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"definition of the enemy as Islamofascism is itself a borrowing from right-wing Israeli think tanks that prefer to see an enemy in unitary terms that can be conflated with international terrorism. Most experts on Islam and on the many countries that have majority Muslim populations would reject that Islamofascism or anything like it really exists, just as the "global war on terrorism" is essentially a misleading simplification that has little meaning. "

I think this paper and its editor has used that term in the past.

Anyway, this is a good post. The current PM of Israel has approval numbers in Israel that are lower than Bush's. But yet this country's goverment and most democrats seem to think that their position( the Israeli right wing) is the most popular and so they take their side, eventhough, most Israelis support a compromised solution.

Posted by SeMe | July 16, 2007 11:47 AM
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Interesting to see a conservative (and former CIA analyst) challenging the notion that "Islamofascism" describes anything real. (And here I was going to include the same quote that I now see SeMe has helpfully posted, with the additional sentence:)

"The basically false depiction of a hostile and menacing global entity is done deliberately to help formulate a policy which perforce makes Israel’s enemies also the enemies of the United States, even when they are not."

In other words, it's a way of pretending that there is a unified Islamic menace as a pretext for making global war against countries that contain Muslims.

Worth remembering.

Posted by flamingbanjo | July 16, 2007 12:01 PM
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Excactly. There is no unified Islamic menace.

What has been proven is that the best approach to battling these fanatics should be a law enforcement approach. That seems to have worked in the UK and Spain. They are catching the bombers with good old fashion police work. What this needs is more of an INTERPOL approach. Not a Dubya Tony Blair approach.

The wars serve no purpose other than recruit members for these groups- and win contracts for companies and help secure a place for the Israeli right wing's position at the table.

People should know that the so called Israel lobby in DC supports the Israeli right wing and their dead end positions. Dems and Republicans buy into these people's disastrous policies. Israel's populace is more inclined to be in agreement with Labor and other center left positions that advocate for a compromised position that includes strong defense as well as compromises on the occupied territories.

Posted by SeMe | July 16, 2007 12:11 PM
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it is fair to say that the muslim world sees AMERICA as a unified menace.

but they can't get enough of our delicious corruption!

Posted by maxsolomon | July 16, 2007 2:27 PM
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SeMe is absolutely correct: a law enforcement approach. Islamofascism very much DOES exist, but it isn't a unified front, and can't be fought militarily, anymore than ordinary crime can be fought militarily. The only thing the war approach achieves is the terrorization of OUR OWN population as our rights and expectations continue to wither.

On the other hand, I believe all three of the leading Republican candidates are now explicitly advocating a unilateral military strike on Iran -- in some cases an explicitly nuclear one. This is going to be an extraordinarily easy position to defeat in the upcoming elections, and every time Podhoretz opens his mouth that defeat becomes more and more likely.

Posted by fnarf | July 16, 2007 3:20 PM
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FNARF: Based on the news of the last several days (the Guardian story linked to in SLOG's earlier post is here) it sounds as if Cheney is pushing for some such "solution" before he leaves office. If true, this would only require the candidates to mouth some kind of "support our troops" sentiment with regards to an existing conflict rather than having to sell that conflict to a skeptical public.

I confess I have a few problems with the "Islamofascist" label beyond its aforementioned use as a rhetorical trick used to pretend that all-out war on Muslims is a reasonable or feasible solution to the problem of terrorism. One is that, from where I stand, it seems like the supposed proponents of Islamofascism have little in common with historical examples of fascism. That is not to say that they are not repressive and authoritarian, but they seem to favor some sort of theocratic state. In contrast, the political ideology of their most vocal critics, the neo-conservatives and the hard-right Israelis, to my eye bears a much more noteworthy resemblance to historical fascism.

An unprovoked first strike with nuclear weapons, for instance, sounds like the sort of action that a fascist state might undertake.

Posted by flamingbanjo | July 16, 2007 3:41 PM
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It's pretty clear that Muslim extremist groups (and in some cases Muslim governments) have fascists tendencies. Iran's practice of executing gay people and 16 year old rape victims is pretty fascists in and of itself, and refutes the claim that islamofascism doesn't exist. And Hamas' "Vice and Virtue" squads reek of fascism.

Posted by Tiffany | July 16, 2007 7:26 PM
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Tiffany: To be clear, I think those things are very bad. I just don't think they're necessarily indicative of fascism per se. There are repressive forms of government that are not fascism.

To me fascism is by necessity both nationalist and statist. The pan-national, pan-racial reach of modern radical Islam would seem to preclude this. Also, in true fascism one would expect to see religion subordinated to the state and not vice versa. The pope may have played along with Mussolini, but Mussolini called the shots.

Speaking of which, I tend to rely on Mussolini's (who of anyone, oughta know) definition of fascism as the union of state and corporate power.

One common element of fascism is its portrayal of a very clear us-versus-them battle for control of the world (with the side identified as "us" naturally representing all that is noble and good), and ironically enough, lumping Muslims into one monolothic grouping of "-fascists," given existing American associations with the atrocities of Nazism, serves well to demonize a rather large classification of people in exactly the sort of way one would expect from fascist demogoguery. So far, this tactic seems to have worked its magic very effectively on large portions of the American left, playing on their fears of radical Islamists in order to build support for, among other things, the Iraq war.

You are free to differ as to definitions, of course. But I do think it's worth noticing what causes this sort of rhetoric is being used to promote.

Posted by flamingbanjo | July 16, 2007 9:25 PM

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