The Bush administration's new label for the terrorists has become, in part, the new buzzword for the Republican Party heading into the mid-term
elections this fall. Islamo-Fascism. Fascists. For many, the word evokes thoughts of WWII, and the global struggle against intolerant
dictatorships. For others, it brings to mind the KKK, the ANP, and other radical fringe elements of Western culture.
But is it an apt label to apply to the people our government has declared war on, or is it simply a political ploy to maintain fear and hatred of the
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.
Depicting the struggle as one against Islamic fascists is "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."
While "fascism" once referred to the rigid nationalistic one-party dictatorship first instituted in Italy, it has "been used very loosely in
all kinds of ways for a long time," said Wayne Fields, a specialist in presidential rhetoric at Washington University in St. Louis.
"It helps dramatize what we're up against. They are not just some ragtag terrorists. They are people with a plan to take over the world and
eliminate everybody except them," said Charles Black, a longtime GOP consultant with close ties to both the first Bush administration and the current
Stephen J. Wayne, a professor of government at Georgetown University, suggested White House strategists "probably had a focus group and they found
the word `fascist.'
"Most people are against fascists of whatever form. By definition, fascists are bad. If you're going to demonize, you might as well use the
toughest words you can," Wayne said.
After all, the hard-line Iranian newspaper Jomhuri Eskami did just that in an editorial last week blasting Bush's "Islamic fascism" phrase. It
called Bush a "21st century Hitler" and British Prime Minister Tony Blair a "21st century Mussolini."
The new label for the enemy in the WOT brings to my mind, as the thread title suggests, the old circular school-yard retort "I know you are, but what
am I?" used when one child has been called a name by the other they can't one-up, a name that possibly fits the bill. The phrase is repeated over
and over until all meaning is lost.
I have noticed time and time again the Bush administration describe the enemy and their tactics in terms that could just as easily be applied to the
administration itself. Its almost like watching someone shadowbox in the mirror.
I know you are, but what am I?