind of scrutiny" that the historian had subjected the debunker to.

    If you change "World War II" to "Holocaust" in the above paragraphs, you have a prcis of how the Holocaust denier and fascist sympathizer David Irving has been both praised and damned. Except for that change, each of the quotes above has been made by or about Irving. The line about Irving's "all consuming knowledge" was said by British military historian Sir John Keegan. The claim that no historian could have survived the scrutiny accorded Irving was made by another acclaimed British historian, Donald Cameron Watt.

    What is particularly notable about those two quotes from the leading harrumphers of the "maps and chaps" school of history is that they came after Irving's crushing defeat in a libel case that Irving himself brought against the American historian Deborah Lipstadt. (Keegan and Watt were subpoenaed by Irving to testify on his behalf.) "
    -------------
    Note that John Keegan gave a scathing rebuke to Irving at the trial on several of Irving's arguments.





    A. M. Eckstein - 9/29/2006

    I think I've made clear that there is a long and quite distinguished scholarly tradition in the term and concept Islamic fascism/Islamofascism, especially as applied to groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood (from which both Hamas and AlQ derive), and that there is a reason for this: the desire of Islamists to establish totalitarian states via the use of massive violence. Not only do scholars in the past, but prominent current scholars of terrorism and Islam such as Paul Berman and Fuad Ajami (himself a Muslim), accept the term.

    I long ago said the concept and the term wasn't an exact parallel with Eurofascism, and that this was a legitimate criticism. People may not want to use it. But they should not lose sight of the concept of who is attacking us and who we need to defend ourselves against. And for me the similarities were enough to justify the use of the concept and the term, especially if it makes the Islamofascists themselves very uncomfortable (take a look at Omar, a totalitarian who protests against having it applied to him), and gives comfort to Muslim moderates.

    One good point about the use of the concept and the term is that it puts it directly to the international left about the nature of the people they are getting into bed with as "anti-imperialists," and the insanity of such a strategy even if it helps soothe their "I Hate Bush" feelings. On this see now Fred Halliday of the London School of Economics, and we've had several examples of such thinking right here on this blog. (Halliday thinks the term is unnecessary.)


    Don Williams - 9/29/2006

    1)In your post above you stated
    "Nevertheless, Williams sees Irving as a serious and valuable historian beset by Jewish conspiracies! But then Williams admits he knows little of the historical facts in these cases. Yet THAT consciousness has not that this stopped him from categorizing all this as a Jewish conspiracy."

    2) What I SAID was that "When a historian comes under attack in an effort funded by a billionaire, it attracts my interest".

    I personally think there are many Jewish intellectuals who would cut their throat before they would try to defend Deborah Lipstadt's scholarship.

    3) Which is probably why billionaire Steven Spielberg had to pay gentile historian Richard Evans to attack
    Irving's history. The idea of Evans doing such a critique is hilarious to anyone who has read Evans' "The Coming of the Third Reich". Strangely enough, Evans had no difficulty in getting that lucrative piece of shit published.

    4) Hardly a "Jewish conspiracy" --except to closet anti-Semites. Hardly even a conspiracy --more like commonplace , mutually beneficial logrolling. But if you desperately need to create a conspiracy, at least call it a Holocaust Industry conspiracy. An industry from which Spielberg has indirectly grown rich and which has been criticized by some Jews themselves.


    E. Simon - 9/29/2006

    That was well-argued.


    Arnold Shcherban - 9/29/2006

    Mr. Bush would tell you all: "the both sides of the discussion should decide whether they are with us or against us" (do I recall Nazis, or what?). And in this particular case, he would have been right (for once):
    the both sides should EXPLICITLY acknowledge, name, and condemn their own terrorists, whether they became
    prime-ministers later on or stayed in
    caves.
    Judging from aside, I must say that the Jewish side historically(and not only on these boards) showed itself more reluctant to do so. Now, we can ascribe that reluctance to the sort of
    natural self-defense of the ethnical group that has been persecuted and murdered through the ages. Still, it
    is not a best of tactics to render international acknowledment, appreciation, and support.

    The world now is much more threatened
    by the new wave of US imperialism and hegemonism than by anything else.


    A. M. Eckstein - 9/29/2006

    Clarke--not me--categorized Williams' position as "Holocaust denial lite." Anyone who doubts this (note Clarke's back-off now) can look at E. Simon's posting, with its link to Williams at work back in HNN in 2004, where you'll immediately find Williams parrotting David Irving's doubts about gassing in trucks.

    Clarke--not me--characterized Williams' website, which he also said was an Israeli conspiracy website, as a welcome breath of fresh air.

    Williams himself, as you can see from the above, characterized David Irving's lawsuit against an obscure academic because of a passing reference to him in her book--a lawsuit instituted and driven by Irving and Irving alone, in which he was the plaintiff and she the defendant and in which he was seeking the pulping of her book--as an attack on Irving by Jewish money.

    Irving is unusual in modern British legal history in having had a libel case instituted against him as defendant by a historical personage slandered in one of his books and losing that case, AND instituting a libel case against someone else as plaintiff for how it characterized him as a historian and losing THAT case too. And the situations were so serious that the amounts of damages instituted by the British courts against Irving in both cases were huge.

    Nevertheless, Williams sees Irving as a serious and valuable historian beset by Jewish conspiracies! But then Williams admits he knows little of the historical facts in these cases. Yet THAT consciousness has not that this stopped him from categorizing all this as a Jewish conspiracy.

    Yeah, thanks for the breath of fresh air, Clarke.


    E. Simon - 9/29/2006

    Out with it then, Clarkey. What views do any of us hold on groups of Muslims, the Muslim religion, or on Muslims en masse that are borne of "prejudice"?

    By the way, Mr. Sensitive, MUSLIMS do not tend to take well to the term "Moslem," as it is a bit derogatory and represents old-time Europeanized mispronunciations of a term using vowels that don't exist in Arabic. But as someone who is as sensitive to the presentation of Muslims as you are, I'm sure you already knew that. It was probably just an oversight. Just like your failure to provide any EVIDENCE for your stupid slander above. I'd feel sorry for the fact that the evidence for the utility you find in intellectually engaging holocaust deniers is ample, but in your Bizzaro world, that doesn't count as much against you as your lack of evidence for your slanders against us does.

    You set up your own nonsensical rules to ameliorate your impression of your own inconsistencies and contradictions, just don't expect ANYONE here to buy into them; especially all the readers here who have stopped bothering to come to your defense. Maybe a "conspiracy" made them all go away...


    A. M. Eckstein - 9/29/2006

    Here's another example of Williams' ignorance. He writes at 10:12 today:

    "My interest in history is how wealthy elites create false and misleading narratives to advance their agendas. Of how power and wealth undermines the process by which we search for the Truth. When a historian comes under attack in an effort funded by a billionaire, it attracts my interest."

    Get it? Poor David Irving, under atttack in an effort funded by Jewish money!

    THE FACT is that there was a one-paragraph reference to Irving in Deborah Lipstadt's book, a book written by an obscure junior academic, describing Irving as a Holocaust denier and pro-Nazi. This was one paragraph in a 300 page book about other people and subjects. A short statement in an academic book, this was not an attack on Irving secretly funded by a billionaire in order to destroy Irving. IT WAS IRVING WHO MADE THIS INTO A MAJOR CRISIS BY INSTITUTING A LAW-SUIT AGAINST LIPSTADT AND PENGUIN FOR LIBEL. NO LAWSUIT WAS INSTITUTED AGAINST HIM--never! HE WAS THE PLAINTIFF, NOT THE DEFENDANT. HE--NOT SOME BILLIONAIRE--WAS THE ATTACKER. HE WAS THE PERSON WHO TURNED HIMSELF INTO A PUBLIC SPECTACLE. HE WAS DEMANDING THAT LIPSTADT'S BOOK BE PULPED. THE LAWSUIT WOULD NEVER HAVE HAPPENED EXCEPT FOR HIS ACTION--a totally unnecessary action, in view of the brief reference to him in Lipstadt's book. Penguin decided to fight it. And, even under the British libel laws, which greatly FAVOR the plaintiff (there is no First Amendment across the Pond), the attacker, IRVING, LOST.

    And this wasn't the first lawsuit Irving lost. In "The Destruction of Convoy PQ 17" he charged a certain ship-captain with cowardice. He ended up having to pay 40,000 pounds to him. No Jews involved--just more lies and incompetence from Irving.

    Just some facts.

    This Jewish Conspiracy stuff being peddled by Williams is just pap. The famous trial in London was instituted by Irving, no one else. But of course it's not surprising that Clarke buys into it.


    art eckstein - 9/29/2006

    Anyone who bothers to read Williams' comments above from 10:12 a.m. will see very clearly that he believes that Irving is a valuable historian under attack by sinister Jews who have deprived him of his livelihood. Well, perhaps Judge Grey in London, who after a long long trial accepted that the accusations made against Irving were valid and awarded Penguin Books 2 million pounds in court costs, is merely a tool of the Jewish Conspiracy. In any case, having characterized the situation the way he did Williams now, just above, admits he knows little about German history.

    That latter self-characterization is one we should certainly all accept.

    But note that it didn't stop him from engaging in the paranoid anti-semitic fantasies we find in his entry at 10:12 a.m. Nor does he dare reply to the specific chapter and verse I give about Irving's disgraceful dishonesty. The dishonesty--to repeat--had to do with Irving consciously withholding from the public for 30 years devastating evidence that he was wrong.

    Clarke feels quite at home with Willilams, though he also describes Williams as a Holocaust denier.

    Reader, draw your own conclusions about both Clarke and Williams from this.


    Don Williams - 9/29/2006

    Actually, it was Christopher Hitchens, Not I, who described David Irving as "not just a Fascist historian. He is also a great historian of Fascism". See the main article to which you linked.

    You know Christopher, don't you? He's
    David Horowitz's buddy. See
    http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=1195

    As I noted in my October 2004, I do not know enough about German history to judge Irving or Irving's detractors. I do think that the stuff by Deborah Lipstadt that I've read is utter dreck -- and I explained why in my posts. But that in itself does not validate or exonerate Irving.


    E. Simon - 9/29/2006

    HNN readers should also, realize the possibility that HNN retroactively may delete threads after the two-week window of primary activity for the message board has passed. I have come back to message boards weeks later and realized that threads were deleted, that the number of posts doesn't equal the number stated at the bottom of the article, and that posts referred to in remaining threads can't be found. If you go back to the thread in question you will find references to posts in the board with specific time and date references by, for example, Irfan Khawaja - among others, which do not exist. It is entirely possible, and I believe likely, that some of the juicier passages were retroactively expunged by the editing staff, after the one-on-one remedial historiography sessions led to a change of tone and level of concern for Ms. Salzman, and perhaps others as well.


    A. M. Eckstein - 9/29/2006

    Williams, I didn't even know who wrote the stuff down at the end of the blog; I read one line of it and gave up on it as idiocy. So your paranoia and self-importance go nowhere with me and have nothing to do with me.

    As for David Irving, when he sued Penguin Books and Deborah Lipstadt for slander, the judgment of the British court was that he was indeed, as they had said, a Holocaust denier, a pro-Nazi, and a person with diminished historical credentials--when he sued, he LOST. They made their case in court on all three charges. He was supposed to pay 2 million pounds in court fees. What a surprise--he never has.

    I only know about Irving in terms of the bombing of Dresden. What came out in the trial was that he had private letters from a man, Dr. Max Funfack, whom he claimed was a Deputy Medical Officer with special access to information on the number of the dead (this had to do with the Nazi propaganda document which we call in shorthand TB 47, which Irving said gave an authentic count of the dead)--letters in which the man berated Irving for claiming this when he was no such thing. Irving kept this letter secret for 30 years while he kept claiming the man was a government official with special access to documents. What also came out in the trial was that Irving had a long letter from a man (Theo Miller) who WAS a government official and patiently and in detail explained to him that the number of the dead could not have been above 35,000--not the 250,000 which Irving claimed on the basis of the Nazi propaganda document TB 47. This letter TOO Irving kept secret for 30 years. This is outright dishonesty in both cases. No wonder he lost his case. This is the person you respect as a great historian.

    Finally, it is not I who said you were a Holocaust denier. It is your friend Clarke. I was just quoting him. I guess he knows in this one case of whereof he speaks.

    Readers should, again, draw their own conclusions from this interchange.


    Don Williams - 9/29/2006

    "Theories" supported by historical data are of value. "Theories" that are unsupported claptrap and dishonest neocon sophistry created in order to dress up predetermined wars for special interests are something else.

    What does Thucydides say about the "Theory of Democratic Peace"? If democracies are so peaceful, why did the other city-states of Greece have to wage the Peloponnesian War to restrain the business-driven imperialism of Athens?

    What does the Melian dialogue tell us about the peaceful nature of democracies? The Island of Melos pleaded merely to be left alone --to remain neutral and outside Athens' empire.

    Remember the Athenian reply?
    "right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must".

    Truly the most succinct statement of neocon principles I've ever seen.
    (Ref: http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/melian.htm

    Come to think of it, didn't Aristotle note that democracies are ephemeral --that they quickly degenerate into corrupt oligarchies?

    Leo Strauss would wet his pants laughing at you guys. You don't see reality ,you only see the shadows on Platos' cave ..er.. the shadows on Fox News TV screens.


    Don Williams - 9/29/2006

    Some posters here seem puzzled by my reference to "Real Americans". There are obvious reasons why they have difficulty understanding this concept.
    For an example, I point them to a Revolutionary War patriot named Haym Solomon --who I suspect would spit on them in contempt if he was here today.

    Some those digging up my past posts seem to have overlooked the one I made here:

    http://hnn.us/readcomment.php?id=85632&;bheaders=1

    An excerpt:
    -----------------
    It is interesting that Mr Cravatts , in the course of suggesting Professors Walt and Mearsheimer are anti-Semitic, cheerfully engages in the typical neocon anti-Semitism himself. Which is that criticism of the Israel Lobby is criticism of Jews as a whole.

    Cravatts seems to share the neocon view that all Jews support Likud's aggression and the Israel Lobby.
    That they all put Likud's agenda above America --Except for the "self-hating Jews" , of course.

    This should be a deep insult to American Jews --who have a long history of loyalty to this country. Here in Philadelphia a wealthy Jewish merchant, Haym Solomon, went bankrupt supporting the American Revolution -- at a time when some gentile merchants were getting rich trading with the British enemy and selling rotted meat to the Continental Army.

    The fact is, most of America's 6 million Jews are middle class professionals. Neither their votes nor their wealth is sufficient to exert the malign effects of the Israel Lobby. Plus the views of America's Jews are diverse --look at
    George Soros and Noam Chomsky.

    What is happening is that the Republicans and Democrats are in a death struggle -- and Bush knows that the Democrats receive much of their funding from a few billionaires who are strong supporters of Israel. Bush knows that if he can lure those
    donors over to the Republicans, he can destroy the Democrats. Hence, the power of AIPAC. It can tip the balance-- not of millions of votes but of millions of dollars in campaign donations.

    Bush knows that he can damage national security by pandering to Likud extremists -- that the Democratic leadership will not criticize him because some of them have whored for the Israel Lobby for decades.

    Rich men and their sycophants, in pursuit of questionable ends, never hesitate to wrap themselves in the flag.

    The Israel Lobby goes further --it wraps itself in the Holocaust. It thereby creates a danger to Jews.

    Adolf Hitler and the Nazis rose to power in Germany in the 1930s because Germans, including German Jews, endured enormous misery and deep poverty when Germany's economy was destroyed by the vicious terms of the Versailles Treaty: 50%unemployment. Loss of life savings. Widespread malnutrition and disease.

    John Maynard Keynes clearly predicted these consequences while the Treaty was being written -- see his "Economic
    Consequences of the Peace". The 5 million Jews killed in the Holocaust had nothing to do with the Treaty -- the Treaty was the result of greedy men trying to get rich by raping Germany and making good on war loans they made to France and Britain. But it was the innocents, not the guilty, who paid a horrible price.

    The very Republicans who are pandering to the Israel Lobby today -- in order to secure the political power to cut the taxes of the superrich and to also grab the huge oil deposits of Iraq and the Caspian Sea-- will be the first to launch a pogrom in the future if Bush's courtship fails. They will be the first to blame "the Jews" for the Sept 11 attack, for the debacle in Iraq, and for the pending bankruptcy
    of Social Security due to the Republican theft of $3 Trillion from the Trust Fund.


    Don Williams - 9/29/2006

    When he suggested that you guys were unfamiliar with the military. You seemed to have learned "duck and cover" quite well.

    Instead of responding to my post, you guys slander me way up here --where I could have easily overlooked it. However, Your feeble attempts at a stab in the back does illustrate the cowardice to which Peter Clarke alludes.

    I have no apologies to make on the discussion re David Irving. Whatever his faults and inner feelings, Irving had unearthed a lot of primary source material about Nazi Germany and had suffered an economic attack in which he could no longer make his living because US publishers would not touch his material for fear of attacks both open and sly. A "Profile in Prudence" was how one publisher put it to Christopher Hitchens.

    In the Irving discussion, I was surprised that his opponents had not unearthed more prominent examples of falsification giving Irving's public reputation and the huge tomes he's published. Being unfamiliar with the subject, I was trying to determine whether--and where -- Irving was truly falsifing history and where he was merely showing the historian's professional scepticism.

    My interest in history is how wealthy elites create false and misleading narratives to advance their agendas.
    Of how power and wealth undermines the process by which we search for the Truth. When a historian comes under attack in an effort funded by a billionaire, it attracts my interest.

    If you check with Sara Salzman, she will hopefully remember that I emailed her in October 2004 and warned her that she was being discussed on a neo-Nazi site. ( I found this out when I googled her name to find out more about her qualifications.) If you look toward the bottom of my comments on the Irving matter, you will see that when she expressed concern about intimidation from Irving supporters , I advised her to buy a 45 automatic, and that I pointed her to the organization "Jews for the Preservation of Firearms" for info on self-defense. Are those the acts of an anti-Semite?


    art eckstein - 9/29/2006

    I didn't know who Don Williams was, and I didn't know who Peter K. Clarke is, until I started following HNN when my colleague Jeff Herf posted his article here back in August.

    But let me get this straight: Clarke KNOWS that Williams is a Holocaust denier ("Holocaust denial lite", Clarke says), yet recommends Williams' "anti-Zionist conspiracy site" as "a welcome change of pace", especially in contrast to all of us "Likudnik rapers of history" who are trying to fool "real Americans."

    In judging the value of anything Clarke ever says here in the future, all of this is, I think, important for readers to understand.


    Don Williams - 9/29/2006

    The "duck and cover" tactic taught to schoolchildren in the early years of the Cold War.


    john crocker - 9/29/2006

    1. You had not provided any evidence in this thread. I had previously acknowledged that some historians may accept the terms use.

    2a. I ascribed the use of the term to EVOKE AN EMOTIONAL RESPONSE IN SUPPORT OF A PARTICULAR POSITION in what should be a rational debate.

    2b. I have not addressed the actions of Islamic terrorists here because that is not the topic. The topic is the use of the term Islamofascist. Safia Ama Jan was mentioned in another thread, not this one. It was Mr. Huff who made the reference that so disturbed you, not me. You have apparently conflated the opinions and comments of all those who disagree with you. Translation "I must build a straw man, I MUST BUILD A STRAW MAN, I MUST BUILD A STRAW MAN!"

    3. Just a side note but Hirsi Ali is a bit of a hypocrite. She lied on her immigration application and then supported deporting a girl for the same offence a few months before her high school graduation. Her rhetoric is generally designed more for self aggrandizement rather than constructive change.

    You have not in any way addressed the use of Islamofascist to elicit emotional rather than a rational response. You may not accept that position, but you have not answered it.

    Again my not mentioning something that is not immediately pertinent to the debate at hand does not in any way indicate a position on that thing.


    E. Simon - 9/29/2006

    They also come from a part of the world that translates less books per annum into the language they speak then are translated into Greek, which is spoken by 1/30th the number of people, last time I checked.


    N. Friedman - 9/29/2006

    Mr. Feuerbach,

    You write: "Are you trying to be more specific or just less general?"

    Neither. I am trying to make it clear to you that my comment was not about all Muslims.

    You write: "I think that deep down you are trying to say that the ultimate cause of violence is religious in nature, and more specifically Muslim."

    That is basically it but I would say Islamic. The central inspiration here is religion and, more specifically, Islam and the Islamic tradition.

    You write: "I’m not saying that the people who perpetrated 9/11 had no theology. I’m saying that they had a bad theology."

    If you bother to check carefully, the theology of the Jihadis is basically classical Islamic theology. My view is that it is an heroic theology, not a bad one. Your view is that the theology is bad.

    But, since that theology co-existed with a civilization that produced substantial societies and made substantial contributions, I think your point is rather anti-Muslim. My view is not as I note that Islam is not the only heroic religion. Pre-rabbinic Judaism was also heroic.

    You write: "Luckily you said that, not me."

    The issue for me was to set down what I thought you think, which is what I thought I stated. But, now I realize that you view Islamic theology as bad. That makes things rather clear. The difference here is that you prefer not to identify the theology you dislike. I am willing to identify the theology at work, whether or not I like it.


    N. Friedman - 9/29/2006

    Mr. Feuerbach,

    How about explaining your theory. I do not follow your criticism and I do not see any better explanation for the violence coming from you.


    J. Feuerbach - 9/29/2006

    Mr. Friedman,

    1. You state,
    “I have, instead, asked a legitimate question about why Muslims - not all but a fairly good number - are behaving as violently.”

    Are you trying to be more specific or just less general?

    2. You state,
    “My contention is that religion is the final cause, in the Aristolean sense of final cause, of violence committed in the name of religion. It may not be the entire story but it is centrally important.”

    And politics is the final cause of violence committed in the name of politics; and sports is the final cause of violence committed in the name of sports; should I continue? I think that deep down you are trying to say that the ultimate cause of violence is religious in nature, and more specifically Muslim.

    3. You state,
    “I thus suggest that a good place to investigate the cause of violence by those who claim that they are dying to advance their religion is in their religion.”

    How could I disagree with that statement? Now, is “their religion” Islam? Please remember what Jesus said: “Every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit, a good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit…" Matthew 7:17-18 I’m not saying that the people who perpetrated 9/11 had no theology. I’m saying that they had a bad theology.

    4. You state,
    “Your contention is that we should ignore what the Jihadists state, that we should ignore the theology they espouse and assume, a priori, that all religions are the same. I think that is nonsense.”

    Yes, it’s nonsense. Luckily you said that, not me. But don’t worry. Some self-criticism every now and then is very healthy.


    E. Simon - 9/29/2006

    Peter, I think this might be one of those times, when, as you once wisely counseled me, one can admit they were wrong, and not die instantly, or words to that effect. I didn't think the advice applied to me at the time, nor do I think that they apply to me now for that matter, but perhaps you honestly ought to consider whether or not you might see the wisdom in asking whether or not they just might apply to yourself, right now.

    Consider this wisely and carefully, but the clock's ticking and you will not get many, if any, passes this easy in the future. Of that I can assure you.


    E. Simon - 9/29/2006

    I honestly had a feeling it would come to this someday, and am not surprised. He has some very, very intense feelings at his core that he appears to have quite a bit of trouble controlling - despite all the sophistry, and so far we've only seen bits and pieces of them leak through every now and then. I personally don't believe he himself understands them completely. But when, as we see, they've allowed him into his current predicament, it is rather hard not to face the reality and the consequences of where his approach is leading.


    N. Friedman - 9/29/2006

    Peter,

    Why are you so bitter?

    You really are descending far into the gutter.


    art eckstein - 9/29/2006

    Thanks for the reference to Don Williams' entry in that discussion of David Irving, E.S.

    This man, whom Clarke praises as a welcome change of pace, is a straightforward Holocaust denier, and he does it at the address you have kindly provided. People should take a look.

    I didn't think I could be shocked by much from Clarke anymore--but I have to say I am.


    E. Simon - 9/29/2006

    Oh, and also let me know if the paranoia that is evident in those posts sounds familiar.


    E. Simon - 9/29/2006

    I urge anyone following this to check out Peter K. Clarke's idea of what a mere "anti-Israeli conspiracy theorist" looks like. Since his context isn't clear, we are not sure whether Mr. Clarke considers Mr. Williams to also be a real American, as opposed to a raper of history. I'm sure that as someone devoted to killing or praising messengers as opposed to messages, he would gladly let us know.

    Be sure to pay extra special attention to the distortions and defamation that Mr. Williams employs, as Sara Salzman - who recounts Deborah Lipstadt's ordeals in discrediting the notorious Holocaust denier David Irving - in correcting Mr. Williams' gross errors, patiently and successfully walks him through some remedial historiography, despite his repeated personal attacks against her (and everyone else who doesn't outright buy his wholesale claims). This is the type of individual that Mr. "Clarke" considers a "welcome change of pace."

    You get the picture.

    http://hnn.us/articles/7259.html


    J. Feuerbach - 9/29/2006

    Mr. Simon,

    I know that I have to take responsibility for my behavior --I'm a recovering cynic--, but I had my 21st relapse of the day after reading what you said about Eckstein.

    “Professor Eckstein has a post somewhere in here that specifically notes which percentages of Muslims in which areas support which kinds of acts and ideologies.”

    There are 1.2 billion Muslims in the world and Mr. Eckstein has accurate qualitative and/or quantitative data on which percentages of Muslims in which areas support which kinds of acts and ideologies? I’d love to take a look at these “studies” but not today. I won’t be able to handle another relapse. Please take into account that my CA group (Cynics Anonymous) doesn’t meet until tomorrow.

    However, I like your second quote,

    “…and he has specifically stated that even small numbers have the potential for great impact, which in itself negates the use of a blanket stereotype approach.”

    Well, that’s true. In the morning of September 11, 2001, 19 (NINETEEN) terrorists affiliated with al-Qaeda hijacked four commercial passenger jet airliners and conducted a series of coordinated suicide attacks upon the United States. "Crazy" Baudrillard was right on the money when he wrote:

    “We have no idea anymore of what is such a symbolic calculation, as in poker or potlatch, with minimal stakes and maximal result. That is, exactly what terrorists obtained in the attack on Manhattan, and which would be a good metaphor for chaos theory: an initial shock, provoking incalculable consequences, while American gigantic deployment ("Desert Storm") obtained only derisory effects — the storm ending so to speak in the flutter of butterfly wings.” http://www.egs.edu/faculty/baudrillard/baudrillard-the-spirit-of-terrorism.html


    art eckstein - 9/29/2006

    Michael Kelly, the prominent political scientist who is the foremost proponent of the theory of democratic peace, teaches at Princeton and is the opposite of a post-modernist.

    So once more, Clarke reveals that he doesn't know what he is talking about.

    But then he has also revealed himself to be a vicious, primitive anti-semite at home at Zionist conspiracy sites: see his comments tonight at 8:23 p.m., and is distinction between "real Americans" such as himself, vs., um, "others." You'll find it above under the rubric "word to the wise," as well as my response to it at 9:11 p.m.


    art eckstein - 9/29/2006

    1. The term and concept Islamofascism, as I have demonstrated, does have a long (40 years) and quite distinguished background. Besides Halpern and Rodinson, its supporters have included Muslims. The term and concept currently has the support both of Paul Berman and Fouad Ajami, both of them distinguished students of terrorism and Islam. Ajami is--again--himself a Muslim (Shiite) and identifies himself quite strongly that way, though he is also a highly-secularized Muslim. I doubt Ajami likes the term because he sees it as leading to a worldwide war on Islam.

    2. You may not have mentioned Bush by name, but you ascribe the employment of this term to nefarious forces within the current administartion. Your reserve all your angry emotion for American actions, and give none to Islamofascist atrocities such as the murder of a woman's rights activist whose name you didn't even bother to remember. Translation: "I hate Bush, I HATE BUSH, I HATE BUSH!!"

    3. I have (a) explained why I think the term and concept Islamofascism IS indeed calling a spade a spade, and (b) why I think calling a spade a spade is a valuable thing to do here--not only for our own morale in defending civilization from monsters out of the dark ages, but also to support Muslim moderates such as Hirsi Ali who are begging us not to treat the extremists with respect..
    That I don't accept YOUR position or your objections to "Islamofascism", Mr. Crocker, doesn't mean I haven't answered your questions. You just don't like the answers.


    art eckstein - 9/29/2006

    WOW.

    Clarke writes as follows:

    "Likudnik rapers of history"-- but opposed to "real Americans" such as himself (that's as opposed to us, Simon and Friedman!) "are not fooled."

    Folks, just like Clarke's friend Patrick Ebbitt, and just like his friend the crazed Muslim totalitarian Omar, Clarke has now revealed himself to be what he is: a VICIOUS AND PRIMITIVE ANTI-SEMITE.

    At least it's out in the open now.


    N. Friedman - 9/29/2006

    Omar,

    I think you have a point when you write: Moslems know perfectly well what they are , what they like and they dislike.

    The Islamists among them ,ie those with a socio/economic/political platform of their own based on their own particular interpretation of Islam and shariaa have names for their movements of their own choice:Moslem Brotherhood, Hizb Allah, Al Jama Al Islamia, Hizb Al Tahrir,Mujahidi Khalek etc.

    They neither worry nor care what people like Professors Furnish, Mandel, Eckstein etc etc or plebians like Yehudi, Friedman ,Simon etc etc call them.


    Your point is obviously correct. Nasty political movements tend only to listen to themselves. That, frankly, is one of their problems: they do not actually care about the opinion of the world.

    Read the declaration of independence. Justifying things to others is part of having a legitimate movement. That is universally true, not just for Westerners.


    N. Friedman - 9/29/2006

    Peter,

    I think you are full of beans. Again, if it is so bad here, why are you wasting your time with us plebians?


    art eckstein - 9/29/2006

    Oops, went through twice. But for people interested in "Imperialism, The Highest Stage of Capitalism," as Clarke obviously is, one should realize that it is 90 years out of date as analysis.

    One should start instead with "the theory of democratic peace," first set forth by political scientists in 1986. Precursor: Joseph Schumpeter, who is also worth reading. International History Review (on the editorial board of which I once served for five years) recently had an entire volume devoted to this theory.

    Once more, I violate Clarke's style by actually presenting people with information they can use.


    Rodney Huff - 9/29/2006

    Translation of your translation: All you can do is misrepresent what I say so you can have a straw man to attack. That's not very nice, Mr. Eckstein.

    You're delusional if you think I consider OBL a humanitarian.



    art eckstein - 9/28/2006

    translation: "I hate Bush, I HATE BUSH, I HATE BUSH!!"

    Thank you for your analysis of the world situation. I esp. like your image of the blameless and rational humanitarian bin Laden.


    art eckstein - 9/28/2006

    More ad hominem.

    Yep, we do read Lenin in the graduate couse on imperialism theory, though.


    art eckstein - 9/28/2006

    More ad hominem. And totally off the topic. Why am I not surprised?

    But, yep, we do read Lenin in the graduate couse on imperialism theory.


    Rodney Huff - 9/28/2006

    I don't like the label "the war on terror" either, for the same reasons you give. Most of all I don't like its plasticity.

    We've lost our focus on the "terrorists" who attacked us, so now we must grope for terminology that will broaden our sights to include the enemies we're now creating faster than we can kill in Iraq and elsewhere. Islamo-fascism will serve Bush wonderfully in bringing the war to Iran or wherever he chooses to go next.

    It really does set the ideological stage for another invasion. Iran will be compared to Nazi Germany and all kinds of emotions will be stirred up in people whose support Bush will want to win. Using the term is not intellectually incisive; it's a nice PR move.

    Now, in his own words, OBL tells us why he did it (http://www.worldpress.org/Americas/1964.cfm):

    The events that affected my soul in a direct way started in 1982 when America permitted the Israelis to invade Lebanon and the American Sixth Fleet helped them in that. This bombardment began and many were killed and injured and others were terrorised and displaced.

    I couldn't forget those moving scenes, blood and severed limbs, women and children sprawled everywhere. Houses destroyed along with their occupants and high rises demolished over their residents, rockets raining down on our home without mercy.

    The situation was like a crocodile meeting a helpless child, powerless except for his screams. Does the crocodile understand a conversation that doesn't include a weapon? And the whole world saw and heard but it didn't respond.

    In those difficult moments many hard-to-describe ideas bubbled in my soul, but in the end they produced an intense feeling of rejection of tyranny, and gave birth to a strong resolve to punish the oppressors.

    And as I looked at those demolished towers in Lebanon, it entered my mind that we should punish the oppressor in kind and that we should destroy towers in America in order that they taste some of what we tasted and so that they be deterred from killing our women and children.

    And that day, it was confirmed to me that oppression and the intentional killing of innocent women and children is a deliberate American policy. Destruction is freedom and democracy, while resistance is terrorism and intolerance.

    Me: Here it is in plain English - U.S. policy is what motivated OBL to do what he did, not some irrational hatred of our freedom or jihadic, Islamo-fascist, or whatever impulse he just couldn't resist. It's so easy to see, if only people would look. But no, Bush has already looked and determined what the reasons are, and he knows what to do, of course. It's also psychologically rewarding to see in others what you refuse to see in yourself. Freud called this phenomenon projection. Tell me, was it Judeo-Christian-fascism that killed those innocent people in Lebanon?

    Islamo-fascism is just another attempt to direct attention away from the role of U.S. foreign policy in the conflict. If we are at all interested in peace, however, we will realize our social responsibility as free citizens to hold those in power accountable for the misdeeds they perpetrate in our name. Of course, we must also go after and bring to justice the "terrorists" (let us call a spade a spade) who are getting away with murder, and perhaps sending a message to other would-be terrorists - "actually, you can viciously attack the U.S. and get away with it, so long as their is a more visible scapegoat around to take the heat off you. Terrorism might actually be a viable career option for our our alienated, impoverished Muslim youth."

    I'm driving home this point about U.S. foreign policy because everyone knows about the evil of OBL, but no one wants to hear about the evil things done in our name - and that's the other side of the coin we must come to terms with in this conflict.




    john crocker - 9/28/2006

    1. You have not shown a long and distinguished background.

    2. My objection is not merely political. My objection is to using terminology to provoke an emotional response in what is supposed to be a rational debate.

    3. I object to the term regardless of whether Bush uses it. I in fact did not mention Bush or any member of his administration in this thread.

    4. "...and this is so precisely because it does have descriptive validity" No. Its ability to rally is based on evoking fear, not on descriptive validity.

    5. I object to the term for the reasons I have laid out. You assume wrongly that my objection to the term stems from its use by this administration. Although I do object to how they use the term as well.

    6. As for calling a spade a spade I have on numerous occasions stated why I find the term inaccurate in addition its being used to provoke emotional rather than intellectual response.

    7. Any descriptive value it may have (which I think is limited at best) is outweighed by the way it is used and the emotional baggage attached.

    8. You try to demean my argument by saying it stems from some sort of Bush hatred, when I did not mention him even in passing. You set up a straw man version of my argument in order to call my perspective narrow. I find this to be lazy and intellectually dishonest.

    9. Not once have you responded to my actual objection. Is this because you have no answer?

    10. If as you said before that debates in this forum are like shooting fish in barrel for you, you should be able to address the actual content of the argument rather than setting up straw men.

    We both agree that the terrorists pose a threat. We disagree on the level of that threat. You apparently believe that the terrorists are as dangerous or somehow more dangerous than the axis powers in the early 40s. You apparently also feel that people cannot be brought to understand that threat by reason and so must be emotionally manipulated in order to come around to your way of seeing the threat. You also apparently believe that the only reason someone could disagree with you on this point is because they hate Bush.

    This is a very narrow perspective.


    Yehudi Amitz - 9/28/2006

    Muslims live in a sea of misinformation. They still believe that the CIA (and the Mossad) perpetrated the WTC attack on 9/11/2001. So cut your taurine doo-doo. If Muslims wouldn't care they wouldn't blow each other and the infidels up!
    Your only worry should be passing through a Shiite road block, they'll cut your throat, be careful we'll miss your misinformed posts.


    E. Simon - 9/28/2006

    Wow. I can see his "the Jews invented Communism" angle has really tickled your fancy. Enjoy the foray with your fellow traveler in the art of historical inanities, political labelling and conspiracy theorizing, just hope it isn't too long until you have to scrounge to dissociate yourself from long acts devoted to discerning your active participation from plausible deniability in encouraging a Holocaust denial thread. Though it seems at least he's more your type of scholar, which is nice.


    E. Simon - 9/28/2006

    This "I know you are but what am I? - (oh wait, you don't get an answer to what am I)" stuff won't work. Besides, I'm better at it than you are. And what I do know is that intense, passionate feelings (like love and hate) are related. So when it comes to your intensely raging, obsessive scorn for Bush, I think, "well, unrequited love can leave some nasty scars, but maybe someday Peter will get over them."

    I can see we're pretty much done with you here. But in the meantime I can see you've taken to enlightening Don Williams on the higher art of anti-Neo-Con, somesuch, blah blah bedfellow making. I'm sure he will appreciate it, as one of the more notorious (and obsessive) Holocaust deniers HNN has ever seen. I'm sure I can find you the evidence of it from last year, if I gather enough time and interest.


    art eckstein - 9/28/2006

    The problem is that terrorism is a technique and we are dealing with people who have an ideology, and it's the ideology that creates the technique.

    On Dec. 8, 1941, FDR did not declare war against "Pilots", or even against "Surprise Attacks." That's the problem with the phrase "War on Terror". It doesn't address, and in fact obscures, who the enemy is. We're not fighting the IRA or the ETA (Basques).

    It is a degenerate form of Islam that is the motivating force for all this terrorist violence against innocent civilians: against Catholics in the Philippines,against Hindus in India, against Jews in israel (and worldwide), against animists in the southern Sudan, against Protestants in Nigeria, against Orthodox and atheists in Russia, against artists in Holland, against Shia in Iraq (HUGE attacks on civilians by Sunnis), against fellow-Muslims in western Sudan.

    The idea that such people, doing such massively violent acts against innocent civilians everywhere, are ultimately motivated by civil rights concerns is absurd.






    art eckstein - 9/28/2006

    Sure, E.S.

    best,

    Art


    E. Simon - 9/28/2006

    Peter, please then, give us an in-depth, analysis of what your feelings toward Mr. George W. Bush consist of, since I am very curious as to why discussions of him in the terms you use comprise about at least 1/3 of the words you devote to your posts on HNN.

    Again, tell us your FEELINGS on the matter, as your rebuttal of the term "hate" makes YOUR FEELINGS on such an extensive matter as the person of G.W.B. that you drone on about are now very relevant to this discussion, thanks to your quick but rather incomplete attempt at clarifying them.


    Rodney Huff - 9/28/2006

    I say we call a terrorist a terrorist.

    How does employing a term that obscures more than it reveals help moderate Muslims? They can't tell the difference between themselves and terrorists without Bush's help? The intent and the result of using such a term is not intellectual clarity, but confusion as to where we draw the line between us and the enemy. And it sets the stage for the next invasion of a sovereign country.

    OBL states unequivocally that he got the idea for 9/11 when he saw Israel destroy buildings in Lebanon with U.S. support.


    E. Simon - 9/28/2006

    I appreciate your comments Professor Eckstein - and they mean a lot, to me at least; I think it is a pity that Mr. Clarke doesn't seem to think so (more in his attitude toward you than toward me). Although I can understand that it could become annoying to hear us as I tend, like N., to focus on the basic fallacies that Peter commits, were he to better train himself to avoid them, we wouldn't have to spend so much time pointing them out and could proceed with spending more time engaging the lucid, cogent and incisive analyses that you, and occasionally others, provide. What he hates about you is that you are better practiced than either he or I at both noting basic fallacies as well as discussing historical analyses, your noteworthy credentials notwithstanding, but his anger is difficult to comprehend. Surely it is easier to abide by well-understood standards of rational debate than to purge oneself of any of the sentiment, political or otherwise - that seems to provoke Peter's curiosity to the point of obsession and paranoia. Verily, even his own proclaimed "loyalty" to U.S. interests could, by his own standards, disqualify him for any discussion that touches remotely on any reference to America.

    Judging by his obsessively regular rantings here against the current administration, perhaps this just proves my point.

    Again, thanks for your comments. I look forward to continuing to read your posts, and to supplementing what I can continue to learn - about the process of doing and understanding history - with them.


    E. Simon - 9/28/2006

    In case I wasn't clear in my first paragraph, Mr. Clarke, I eagerly await your enlightening us here on why you don't ostensibly prefer posting on HNN to posting on h-net - which is a logical corollary following from Mr. Friedman's speculation, with links to what you have written on h-net.


    art eckstein - 9/28/2006

    Typo: for Bin Laden, it's 80 years of intolerable Muslim humiliation since the abolition of the Caliphate,


    art eckstein - 9/28/2006

    Clarke, since I actually am an academic, and have published on modern imperialism in the most prestigious of British venues, and since I am entrusted with my Department with the graduate seminar on imperialism theory, let me say about E. Simon that I have not seen unscholarly posts from him. I haven't seen impolite posts from him. (He's better than me in that respect, I admit--I do have a short fuse.) Nothing E. Simon has said here on HNN would be unacceptable on a History blog, it seems to me.

    The same cannot be said for you. Let's just start with "neocon excrement" as an example of your style of writing.


    art eckstein - 9/28/2006

    Well, more ad hominem and "I hate Bush!" What a surprise.

    Huff, I've said several times that we must strengthen the moderates within Islam and I've explained how. If I emphasize that the terrorists act out of religious and theological belief (but that moderate Muslims need our help by us calling a spade a spade), how Is that "religious determinism" indicating a belief that Islam per se is bad? Can't you respond intelligently?

    It's another example of simplifying to the point of total distortion.

    As for not answering your questions, I have said several times that U.S. policies, including the stupid invasion of Iraq, are an issue. But they are not at the heart of the problem. You just won't accept my position and then claim I haven't answered your question.

    As for bin Laden, HIS main grievance was that the Caliphate was eliminated in 1924. That's why he has referred to 70 years of humiliation.




    Rodney Huff - 9/28/2006

    Obviously, you have not taken the time to read OBL's speech. It's not my pet theory that he did what he did out of legitimate grievances and uses a religious injunction to rationalize his actions and to no doubt reinforce solidarity among his followers.

    The argument you offer, a form of religious determinism, denies the humanity of these people - they are mere reflexes of a received tradition of violence. Their religion is to blame. U.S. foreign policy has done nothing at all to inspire their "hatred of our freedom." Lies upon lies! The heart of the problem is and remains two-sided. Why do continue to insist on seeing evil on only one side?

    Also, you still haven't answered any of my questions. Are you good at dodge ball, too?


    art eckstein - 9/28/2006

    Yes, E.S. Like Clarke, Mr. Huff's contribution to this discussion consists solely of the mantra, "I hate Bush, I hate BUSH, I HATE BUSH!!!"

    We get it, Mr. Huff.

    So far, Huff has not responded to anything else among the complex and profound issues with which we are confronted. Let's see if he responds to my #98485 immediately below, where I've tried to lay out the issue for him.


    N. Friedman - 9/28/2006

    Mr. Feuerbach,

    I do not stereotype Islam or any other religion. I do, however, note that which can be discerned from the available literature.

    I certainly do not deny Christianity's historical association with violence. Just the opposite: I think that violence committed in the name of Christianity such as the Crusades makes little sense without considering the importance of the holy land to Christians and in Christian theology and history. That requires, at a minimum, noting that religion did have something important - in fact, something rather centrally important - to do with that violence.

    Is it stereotyping Christianity to note the importance of the holy land in the faith? Is it stereotyping Islam to note the importance of the Kabaa in the faith? Is it using a stereotype to note that the Hajj is important to Islam and Muslims?

    What seems to bug you is my assertion that Jihad, as war, is central to Islam and in Muslim history. But, frankly, to deny that is to deny Islamic theology and to ignore the historical record. Consider this passage by noted Muslim Islam scholar M.J. Akbar in his enjoyabel book Shade of Swords, pages pp's xv - xvi:

    ... There are Muslims today, for instance, who will convert jihad into a holy bath rather than a holy war, as if it is nothing more than an injunction to cleanse yourself within.

    It is true that the Prophet insisted that a greater jihad was the struggle to cleanse impurity within, but that does not take away from the fact that the lesser jihad inspired the spirit that once made Muslim armies all-conquering, enabled Muslims to protect their holy places, and ensured that most of the community lived with the protection of Muslim power despite formidable challenge from Christian alliances in a world war that was virtually coterminous with the birth of Islam. So often did Muslim armies, whether in the west or the east, triumph against odds that it conjured up a sense of a self-replicating miracle. Faith in Allah's bargain was reinforced by each victory, particularly against Christian armies who mobilized repeatedly not only to destroy Muslim empires but also Islam, which they called a heresy against Christ.

    Jihad is the signature tune of Islamic history. If today's Muslim rulers are reluctant to sound that note, it is often because they are concerned about the consequences of failure. As in every bargain, there are two sides. Allah promised victory to the Muslim, but only if the believer kept faith with him. Defeat becomes an indictment of the ruler, and is therefore risky, particularly as Muslims have a long tradition of holding their rulers accountable. They are enjoined to do so.


    Do you really think it unfair to note a rather important part of Islam and consider its role in inspiring violence - in this case, violence today where the participants themselves claim to be devoutly Muslim and to be engaged in a Jihad in the name of Islam for a traditional Islamic purpose -? I find your views to strain logic. So please explain why I am wrong.


    E. Simon - 9/28/2006

    Your first paragraph relates to the administration's efforts which, even if they make the effects of the problem we have described worse, do not negate the existence of that problem in the first place. Two different things can both be true at the same time.

    It sounds like your second paragraph is more a complaint against Bush than a response to anything said in the posts which you're responding to.


    art eckstein - 9/28/2006

    E.S., you have hit on the core of the problem: Clarke's one and ONLY contribution to our discussion of these issues is the continuing mantra: "I hate Bush, I hate Bush, I HATE BUSH!!!" That's it, E.S.!

    Mr. Clarke, we get the idea. Unfortunately, it doesn't help much with the actual issues we are addressing.


    art eckstein - 9/28/2006

    Mr. Huff, I'm going to pay you enough respect to respond a bit more seriously.

    Your response was o-t-t because NO ONE here was suggesting an all-out war against Islam. So your argument "that's where it leads," is an irresponsible debater's trick. If you bother to read my own posts, you will see that the reason I favor Islamofascism as a term--beyond the fact that it is perfectly respectable intellectually and that its intellectual background turns out to be left wing and is not, as your friend Clarke delicately put it, "neo-con excrement"--is not to cause a war. (Of course, the Islamofascists have already declared worldwide war on us, haven't they? But let's leave that aside.) The reason I favor this terminology and concept, beyond its intellectual value in clarifying the appalling nature of the enemy, is that talking tough to the Islamofascists strengthens the MODERATE Muslims. That's what the moderates SAY--it's not a pet theory of MINE. Similarly, they say that when westerners search desperately for ways to act "respectfully" to the extremists and find some sort of "common ground" (impossible in any case unless you're willing to convert)--this only strengthens the extremists and weakens the moderates. Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, who converted to Islam and became an extremist and now is not, has argued that point pretty eloquently. Ayan Hirsi Ali makes the same point.

    Finally, Safia Ama Jan was not killed by outraged human rights activists. Westerners seeking motives for terrorist acts instinctively focus on socio-political-economic grievances. This is because these westerns are usually profoundly secular, and thus cannot imagine that people might act out of RELIGIOUS or THEOLOGICAL reasons, because it is SO SO foreign from them. So they apply the kind of analysis with which they are comfortable and which feels right to them. But it is a profound failure of imagination not to see that different cultures really are different in motivation. A very large portion of, say, the Muslim population in Britain--not according to ME but according to polls and commented on by the appalled Timothy Garten Ash in the left-wing Guardian--want Sharia law to be imposed on Britain and to become the law of Britain. THAT, I'm sorry to say, is their "grievance." It was this same "grievance" that was expressed by relatives of the 17 Canadian Muslims arrested for plotting to blow up the Canadian Parliament building.

    Do U.S. actions contribute to the problem? I think that Friedman, Simon and I have all said so, numerous times. But those actions are not the HEART of the problem--which is above all a religious and theological crisis within Islam. In that crisis we need to support the moderates. Talking very tough to the terrorists, calling a spade a spade, is one way--perhaps the only way we have, working from the margins--to strengthen the moderates.



    Rodney Huff - 9/28/2006

    You must not find any fault with our military leaders who decide to invade a country only to leave it vulnerable once again to our enemies who hide the person responsible for 9/11. And to think - if we had invested half the resources we've devoted to Iraq, we could have helped stabilize this country, gotten OBL, and saved lives that are now being taken by an enemy we could have defeated once and for all the first time around.

    Why don't you now start answering my questions instead of tryinging to assasinate my character? For starters, expalin to me how the Bush administration can say that we face an enemy unlike any other in history, "an unprecedented threat," and then say in the same breath we've seen this enemy before?



    Yehudi Amitz - 9/28/2006

    Why reinvent the wheel? The main complaint seems to be about the kind of tires used.


    art eckstein - 9/28/2006

    As I predicted, someone here who opposes the term "Islamofascist" as allegedly intellectually non-rigorous has found a way to blame the Muslim terrorist atrocity of the murder of--how did he put it so sensitively?--"that woman in Afghanistan" on the U.S.


    E. Simon - 9/28/2006

    Maybe he was moderated out of irrelevance. Or ad hominems. But wait, everyone there must agree with him, or else he wouldn't attack them with the device - as it represents pretty much his only means of registering disagreement that anyone here has seen. Political labelling is basically ad hominem if you can't show that bias has substantively affected analysis, the latter of which is still the point in any event.

    Those "threads" don't seem as potentially interesting there - as they seem to consist of not much more than small collections of short e-mail submissions, although there are interesting, comprehensive and sometimes mildly incisive comments. One thing's for sure, though. Comments with a validity that is substantially less than - shall we say - ironclad, surely make their way.

    The format is also a huge drawback, at least from an electronic standpoint. And from a content standpoint, I think very restrictive moderation can have huge drawbacks as well. I can see someone fearing ad hominem attacks or lack of relevancy in the arguments presented, assuming they live by those tactics themselves. Otherwise there shouldn't be much to fear.

    He who lives by the sword shall die by the sword.


    E. Simon - 9/28/2006

    You too, my Vulcan friend.


    E. Simon - 9/28/2006

    I really don't understand where you could have got the impression that either Mssrs. Eckstein or Friedman are engaging in stereotyping. Professor Eckstein has a post somewhere in here that specifically notes which percentages of Muslims in which areas support which kinds of acts and ideologies, and he has specifically stated that even small numbers have the potential for great impact, which in itself negates the use of a blanket stereotype approach.


    Rodney Huff - 9/28/2006

    Over the top? I merely follow what you imply to its logical conclusion.

    I never did claim that the Islamo-fascism was a term invented by Bush. Your selective reading is disturbing. I merely pointed out how the term serves to distract Americans from what should be the main issue - the real reasons why OBL did what he did, as he himself articulates them, and the two-sidedness of this conflict, where both sides have exchanged injustices. (Have you read OBL's speech yet, or are you still allowing Bush to define the terms in which you think about his war?)

    Perhaps that woman in Afghanistan would not have been killed if we had remained focused on the mission there and kept the Taliban, who hide OBL, from coming back to power. And what about the rights of Iraqi citizens who were killed by U.S. bombs as they slept? Or the rights of Iraqi civilians who have been arrested and imprisoned on trumped up charges? Don't these injustices serve to strengthen the cause of our enemies and provide them with valuable recruiting tools? Why do you choose to see human rights violations in one place but not other places? Meanwhile, there are human rights violations occuring all over the world, but Bush chooses to focus our attention in one place - militarily depleted, economically impoverished, oil rich Iraq, complete with extraction infrastructure already in place. We all know why we're there and not in, say, Sudan.

    Newsflash: I've already removed the human rights card from the deck (a few posts ago), so you can't play it anymore in your defense of Bush's rhetoric, which misrepresents the real reasons why 9/11 happened and constitutes an effort to justify his expanding this war beyond Afghanistan, OBL's hideout and home of the human rights violations about which you seem so concerned.

    Moreover, if we do face an "unprecedented threat," as Bush and Cheney maintain, then what good does it do to make minute comparisons to an implacable foe from another era? Please xplain to me how the Bush administration can say that we face an enemy unlike any other in history, and then say in the same breath we've seen this enemy before?


    N. Friedman - 9/28/2006

    Peter,

    If the discussion here is so poor, why do you post here?


    Don Williams - 9/28/2006

    I ask that because it seems to me , based upon your posts, that many of you are fascists yourselves. And I mean that as an objective judgment, not as a criticism or insult. Look
    at your posts.

    1) One feature of fascists, like the Nazis, is to make up labels with which to tar an entire group perceived as an enemy. To tar all Muslims for the acts of the few with a term like "Islamofascism" is just as
    vile as to use the term "Judeogenocide" just because a Jew created the ideology of Communism, the Jewish Community supported the Communist overthrow of the Russian government, and Jews were major leaders in the Communist Party which murdered millions. Or because that same murderous regime was given the detailed design of the atomic bomb -- and the capability to murder millions of Americans -- by two American spy rings, almost all members of which were Jewish.

    Yet we do not blame the Jewish community as a whole for the acts of a minority. Nor should we smear the Muslim world by implying they are all closet supporters of Al Qaeda.

    2) Rational people --vice fascists like the Nazis -- recognize that you do not smear an entire people for the acts of a small minority. But Fascists do. Because if you need to murder a million innocents, you need to create a mass mental pathology which makes those innocents into something vile.

    That pathology is how the Nazis were able to murder millions of people who had done nothing against Germany --who had nothing to do with the Versailles treaty which destroyed Germany's economy.

    3) That same fascist pathology rejects any aspects of reality which contradicts loyalty to "der Fuhrer".
    Fascists like the Nazis happily bring death and destruction down upon their own people,as well as upon foreigners, in the service of their leader and party.

    Despite their nationalistic propaganda, They have no real loyalty to their country. That's why they feel such strong need to vehemently profess such loyalty even as their mindless aggression brings down doom upon their countrymen.

    REAL Americans want what's in the best interest of the country. Their ultimate loyalty is to this people and this land.

    It is not in the interest of this country to engage in a long, bloody, unprofitable war --for no real reason -- with 1 Billion Muslims. It IS in the interest of this country to isolate Al Qaeda from the Muslim people by acknowledging the death and destruction that has been brought down upon the Islamic world by the US Government acting on behalf of wealthy elites: Big Oil, Big Defense, and the Israel Lobby.

    Yet Mr Huff was obviously wasting his breath above when he tried to raise this point.

    4) Fascism is inherently corrupt and dishonest. That is why Bush and Cheney can profess a desire to spread "democracy" in the Muslim world while welcoming into the White House the real "IslamoFascists" --the oil dictators of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia,
    UAE, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan.

    5) Fascism is above all dictatorial --
    although quick to exploit claims for its rights in the rise to power. Destroying civil rights is the second great harm that fascists bring down upon their country. A few years ago, the Clinton administration was denounced as "jackbooted federal thugs" by the NRA leadership for enforcing a warrent --approved by a judge -- at Waco.

    The NRA leadership also argued that Clintonian efforts to reduce the murders of 10,000 Americans per year should be opposed because widespread ownership of unregistered firearms would allow the American people to oppose the rise of a dictator , should one ever arise in the distant future.

    So that NRA leadership installed in power a Republican Congress and Republican President which has scrapped the 1000 year old right of Habeas Corpus. Has scrapped the right to trial by jury. Has scrapped the Constitution's ban on torture. Has created massive systems of surveillance --including installation of thousands of cameras in our cities to watch our every move.

    Yet so many here defend that Administration -- in order to wage a war on "fascism".


    J. Feuerbach - 9/28/2006

    Mr. Simon,

    In actuality, there are not just dicothomies but trichotomies when it comes to passing judgment on almost everything (Islam, Christianity, opera, etc.): negative, positive, and neutral. So you missed a crucial category. Anyways, how did you reach the conclusion that I have a positive perception of Islam? When and where did I say that? For the record, I hold a neutral perception of Islam. (As a believer in recovery, I think religions have done more harm than good to humanity but that’s another story. But if you think it would be useful to clarify my stand on this topic, I would say that I view all religions, not just Islam or Christianity, negatively.)

    What I condemn is the violation of the 11th commandment (the one that never made it to the 2 stones): “Thou shall not not stereotype.” A stereotype is a standardized conception or image of a specific group of people or objects. I liked how someone described stereotypes: "mental cookie cutters." Stereotypes force a simple pattern upon a complex mass and assign a limited number of characteristics to all members of a group. And this is what Mr. Friedman and Mr. Eckstein, to different degrees, are doing.

    In sum, if someone is taking sides, that is perceiving Islam as mainly negative while oversimplyfing a rather complex and emotionally charged issue, it ain’t me.


    art eckstein - 9/28/2006

    More ad hominem attacks. He's just angry to have been proven wrong about "neocon excrement", to use his term.


    art eckstein - 9/28/2006

    E.S., I'm aware of that term but that probably makes two of us on this blog who are. That's the problem with using it: no one will know what you mean. I think it's too late for "irhabi," though my understanding is that many Muslims would accept that it is accurate in Islamic thought to describe these terrorists as irhabis.


    art eckstein - 9/28/2006

    A typical over-the-top response from Huff, esp. in the first couple of sentences.

    Huff does now at least admit that this discussion of Islamofascism is not an invention of the Bushies, but has a long history among scholars of the Middle East and Islam.

    Note also that at the end, Huff believes that our employment of the term and concept "Islamofascism" to describe the terrible enemy we face will bring us closer somehow to a dreadful ideological struggle. Friend, the ideological struggle is already here-- just ask Safia Ama Jan, the women's rights advocate murdered by these people this week in Afghanistan.


    E. Simon - 9/28/2006

    We could say "Irhabi". It means terrorist and I would imagine that at the very least the root word has Qur'anic provenance. As we can see with the way leftists and perhaps moderates recoil at the words "Crusade/Crusader", sometimes the label derived specifically from a civilization's own failings or excesses are the more powerful tonic.


    Rodney Huff - 9/28/2006

    So if we're fighting "Islamo-fascism" now, instead of OBL and AQ, we're obligated to bomb Pakistan and Iran, even though they, too, like Iraq, had nothing to do with 9/11? If this is the case, then we may very well be on our way to another one of Bush's self-fulfilling prohecies - this really could turn into the decisve ideological struggle of the 21st century.

    Having made new enemies worldwide, Bush (still making more enemies with his rhetoric) is now driven to employ terms that reflect his ambition of expanding and escalating the conflict beyond capturing the people who perpetrated 9/11 - if that wasn't obvious after the Iraq invasion. Enter "Islamo-fascism," a term dug up from a previous intellectual discussion for the politcal purpose of excusing a failed mission in Afghanistan and bringing us closer to that which Bush claims we are now facing - a decisive ideological struggle. If we aren't facing it now, we soon will, I'm sure. Bush's speech writers are very good at picking terms that help engender the reality that today's rhetoric fails to reflect, but may perhaps accurately describe the way things are tomorrow.

    I think "terrorists" is sufficient for describing whom we are (and ought to remain) up against. We should leave it at that.


    E. Simon - 9/28/2006

    "(O)ther people's threads" says that it is not I that sees this as a territorial thing.

    I've started my own ideas within threads, which is surely at least as significant as your single thread-starting post in this article, in which your usual "I hate Bush"-nothings garnered exactly... zero responses. This does not count your four-part sonnet below on hating a professor whom you've never met.

    Courage? You're starting to sound like your comical partner in heaping waves of thread-starting insult, from whom we haven't heard a peep this week. Interesting. Decency? It's not in your vocabulary; if it is it doesn't apply to your intellectual pursuits.

    Now if you could only manage to muster some humor, at least that would make your presence here the least bit redeeming.


    art eckstein - 9/28/2006

    1. The problem with the term "Jihadist" is exactly that it is a positive term in Islam. But the people we wish to describe are dreadful, ruthless, savage totaliarians out of the dark ages. We cannot allow them to highjack the discourse by making us employ a term to describe them which actually makes them look GOOD, esp. to themselves and their followers (and meanwhile we are too stupidly ignorant to understand this.).

    2. The ferocity of leftist opposition to the term "Islamofascism" has little to do with the intellectual merits of the case for the concept or the terminology--that should be clear from the postings above. The people ferociously opposing the concept simply SO much fear giving the hated Bush any political cover that they are willing to give up a valuable weapon against the savage and ruthless enemy we face.

    3. The Islamofascists ARE a right-wing movement: neotraditionalists of the most retrograde kind. That is what scholars realized as early as the 1960s. As I have shown.

    4. Yet there is a part of the Left who believe that the Islamofascists are part of an anti--imperialist international and thus must be viewed as objectively leftist, and thus deserve protection and support from the Left. Judith Butler, the eminent feminist, has explicitly described the Jihadists as part of the international left. Yet these are the same people who this week murdered the leading women's rights advocate in Afghanistan. It's disgraceful.

    5. A main problem with many of the analyses of Islamofascism/Jihadism offered above is that most people are willing to accept sociological-political-economic causation because they themselves are secular, but they just CANNOT believe that these movements have a profound RELIGIOUS and THEOLOGICAL origin because such feelings are SO SO foreign to them. This profound failure of imagination is what leads them to focus desperately on, e.g., U.S. foreign policy, or Israel, as the cause at the heart of what we are watching. I am not saying these are not factors, but they are not the central factors. The central factors are RELIGIOUS. But secular westerners, especially on the Left, just cannot believe that religion--any religion--is important, because religion is simply not important to THEM. That is, they cannot deal with what is profoundly foreign to them. (Besides, Bush is such a juicy target.) This difference of perception lies at the heart of much of the controversy on this blog. Like I said, in my view what we're looking at with the secular analyses is a profound Eurocentrism and failure of imagination.


    Yehudi Amitz - 9/28/2006

    The Baath movement is Socialist (Communist) movement with an Islamic color. Some call it national socialism but there are a lot of common characteristics between Communism and Fascism (including its Nazi flavor). The Baathists recognize that Stalin was one of the main influences on the movement.
    For the Islamic extreme right many use the term Jihad but the Arabic speakers contest it as a non extremist term (struggle in Arabic), so the use of Islamofascism seems to be a good choice for the Islamic extreme right.
    The great opposition of the extreme left to the term Islamofascism is mainly caused by the left dwindling political power and the fear that the word fascism will lose its power when used against the extreme right.


    N. Friedman - 9/28/2006

    Professor,

    You make some good points here, as always.

    I am really not so sure that the Jihadist movement arose in such large part due to Israel although hatred of Israel certainly and profoundly helps spur it on.

    Certainly, there was substantial opposition to the creation of Israel by Arabs from very early, especially after the nascent Islamist movement began assasinating those who would have sought compromise with the Jews in what is now Israel. As I see it, the key point about that opposition is that the nascent Islamist movement was already there, long before Israel.

    As has been noted by numerous knowledgeable observers (e.g. Mary Anne Weaver in her excellent book Pakistan: In the Shadow of Jihad and Afghanistan), Israel was a matter of near indifference to those involved in bin Laden's movement until it was seen, rather recently, as a useful propaganda tool.

    By the timeline, Jihadism initially arose just after the Caliphate died - which is not to say that there is (although I think it likely that there is) some causal association between the destruction of the Caliphate and the Islamist movement - . The origins of the movement were prior to the time Israel came to be and well before even most of Zionism's supporters thought Israel really would come to be.

    In my view, Israel is used by the Jihadists in order primarily to disguise the nature of the Jihadist movement - as a liberation movement rather than what it really is, namely, an expansionist movement - particularly to those Westerners who are outright hostile to Israel or its existence or believe that the Arab Israeli dispute is merely a land dispute rather than primarily a dispute over Israel's right to exist.

    I am also not sure there is much that can be done about resolving that dispute, whatever Jihadism's origins are, especially now that Palestinianism has become part and parcel of the Jihadist movement (e.g. HAMAS) - which is not to suggest that there was a settlement when the movement was controlled by FATAH). Even if Israel were, arguendo - and it is not -, the sole cause, the Jihadist movement is not limited by those origins. By analogy - although no doubt an imperfect one -undoing those aspect of the Treaty of Versailles which were draconian to Germany - even if, as Britain's appeasers believed, they led to Hitler's hostile intentions - would not appease a barbarous movement that takes on a life of its own. As I see it, the Jihadist movement has taken on a life of its own, feeding on fighting, feeding on victories, whether or not, as in Lebanon, pyrrhic, feeding on alleged "injustice" and "hypocrisy" and on setbacks, etc., etc.


    art eckstein - 9/28/2006

    Ruthven in 1990 in using the term "islamo-fascism" was referring to regimes, including most obviously Pakistan and Iran, who impose Sharia law. It's not just AQ.

    As for your claim that "Islamofascism" has nothing to do marching mobs of fanatical soldiers doing the Hitler salute, go to google-images "hezbollah salute" and see what you come up with.


    Yehudi Amitz - 9/28/2006

    As an alumnus of an Alabama community college you should have done your homework first.


    N. Friedman - 9/28/2006

    Live long and prosper.


    art eckstein - 9/28/2006

    Other scholars who accept the appropriateness of current use of the terms Islamofascism/Islamofascist include Paul Berman and Fouad Ajami. Ajami is the Majid Khadduri Professor of Middle East Studies at the School of Advanced International Affairs at Johns Hopkins University. He is at least as prestigious as Juan Cole.


    Rodney Huff - 9/28/2006

    Fascism conjures spectatcularly frightening images of theatrical Nazi rallies, vast armies of goose-stepping soldiers amid flags, national symbols, and blaring trumpets; dazzling displays of national solidarity; death camps, etc. These are precisely the images that the White house is trying to project into the minds of people. It's part of Bush's megalomania which leads him to describe this conflict as - drum roll, please -"the decisive ideological conflict of the 21st century." Wow, man! That's alot of syllables. Sounds really important.

    How disppapointed Bush must have been to find that the enemy that perpetrated 9/11 was a small, though well-organized and well-funded, group of thugs tucked away in the outskirts of some remote mountain village in Afghanistan. This enemy was unfit, unworthy, and too elusive to challenge a man who perceived himself to be in such an important, history-changing role.

    So Bush moved on to make his first self-fulfilling prophecy. If Iraq wasn't the main front of this so-called war on terror before the invasion (and it wasn't), it certainly was after the invasion.

    Now that Bush has turned world opinion against us and has created the conditions under which radicalism may flourish in Iraq - and perhaps he'll be looking to do the same in Iran - he has to employ a term that will rationalize his decision to turn his attention from Afghanistan where the real culprit had been (and may be still) hiding. What should have been a fairly simple mission accomplished in Afghanistan, resulting in the capture of the person who orchesrated 9/11 and justice, is in fact snowballing into an increasingly desperate world-wide conflict, where people are increasingly tempted to draw solid lines between good and evil. If only the world could be so easily carved up as in comic books.

    Well, like I noted before the people who are getting caught up in the radical movement are people just like you and me but who wake up to U.S. bombs in their living rooms. These are the people whose hearts and minds we have failed to win. Wanna know why. Brute force doesn't win the hearts and minds of traumatized civilians. Instead, we dropped a bomb on someone's mother. Or we arrested and imprisoned indefinitely someone's brother. Now the survivors of dead or imprisoned relatives are saying to themselves, well, we might as well support these terrorists, since the U.S. has proved to be quite good terrorists themselves." Rational calculation of alternatives, perhaps even revenge - not a mad fascist, jihadic impulse to world domination - is the primary motivation of these people who want only what anyone else in the world wants: security. In fact, bin Laden tells us in his speech that the security of the American people depends on the security of the Muslem people affected by U.S. foreign policy.

    With the use if this term, Islamofascism, Bush, i'm afraid, may be moving on to a second self-fulfilling prophecy (shudder to think.)

    So the term Islamofascism, regardless of its origins, is used to deceive and confuse people, to paint a false picture of who's involved and why. It's confusing because Bush and Cheney have been telling the American people repeatedly that we face an "unprecedented threat," an enemy unlike we've seen before. Now they're saying we've seen it before, comparing OBL to Hitler and the Nazis.

    Not only is this "intellectually" uninteresting -what "evil" enemy of the state doesn't get compared at some point to Hitler, the standard of evil by which we fashionably measure all other evil? It is also politically effective in circumscribing the discussion in a way that diverts attention from the heart of the problem, which is two-sided, as I've said repeatedly. This circumscription of discouirse is an "effect of power" about which Foucalt speaks.

    For these reasons - and the fact that OBL is not head of a regime and a state war machine bent on world domination - I object to the use of Islamo-fascism, that is, I object on both intellectual and political grounds.


    art eckstein - 9/28/2006

    Why not tell people that Salim Muwakkil is not a scholar of Islam but an editor of the Leftist "In These Times"?


    art eckstein - 9/28/2006

    All that Clarke does above is show what no one has doubted: that scholars differ on applying the term Islamofascism to the jihadists. He cites prominent ones who dislike the term, including Juan Cole (who lost a famous debate with Christopher Hitchens when Cole denied that the crazy Iranian leader Ahmadinejad had called for the destruction of Israel).

    But we have also had two authors of original articles on HNN who are scholars themselves, and who liked the term. One of them authored the very article to which every single one of these posts is an addendum. So it's clear that some scholars think the term "Islamofascist" has something to it.

    Scholars differ, yes. None of this changes the fact that I was challenged by Clarke in the most jeering, sneering way, with juvenile reference to excrement, to prove that the term Islamofascist was not in origin Bush propoganda.

    This I have obviously done.

    Some scholars today may not like the application of the term fascist to, say, the Muslim Brotherhood, which group is the origin of both Hamas and al-Qaeda. That does not change the facts that (a) the term Islamofascist was originally a term deriving from Ruthven, a scholar on the LEFT, not the right, that (b) a prominent scholar of Islam applied the concept of Islamic fascism to the Muslim Brotherhood as early as 1963, and that (c) in a review of that scholar's scholarly book, a prominent scholar of Islam who was himself a Muslim accepted that designation as legitimate; or that (d) other scholars in the 1970s and 1980s, including the leftist Maxime Rodinson, applied the term fascism to neotraditionalist Islamic movements such as the one headed by the Ayatollah. Obviously, some scholars still do find the term legitimate. As I said, one published the original article on which we are all commenting.

    I must say that it is greatly offensive to be charged with ad hominem attacks--because on the basis of Clarke's continual and one-sided attacks on U.S. policy practically to the exclusion of all other factors in the rise of Islamofascism, I described him as a "leftist", a political designation--when Clarke habitually engages in gross personal attacks against anyone who disagrees with him. It's part of what he continually dishes out here on HNN.

    Yes, Clarke, I'm a specialist in Roman imperialism; I said that a long time ago (August) here on HNN. But I am also a trained scholar who knows what scholarship is, and what it is not, and how to engage in scholarly discourse. And while I specialize in ancient imperialism, I have also published on Hobson, Lenin and the origins of modern European imperialism, in the most prestigious of all scholarly journals on modern economic history in Britain (published by Cambridge University).

    For the most personal sort of attacks on me from Clarke, just look above for Sept. 27 at 7:13 p.m. and 8:59 p.m.

    In view of such comments, I WILL now make an ad hominem comment of my own: Clarke is a juvenile and gross hypocrite.


    E. Simon - 9/28/2006

    What's your point, Peter? Specializing in the history of Roman imperialism would make one particularly well-versed in the very origins, in the linguistic and political roots, of the concept of fascism itself. Surely even you are not stupid enough to be dismissing such authority or its relevence to the discussion in question.


    E. Simon - 9/28/2006

    Although there is quite a bit on which I don't necessarily agree with Cole, I realized I was missing something in the last 6 paragraphs in your post until it came to my attention that they were ALL extended quotation. No wonder they sounded much more intelligent than anything you normally write.

    You would have done well to have quoted Cole - particularly his main points - much earlier in your diatribes above rather than wasting time venting political frustration.


    E. Simon - 9/28/2006

    Why not just assert that they don't exist and were made up? That would truly be a creative riposte. Prof. Furnish said last week that you reminded him of an old lady with the way you go on and on. I think we can refine that - an old librarian who is more interested in the vagaries of the Dewey Decimal system than in the contents of any of the books on her shelves.


    art eckstein - 9/28/2006

    In short, Mr. Crocker objects to calling a spade a spade, even if it really IS a spade and also helps in the defense of western civiiization from barbarism, because he fears this will help Bush.

    This is a very narrow perspective.


    art eckstein - 9/28/2006

    If the terminology and concept actually has a quite long and distinguished intellectual background, as I have shown, then the objection is merely political. You in fact accept this, Mr. Crocker. But that means that the standard of judgment is not intellectual but merely whether Bush uses this term or not--if he does, and especially if it is effective because it gets at an important core truth, then it must be opposed. Period.

    I do not find that an intellectually acceptable position. If the term and concept has validity, it has validity even if Bush uses it.

    And if it is also effective in rallying people to the defense of western civilization from threatening and violent dark-age barbarians (which to me is important), and this is so precisely because it does have descriptive validity (which, in turn, is WHY it is politically effective), then I see no reason to render the term and concept taboo even if Bush uses it.


    art eckstein - 9/28/2006

    It is clear now that significant scholars of Islam do NOT think that the concept OR the term "Islamofascism" deceives, but rather they think that it in fact does inform.

    The objection Clarke and others obsessively raise to the concept and the term "Islamofascism" is thus purely political--the standard of judgment being whether it provides cover for Bush or not--not intellectual.

    But it is intellectually, well, let's say "suspect" to issue a jeering sneering challenge about the origin of the concept and term "Islamofascism", ASSUMING those origins (on the basis of NO knowledge) to be, in Clarke's juvenile terminology, "neo-con excrement," and then when it is demonstrated that this is not true, and that the concept and even the term itself actually has a long and quite distinguished intellectual heritage, to then assert that this is "irrelevant" to discussion.

    In Clarke's case, this assertion comes after a barrage of insults against those patiently trying to explain what the facts about the origin of the concept and term "Islamofascism" actually are.

    Readers are invited to choose who is likely to be a reliable, sensible and adult interlocutor, and who is not.


    john crocker - 9/28/2006

    You have not addressed my primary concern.

    Some history scholars may find nothing intellectually wrong with the term, others do. The word is emotionally charged and is often used to provoke an emotional response in favor of a particular position. Even when that is not the intent it is generally the effect.

    This is one among several WWII analogies that have turned up in the language of those who support the war in Iraq. All of these seem directed at provoking emotional responses. Saddam is like "Hitler." Opponents of the Iraq policy are "appeasers." Islamic terrorists are "islamofascists." One side or the other is telling "the big lie." None of this is productive in a reasoned debate.

    A debate is not intellectually honest when the vocabulary chosen by one side creates an emotional response in favor of that side.

    You may use it without that intent, but why do you think it is used in the political arena?


    art eckstein - 9/28/2006

    That's right: Ricardo Luis Rodriguez was speaking specifically of "Islamo-whatevers", by which he obviously did not mean all Muslims. No one does, with that phrase.


    N. Friedman - 9/28/2006

    I agree with the good Professor: the comment did not mean all Muslims. Peter is re-thinking the comment - in this case intelligent comment - into something not likely meant.

    Somehow, we shall lose the ability to speak if we have always to qualify the fact that not everyone in a group behaves the same. Perhaps, following Peter's example, we must also qualify that there are also exceptions to the exceptions, etc., etc.

    I suggest, and this is directed Peter's way, that we all agree that we can speak universals without requiring the particulars to match the universals in all instances.


    art eckstein - 9/28/2006

    Thanks, N.F.


    Art


    art eckstein - 9/28/2006

    I, too, like Mr. Friedman, would not have invaded Iraq. As Lincoln said, "One war at a time." We would have been far better off concentrating on really fixing Afghanistan before doing anything else. Now the West may lose the wars in both. Nothing would strengthen the Jihadist/Islamofascist movement more, of course, since that movment has arisen in good part out of the failure of secular Arab/Muslim "national" states to defeat Western-style armies (i.e, Israel) in the field. That's not the only origin ($100 billion of Saudi money for Wahabism; crisis of modernity; western policies in support of the existence--not the character, the existence--of Israel). But the failure of secular "national" states is another reason for the rise of Islamism.

    I see the creation of a Caliphate as less likely than Mr. Friedman. Too many divisions, very difficult to overcome: ethnic, religious. More likely, I would say, is some sort of terrible Sunni-Shiite civil war. But these are guesses.

    What isn't a guess is this: callling a spade a spade with the vile extremists will help the moderates; treating the extremists with "respect" will weaken the moderates. And what Muslims in the West, including Britain, need are the same individual Enlightenment rights as anyone else (I mean, of course, women's rights--and gay rights too), not special group-right exemption from criticism. One must understand that the latter is a goal that is being pursued continually.


    N. Friedman - 9/28/2006

    Very good, Professor. I am impressed.


    N. Friedman - 9/28/2006

    Mr. Feuerbach,

    I do not think that you understand my view. You assert "How can I seriously respond to this type of generalized attack on an entire religion and/or a religious group?" The problem here is that I have not attacked an entire religion.

    I have, instead, asked a legitimate question about why Muslims - not all but a fairly good number - are behaving as violently.

    My contention is that religion is the final cause, in the Aristolean sense of final cause, of violence committed in the name of religion. It may not be the entire story but it is centrally important.

    I thus suggest that a good place to investigate the cause of violence by those who claim that they are dying to advance their religion is in their religion. In this case, we have people who say repeatedly that they are engaged in a Jihad - a religious term that is specific to Islam - and that the goal is to spread their faith. And, as anyone who bothers to learn about Islam knows, Jihad fi sabil Allah (Jihad in the path of Allah) means fighting to spread Muslim rule.

    Your contention is that we should ignore what the Jihadists state, that we should ignore the theology they espouse and assume, a priori, that all religions are the same. I think that is nonsense.

    I might add: I do not think poorly of Islam. I study the religion because I think highly of it. I think, however, that it must be understood, not considered a form of Christianity. And, I think the best model for understanding the Jihadist vision of Islam - in my view, really classical Islam - is heroic. I consider Islam to be a heroic faith, much like pre-classical/pre-rabbinic Judaism. And, in my view, that is not necessarily a bad thing. But, it is certainly a violent thing. And, given the dangerous world we live in, it is bad for us as the world has passed by such notions.


    N. Friedman - 9/28/2006

    Mr. Feuerbach,

    I am not sure how I contradicted myself. I noted the classical - orthodox, if you will - view in Islamic theology. And, I noted that Muslims are - at least in theory - free not to follow that view. And, I noted that if Muslims follow the classical tradition, the leader is obliged to make war to expand the territory of the world ruled by Islam.

    Now, you are correct that Muslims are free to read the 9th chapter out of the Koran or to contextualize it, etc., etc.. The problem is that, thus far, such has not really occurred. At least, it has not occurred in any substantial movement.

    Which is not to say that all Muslims have favored war but that the 9th Chapter is interpretted by most Muslim thinkers in essentially the classical manner - and not as writings that can be contextualized. And, I do think that people's thought patterns affect their behavior. I do not see how that could be otherwise.

    Now, you make a comparison between bloody passages in the Hebrew Scriptures and the Koran. I think you should read the 9th Chapter of the Koran and read its traditional commentaries. If you do, you will see that contextualizing of the violent passages points to the late part of Muhammed's life, when his view tended toward world conquest in general so that all would have the benefit of his revelation. That, frankly, is the context.

    By contrast, so far as I know, the various violent portions of the Hebrew Scriptures were incident specific, not generalized calls to conquer the world by war. Morever, so far as I know, rabbinic/classical Judaism - i.e. the Judaism that came into being with the diaspora - contextualized these incidents more than a millennium ago, at the time the Talmud was created. So, they do not, so far as I know, have much to say in favor of war in the rabbinic Jewish tradition or, for that matter, in the Christian tradition.

    Now, Muslims can, if they choose, read the Koran critically - in the Western literary historical tradition -. When scholars have tried to do that in, for example, Egypt, their lives were threatened and, I believed, some have been killed. Consider, if you will, what happened when Rushdie published a novel which addressed part of the Koran - namely, the Satanic Verses -. Recall that a hukm was issued to kill him and those associated with his book. Numerous people, including his Japanese translater, died, by the way, which ought to give you some idea how critical analysis is seen, just now, in the Muslim regions.

    It would, of course, be interesting to see the literary historical method adopted. I fear that is a project for the future as only truly brave people do such things. Such people truly take their lives in their hands.


    E. Simon - 9/28/2006

    A Klingon would sooner make peace.


    E. Simon - 9/28/2006

    'Tis hard, Mr. Clarke. So much delicately spell-checked sophistry and artifice within which to dress our insults, rants and propoganda; So little time. Sigh...


    E. Simon - 9/28/2006

    When it comes to cartoonish perceptions of Islam, there are more oversimplified dichotomies than either JUST negative or JUST positive. There is also JUST oversimplified or JUST over-complicated, so you do have at your disposal pigeonholes to choose from that are not very complementary a statement on your selection despite which end of the parameter suits your particular fancy. But it helps us understand your particular limitations in where you're coming from since you pick the one specifically without much wiggle room for cogent analysis whatsoever, i.e., the latter - with a tendency for oversimplified, on medium broil.


    E. Simon - 9/28/2006

    What is there for me to own or disown? I think you mean disavow, which given your vile racist hatred of the Jewish nation's right to self-govern, I think you know is an impulse that I do not share. Besides, you were talking about terrorism before changing the subject. No, I do not condone the targetted killings of civilian non-combattants under almost any circumstances - which is how terrorism is probably best defined, even though, unlike yourself, I am willing to place higher blame on those directly involved than those indirectly involved - simply because you have a vengeful axe to grind against them. Nor should you need to disown an Arafat that might have actually moved on to rational political engagement, instead of remaining addicted to terrorism, or an Abbas who seems relatively untainted by such disorders. And neither Likud nor Kadima go out of their way to advocate racist treatment of Arabs in Israel - such as their transfer outside of the state's borders, unlike groups such as Hamas - who would like to transfer large numbers of Jews outside of an Islamic Palestine, and whose goals I'm not sure whether or not you support.

    It seems you've taken to relegating yourself to posters like myself who do not go to the same lengths to excoriate your equivocating over the widespread hatred of others within the Arab world, or the goals of re-asserting their religious empire that you desire. Good for you to have realized how foolish that would be, as we saw in past weeks.


    E. Simon - 9/28/2006

    Dear Professor,

    Thank you for your reply and for your well-articulated insights. They resonate on multiple levels, including those which could express what may already be understood in an intuitive sense, but they do so in such a way as to tie in well to a stronger and more discerning intellectual framework than some would like to admit. This should be corrective for those who have a tendency to falsely equate criticism of any society other than one's own with jingoism, especially when the extremely evident imperialist tradition in question has been ignored by Western apologists.

    I apologize for not being available to post a reply sooner, but was particularly struck this morning by your response on the idea of reformation, since its utility as a parallel is complicated by the fact that the movement was indeed followed by a period that was rife with bloodshed, as you note. Interestingly, though, if we take the Enlightenment as an ultimate result, one could look at Lebanon, where political arrangements between various differing religious faiths and sects within a nearly entirely Arab (mono-ethnic) community has seen its fair share of internal conflict as well - not unlike with the results of the Reformation, and yet it has also remained the most cosmopolitan, (or enlightened) society within the Arab world.

    Thank you also for reminding us here of your colleague Mr. Herf's work, as well.

    Thank you for your comments as well, Mr. Friedman. It has been an exhausting day and I promise to look them over soon when I can do any responses to them more justice.


    N. Friedman - 9/28/2006

    Mr. Simon,

    I feel honored by your comment. You are, as everyone acknowledges, one of the better posters on the site.

    I am not sure that I can quite answer your question. I would note my view that Islamic society is in the position it is in due to its history. And that understanding that history is hard enough without attempting to find parallels in the West.

    I note that John Esposito has sought to show similarities between Christianity and Islam. He has a fairly wide following and, as I understand it, the program he works for is funded very well by people from the Middle East - I believe from Saudi Arabia.

    In that I am interested in Islam on its own terms, my familiarity with him is from reading his critics. I recall reading criticism that he did not see any serious danger from the Islamists. Also, I recall reading that his version of history largely downplays all the wars in the initial expansion of Islam. If that is correct, I do not see how his approach could be reconciled with a serious examination of the strain of Islam which, by any account I can imagine, is rather warlike and which has come to the surface today. But, I could be wrong.


    I have no solution to the current dispute. I would not have invaded Iraq. But, I think that the defensive ideas coming from many people are based on a misunderstanding, because our failure to show fighting resolve would almost certainly be seen as weakness and spur on the Jihad.

    My expectation is that in due course, Arabs will succeed in uniting and they will be a greater threat to the West. A Caliph may tend to moderate private jihadis since the Caliph is, historically, the person among Sunni Muslims who may, by classical tradition, legitimately declare an offensive Jihad to expand Islam. Not all Caliphs were so inclined. And, private Jihadis have not always listened in any event.


    art eckstein - 9/28/2006

    Belongs here: No one has talked about "all Muslims." That's more blather.


    art eckstein - 9/28/2006

    No one has talked about all Muslims. That's more blather.


    art eckstein - 9/28/2006

    Oh, and an early appearance of the actual TERM Islamo-fascism is THIS:

    Malise Ruthven, in the British Independent, Sept. 8, 1990, in an article entitiled, "Construing Islam as a language." Ruthven wrote:
        "Nevertheless there is what might be called a political problem affecting the Muslim world. In contrast to the heirs of some other non-Western traditions, including Hinduism, Shintoism and Buddhism, Islamic societies seem to have found it particularly hard to institutionalise divergences politically: authoritarian government, not to say Islamo-fascism, is the rule rather than the exception from Morocco to Pakistan."

    Now, Ruthven is an academic and man of the Left, and was in fact chosen by the leftist newspaper The Guardian in Britain to write the obituary of Edward Said in 2003.

    Thus the term itself has been in existence at least 16 years and is not new, nor was it invented by neo-cons but was first used by an academic expert on Muslim regimes who was a man of the left. Ruthven's mention of Pakistan is interesting, since by 1990 the government there was enforcing Sharia law.

    In any case, Ruthven was only following in the footsteps of Halpern 1963, and Baali 1965, and Rodinson 1978.


    J. Feuerbach - 9/28/2006

    Mr. Eckstein,

    Why didn’t I respond to Mr. Friedman? This is what he said,

    “His argument (mine) is wrong and irrelevant to the issue addressed in the article. Violence in the name of Christianity is not understood by quoting the Koran. And violence in the name of Islam is not understood by studying the Bible. And noting that all peoples have been violent does not tell me about why Muslims are being violent, claiming that the violence is in the name of Islam. Somehow, the claims of those being violent should be a good starting point to understand the violence - and certainly a better starting point that liberation theologists in South America.”

    Have you already noticed the problem with this paragraph? Here’s the key sentence: “And noting that all peoples have been violent does not tell me about why Muslims are being violent, claiming that the violence is in the name of Islam.” “Why Muslims are being violent?,” Mr. Friedman inquires. How can I seriously respond to this type of generalized attack on an entire religion and/or a religious group? There are approximately 1.2 billion Muslims in the world. So who, according to Mr. Friedman, is in the dock? ALL Muslims are violent or just a FEW (the terrorists or those who kill nuns) or MOST of them? Regardless of the answer, how would Mr. Friedman back up his answer? Within Popper’s scheme of scientific rationality, theories are corroborated to the degree that they resist refutation. His statements can’t be falsified. Bottom line? This type of statements belong to political activists or propangadists. Therefore I thought it was a better idea to remain silent.

    Interestingly enough, you are more or less aligned with Mr. Friedman’s intentional or unintentional decision to paint Muslims with broad strokes.

    You stated,

    “Mr. Feuerbach, as far as I can see, you simply avoid the points made by Mr. Friedman in the first 3 paragraphs of #98332 above against changing the subject and bringing in Christianity as a way of defending (or "contextualizing", it amounts to the same thing in my view) the dreadful intellectual and moral situation which exists in so much (not all) of the Muslim world today.”

    Although you don’t characterize the entire Muslim population as immersed in a dreadful intellectual and moral situation, you use the expression “so much of the Muslim world today.” How much is so much is unclear. My hunch is that you also believe that most of the Muslim world today is in the pits.

    But don't worry. Both of you are in distinguished company when it comes to negative perceptions of Islam.

    Evangelist Franklin Graham, the son of the unofficial Protestant pope, stated that Islam is "wicked, violent and not of the same god." He added, "I don't believe this is a wonderful, peaceful religion. When you read the Koran and you read the verses from the Koran, it instructs the killing of the infidel, for those that are non-Muslim."



    Yehudi Amitz - 9/28/2006

    I totally agree, that's a very well written posting!


    art eckstein - 9/28/2006

    For several blogs, we've been discussing the concept Islamofascism. People have either supported the idea that neotraditionalist Islamic jihadist movements are similar to fascism, and that one can use that word to describe them, or they have disagreed with the idea. But that has been the subject.

    I have proven my point that the describing of neotraditionalist Islamic jihad movements as fascism--calling Islamic movements fascist, saying that they were a type of fascism--has been done by distinguished intellectuals on the left and the center for decades: in this case, it goes back some 40 years. Among the people making this link and describing Islamic jihadist movements as fascist were--exactly as I said--scholars who were Muslims themselves. Maxime Rodinson, an important figure in the intellectual genealogy here, was a person of the far Left.

    Now Clarke and Huff, people of the Left, want to abandon the Left's honest evaluation of neotraditionalist Jidhadist movements as fascism, and don't want to use the terminology-- NOT for an intellectual reason, but for a political reason. Clarke can squirm all he wants, but the concept is not "neoconservative excrement"--to use his juvenile phrasing. It has exactly what I said it had: a long and quite distinguished intellectual pedigree. In the postings immediately above, I've demonstrated this, and thus I have actually provided this blog with something that is all too rare: information.


    Ricardo Luis Rodriguez - 9/27/2006

    While there is a coherent argument to be made that the west has been bad and that Bush is a very bad man; there is also an equally coherent argument that Islamo whatevers are doing very bad things to westerners, for whatever reason, to Hindus, for whatever reasons, to southeast asians, for whatever reasons, to africans for whatever reason, in short, to whomever is around them for whatever reason. Apparently, even being moslem is of no help either, as they are also doing these very bad things to other moslems.

    For these reasons, some in the West believe that, although we may be very bad indeed, the reason we are being attacked by Islamo whatevers is not because we've been bad, but because that is what Islamo whatevers do, for whatever reason.
    As I said, I don't think even behaving our very best by converting to Islam would help, as Sudanese black muslims and Iraqui muslims of all stripes would agree.


    A. M. Eckstein - 9/27/2006

    Folks, in this long diatribe against Bush and U.S. policy, there is no discussion or focus by Huff on the other side, or on the conquest-Jihad tradition of Islam at all; and after attacking me for saying that he presents a racist formulation in which third-worlders simply react to US and have no volition or cultural imperatives of their own which impell them to ruthless violence, denying that he does this, Huff then presents a scenario where that is exactly the case.

    Huff also seems ready to sit down to a respectful chitcat with the murderers of Safia Ama Jan, the great women's rights advocate in Afghanistan. That atrocity had to do with the view that equal rights for women is blasphemy against Islam. Well I, for one, am not ready to have a respectful chat with these monsters out of the dark ages. Or is Huff gonna blame the murder of Safia Ama Jan on Bush too? I'm sure he'll find a way.


    Rodney Huff - 9/27/2006

    Mr. Eckstein,

    You write: "This is in fact a subtly racist formulation, since by putting all responsibility on US you make the Muslim extremists objects with no volution [sic], no agency, simply reacting to us."

    Your reading comprehension skills leave much to be desired. REPEATEDLY, I have avoided assigning blame entirely to one side or the other. Evil exists on both sides. What don't you understand about that?
    Do you really believe that we've got nothing but White Knight-Saints running the state war machinery and that they've never done anything to earn the resentment of Muslims living in Saudi Arabia, Palestine, and Lebanon?!!

    You write, "But...unlike you...I do not believe that U.S. policies are the HEART of the problem."

    Have you even read OBL's speech? (See the link in post above.) He tells us why he did it. All he talks about is U.S. foreign policy. He said the idea of 9/11 came to him when Israel blew up buildings in Lebanon with the U.S. supporting them and providing the war machines. Many innocent civilians were killed. Is that not injustice?

    Of course, that does not excuse what he did. Now he can no longer claim the moral high ground. Because he has volition and is not a mere reflex of his environment (no human being is), OBL must be brought to justice and held accountable for his actions. But the same thing ought to happen to perpetrators of injustice on the this side as well. Wouldn't that be fair?

    On the diplomatic front, continuing to dismiss the legitimate grievances OBL cites as motivation reinforces the impression that the U.S. just doesn't care how its foreign policy affects other people. And this becomes a powerful recruiting tool for terrorist organizations. Addressing this issue may be the best way to defeat terrorism in the long run.

    Don't you realize that when poor people who have no quarrel with us suddenly wake up to U.S. bombs in their living rooms, they may feel they might as well support the terrorists or even join in the fight? And that this decision would come as the result of rational consideration of the alternatives, not some bloody jihadic impulse or irrational hatred of "our freedom"? Sure, some recruits are fed false ideas about the U.S., but we certainly don't help our image when we actually live up to the low expectations they have for us.

    You bring up human rights violations. Are you kidding me? If the U.S. government we're at all interested in human rights, we would have done something in Rwanda. More recently, we would have intervened in Sudan. We would cut our ties with Saudi Arabia and Israel. Here at home, we would address and deal with the legacies of past injustices marked by the continued de facto racial segregation of our schools and neighborhoods. Any talk of human rights as motivation for the U.S. to invade a practically defenseless, oil rich country is a smoke screen that hides more sinister motives. Don't be so naive.

    You may not be a supporter of Bush, but you certainly wear the same blinders he's managed to convince just about everyone else to wear. Nearly everyone, it seems, has accepted his mode of discourse on terrorism, which strategically steers thought in the direction he wants it to go, i.e., away from understanding what is at the heart of the problem.

    Kindly remove the blinders and simple read what OBL says. You'll see what Bush doesn't want us to see, and maybe you'll begin to think outside the Bush box, if you will.


    Rodney Huff - 9/27/2006

    You write: "This is in fact a subtly racist formulation, since by putting all responsibility on US you make the Muslim extremists objects with no volution [sic], no agency, simply reacting to us."

    Your reading comprehension skills leave much to be desired. REPEATEDLY, I have avoided assigning blame entirely to one side or the other. Evil exists on both sides. What don't you understand about that?
    Do you really believe that we've got nothing but White Knight-Saints running the state war machinery and that they've never done anything to earn the resentment of Muslims living in Saudi Arabia, Palestine, and Lebanon?!!

    You write, "But...unlike you...I do not believe that U.S. policies are the HEART of the problem."

    Have you even read OBL's speech? (See the link in post above.) He tells us why he did it. All he talks about is U.S. foreign policy. He said the idea of 9/11 came to him when Israel blew up buildings in Lebanon with the U.S. supporting them and providing the war machines. Many innocent civilians were killed. Is that not injustice?

    Of course, that does not excuse what he did. Now he can no longer claim the moral high ground. Because he has volition and is not a mere reflex of his environment (no human being is), OBL must be brought to justice and held accountable for his actions. But the same thing ought to happen to perpetrators of injustice on the this side as well. Wouldn't that be fair?

    On the diplomatic front, continuing to dismiss the legitimate grievances OBL cites as motivation reinforces the impression that the U.S. just doesn't care how its foreign policy affects other people. And this becomes a powerful recruiting tool for terrorist organizations. Addressing this issue may be the best way to defeat terrorism in the long run.

    Don't you realize that when poor people who have no quarrel with us suddenly wake up to U.S. bombs in their living rooms, they may feel they might as well support the terrorists or even join in the fight? And that this decision would come as the result of rational consideration of the alternatives, not some bloody jihadic impulse or irrational hatred of "our freedom"? Sure, some recruits are fed false ideas about the U.S., but we certainly don't help our image when we actually live up to the low expectations they have for us.

    You bring up human rights violations. Are you kidding me? If the U.S. government we're at all interested in human rights, we would have done something in Rwanda. More recently, we would have intervened in Sudan. We would cut our ties with Saudi Arabia and Israel. Here at home, we would address and deal with the legacies of past injustices marked by the continued de facto racial segregation of our schools and neighborhoods. Any talk of human rights as motivation for the U.S. to invade a practically defenseless, oil rich country is a smoke screen that hides more sinister motives. Don't be so naive.

    You may not be a supporter of Bush, but you certainly wear the same blinders he's managed to convince just about everyone else to wear. Nearly everyone, it seems, has accepted his mode of discourse on terrorism, which strategically steers thought in the direction he wants it to go, i.e., away from understanding what is at the heart of the problem.

    Kindly remove the blinders and simple read what OBL says. You'll see what Bush doesn't want us to see, and maybe you'll begin to think outside the Bush box, if you will.


    A. M. Eckstein - 9/27/2006

    Like shooting fish in a barrel.


    A. M. Eckstein - 9/27/2006

    Addendum: Halpern's characterization of the Muslim Brotherhood (ultimate origin of Hamas as well as al-Qaeda) as "fascist" in 1963 was accepted by Fuad Baali, himself a noted scholar (and a Muslim) in his review of Halpern's book in Social Forces (U of No. Carolina Press) 1965, p. 288.


    Ricardo Luis Rodriguez - 9/27/2006

    When I was a surgery resident in New Orleans in the early 80's, many young men would be tied to stretchers in the emergency room halls after paricularly err... bacchanalian indulgences. We had a test for finding out who was drunk vs who was still high on PCP ("angel dust"- a sedative used to spike marihuana which can sometimes cause a hyperexcitable dysphoric state). We'd just walk by the stretcher and give it a good jerk. A drunk would moan or mumble an obscenity. PCP'ers would blast awake pulling at the restraints, literally making the stretcher jump. It was an outburst of emotional fireworks, pressured speech, and hurled insults that was quite a spectacle.


    A. M. Eckstein - 9/27/2006


    From:

    Introduction to Foucault and the Iranian Revolution: Gender and the Seductions of Islamism by Janet Afary and Kevin B. Anderson (University of Chicago Press, 2005).


    "As against Foucault, some French leftists were very critical of the Iranian Revolution early on. Beginning in December 1978 with a series of articles that appeared on the front page of Le Monde, the noted Middle East scholar and leftist commentator Maxime Rodinson, known for his classic biography of Muhammad, published some hard-hitting critiques of Islamism in Iran as a form of “semi-archaic fascism” (this volume, p. 233). As Rodinson later revealed, he was specifically targeting Foucault in these articles, which drew on Max Weber’s notion of charisma, Marx’s concepts of class and ideology, and a range of scholarship on Iran and Islam."

    Some writers credit Rodinson with inventing the concept of Islamofascism. But the concept goes back at least as far as Manfred Halpern, The Politics of Social Change in the Middle East and North Africa (1963)


    art eckstein - 9/27/2006

    Clarke:

    Max Rodinson for one--who famously attacked Foucault on the front page of Le Monde (Rodinson could GET on the front page of Le Monde, which should handle the issue of "distinguished), attacked Foucault, an enthusiast for the Ayatollah, for failing to see that the Iranian Revolution was "une type de fascisme archaique."

    Said Amir Arjomand of SUNY-Stonybrook for another.


    Clarke, a basic rule of debate is not to ask a hostile question you don't know the answer to. You can end up looking like a fool.


    art eckstein - 9/27/2006

    You cannot end a conflict which the other side viciously pursues (mostly against other Muslims, of course) simply by denying it is happening. You conflate talking seriously to Muslim moderates with pretending that violent terrorists want to talk to us, that we can satisfy them in any other way but ceasing to exist. You refuse to consider the implications of more than 40% of British Muslims want to put Britain under Sharia law. That means the end of Britain. What is there to discuss?

    I already said I was no supporter of Bush. I already said U.S. policies contribute to the problem. I signed the Euston Declaration, which is signed by liberals and moderates but not conservatives. But...unlike you...I do not believe that U.S. policies are the HEART of the problem.

    I mean is your position really, "Gee, can't we all get along?" with bin Ladin and the LARGE number of supporters he has in the Muslim world? Is your position in the face of monsters flying planes filled with innocents into office-towers filled with office-workers that it is our fault? This is in fact a subtly racist formulation, since by putting all responsibility on US you make the Muslim extremists objects with no volution, no agency, simply reacting to us.

    I would also warn against giving the holy mantle of "anti-imperialism" to these people, or thinking they are some sort of world-wide anti-imperialist left. The people you want to take to are monsters out of the dark ages who slit throats out of a sense of theological duty; they are imperialists themselves; two days ago they murdered the leading women's rights worker in Afghanistan. They did it because they consider women's rights blasphemy. That has nothing to do with us. You want to take a middle position on that, find a third way?

    It's fine to criticize U.S. policy, etc. But you tend to substitute such criticism for a serious look at the nature of the other side. And by seeking to treat terrorist Islamists (Islamofascists) with respect, you undermine Muslim moderates.


    Rodney Huff - 9/27/2006

    Of course, my objection is political. Your objection to my objection is political as well. If all fault is with them, their ideology, their religion, or whatever, then there is nothing we should change about ourselves, our foreign policy, much of which contributes to the immoral conditions that Osama bin Laden rails against. Typical conservative reaction on your part. We don't change at all. We just keep doing what we do best: bombing other people's countries.

    Yes, terrorists are terrifying and should be brought to justce. Of course. But we cannot pretend to be morally superior or any less frightening when the warlords running this country strive to promote the U.S. as the world's "bully on the block," to use the words of Colin Powell, one of the chief architects of the neocon movement, and begin "preemptively" invading sovereign nations. Watch Iran "preemptively" arm themselves with nukes to deter a premptive strike by the U.S.

    The "nature of the problem," as I've said repeatedly, is two-sided. There are evil-doers on both sides. Evil begets evil. For a solution to the conflict, I'm reaching for a third side. Continually pointing to one side and shouting evil without considering the point of view from which the other side appears evil shows that you do not desire peace. You desire only to continue the conflict.

    And who benefits from continuing the conflict an the escalating violence? Big oil and the Halliburton-Cheney complex. And big business has always cared about ordinary citizens, not the bottom line; they've always been concerned about human values, not market values....


    art eckstein - 9/27/2006

    Yes, you betray an entire Muslim tradition by your frantic denials of the obvious, which looked pathetic even to your supporters such as Ebbitt. I've given you the specific cases.






    art eckstein - 9/27/2006

    I'm no supporter of Bush. But the only way to begin dialogue is to be honest with what the other side IS. I see a great reluctance to do that.

    "Islamofascism" is not a term that originated with Bush nor with neocons. It has a long and quite distinguished scholarly pedigree, including among scholars who are Muslims..

    The only objection you raise to its use is political.

    Plus you throw in some cheap "tu quoque" arguments about Christianity. Both Friedman and I have discussed such an approach in several postings above, and (I think) quite effectively disposed of this approach as having any relevance to the problem we now face.

    Let us, however, not be afraid to be honest about the nature of the problem--both with ourselves and (esp.) with Muslims. The only way we can support moderates among the Muslims is be straightforward about the character of the terrifying totalitarian threat which is at the moment more threatening to THEM than to anyone else.


    Rodney Huff - 9/27/2006

    Tell me, Mr. Eckstein, what intellectual work or scholarly research isn't fraught with political implications? Yours?

    Moreover, all I am doing is pointing out what has been staring at us in the face all along, and then trying to make sense of Bush's reaction, which has been largely to appeal to our emotions rather than engage us intellectually as adults who can handle the truth. If you want to know why someone did something, the commone sense thing to do is to ask that person why s/he did it. Why should we rely on those in power to tell us why? We're Americans after all! We're not supposed to trust those in power.

    By framing the problem of terrorism as one stemming from a "hatred of our freedom," Bush deliberately misrepresents OBL's motivation, which is not some irrational jihadic impulse, but what he perceives as an unjust American foreign policy.

    Clearly, OBL uses a religious injunction as justification and rationalization of his evil doings, in much the same way that the New Testament injunction to go out into all the world and spread the Gospel provided justification for the murder and displacement of Native American peoples, the colonization of Africa, and the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

    These religious injunctions are obviously not the "root" cause of the mayhem. They follow in the wake of the mayhem, sweeping up whatever guilty consciences there are among the offending parties and strengthening their resolve to continue wreaking havoc to secure some economic benefit or power advantage or to quench some thirst for revenge.

    Want evidence? Just read what OBL says. Look at what's there in front of you. We ought not let others see for us, especially Bush, who has a vested interest in us not seeing correctly the workings of power.

    Bush apparently wants us to mistake the symptoms for the root cause, in which case the cycle of violence is sure to continue, and he and the executive branch, not to mention OBL, will become increasingly empowered by the escalating violence.

    Meanwhile, it's the common people who suffer most, and they will be tempted to give more and more unconditional support to those that, they feel, can protect them. But the protectors turn out to be precisely the ones whose actions are putting these people in danger. And so the cycle continues.

    Anyone committed to peace must be committed to breaking this cycle, and that begins by identifying the evil-doers on both sides, bringing them to justice, and addressing the legitimate grievances of the voiceless, who may feel in due time that the only way to be heard is to resort to violence - our Founding Fathers sure did - and they were all reasonable men of the Enlightenment, philosopher kings!

    Hell, our Founding Fathers made war with England for much less than what many people around the world now endure under oppressive regimes. And who supplies some of these regimes with the means of violence to maintain their stranglehold on power? ....

    It's time we Americans pulled our heads out of the sand and see what's being done in our name - and finally stop it!


    A. M. Eckstein - 9/27/2006

    When you post frantic denials of obvious facts, you betray an entire intellectual tradition in Islam that accepted facts, e.g., Ibn Khaldun.

    For instance, even Patrick Ebbitt made fun of your pathetic attempts to deny the anti-semitism of Hezbollah.



    art eckstein - 9/27/2006

    Mr. Huff's post is yet another example of what I mean about the opposition to the term "Islamofascism" , including here on this blog, being primarily political--it's a cover for Bush--rather than intellectual.


    Yehudi Amitz - 9/27/2006

    Israel is one of the most inclusive and anti-racist states in the world, of course its enemies have some rights but in a war they may suffer some consequences. Today, Islam is the most racist religion known to mankind, the most repressive religion to women and the list of the sins of Islam is too long for one posting on this site. KILLING is one of the pillars of Islamic teachings. One million Armenians killed by Turks in 1915, 20000 Palestinians killed by Jordanians in 1970, 25000 Sunni Arabs killed by Syrians in 1982 and the list goes on and on... Even the Hajj includes the very dangerous ritual of the "Stoning of the Devil" at the Jamarat Bridge where almost every year hundreds of Muslims die. Lying is another pillar of Islamic teachings. Sabra and Shatilla massacre was perpetrated by Arabs, Christian Arabs, as a revenge killing for the massacre perpetrated by Palestinian militias in Damour, Lebanon. True, Sharon did nothing to prevent the attack, but isn't the first time in history when one side turns a blind eye to the predicaments of the enemy. I go to synagogue and I can read and understand quite well the Hebrew prayer books, I don't believe in God and I don't believe that Jews are "chosen", they are normal people and as all the others they have good and bad people and some in the middle. For me the synagogue (the same as churches) is a social club, very good for business and Jewish education.
    The CONSCIENCE of Israel is as clean as the conscience of others. You as usual blame Israel and the western world for the BACKWARDNESS of the Islamic world which is the main "building" pillar of Islam. The reality is that 98-99% of the Islamic world economies, societies and political systems is in disarray and that's a do it yourself Islamic work in progress. This situation is very normal for a society that represses half of their population, the women, and considers "heroes" young men using their skills for destruction instead of building!


    art eckstein - 9/27/2006

    This is hardly what the terrorists themselves say. They say their acts are rooted in and justified by religion. And they have large support (not universal, obviously, but large support ) among the Muslim masses precisely for that reason.

    This is a unique religious situation in the world today. It does no good to bury one's head in the sand about the current hate-filled and violent nature of much of current really-existing Islam. Or to engage in "tu quoque" arguments about Christianity which (a) aren't factually accurate, and (b) even if they were would not lessen one whit the violence being done in the name of Islam.

    Mr. Eckert, you don't want to face the probability that the violence we see is theologically rooted. Yes, there are other factors, which you feel more easy pointing out. But you cannot and should not ignore the theological roots of what is going on. If one argues, as some do, that Islam has been "highjacked" by the terrorists, that still raises the question of what within Islam itself made that highjacking possible.

    In terms of the rise of hatred, the $100 BILLION spent by the Saudis in the propagating of their own narrow and hate-filled form of Sunni Islam is probably more important than any factor you mention. As even the Islamoapologist Timothy Garton Ash points out, this propagation program has been most successful in Pakistan, and it is from Pakistan that most Muslim immigrants to Britain come, and that is an important reason why we find such a high percentage of support for terrorist acts against innocent fellow-Britons among the British Muslim population--along with 45% wanting the imposition of Sharia law in Britain, and only 20% identifying themselves fully as Britons, rather than Muslims first. The 7/7 bombers did not come from deprived backgrounds, either. Those are stunning findings, and you can read about them in the Guardian for Aug. 10 this year.

    As for Islamofascism, most of the people who object to the use of this term (except perhaps for Mr. Friedman) do so not on intellectual but political grounds--Bush used it, this must come from Karl Rove, for anyone to use it is to give cover to Bush. Take a look at Peter Clarke's postings on this and you'll see the thinking.

    "The violence and rise of fascism" (aha! you acknowledge it then) is ROOTED in cultural factors, not power politics or economics, though those are obviously important as well. African animists who have gotten a far worse deal out of world politics and economics than the Arabs do NOT engage in terrorism in the name of religion.

    As for the term, which is not intellectually exact yet gets at a central point AND allows the west to defend itself TO itself, see my defense of it under the rubric, "It ain't like the old days but it'll do" above. I think I present a moderate position on this, and explain why it's good enough for me, while acknowledging that this may not be true for some people on intellectual grounds (though it IS good enough for my colleague Jeffrey Herf, who is one of the world's leading authorities on fascism).

    But I sense that the opposition to the term is mostly political, not intellectual.


    Jack Eckert - 9/27/2006

    All of this has made for some very interesting reading, but I would contend that the whole term "Islamofacism" is a distraction, which I believe Mr. Feuerbach is getting at. You all are engaging in a this religion is holier then thou argument which is really quite irrelevant to the supposed rise of fascism (this of course is open to debate, and would probably provide much more meaningful commentary) in the middle eastern states. I would argue that the manipulation of the Islamic religion to give the green light to violence and hate is in response to economic and political conditions within the said regions. It has to do with jealousy, despair, bullying, propaganda, and finger pointing. The region is so steeped in the religion of Islam that it had to be manipulated to allow some kind of response to the policies which govern the region. Therefore, to Mr. Feuerbach's point, what really do we gain by associating Islam with Fascism? What do we do about this? Create them their own state on Antarctica and send them there? Carpet bomb them all? Islam is not to blame for today's state of affairs, and to continue to point the finger at it is meaningless. The term is really nothing more then a political tool meant to stir up emotions around election time. It does little more then rub Islam's face in the mud a little and give Christians and Jews a superiority complex. The violence and possible rise of facism is rooted in the foreign policy management blunder between the powerful and the powerless.


    Rodney Huff - 9/27/2006

    From day one, the Bush administration has been attempting to mystify the reasons why OBL ordered his followers to hijack planes and fly them into buildings, and now, having defined the terms in which we think about the terrorist threat, he's got us all beating around the bush with him, debating endlessly and fruitlessly about the merits of Islam and Christianity. Bush has successfully put blinders on us when we uncritically accept the terms he deems appropriate for understanding the threat.

    Go to this website http://www.memritv.org/Transcript.asp?P1=312 and read the words spoken by the world's most notorious terrorist - about whom Bush, in his own words, is "not that concerned."

    There are indeed some legitimate grievances here, and we would do well to address them and begin holding those in power accountable for their actions, instead of greeting their misdeeds abroad with indifference and silence - misdeeds that get carried out in our name!

    The sociologist Steven Lukes maintained that one of the three "faces of power" shows itself in the ability to keep some public issues - ultimately someone else's concerns and grievances - from getting on the agenda, effectively rendering an individual or group invisible. Sadly, there are many people in the world today who are made to feel invisible by an American foreign policy that aids and abets corrupt, oppressive governments (e.g., Saudi Arabia, Israel, etc.). And these are likely the same people who get recruited by terrorist organizations, believing they have nothing to live for but everything to die for. OBL would be nothing without such people.

    If Bush were really interested in justice and peace, then we would have OBL in custody by now - more than 5 years after the attacks! - and he would have already begun reevaluating those aspects of foreign policy that have "partially" created our enemy; he would put legitimate grievances on the agenda, instead of merely catering to big business while continuing to ignore the voiceless.

    Willfully misunderstanding the enemy as mere "fascists" serves to divert attention from the misdeeds carried out in our name (and supposedly on our behalf) by the enemy within and focus attention solely on the misdeeds of the enemy without. The way to peace, however, is to focus on both evils at once.

    Sadly, there isn't much talk about peace anymore, thanks to the warmongering of this adminstration. The military-industrial complex (i.e., Cheney-Halliburton-and-its-subsidiaries complex) is ascendant and is as much an enemy of the people as the terrorist organizations we fight.


    art eckstein - 9/27/2006

    Omar Baker is a crude anti-semite, and I cited in a previous posting where you can all find that out. I was lampooning his paranoia in my joke to Friedman.

    That he took my joke seriously, and as somehow evidence for his paranoia, shows what a defective mentality he has.

    I agree with Friedman on some things, and I disagree with him on others; I happened to agree with him on the topic under discussion.

    Omar, when confronted with facts that disturb his emotionally-held totalitarian world-view, simply denies them. For readers' delectation, I urge you to follow our debate about Hezbollah anti-semitism, where he ended up simply denying obvious, official and specific actions of the organization, and statements by its leaders. That's the quality of his mind.

    Every time Omar posts, he defames the intellectual tradition of Islam. Quite amazing.


    art eckstein - 9/27/2006

    My colleague Jeffrey Herf, who is one of the world's authorities on fascism, finds nothing wrong intellectually with the term "Islamofascism."

    If you do, that is fine. Mr. Friedman does too. But you need to understand that it is perfectly defensible intellectually to use that term. The war against the use of this term is primarily political, as if it were the preserve simply of cranks and Bush. But serious scholars take it seriously, and serious scholars of Islam, including Muslims themselves writing as late as the 1980s, have taken it seriously, and the reasons why have been listed above.

    To call a spade a spade when that spade is intent on digging the grave of our civilization is, I would say, a reasonable thing.

    And, oh yes--go to google images and type in "Hezbollah swearing in ceremony" and take a look at the fascist salutes. THEY don't make any bones about it.

    (Yes, those fascist salutes are only an "epiphenomenon"--but take a look.)


    art eckstein - 9/27/2006

    Mr. Crocker, bringing up violence in Christian thought of the far past, or Christian acts of the far past, is only being done to defuse the awful facts about much of Islam TODAY. Whatever was once done on the Christian side of the moral ledger 500 or 1000 years ago does NOT somehow accrue to the positive Muslim side of the ledger now, and CANNOT be used in an attempt to do this. This is because (1) Islam was as violent as Christianity 500 or 1000 years ago, ANYWAY--or more: look at the fall of Constantinope in 1453, or the Ottoman cannon battering Vienna--VIENNA--in 1683. And also because (2) we are talking about Islam today. And it is STILL producing massive violence against innocents in the NAME of the religion, when Christianity does NOT. Period.

    Those who bring up Christianity are trying to "contextualize" Muslim violence that is done in the name of Islam--i.e., normalize it, as if we did not face a special problem here.

    But we DO face a special problem here, and it is the root of wisdom to recognize it AS a special problem with theological roots. There may be other roots, including Bush's stupid policies, or the existence (not the character) of Israel. But the terrorists act in the name of the Muslim religion and kill innocents as they quote scripture. The subject we are discussing is Islamofascist terrorism. If you don't like that term, fine. But you know what I mean in any case

    Now, Mr. Crocker, IF planes filled with screaming civilians were being flown by Episcopalian terrorists into the Kaaba in Mecca, OR Christian terrorists were blowing themselves up amid crowds in the Hajj in order to kill as many "infidels" as possible and in order to reach a heaven that is conceptualized as some 14-year-old boy's wetdream, OR if Christian demoninational differences were leading to the blowing up of each other's churches by the dozen--IF that was going on, THEN the context of Islamic religious violence would look different.

    But that's NOT going on within Christianity, is it? No, it is not--none of it. The only place where these phenomena are occurring is within Islam. Therefore it is legitimate to take the terrorists at their word when they say they are acting in the name of their religion (THEIR religion, Mr. Crocker, not Christianity)-- especially because these terrorists enjoy VERY significant support among the Muslim masses for their grotesque actions. Even the British Islamoapologist Timothy Garton Ash was appalled at the level of support for terrorism that has been found among Muslims in Britain this August.

    Does that mean that every Muslim supports terrorism? No, it does not. In Britain, it is a minority. But in Britain it is not a tiny minority: it's about 25% in the latest poll. And the level of self-contradictory insanity here is this: while about 25% of young Muslims support terrorism in Britain, 50% deny that Muslims had anything to do with 9/11, claiming it was all was a Jewish or American plot. Check the Guardian for August 10, 2006, and leave aside Ash's attempt to explain these findings--which he does find shocking--somehow away.

    This sort of moral situation is simply NOT true among Christian populations anywhere. Even if it WERE true, the SUBJECT of this blog is still the roots of this phenomenon in Islam.
    And since it is in any case totally NOT true, then bringing up Christianity violence of 500 or 1,000 years ago, when Christianity was indeed as violent as Islam was then, AND as Islam (but not Christianity) still is NOW ( or is it actually that Islam is MORE violent now than it was 500 or 1,000 years ago in terms of gleefully killing innocent "infidels"?), then this tactic is simply being used as a debater's trick, a red herring. It leads nowhere but away from confronting the awful facts.



    john crocker - 9/27/2006

    Mr. Feuerbach no more changed the subject than you have. The topic of the article and my comment which began this thread is the appropriateness of the term Islamofascist. Perhaps that is the topic we should be returning to.

    The point of bringing up Christian violence and terrorism is that all religions are subject to this type of use. It is certainly valuable to take a sober look at Islamic theology and its use by terrorists. The religious chauvinism that says that Islam is more violent than Christianity is not valuable. The history of Christianity and Islam are replete with violence and imperialism. Is Christianity responsible for all of the violence carried out in its name? If not, is it fair to apply that standard to Islam?


    john crocker - 9/27/2006

    "I think, quite correct that focussing hatred on a group is a necessity to a movement dedicated to conquest, as was the case with the Nazis and, now, the Jihadists."
    Why is it necessary to hate a group of people in order to confront their agenda?

    I think that is not constructive to fuel fear and hatred when rational solutions to real problems need to be devised. It is valuable to research the philosophy of those who oppose us and its context. Unfortuneately, what passes for research on this topic often boils down to religious chauvinism.


    john crocker - 9/27/2006

    In regards to point 3. My objections and the objections of most I know are both intellectual and political. The term was chosen as a political tool to elicit an emotional response and frame the debate in such a way as to give advantage to a certain veiw and short-circuit reasoned policy debate. I'm sure that you can see that it is an emotionally charged term.

    I think that it is an intellectual objection to desire that the debate be conducted using terminology that is both accurate and not specifically designed to provoke emotional response in favor of one position or the other.

    The fact that you see the term as a 'counter-weapon' indicates that you too believe it is emotionally charged. I'm sure that you, as a history professor, could find a more accurate and less emotional term.

    That a case can be made for some similarities does not mean that use of the term is productive.


    art eckstein - 9/27/2006

    Dear E.S.,

    In terms of policy, everything I've read suggests that the West's standing up to the Islamists, and calling a spade a spade (i.e., with terrorism), will strengthen the moderates within Islam. Conversely, giving in to the Islamist discourse, i.e., apologizing for reciting obvious historical facts, or apologizing for or even limiting our own freedom of speech as THEY limit speech among their own (i.e, the appalling Cartoon Jihad), will only strengthen the Islamists.

    Will it also make them angry? Oh, yes! But we should not take THEIR emotion (sincere, though it no doubt is, even if also appalling ignorant, and shockingly ego-centric) as evidence that WE are doing anything wrong.

    2. Will this work and bring on a reformation and an Enlightenment within Islam? We must support the moderates by confronting the extremists and expressing displeasure, disdain and (dare I say it?) deep and angry emotional disgust at them. But the Reformation in Europe led to massive violence for 150 years (1520-1648). Reformation in Islam is thus not an encouraging prospect. The Enlightenment in Europe emerged only after that bloody mess. And where is this Reformation and Enlightenment going to come from? Grand Ayatollah Sistani? He urges his followers that gay people be executed.

    3. Christopher Hitchens certainly has argued that a movement so fundamentally irrational, so based on fantasy, so retrograde, so hate-filled, so misogynistic, so anti-modern, anti-liberal, and fundamentlaly anti-life--that such a movement as Islamofascism (or Jihadism or whatever you wish to call it) is bound to make hideous mistakes in a war. One can only hope he is right.

    But my colleague Jeffrey Herf has powerfully argued that there is no contradiction between a movement that has all these characteristics AND having access to science and technology. The Nazis are the example. Al-Qaeda, with its retrograde 7th-century ideals, is at home on the internet.

    4. Of course, the Nazis (and their fascist allies in Italy and Japan) were eventually beaten. That's encouraging. But the cost must be faced as we look to the future: it cost 55 million dead.

    Let us hope we are not going THERE. But in any case it is our duty now to resist, to act,--but not stupidly!--and above all NOT to let Islamists set the rules of "dialogue" and debate (i.e., no criticism of Islam allowed because that upsets Muslims, no criticism or mention even of Islamist terrorism and its religious roots allowed, because even THAT upsets Muslims, etc.).

    Finally, it is imperative that we not see this Jihadism as a movement of the left--though idiots such as Judith Butler do (And Butler describes herself as a radical feminist! Yet a courageous and leading defender of women's rights in Afghanistan--Safia Ama Jan--was just MURDERED yesterday in Kabul by Butler's friends--BECAUSE she defended women's rights, which the Taliban view as blasphemy.) Again, we must not grant these ruthless monsters out of the medieval darkness the legitimacy of the "anti-imperialist" mantle. No third-world romanticism should be allowed now, no condescending "understanding" anthropology. They are themselves imperialists and the heirs of a powerful imperialist tradition.


    E. Simon - 9/27/2006

    The two of you are together able to establish a much more lucid dialectic than when others with competing interests and biases where crashing the threads.

    For someone like myself with a very basic understanding of Islam (a couple college-level courses) and a basic understanding of what more than a few who practice the Muslim faith see as their enemey - Western civilization, would either of you care to provide further comment on what approaches can be taken? Surely the most important thing to do is to understand Islam and its history in its own right, as Mr. Friedman notes. And surely labels that appeal to cautionary parallels in the history of Western civilization are important to arouse the sensibilities of enough people as to what dangers really exist within these movements, as Mr. Eckstein notes.

    My question is, to what degree do you think it is useful to engage Western parallels in order to inform our approach toward confronting these problems in Islam. Further, if we look at these, do we run the risk of overly constraining our understanding these problems? The two most obvious or recently well-publicized examples are:

    1. A series of reformations in Christianity that led to an age of Enlightenment, and which broke the monopoly of the Catholic church of its ability to sanction the course of political actions in Continental Europe.

    I note that Islam has a schism dating all the way back to Ali, but its importance in wresting political manipulation away from the state is not as evident.

    2. The recently referred to genesis of Christianity as a religion that sought to merge its sense of faith with reason ("logos"), having, further, grown from a cultural millieu that descended - albeit in a broken line - from the rich cultural tradition of Greek philosophy. Andrew Sullivan has recently spoken in a quite articulate and concise manner about this.

    3. The "Arab" factor - which considers a cultural setting that places importance on concepts of honor and dignity, is representative of a nation that still sees its disunity as indicative of its decline, and given the importance of exchanging information and ideas in this day and age, which translates less works of literature into its own tongue, which is spoken by some 300 millions, than which are currently translated into Greek - spoken by around 10 million.

    4. Furthermore, does an impulse against the rationalist tradition constrain the threat of Islamic radicalism in the same way that it constrains the ability of the Arab world to advance as a power in technological, commercial and intellectual fields? Does this lack of rationalism not act in such a way as to limit the ultimate power of these groups as well?


    E. Simon - 9/27/2006

    How many years of political irrelevance, were required until Begin and Shamir were able to finally shed enough of their former reputation and achieve enough prominence to ascend to the Prime Minister's office, Omar?

    How many exclamation points will you litter your posts with, before asking such obvious questions as these in your anti-Zionist howls and yelping?


    art eckstein - 9/27/2006

    Mr. Feuerbach, as far as I can see, you simply avoid the points made by Mr. Friedman in the first 3 paragraphs of #98332 above against changing the subject and bringing in Christianity as a way of defending (or "contextualizing", it amounts to the same thing in my view) the dreadful intellectual and moral situation which exists in so much (not all) of the Muslim world today.

    You don't have to answer my own comments (for instance in #98331), that's fine. But I think Friedman cuts to the heart of the issue of bringing in an irrelevant topic.


    art eckstein - 9/27/2006

    I'm in basic agreement with your position above, Norman. Of course, no doubt this will only reinforce Omar Ibrahim Baker's view of us as some sort of secret cabal of Jews.

    best,

    Art


    J. Feuerbach - 9/27/2006

    Mr. Friedman,

    You state, “And, if you want my view, killing in the name of Islam follows rather well from what appears in the 9th Chapter of the Koran. That chapter,written, allegedly, at the end of Muhammed's life, sets forth his definitive view, as understood in classical Islamic theology, going back for more than a thousand years, on war. Now, Muslims are perfectly free to interpret their faith as they want. But, if they go by classical Islamic theology, then the state is obliged to make Jihad to spread Muslim rule.”

    Many sacred books have verses or entire passages that people would like to do away with. Even Judaism and Christianity have their own version of the “9th Chapter of the Koran.” It's true that there's no doctrine in Christianity or in Judaism which matches the Jihad doctrine. But as I argued elsewhere, the OT has the famous “Imprecatory Psalms,” aka “Please zap them Lord” psalms. (#s 7, 35, 55, 58, 59, 69, 79, 109, 137 and 139.

    Here are some good examples:
    Psalm 35:5 - May they be like chaff before the wind.
    Psalm 55:15 - Let death take my enemies by surprise; let them go down alive to the grave.
    Psalm 58:6 - O God, break the teeth in their mouths.
    Psalm 69:28 - May they be blotted out of the book of life and not be listed with the righteous.
    Psalm 109:9 - May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow.
    And my absolute favorite:
    Psalm 137:9 - How blessed will be the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.

    The fact that these prayers were once lifted to God and that no one edited them out, proves the following point: the fact that something is written in your favorite sacred book or in any accompanying literature doesn’t mean that you need to embrace it.

    In your post you rightly state that Muslims could take two paths. First, that they are perfectly free to interpret their faith as they want. But then you add, contradicting yourself, “But, if they go by classical Islamic theology, then the state is obliged to make Jihad to spread Muslim rule.” It seems that you gravitate toward the second path. Maybe it seems the logical path based on the principle that theory informs praxis, theology informs ethics. It’s as if you believed that Muslims are fatalistically determined to go by the book. But, as I stated above, you contradict yourself because first you argued that they were free to interpret their faith as they want.

    So here's the basic question. Are Muslims free to interpret the 9th Chapter of the Koran the way they want, even to disregard it completely or are they doomed to follow the 9th Chapter of the Koran and make Jihad?

    I personally like your first answer. Muslims can read the Koran the same way Christians read the Bible: critically. For instance, the "Please zap them Lord” psalms are still in the Bible. However, I don’t see many Christians seizing their enemies' kids and dashing them against a rock! You could argue that they could do it because it's in the Bible. However, they choose not to do it. They are exercising the gift of freedom (and common sense). Why is it that Muslims can’t choose that same path too?




    N. Friedman - 9/27/2006

    Correction

    The last sentence in the first paragraph should read:

    Somehow, the claims of those being violent should be a good starting point to understand the violence - and certainly a better starting point than liberation theologists in South America.


    N. Friedman - 9/27/2006

    Art,

    His argument is wrong and irrelevant to the issue addressed in the article. Violence in the name of Christianity is not understood by quoting the Koran. And violence in the name of Islam is not understood by studying the Bible. And noting that all peoples have been violent does not tell me about why Muslims are being violent, claiming that the violence is in the name of Islam. Somehow, the claims of those being violent should be a good starting point to understand the violence - and certainly a better starting point that liberation theologists in South America.

    Christian and Islamic violence are different phenomena that must first be understood in their own contexts. After being understood in their own contexts, then one might perhaps make a comparison.

    Mr. Feuerbach has decided to skip the step of studying violence in the name of Islam and, instead, merely notes - a bit of self-delusion - that bad things have also happened in the name of Christianity so, therefore, that explains the phenomena, or so he thinks. But, even if Christianity taught violence as the key to life, that still does not tell us about violence in the name of Islam and whether that violence is within the Islamic tradition or not. To understand such violence, I think we need to examine Islam, the history of Muslims, the ideological movement involved, etc., etc., not the Bible or Christian theology or violence in the name of Christianity which, while also interesting studies, are more or less, if the goal is to understand violence in the name of Islam, a way of self-delusion masquerading as analysis.

    This is not to suggest that Western thought has not influenced Islamic thought. But that is something to be shown, not assumed. Berman, in his excellent book Terror and Liberalism - and despite my criticism of it, the book really is a good one - sees connections between Qutb and other Jihadist thought with fascist Western thought. He, however, overlooks the terror that led to the massacres against the Armenians. The key point to examine is the 1896 massacres, not the genocide, as the massacre is clearly a phenomena of Islamic violence as shown rather well by Dadrian.



    art eckstein - 9/27/2006

    Mr. Feuerbach is simply trying to change the subject.

    Mr. Feuerbach's argument about Christianity would be stronger if Episcopalian terrorists were flying planeloads of screaming innocent civilians into the Kaaba, or blowing themselves up among innocent crowds of pilgrims at the Hajj.

    But, they are not. And since they are not, we need to go back to the topic, which is really-existing worldwide terrorism of the most brutal and ruthless kind, rooted in Islamic theology. Even if it is a distortion of Islamic theology, it is still rooted in it and it is a terrorism which justifies its conduct by constant referral to it. Of course, millions of Muslims (including 16% of all British Muslims between the ages of 18 and 24, we learned last week) do NOT believe it is a distortion of Islamic theology.


    N. Friedman - 9/27/2006

    Mr. Feuerbach,

    Let us say that liberation theology is Christian or let us say it is not Christian. Either way, it tells you and I nothing about Islam or people killing in the name of Islam.

    With that in mind, I think you have a red-herring. And, if you want my view, killing in the name of Islam follows rather well from what appears in the 9th Chapter of the Koran. That chapter,written, allegedly, at the end of Muhammed's life, sets forth his definitive view, as understood in classical Islamic theology, going back for more than a thousand years, on war. Now, Muslims are perfectly free to interpret their faith as they want. But, if they go by classical Islamic theology, then the state is obliged to make Jihad to spread Muslim rule. Historically, groups and individuals have often taken it upon themselves to engage in their own Jihads, whether or not supported by the ruler.

    Which is to say, I do not think that the Jihadists are outside of the Islamic tradition. I wish it were otherwise but I do not think it is.

    Whatever can be said about Christianity - good or bad - does not change Islamic theology on wit. And, likewise, whatever good or bad can be said about Islam does not change Christian theology one wit. Which is not to say that the religions do not influence each other but, instead, to note that Islam is Islam, not Christianity and vice versa.


    art eckstein - 9/27/2006

    Mr. Feuerbach,

    What you express as a worry, Mr. Muhammed Abdul Bari (see above) expresses much more directly as an outrageous threat.

    Think about the implications of what Bari--not me, Bari--is saying. You will see that Mr. Friedman's conclusion is is correct.

    But many people simply don't want to face facts ("I'd like to believe...", you say--yes, wouldn't we all).


    J. Feuerbach - 9/27/2006

    Mr. Friedman,

    First, the Bush-Cheney administration doesn't have the copyright for these two notions.

    Second, I don't disagree with everything this administration says or does. (I must also confess that I'm a recovering Bush-hater, one of the most inane and unproductive intellectual and emotional pastimes.)

    Third, let's talk Christianity. Would you say that liberation theology had real roots in Christianity? According to some liberationists, violence is not considered sinful if it is used for resisting oppression. They argue that in some cases, actions like killing aren't sinful if they are committed by the oppressed in the struggle to remove inequities. Liberationists used the Bible --not just Marxism-- to support their positions.

    Jesus said that a tree is judged by its fruit, and that a good tree cannot bear bad fruit (Matt 7: 20, 12: 34; Luke 6: 43). If Jesus is right and violence (bad fruit) is never justified, would it be fair to blame the tree of Christianity for the bad fruit or could it be that the tree that bears bad fruit is another tree? Same logic could apply to Islam.


    J. Feuerbach - 9/27/2006

    I have the following logic exercise for members of this forum:

    If (1) I say,

    “But putting together those two nouns --Islam and fascism-- serves no purpose but to further alienate the majority of Muslims who (I want to believe) don't subscribe to the ideology (cleverly disguised as theology) and the methodology of a few.”

    And (2) Mr. art eckstein reads,
    “The idea that the mass of the Muslims will turn into terrorists or terrorist-supporters because of the use of a TERMINOLOGY about the extremists among them that offends them tells you a great deal about either (a) Feuerbach's contempt for Muslims, if he is wrong, or (b) an absolutely huge problem with Muslims if he is right.

    And (3) “to alienate,” according to the dictionary means, “to make indifferent or hostile.”

    (4) What do you call “a behavior exhibiting overwhelming or unmanageable emotional excess?”

    Ah, for the record, I always use the expression “I want to believe” because I’m a recovering cynic ("A person whose outlook is scornfully and often habitually negative")who averages 15 to 20 daily relapses.


    N. Friedman - 9/27/2006

    Mr.Feuerbach,

    Note that you do not like the Islamic fascist notion but do like the hijacking of a religion notion, both eminating from the administration. The first is not very conforting while the second conforts.

    The facts, whether or not one uses the word fascist, is that we are dealing with a Muslim movement with real roots in Islam. It is a dangerous world wide movement with millions of people involved intellectually if not also physically. It is a disaster for the world.

    Islam is many things. Violence, however, is certainly part of the tradition. To deny that is to deny the spread of Islamic rule in its infancy. And that spread is to deny reality.


    art eckstein - 9/26/2006

    The key phrase in J. Feuerbach's post is the following:

    "It's true that some so-called Muslims hijacked Islam for political purposes. They are thinking and acting in a totalitarian way. But putting together those two nouns --Islam and fascism-- serves no purpose but to further alienate the majority of Muslims who (I want to believe) don't subscribe to the ideology (cleverly disguised as theology) and the methodology of a few."

    1. The idea that the mass of the Muslims will turn into terrorists or terrorist-supporters because of the use of a TERMINOLOGY about the extremists among them that offends them tells you a great deal about either (a) Feuerbach's contempt for Muslims, if he is wrong, or (b) an absolutely huge problem with Muslims if he is right.

    You don't have to believe ME or Feuerbach on this issue. Here is Dr. Muhammed Abdul Bari, head of the Muslim council of Great Britain, in an interview in the Sunday Telegraph on Sept. 10 of this year:

    "Britain could face the threat of two million home-grown Islamic terrorists, says a senior Muslim leader.
     
    Muhammad Abdul Bari, the secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain:

    'Some police officers and sections of the media are demonising Muslims, treating them as if they're all terrorists...If that demonisation continues, then Britain will have to deal with two million Muslim terrorists — 700,000 of them in London," he said.'"


    THINK ABOUT THAT STATEMENT. THINK ABOUT ITS IMPLICATIONS.

    2. The second-most disturbing, or pathetic part of Fuerebach's statement is: "I want to believe...." Yes, of course. But wishing, does not make it so. The fact is that there has never been a terrorism so widespread and malevolent and focused on the murder of innocent civilians but supported by a MASS of a population as what we now face from Islamofascism. It's not THE mass of Muslims, let alone all Muslims. Absolutely not But it is a significant number of them. And how easy is it for the REST of them to become terrorists? Look at the statement not by me, but by the outrageous threat made by Mohammed Abdul Bari--Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Great Britain--quoted above. We need to ask ourselves why this is happening. And the answer is that it is coming from within Islam itself--perhaps the $100 BILLION spent by the Saudis in the propagating of their particularly narrow and hate-filled form of Wahabi Islam all over the world since 1980.


    J. Feuerbach - 9/26/2006

    Islamofascism? Hogwash.

    If you want to call terrorists fascists, that would be more than appropriate. To call them Islamofascists is name calling appropriate for Kindergarten or maybe first grade kids. My suggestion would be to keep the notions of Islam and fascism separate.

    First of all, any religion can be politicized and ideologized to an extreme. There are plenty of examples in history that would prove this thesis. As James Caroll recently stated in the Boston Globe, "Christianity, beginning with Constantine and continuing through the Crusades up until the Enlightenment, routinely 'spread by the sword the faith it preached'." I liked how he puts it. In other words, throughout history some impatient Christians have decided to resort to violence in order to expedite the coming of the kingdom. But does it make sense to use retroactively the word Christianofascism to describe some of those political/ideological actions of the Christian church? It could also be argued that every time the principle of the separation of church and state is violated, theology is ideologized and politicized. But what's the point of qualifying such misdeeds as incipient Christianofascism?

    It's true that some so-called Muslims hijacked Islam for political purposes. They are thinking and acting in a totalitarian way. But putting together those two nouns --Islam and fascism-- serves no purpose but to further alienate the majority of Muslims who (I want to believe) don't subscribe to the ideology (cleverly disguised as theology) and the methodology of a few. By putting those two words together, we are simply allowing the psychological phenomenon of association to operate freely. Most people in the West won't take the time to study these terms and draw similarities and distinctions. The lazy, the dumb and the impressionable will react to this compound noun and could believe that Islam is inherently fascist and violent. If this is what W thinks and wants to convey, well he's being successful.

    I liked what Pat Buchanan had to say on this topic, "The term represents the same lazy, shallow thinking that got us into Iraq, where Americans were persuaded that by dumping over Saddam, we were avenging 9/11."
    http://www.amconmag.com/2006/2006_09_11/buchanan.html


    N. Friedman - 9/26/2006

    Peter,

    Presumably you have a point. However, as I said before, if your prior post was directed at me, it is not based on reading my views. It is based on views I do not even hold.

    Again, you should apologize.


    N. Friedman - 9/26/2006

    Omar,

    It would seem to me that given the indefensible methods adopted by Jihadists, you would prefer that Jihadism or Islamists or Islamic revivalists be labeled "fascist" as that label distinguishes barbarism from a more humane Islam in which you claim to believe.

    If the behavior of the Islamist Jihadists (or whatever name is correct) is not fascist or otherwise totalitarian, then that barbaric ideology is something out of the Muslim tradition. I would, were I you, think through the matter a bit more carefully since you are unlikely to convince many people here that Islamist Jihadism is anything other than a form of barbarism - either a borrowing from European thought, as the totalitarian or fascist label suggests, or something from the Muslim tradition, as the more Islamic label I would use suggests.

    You might note that a more detailed examination of the issue appears in Paul Berman's interesting book, Terror and Liberalism . Berman shows that the ideas of thinkers such as Syyed Qutb are essentially out of the fascist, Western tradition. I think he is wrong as he overlooks the long history of terror in the Muslim tradition - which is not to suggest a uniquely violent tradition but only to note that it is a very, very violent tradition -. But, he does, in fact, find a rather strong overlap in the content and manner of thinking. So, frankly, those who use the word Islamo-fascist for the Islamic revival movement are not making things up out of whole cloth.

    Now, you would try to turn the topic into a discussion of alleged Jewish fascism. Three points. One. All Western societies, so far as I know, have a fascistic element. So, your point is entirely unimportant. Two. The reason you make your point is to throw the argument back at those who accuse the ideology you support. That is called a tu quoque argument and it is invalid, logically, and thus is irrelevant. Three. The issue with the Muslim regions is that the group called fascistic is a very, very large group that is committing violence of the most barbaric sort all over the world - something that Jews have never done -. And the size of the group and the extent of the violence by Muslims makes the ideology a very, very important matter to examine.


    N. Friedman - 9/26/2006

    Peter,

    Somehow, I think you did not read my comment carefully. Note my words carefully from that comment: "While I have generally - if you read my comments on the topic - disagreed with the use of the term fascist or even totalitarian in connection with the Jihadist movement, the author of the article does make some very good points."

    I do not get it, Peter. What sort of historian - and you do claim to be an historian - throws around insults as if they were arguments? Whomever or whatever your comment was directed to or at, Peter, I think you are really out of line and should apologize.


    Yehudi Amitz - 9/26/2006

    Your greetings to Ward Churchill were well understood and also the auto-critical expression "the Big Liars on this website".
    I am sure you enjoy the violent Islamic hits on our freedom of speech.


    Yehudi Amitz - 9/26/2006

    Doo uap, doo uap, doo uap.


    A. M. Eckstein - 9/26/2006

    In terms of previous terror groups, one may note that Weatherman in the U.S. would never have publicly executed people with guns, let alone cut off their heads on tv: they knew this was grossly counterproductive in terms of public support. (And indeed they soon officially foreswore the use of fatal violence in toto.) The IRA generally sent warnings before they blew up buildings. Even the Baader-Meinhoff Gang/Red Army Fraction did not torture and behead "enemies of the people" in public--not because they didn't want to do it, but because they knew this undermined public support.

    But when Jihadists use the beheading of Danny Pearl as a RECRUITMENT VIDEO, one must assume that they, too, know their audience. When Zarqawi did the same in Iraq, the same principle holds: these monsters know their audience. They think crude and cruel execution o "infidels" by humilating them and then beheading them in public wins significant public support for them, rather than udermining such support. Perhaps they are wrong, but I doubt it--they know their people and westerners do not. Thus it is a different audience they are dealing with, culturally, than those facing the Euro-terrorists of the 1960s and 1970s. We would be wise to take note of the difference--and the danger that difference implies.


    A. M. Eckstein - 9/26/2006

    I urge all readers of this blog to read the account by Pearl posted above by Professor Friedman.

    He and I differ on the proper terminology to be used to describe Islamist extremism and jihadism, and we have argued about this before on HNN; note, however, the tone of civility here. It's the model to follow.


    N. Friedman - 9/26/2006

    Peter,

    Correction. The first paragraph of my remark should read:

    While I can agree with some of what you write here, it does NOT appear to be closely related to the article.


    N. Friedman - 9/26/2006

    Professor,

    As always, you make some good points. And, I do not plan to debate you further that we are or are not dealing with a fascist movement of sorts. Such is a distraction, in my view. The movement, whether it is called "X" or "Y" is still dangerous and violent. And that is the important point.

    As for Omar, I think you miss the point about him. He is, in my view, a rather good example - and honest enough to say his views in English - of the viewpoint held by most Muslim Arabs with reference to Israel, Jews and the West.

    In the Palestinian Arab areas of Israel, the ruler party is HAMAS. While many Westerners say that the group came to power because it is less corrupt than FATAH, that misses the point. That group's goal to destroy Israel was not even an issue on which Palestinian Arabs thought it important to debate. Why is that? My view is that the HAMAS view is the view of the vast, vast majority of Palestinian Arabs (including, even, the in Arabic, i.e. true, view of groups like FATAH as well as the person on the street) - not to mention the vast, vast majority of Arabs and of those living in the greater Muslim regions -. Which is to say, rather than berating Omar as individually hateful, showing his views shows the views of a very large group of people. Or, in simple terms, he is a resource. (Sorry, Omar).

    As a bit of evidence, I note two items. First, is part of an article by Judea Pearl which is entitled "Dialogue of the deaf" (and I do not know if the entire article is still available online, although it may be):

    ENTICED BY this aura of civility in Doha, I was curious to find out what the participants had in mind when they pressed for "progress" on the Palestine issue: progress toward what?

    Deep in my heart, I had hoped to find the Doha participants more accommodating of the so-called "two-state solution" and the road map leading to it. If this were not the case, I thought, then we were in big trouble again. Muslims might be nourishing a utopian dream that the US cannot deliver and, sooner or later, the whole dialogue process, and all the goodwill and reforms that depend on it, would blow up in the same conflagration that consumed the Oslo process.

    I was not the only American with such concerns.

    Richard Holbrooke, America's former ambassador to the UN, who was on the same panel with Dahlan, stated that the Arab world must contribute its share toward meaningful movement of the peace process. He reminded the audience that, by now, two and a half generations of Arabs have been brought up on textbooks that do not show Israel on any map, and that such continued denial, on a grassroots level, is a major hindrance to any peaceful settlement.

    I had a friendly conversation on this issue with one of Dahlan's aides, who confessed that "we Palestinians do not believe in a two-state solution, for we can't agree to the notion of 'Jewish state.'" "Judaism is a religion," he added "and religions should not have states."

    When I pointed out that Israeli society is 70 percent secular, bonded by history, not religion, and that by "Jewish state" Israelis mean (for lack of a better term) a "national-Jewish state," he replied: "Still, Palestine is too small for two states."

    This was somewhat disappointing to me, given the official Palestinian Authority endorsement of the road map. "Road map to what?" I thought, "to a Middle East without Israel?" Where was the reform and liberalism among the post-Arafat Palestinian leadership that was expected to breed flexibility and compromise?

    I discussed my disappointment with an Egyptian scholar renowned as a champion of liberalism in the Arab context. His answer was even more blunt: "The Jews should build themselves a Vatican," he said, "a spiritual center somewhere near Jerusalem. But there is no place for a Jewish state in Palestine, not even a national-Jewish state. The Jews were driven out 2,000 years ago, and that should be final, similar to the expulsion of the Moors from Spain 500 years ago."

    The problem with Muslim elites could be seen again, even at the University of California at Irvine, where the Muslim Student Union organized a meeting entitled "A World Without Israel" - cut and dry. Also in May came a colorful radio confession by the editor of the Egyptian newspaper Al-Arabi Abd al-Halim Qandil: "Those who signed the Camp David agreement ... can simply piss on it and drink their own urine, because the Egyptian people will never recognize the legitimacy of the Israeli entity."

    Qandil's bald statement drove home a very sobering realization: in 2005, I still cannot name a single Muslim leader (or a journalist, or an intellectual) who has publicly acknowledged the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a dispute between two legitimate national movements.


    Next, is a portion of the book No God But God, Egypt and the Triumph of Islam, by Geneive Abdo (Oxford University Press 2000),pages 64-65:

    The Grand Sheikh's battle with his conservative critics boiled over in December 1997, when Tantawi hosted an unprecedented meeting at al-Azhar with chief rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, leader of Israel's Ashkenazi Jews. Held just before the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, and amid growing outrage in the Arab world toward Israeli intransigence in the stalled Oslo peace process, Tantawi's meeting was nothing short of explosive. Ordinary Egyptians had never accepted the Camp David peace accords, or for that matter any attempt to normalize relations with Israel. Most Muslims saw the invitation of the chief rabbi into the very citadel of Sunni Islam as a complete betrayal of the fifty-year effort against the Jewish state.

    Egypt's most respected Islamic thinker, Seleeem al-Awa, spoke for many when he bitterly denounced the visit on the front page of the Islamist daily al-Shaab and wrote a letter of protest to the Research Academy. "I did not believe my eyes when I read that the Grand Sheikh met the Zionist rabbi in Cairo.... It is as if the Zionists want to declare before the whole world that they have achieved normalization with the symbol of Sunni Islam and the entire Islamic world, and with the Sheikh of al-Azhar himself."

    "Why did you headquarters become the site of normalization with the Zionists? How are we going to welcome Ramadan with the biggest spiritual defeat of the modern age?" al-Awa asked.

    Tantawi was filled with consternation. He had never expected that such a meeting would outrage the Muslim world. Shaken and tense, he defended himself in a long interview with a Qatari satellite television channel that was broadcast in Egypt and across the Middle East. The interviewer asked Tantawi why he had decided to meet the rabbi, when his predecessor, Gad al-Haq, had refused.

    "I followed in the footsteps of our Prophet, peace be upon him. He met Jews and had a dialogue with them.... Was I supposed to refuse to meet him, so he'll go to his country and say the Sheikh of al-Azhar was unable to meet me?"

    "What is you answer to Dr. Seleem al-Awa who said this meeting is more dangerous than any form of normalization?" the interviewer asked.

    "This is the logic of cowards and pacifists," Tantawi replied. "Can Dr. al-Awa deny that the Prophet and his companion Abu Bakr met with the Jews? And after that, they say 'normalization.' What normalization?"

    Tantawi's response did little to pacify his critics with al-Azhar. In fact, the controversy handed the traditionalists the evidence they needed to challenge his suitability to hold Sunni Islam's highest position. "What we read about the meeting between the Sheikh of al-Azhar and the Israeli rabbi shocked us all," commented Yahya Ismail, the general-secretary of the Azhar's Scholars' Front. "We must abide by fatwas issued by senior scholars since 1936, which are official fatwas that forbid dealing with the occupying Jews with any weapon other than jihad (holy struggle) until they evacuate from our lands."


    Need I say more. And, coming from Ms. Abdo, who is, in my view, rather close to a John Esposito style apologist, it is a rather an amazing quote.


    Yehudi Amitz - 9/26/2006

    I really believe that someone who uses "lackey" out of its dictionary definition:
    lackey (Princeton University, WordNet dictionary http://wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn ) :
    "1) A male servant (especially a footman)"
    "2) A person who tries to please someone in order to gain a personal advantage"

    really hates the "little eichmanns",of Ward Churchill (your ideological friend), who went to work on 9/11/2006 into a bastion of American capitalism (I worked there for 2 years about 10 years before 2001).


    N. Friedman - 9/26/2006

    Peter,

    While I can agree with some of what you write here, it does appear to be closely related to the article.

    While I have generally - if you read my comments on the topic - disagreed with the use of the term fascist or even totalitarian in connection with the Jihadist movement, the author of the article does make some very good points. In particular, he is, I think, quite correct that focussing hatred on a group is a necessity to a movement dedicated to conquest, as was the case with the Nazis and, now, the Jihadists. Such indicator is, whether we call the Jihadist movement the Islamic Dairy Farmers movement, Islamo-Fascists or totalitarians, a good sign that we are dealing with a very dangerous movement.

    With that in mind, your view that Europeans dealt with terrorists for decades misses the mark. We are not dealing with terrorists in the sense that Europeans did (i.e. we are not dealing with a tiny terrorist group). Rather, we are dealing with a movement dangerous in the way that the Communist, Fascist and Nazi movements were. And, that requires a very different response.

    Now, that is not to suggest - and, if you read me, you will note that I have been consistent on this - agreement with the Bush approach. That said, the European approach - which I sum up as consisting of appeasement Jihadists and the countries which spawn Jihadist ideology - is not exactly working either. In fact, that approach is based on fallacies - different ones than the Bushies have (e.g. Bushite hubris about the ability to affect other cultures) but fallacies nonetheless - that there is really, at present, a dialogue to be had between Europeans and Muslims, rather than the current reality of a competition of sorts between them. And, it is based on the fallacy that the Jihadists have aims that can, in fact, be met, rather than goals which are not only unlimited but which thrive both when fought as Bush does and when appeased as Europeans do.


    art eckstein - 9/26/2006

    1. My impression from the above postings is that the posters so hate Bush that even if "Islamofascist" were a totally accurate term intellectually and historically, they'd still attack Bush's use of it because it draws attention away from Bush's contribution to the world crisis.

    2. But the major contribution to the world crisis is Islamist violence in the serve of a totalitarian vision.

    3. Mandel is reasonable to say "similar", while not the same as "the same", is still a useful category of analysis.

    a. In this case we have a ruthless devotion to violence including (or, especially including) the destruction of civilians.
    b. In the cause of a totalitarian vision--namely, the imposition of a world-wide Sharia-state in which every person's every action will be subject to inspection by the State in the form of the religious police. Thus the ruthless violence which is habitually employed--including especially and intentionally against civilians--is in the service ultimately of a utopian (but darkly totalitarian: all aspects of human life controlled by authority, in the service of "virtue") vision.
    c. The Islamist vision is thus a vision out of Orwell's "1984," For women, of coruse, it's WORSE than "1984".
    d. That groups like Hezbollah also habitually use the fascist salute in public, and are vilely anti-semitic, and that Ahmadenijad of Iran defends Hitler, are interesting aspects of the Islamist phenomenon, and parallels with Nazism (a form of fascism), but are not the key points: which are a-c.
    e. There are differences, of course, especially regarding the place of religion in society: Eurofascism gave the place of religion to secular ideology, Islamofascism places religion center.

    3. For some people, the differences are too important to call the totalitarian jihadist movement "fascist." That's an intellectual objection. For others, it's that use of the term "Islamofascist" gives the Bush administration too much political cover. That's a purely political--NOT an intellectual--objection, though it may masquerade as an intellectual objection.

    4. To me, Islamic extremism is similar ENOUGH to fascist movements of the past that the term--while inexect--is pretty descriptive. And it's certainly a potent intellectually counter-weapon against the jihadist offensive, so I see no reason to drop it as a term of description "It ain't like the old days [European fascism], but it'll do."

    5. Others may disagree. But those who disagree should also accept that those who want to use the term have a case.

    6. Re people such as Omar Ibrahim Baker: there may be people reading this blog who haven't run into Omar before. They should understand that he is an explicit supporter of an Islamic Sharia totalitarian state, as he has posted elsewhere on HNN, and that he disagrees with al-Qaeda tactics mostly on pragmatic grounds, as he has posted elsewhere on HNN. He is also a vicious anti-semite, as his post last week, in the blog "Was the Pope Wrong?", on September 20 at 6:08 p.m. demonstrate. (#97813: Islam and Violence/A Point to Ponder), shockingly demonstrates. People might want to go back and look at that exchange.







    john crocker - 9/26/2006

    "Affirming that Islamists are totalitarian while discounting all past manifestations of totalitarianism as irrelevant empties the term 'totalitarian' of any meaning that can inform readers of the danger and significance of Islamism."

    Affirming that Islamists may share some characters of fascists while discounting all past manifestations of fascism empties the term 'fascism' of any meaning that can inform readers.

    Fascism is a loaded word. totalitarianism, at least in our society, is not. The term Islamofascist is used to create an emotional response and short circuit reasoned debate. Islamic totalitarianism captures most of what people claim to mean when they say 'Islamofascist' whitout the emotional baggage. This is precisely the reason that some chose to use it. If the debate is centered on emotion, particularly fear, it is easier to lead a country to war and decisions are less likely to be questioned.


    Yehudi Amitz - 9/25/2006

    Sorry


    Yehudi Amitz - 9/25/2006

    With Jihad the Arabs play the translation game because of the multiple meanings of the word in Arabic (holy war, struggle). Islamo-fascism has a very clear meaning for a western culture. If you'll tell me that baby Bush is far from being smart, I totally agree with you, but his speech writers and people around him got the idea quite right.


    Yehudi Amitz - 9/25/2006

    Begin was an extremist but he blew up British soldiers not civilians (unless they were collateral damage). The same about Shamir.
    And, again, the Jewish extremists were (are) isolated and not condoned by the Jewish public. Your post is the purest form of hate and misinformation.


    Rodney Huff - 9/25/2006

    "The worst of times in this country is better than the best of times in most of those Middle East countries."

    I'm not sure I would characterize the 1960s as the "worst" of times in American history. What about the systematic destruction of the lifeways of the peoples who lived on this continent long before the first Europeans arrived? How about America's part in the trans-Atlantic slave trade? How about the Civil War? How about the era of the KKK-led lynch mobs (homegrown terrorist groups)? How about the Great Depression?

    Furthermore, Malcom X's call to use any means necessary to achieve justice is a call to use violence in that struggle, which some people heeded, though many did not. Similarly, OBL's call for jihad is also a call to use violence to achieve justice. (He doesn't "hate our freedom!" He hates that we got to live in security for so long while poor Muslims lived in insecurity under regimes supported by our government, and we did nothing to stop it). To be sure, some Muslims have heeded that call, but most Muslims have not. Sadly, more Muslims are now likely to heed OBL's call, given the deteriorating conditions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    I'm not sure what point you're trying to make, but most people who assert that we are the best appear to be attempting to excuse their complacency and to stir up a conservative mood. If "we" are indeed better than everyone else, then why should "we" have to change?

    I'll tell you why. For one thing, America has yet to realize the Enlightenment ideals on which it was supposedly founded, and every step towards the realization of those ideals has come with struggle, with people taking to the streets and agitating for social and political change, despite the inevitable conservative reaction. There was no reason to be complacent then, and there's no reason to be complacent now, as the legacies of past injustice (e.g., de facto racial segregation in schools and neighborhoods), as well as corruption at the highest levels of government, still haunt us. Ask an American Indian, if you can find one, how s/he feels about the best country in the world.

    More to the point, when those in power enact policies in our name that harm innocent people, we should take notice and publicly condemn such actions. We should hold the decision-makers accountable, remove them from office, and prosecute them for their criminal abuse of power and violation of the public trust. For the most part, however, we don't do this. It must seem strange, then, to the rest of the world that we, supposedly the free people whom everyone else in the world should be emulating, are also the most apathetic and politically disengaged. It seems most Americans are content with striving to be thoroughly private individuals with no sense of social responsibility; most of us have become mere spectators on the sidelines of history.


    Adil Kamal - 9/25/2006

    I agree the writer is obviously a facsist...


    Michael Green - 9/25/2006

    I would add that while we cannot over-intellectualize this--we're SUPPOSED to be intellectuals--the bigger question in my mind is whether this kind of discussion went on in the White House, or was this simply hit upon as a way to try to scare the public and score political points by making people think Bin Laden is Hitler reincarnated. And knowing how this White House operates, I would have to think that the only intellectual debate in this case has been outside of that building.


    Louis Nelson Proyect - 9/25/2006

    What are you talking about? Menachem Begin was a follower of Jabotinsky. The Orthodox Union website states: "Begin turned out even more militant than Jabotinsky. He clashed with Jabotinsky at the 1938 Betar convention, demanding its reorientation with the goal of “conquest of the homeland by force."


    Yehudi Amitz - 9/25/2006

    Islamo-fascism is extremism with a powerful Islamic color. True, the world economy is in good shape but in Islamic countries the economy is in almost perpetual depression for the majority of the population. The form of dictatorship envisioned by the Islamo-fascists is the Caliphate and type of social order is the sharia law. As usual the patronizing western "intellectuals" believe that the natives of Islam can't invent something of their own.


    Yehudi Amitz - 9/25/2006

    The Moslems as a whole condone the jihad ideology and the ways they operate. No one sells Stern gang T-shirts but Moslems love bin laden T-shirts. Stern gang was marginal and isolated, jihad movement is main stream.


    Vernon Clayson - 9/25/2006

    The 1960s as "desperate times", hardly. Most American citizens went about their lives untouched and unmoved by the radical elements portrayed so vividly by the media as a "movement." Then as now, the demonstrators disappeared when the cameras left. In the 1960s they left demonstrations to smoke pot and make out, I was around, now the Muslims ;eave demonstrations to make bombs and plan the next attack on infidels. The 60s were an innocent time in comparison, the music of the time was used as background for photo ops of demonstrators, now the demonstrators
    use bombs to draw attention and, if they really want attention, they cut off a man's head. The music of Hendrix and Morrison versus the droning calls to prayer from mosques?
    The worst of times in this country is better than the best of times in most of those Middle East countries.


    Jason B Keuter - 9/25/2006

    how is this different than Bush's foreign policy?

    1. "Democratization" - meaning promoting democracy - has no preconceived, utopian end result in mind. It is the creation of a governing system with no particular, specific vision in mind. Lacking an exact, perfect end result, it is not an open ended recipe for endless terror, as are totalitarian ideologies and Islamist ideology.

    2. Bush will leave office soon. There will be future elections. Foreign policy will change. When totalitarians seize power, no such elections or regualr accountability for government takes place. American foreign policy can be criticized for its inconstistency, but parallels between Amerian foreign policy and gloablizing totalitarian movements are utterly false.


    Rodney Huff - 9/25/2006

    Go to this website http://www.memritv.org/Transcript.asp?P1=312 and read the words spoken by the world's most notorious terrorist - about whom Bush, in his own words, is "not that concerned."

    There are indeed some legitimate grievances here, and we would do well to address them and begin holding those in power accountable for their actions, instead of greeting their misdeeds abroad with indifference and silence - misdeeds that get carried out in our name!

    Steven Lukes maintained that one of the three "faces of power" shows itself in the ability to keep some public issues - ultimately someone else's concerns and grievances - from getting on the agenda, effectively rendering an individual or group invisible. Sadly, there are many people in the world today who are made to feel invisible by an American foreign policy that aids and abets corrupt, oppressive governments (e.g., Saudi Arabia). And these are likely the same people who get recruited by terrorist organizations, believing they have nothing to live for but everything to die for. OBL would be nothing without such people.

    Here's another analogy for you. During the 1960s, here in America, there was a group of denigrated people who began rallying around the slogan "by any means necessary," though, of course, not every African American favored this course of action, just as many Musilms around the world remain unmoved by calls for jihad against the U.S. and its allies. Militant groups (e.g., Black Panthers), however, did form, as desperate times seemed to call for desperate measures. Similarly, in Iraq and elsewhere, desperate times prevail, and apparently this administration has exacerbated the conditions under which we should expect radicalism to flourish, if we believe the initial reports on the recent National Intelligence Estimate, which represents a consensus reached by 16 U.S. spy agencies.

    The Neocon strategy of using brute force to promote the U.S. as the world's "bully on the block," to use the words of Colin Powell, one of the chief architects of the Neconservative movement, has indeed made matters worse. Well, of course -any fifth grader could have told us this much: Bullying people around will only earn their resentment, and what goes around may eventually come around.

    Clearly, there are evil-doers on both sides who want to perpetuate the cycle of violence and reprisal because they are becoming empowered by it. If Bush were really interested in justice and peace, then we would have OBL in custody by now - 5 years after the attacks! - and he would reevaluate those aspects of foriegn policy that have partially created our enemy; he would put legitimate grievances on the agenda, instead of catering merely to the interests of big business while ignoring the voiceless.

    Willfully misunderstanding the enemy as mere "fascists" serves to divert attention from the misdeeds carried out in our name (and supposedly on our behalf) by the enemy within and focus attention on the misdeeds of the enemy without. The way to peace, however, is to focus on both at once.

    Sadly, there isn't much talk about peace anymore, thanks to the warmongering of this adminstration. The military-industrial complex (i.e., Cheney-Halliburton-and-its-subsidiaries complex) is ascendant and is as much an enemy of the people as the terrorist organizations we fight.


    Louis Nelson Proyect - 9/25/2006

    From wiki on Lehi group (aka, Stern Gang)

    An article titled "Terror" in He Khazit (The Front, a Lehi underground newspaper) argued as follows.[20]

    Neither Jewish morality nor Jewish tradition can negate the use of terror as a means of battle.
    ...
    We are quite far from moral hesitations on the national battlefield. We see before us the command of the Torah, the most moral teaching in the world:

    Obliterate—until destruction.[21] We are particularly far from this sort of hesitation in regard to an enemy whose moral perversion is admitted by all.

    But primarily terror is part of our political battle under present conditions and its role is large and great.

    * It demonstrates, in clear language, to those who listen throughout the world and to our despondent brothers outside the gates of this country of our battle against the true terrorist who hides behind his piles of papers and the laws he has legislated.
    * It is not directed against people, it is directed against representatives. Therefore it is effective.
    * If it also shakes the Yishuv from their complacency, good and well.

    Only so will the battle for liberation begin.[22]

    full: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lehi_(group)


    Ronald Dale Karr - 9/25/2006

    Of all historical eras, the 1930s seems to bear little in common with the present. Consider the situation then: the global economy had utterly collapsed; power was divided among the United States, the UK, France, the USSR, Japan,Italy, and Germany, with no clear superior; Africa and Asia (including the Middle East) were largely European colonies; Fascism had taken over two of the major global powers; the United States was energy self-sufficient and reluctant to involve itself in European affairs (although it dominated Latin America and competed with Japan for control of the Pacific rim). Two imense oceans kept the U.S. safe from any conceivable attack.
    Drawing analogies between that world and ours seems quite a stretch!


    Cary Fraser - 9/25/2006

    "However, where all three can be said to be similar is in their pursuit of a utopian re-ordering of the world; a willingness to use unbridled violence and terror to bring it about; and in anchoring justification for the consequent barbarism in immutable, iron laws. Consequently, all three have claimed to know where history is, or should be, headed and decreed the complete obliteration of all opponents – whether whole classes, peoples or states – as the necessary and beneficent prelude to an epoch of orderliness and justice."

    Comparisons can either be silly or serious. This essay leans towards the silly end of the spectrum. One question:
    How is this different from the Bush administration's agenda for democratizing the Middle East? We have heard of the "birth" through war of "The New Middle East", bombing societies back into the Stone Age and the use of depleted uranium weapons which have long-term consequences for civilian populations,and "de-Baathification" and "regime change" as strategies for removing obstacles to the new order in the Middle East.

    What we are witnessing is the abandonment of reason as an instrument of statecraft. Ideological posturing only serves to compound the irrationality that drove the neo-Conservative agenda for a war in Iraq.


    Jason B Keuter - 9/25/2006

    At some point, someone is going to point out that the US "created" Islamists during the Cold War and is now doing the wrong thing by declaring them to be the enemy.

    This simply brings up another parallel : the Allies allied with the USSR in order to defeat Nazism. One might also consider that for a while, the Nazis themselves were seen as preferable alternatives to the USSR. The belief that totalitarian extremists can be used rationally by democracies to defeat other totalitarian extremists passed for "realism" in American foreign policy. It has proven to be sheer fantasy and has led to a regrettable tendency on the part of democratic governments to join the appeasing chattering classes within their societies of downplaying the inhumane and retrograde nature of the regimes with whom democracies form temporary friendships. Hence, the neo-con Bush Doctrine is a sensible evolution in American foreign policy.

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