Thursday, August 17, 2006

Who is the most fascist like, al Qaeda or the Bush Administration?

The motivation for this article is very simple. George Bush has a new term for our terrorist enemies. The term takes the two forms of “Islamofascist” or "Islamic fascists.” In an effort to critically analysis the validity of these terms, I decided to determine just what a fascist is. I had seen this first article before and it immediately sounded like the Bush administration. It seemed to me the only fair thing to do was to compare the administration to al Qaeda and see just who the fascist is.

The following comes from
The 14 Characteristics of Fascism
by Lawrence Britt
Spring 2003
Free Inquiry magazine

Political scientist Dr. Lawrence Britt recently wrote an article about fascism ("Fascism Anyone?," Free Inquiry, Spring 2003, page 20). Studying the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia), and Pinochet (Chile), Dr. Britt found they all had 14 elements in common. He calls these the identifying characteristics of fascism. The excerpt is in accordance with the magazine's policy.

The 14 characteristics are:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottoes, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights
Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause
The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4. Supremacy of the Military
Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5. Rampant Sexism
The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy.

6. Controlled Mass Media
Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

7. Obsession with National Security
Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.
8. Religion and Government are Intertwined
Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.

9. Corporate Power is Protected
The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed
Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed .

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts
Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment
Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption
Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent Elections
Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

Copyright © 2003 Free Inquiry magazine
Reprinted for Fair Use Only.

The following is quoted from

By Maggie Gallagher

When the news broke that a gang of terrorists planned to blow up six airplanes, killing thousands of innocent passengers, President Bush took the opportunity for the first time to name our enemy "Islamic fascists." Sen. Rick Santorum R-Pa., among others, has been urging this strategic shift. Terrorism is only a tactic. Would we call World War II the "war on blitzkrieg"? By naming our enemy "Islamofascism," the president suggests our current war is the equivalent of our long, triumphant fights against Nazism and communism.

This made me wonder if I heard correctly. I have heard the term “fascist” many times. In most cases, it was used wrongly to describe almost any dictator. The two terms are NOT interchangeable. Stalin was a dictator but most definitely not a fascist. This “strategic shift” puts the billion and half followers of Islam in a very uncomfortable defensive position. If one were to apply this logic to the situation during WWII, then they would have been Christian fascists. I do not think all the world’s Christians should have been on the defensive because of the actions of Hitler, Mussolini, and Franco. Is this “strategic shift” just a strategy for the upcoming elections? Is it going to cause a dramatic shift in the way we fight the war?

The methodology for my comparison is simple. With each of the fourteen characteristics, I have given al Qaeda and the Bush Administration one of two point values, 0, or 1. Zero means there is little or no similarity. One means there is preponderance of similarities. Each time it will be expressed in the following form: (points this characteristic, running sub-total).

Comparing the adaptation of the 14 Characteristics of Fascism by al Qaeda and the Bus Administration:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
Al Qaeda (0, 0); Bush Administration (1, 1)
Al Qaeda is an organization without national identity. The Taliban would have scored much higher, but receiving support from the Taliban does mean that you are the Taliban. I am unaware of any patriotic paraphernalia used by al Qaeda.

The Bush Administration has constantly made use of patriotic paraphernalia. Mottoes like “Fight them there, so won’t have to fight them here.” The American flag is treated with religious fervor. The flag burning amendment is the prefect example of this.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights
Al Qaeda (1, 1); Bush Administration (1, 2)
Al Qaeda is an organization that cares little about innocent human life, the ultimate human right.

The Bush Administration has justified many of their violations of the rule of law by citing the need for security. I see nowhere in the Constitution where the guaranteed rights can be suspended because of security needs. The wiretapping that has occurred without warrants and the holding of detainees without charge are prime examples.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause
Al Qaeda (1, 2); Bush Administration (1, 3)
Al Qaeda is a terrorist organization that can only justify its actions by blaming its victims. They also do so by attacking their enemies for their own questionable actions.

The Bush Administration had the entire country unified on September 12, 2001. Muslim Americans were condemning the attacks just like any other American. Since then there has been a push for racial profiling. Our enemy is not dumb if racial profiling was put in place ways of circumventing it would be found. This administration has declared illegal immigrants from Mexico terrorists. This is just absurd. These are desperate people looking for a better way of life.

4. Supremacy of the Military
Al Qaeda (0, 2); Bush Administration (1, 4)
Al Qaeda is a terrorist organization that has no military structure. This is one the reasons that defeating them with military force is an impossible task.

The Bush Administration has ignored domestic issues to concentrate on the war in Iraq. They have made use of the military by equating support for the troops with support for war. Once the soldiers have completed their service and have returned to civilian life, they fall into the pit of being ignored by the government that used them.

5. Rampant Sexism
Al Qaeda (1, 3); Bush Administration (1, 5)
Al Qaeda treats women as mere possessions and chattel.

The Bush Administration gives lip service to women’s rights and turns around to condemn abortion. Enforcement of discrimination laws have virtually disappeared. Women in the administration are paraded out like the old Southern racists declaring some of his best friends were colored. This administration is highly homophobic.

6. Controlled Mass Media
Al Qaeda (0, 3); Bush Administration (1, 6)
Al Qaeda has no mass media to control. Their mode of operation depends on the secrecy that comes in operating in cells and in the shadows.

The Bush Administration will tell you that the media has a liberal bias. The facts of the situation are quite the opposite. Bias on radio runs very conservative with the number of conservative talk stations out numbering liberal stations by a factor of four or more. Bias in the print media runs at least 2 to 1 in a conservative bias. The bias on cable is even worse, when some network there tries to give a truly balanced report; the pundits are ready and willing to attack their liberalism. This has been done so often that impartial reporting is nearly non-existent.

7. Obsession with National Security
Al Qaeda (0, 3); Bush Administration (1, 7)
Al Qaeda has no nation to obsess about national security.

The Bush Administration are masters of fear. The raising of the terror alert status in order gain political advantage is just one example. This constant implication that the Democrats would be incapable protecting the country is another.

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined
Al Qaeda (1, 4); Bush Administration (1, 8)
I will concede al Qaeda this point even though they have no nation. Religious fundamentalism is their reason for existence.

The Bush Administration is in office thanks in large part to the pandering to fundamentalist Christians. Their office for Faith Based Initiatives is under staffed and severely under funded. God bless American is used for political purposes not out of heart felt meaning.

9. Corporate Power is Protected
Al Qaeda (0, 4); Bush Administration (1, 9)
Corporate power is the antithesis of al Qaeda. The attack on the WTC was an attack on corporate power.

The Bush Administration has essentially established a government of the corporations, for the corporations and by the corporations. The tax and spend policies of this administration benefits friends of the administration not the people of the country.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed
Al Qaeda (0, 4); Bush Administration (1, 10)
Al Qaeda gets a zero here because they are in a no position to effect labor either positively or negatively.

The Bush Administration has been very successful in keeping the working poor person poor. The middle class labor pool is shrinking away to become part of working poor. Those who make their money through the manipulation of money not through productive labor are the most successful. The administration has been very successful in defining unions as either liberal, socialist, or communist. The most successful union in the country is prison guards.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts
Al Qaeda (1, 5); Bush Administration (1, 11)
Al Qaeda gets a one here because the truth and reality that would come with education and the arts would destroy their operation.

The Bush Administration is anti-science. Bush himself has said the jury is still out on evolution and Intelligent Design. Funding for higher education is eroding instead of increasing. Educators who dare to speak out have been dismissed. The attitude expressed to the Arts is dismal. There is an emphasis on the negative minority in the Arts and no acknowledgement of the positive majority.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment
Al Qaeda (1, 6); Bush Administration (1, 12)
Al Qaeda gets a one here because their view of an eye for an eye without trial.

The Bush Administration has taken police power that is unconstitutional and illegal. Warrantless wiretapping and rendering are the top two examples. Condoning torture is another.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption
Al Qaeda (0, 6); Bush Administration (1, 13)
Al Qaeda gets a zero here because if they were to discover corruption among the ranks execution would be the least that would happen.

The Bush Administration has taken these two characteristics to new heights. “Heck of a job you’re doing Brownie,” ring a bell? Corruption in the form of no bid contracts in Iraq that are not completed and over billed. Many cases of the fox guarding the hen house. There is currently an attempt to retroactively exempt the administration from prosecution for wrongdoing as severe as war crimes.

14. Fraudulent Elections
Al Qaeda (0, 6); Bush Administration (1, 14)
Al Qaeda gets a zero here because if they do not participate in elections since their power is supposedly God given.

The Bush Administration is so good with smear campaigns that a new term has been coined, swiftboating. The current gerrymandering of districts may no matter what keep control of Congress in Republican hands. In 2000, there was unprecedented involvement by the Supreme Court that ended with Bush essentially being appointed President. In both the 2000 and 2004 elections highly reliable exit polls were inaccurate only when the polls showed Democratic victories then to have the vote count say the Republicans won.

Al Qaeda 6/14
Bush Administration 14/14

I am well aware that Bush apologists will attack my motivations rather than my analysis. All I am asking for the sake of the country is to look at each point with an open mind.

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