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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Slapping a Swastika on the Middle East

Tell me what current political movement this definition makes you think of:

An extreme form of nationalism that play[s] on fears of communism and reject[s] individual freedom, liberal individualism, democracy, and limitations on the state.

Me, I think of modern republicans. Not so much the fear of communism, which has become anachronistic, but there is a fear of communism's cousin -- socialism -- in there.

The rest is pretty dead on. The rejection of individual freedom comes in the form of 'homeland security'. Liberal individualism is rejected in favor of neocon groupthink. The contempt for democracy is evident in voter intimidation and suppression, dirty tricks and lies, and outright election fraud. The outrage from the right over the recent court ruling finding Bush's NSA wiretap program unconstitutional lets you know how they feel about limitations on the state.

Of course, this is the Alante Project's definition of fascism. But the Bush administration abuses the english language to try to convince you that they aren't the fascists. Islamic extremists are. It's hard to figure out what state a stateless movement venerates, but there ya go. Logical consistency isn't required in propaganda -- all they ask is that you check your brain at the door, worship the flag, and vote GOP in November.

Right now, we're seeing the beginnings of a republican campaign of propaganda. Having failed to convince americans that we're fighting WWIII, republicans are going all out to convince us it's WWII. I've already posted about Rumsfeld's comparison of war critics to appeasers of the nazis -- or worse, fascists themselves, but Rummy's insulting tirade is only the beginning. As CNN tells us, 'fascism' is the word of the day:

President Bush in recent days has recast the global war on terror into a "war against Islamic fascism." Fascism, in fact, seems to be the new buzz word for Republicans in an election season dominated by an unpopular war in Iraq.

Bush used the term earlier this month in talking about the arrest of suspected terrorists in Britain, and spoke of "Islamic fascists" in a later speech in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Spokesman Tony Snow has used variations on the phrase at White House press briefings.

Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pennsylvania, in a tough re-election fight, drew parallels on Monday between World War II and the current war against "Islamic fascism," saying they both require fighting a common foe in multiple countries. It's a phrase Santorum has been using for months.

And Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Tuesday took it a step further in a speech to an American Legion convention in Salt Lake City, accusing critics of the administration's Iraq and anti-terrorism policies of trying to appease "a new type of fascism." (Full story)

White House aides and outside Republican strategists said the new description is an attempt to more clearly identify the ideology that motivates many organized terrorist groups, representing a shift in emphasis from the general to the specific.

"I think it's an appropriate definition of the war that we're in," said GOP pollster Ed Goeas. "I think it's effective in that it definitively defines the enemy in a way that we can't because they're not in uniforms."

I don't know whether to sing 'The White Cliffs of Dover' or 'Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B' -- although, the most appropriate song seems to be Spike Jones' Der Fuehrer's Face.

But one word isn't enough to build a bullshit propaganda campaign. You need some 'good news' -- if there isn't any, you buy some, as the Washington Post describes:

U.S. military leaders in Baghdad have put out for bid a two-year, $20 million public relations contract that calls for extensive monitoring of U.S. and Middle Eastern media in an effort to promote more positive coverage of news from Iraq.

The contract calls for assembling a database of selected news stories and assessing their tone as part of a program to provide "public relations products" that would improve coverage of the military command's performance, according to a statement of work attached to the proposal.

The request for bids comes at a time when Bush administration officials are publicly criticizing media coverage of the war in Iraq.

Propagandizing the american people is illegal, but if there's one thing the Bush administration's learned, it's that this congress will let them get away with anything. PR is everything for these guys. They seem to believe that solving a problem and convincing people that the problem is solved are the same thing.

As Iraq slips further into civil war and the US objectives in the war become increasingly unclear, we find ourselves being no more than just another militia. The enemies in Iraq aren't a single group or a single ideology, but several groups with diverse goals. We don't really know who they all are or what they want or how we can fight them. There is no single enemy, but groups of gun wielding bomb tossing idiots -- each group with their own agenda.

But, instead of admitting we're fighting a war with no real enemy and letting that vagueness cast a shadow over the party's election hopes, they're doing what they always do -- making shit up.

So our enemies aren't different groups of iraqis who want us to get the hell out of their way so they can get their civil war over with. No, our enemies are now the freakin' nazis.


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