August 28, 2006
The Big Lie About Islamic Fascism
by Eric S. Margolis
[Eric Margolis is a syndicated foreign affairs columnist and
broadcaster, and author of War at the Top of the World - The Struggle
for Afghanistan, Kashmir, and Tibet.]
The latest big lie unveiled by Washingtons neoconservatives are the
poisonous terms, `Islamo-Fascists and `Islamic Fascists ' . They are the
new, hot buzzwords among Americas far right and Christian
President George W. Bush made a point last week of using `Islamofacists
when recently speaking of Hezbullah and Hamas both, by the way,
democratically elected parties. A Canadian government minister from the
Conservative Party compared Lebanons Hezbullah to Nazi Germany.
The term `Islamofascist is utterly without meaning, but packed with
emotional explosives. It is a propaganda creation worthy Dr . Goebbles,
and the latest _expression of the big lie technique being used by
neocons in Washingtons propaganda war against its enemies in the Muslim
This ugly term was probably first coined in Israel - as was the other
hugely successful propaganda term, `terrorism to dehumanize and demonize
opponents and deny them any rational political motivation, hence
removing any need to deal with their grievances and demands.
As the brilliant humanist Sir Peter Ustinov so succinctly put it,
`Terrorism is the war of the poor, and war is the terrorism of the rich.
Both the terms `terrorism and `fascist have been so abused and overused
that they have lost any original meaning. The best modern definition Ive
read of fascism comes in former Colombia University Professor Robert
Paxtons superb 2004 book, `The Anatomy of Fascism.
Paxton defines fascisms essence, which he aptly terms its `emotional
lava as: 1. a sense of overwhelming crisis beyond reach of traditional
solutions; 2. belief ones 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.
Fascism demands a succession of wars, foreign conquests, and national
threats to keep the nation in a state of fear, anxiety and patriotic
hypertension. Those who disagree are branded ideological traitors. All
successful fascists regimes, Paxton points out, allied themselves to
traditional conservative parties, and to the military-industrial
Highly conservative and militaristic regimes are not necessarily
fascist, says Paxton. True fascism requires relentless aggression abroad
and a semi-religious adoration of the regime at home.
None of the many Muslim groups opposing US-British control of the
Mideast fit Paxton's definitive analysis. The only truly fascist group
ever to emerge in the Mideast was Lebanon's Maronite Christian Phalange
Party in the 1930s which, ironically, became an ally of Israel's
rightwing in the 1980s.
It is grotesque watching the Bush Administration and Tony Blair maintain
the ludicrous pretense they are re-fighting World War II. The only
similarity between that era and today is the cultivation of fear, war
fever and racist-religious hate by US neoconservatives and Americas
religious far right, which is now boiling with hatred for anything
Under the guise of fighting a `third world war against `Islamic fascism,
Americas far right is infecting its own nation with the harbingers of
In the western world, hatred of Muslims has become a key ideological
hallmark of rightwing parties. We see this overtly in the United States,
France, Italy, Holland, Denmark, Poland, and, most lately, Canada, and
more subtly expressed in Britain and Belgium. The huge uproar over
blatantly anti-Muslim cartoons published in Denmark laid bare the
seething Islamophobia spreading through western society.
There is nothing in any part of the Muslim World that resembles the
corporate fascist states of western history. In fact, clan and
tribal-based traditional Islamic society, with its fragmented power
structures, local loyalties, and consensus decision-making, is about as
far as possible from western industrial state fascism.
The Muslim World is replete with brutal dictatorships, feudal
monarchies, and corrupt military-run states, but none of these regimes,
however deplorable, fits the standard definition of fascism. Most, in
fact, are Americas allies.
Nor do underground Islamic militant groups (`terrorists in western
terminology). They are either focused on liberating land from foreign
occupation, overthrowing `un-Islamic regimes, driving western influence
from their region, or imposing theocracy based on early Islamic
Claims by fevered neoconservatives that Muslim radicals plan to somehow
impose a worldwide Islamic caliphate are lurid fantasies worthy of Dr .
Fu Manchu and yet another example of the big lie technique that worked
so well over Iraq.
As Prof. Andrew Bosworth notes in an incisive essay on so-called Islamic
fascism, `Islamic fundamentalism is a transnational movement inherently
opposed to the pseudo-nationalism necessary for fascism.
However, there are plenty of modern fascists. But to find them, you have
to go to North America and Europe. These neo-fascists advocate
`preemptive attacks against all potential enemies, grabbing other
nations resources, overthrowing uncooperative governments, military
dominance of the world, hatred of Semites (Muslims in this case),
adherence to biblical prophecies, hatred of all who fail to agree,
intensified police controls, and curtailment of `liberal political
They revel in flag-waving, patriotic melodrama, demonstrations of
military power, and use the mantle of patriotism to feather the nests of
the military-industrial complex, colluding legislators and lobbyists.
They urge war to the death, fought, of course, by other peoples
children. They have turned important sectors of the media into
propaganda organs and brought the Pentagon largely under their control.
Now, the neoconservatives are busy whipping up war against Syria and
Iran to keep themselves in power and maintain the political dynamics of
this 21st century revival of fascism.
The real modern fascists are not in the Muslim World, but Washington.
The neocons screaming fascist the loudest, are the true fascists
themselves. Its a pity that communist and leftist propaganda so debased
the term `neo-fascist that it has become almost meaningless. Because
that is what we should be calling the so-called neocons, for that is
what they really are.
THE WISDOM FUND
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