About that word "Islamofascism"
Don Surber has pointed out that recently--first on October 6, and then again yesterday--Bush has begun to use the word "Islamofascism" in his speeches to name the enemy.
I have a bit of history with that word myself, and so I have some advice for him.
I was reminded of this by accident the other day when I was looking in my old e-mail files and came across something I'd sent to a friend way back in the spring of '04. It was written during a time when I'd just "outed" myself at a party where a group had been speaking in glowing terms of none other than Michael Moore and "Fahrenheit 9/11."
After I had piped up and let them know I didn't consider MM and his movie to be the repository of truth, a stunned and shocked silence ensued, and then a variety of reactions followed. Some people were angry and argumentative, some quiet. But one or two of my friends came up to me afterwards and said they wouldn't mind if I e-mailed them some more information, and maybe some links.
In the end, though, it didn't work out too well--both of them asked me to cease and desist after a month or two. One of them took great umbrage in particular at my use of the term "Islamofascism" in one of my e-mails. She wrote to me asking whether I would ever use the terms "Christianofascism" or "Judeofascism," and why I didn't condemn skinheads as well as Islamofascists.
So, if Bush runs into the same sort of trouble with the word that I did, perhaps he'd like to take a look at my answer to my friend:
The word doesn't mean "Islam" and it doesn't mean "Moslems." It's simply a shorthand expression to signify "the current crop of people who quote the Moslem religion to justify terrorism and other types of violence and who purposely target innocents such as women, children, and other bystanders with the goal of being a minority who rule over the vast majority of peace-loving people (including the vast majority of Moslems) who would prefer nothing better than to be left alone to live their own lives in peace; and who have a declared agenda to take over the rule of all Moslem countries and the rest of the world, imposing a very strict, repressive, intolerant, illiberal, anti-woman regime on all of mankind." Think Taliban, ruling the world--that's the goal.
That's quite a mouthful, I know, so I use the term "Islamofascist" to cover it. Why "fascist?" Well, the connection to "fascist" is that it is a totalitarian and tyrannical group seeking power over a wide area of the globe, and these people don't care what they do to get it--it's no-holds-barred. The particular group I'm speaking about does this in the name of Islam, but if in fact there were some Buddhists, Christians, Jews, or any other sect with such an agenda in the name of their religion, I would call them "whatever-fascists," also (as I call Nazis fascists; but they were secular fascists). White supremacist fascists (I assume that's what you mean by "skinheads?") are to be condemned also, of course, and in no uncertain terms--but right now they don't seem to have purposely and premeditatedly blown 3,000 people to kingdom come and are not threatening to do it again and again, so my primary concern is with the people who have done just that.
By the way, another reason I use the term "fascist" to refer to the current crop of terrorists and their followers and sympathizers is that, historically speaking, they are actually the direct heirs of the Nazis. I don't mean that in the metaphorical sense--although I do mean that, as well--I mean it in an actual sense. The Arab countries in general were allies of the Nazis in WWII and were, unfortunately, fed vast reams of Nazi propaganda, which, just as unfortunately, took root. Skinheads or neo-Nazis are unusual in the US, although of course they exist---but admiration of Nazis and their agenda became almost mainstream in the 30s in the Arab world as a direct result of Nazi influence, propaganda, and involvement there, and it has not gone away.
Reasonable minds may differ on what is to be done. I'm only writing about what my own study has led me to believe, and of course it's possible I'm wrong. Perhaps we don't disagree as much as you might think, because I, too, would love for the young men of that area, as you write, "to change their minds before they are poisoned." That is actually what the whole idea of liberating Iraq was about--and you may laugh, or think I'm wildly naive to still use the word "liberated"--but I mean what I say. The Iraqi bloggers whom I've been reading are trying to do just that: change minds before they are irrevocably poisoned. They are the ones who have given me hope that a liberation is slowly but surely happening there, in a way that they say was utterly impossible before the war, and in a way that our media has hardly ever written about (and in a way that won't be possible if we don't stay the course until things are more stable there).
Well, now that I look at it, it may be a tad long and convoluted to put in a speech. But I did get a good response from my friend, who seemed to understand when I put it that way. And we're still friends, although I stopped sending her anything political.