August 30, 2006

Stirring Up A Fascist Mob

"Fascism" is a sorely abused word. When parents ground their teenage kids, they are called Fascists. The shop-owner who won't sell cigarettes to minors is called a Fascist. When the local council imposes water restrictions in a drought, they are called Fascists too.

Today, Donald Rumsfeld went even further, talking about a “New Type Of Fascism”:
In some unusually blunt terms, Rumsfeld says the administration's detractors suffer from "moral and intellectual confusion" about global security threats and he says they lack the courage to fight back.

In remarks prepared for a speech to an American Legion convention, Rumsfeld recalls the failed efforts to appease Adolf Hitler's regime in the 1930s and says the US today faces "the same kind of challenges."
He quoted Winston Churchill as observing that trying to accommodate Hitler was "a bit like feeding a crocodile, hoping it would eat you last."
"I recount this history because once again we face similar challenges in efforts to confront the rising threat of a new type of fascism," he said.

"Can we truly afford to believe that somehow, some way, vicious extremists can be appeased?" he asked.

"Can we truly afford to return to the destructive view that America _ not the enemy _ is the real source of the world's troubles?"
And how's this for balance:
Rumsfeld recalled a string of recent terrorist attacks, from 9/11 to deadly bombings in Bali, London and Madrid, and said it should be obvious to anyone that terrorists must be confronted, not appeased.

"But some seem not to have learned history's lessons," he said, adding that part of the problem is that the American news media have tended to emphasize the negative rather than the positive.

He said, for example, that more media attention was given to U.S. soldiers' abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib than to the fact that Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith received the Medal of Honor...

"Those who know the truth need to speak out against these kinds of myths and lies and distortions being told about our troops and about our country," he said.
What do you say to such mob-rallying nonsense? Matt Yglesias has a few words:
Rumsfeld is a buffoon. A punchline. A well-known liar. He and his bosses -- Bush and Cheney -- are running around the country trying to cite the failures of their own policies as a reason to entrust them with additional authority in order to continue and intensify those same failings. We're witnessing the bitter, bitter fruits of the Iraq War. Other nations learned that they must seek nuclear weapons as soon as possible to safeguard themselves from a newly trigger happy United States of America. Muslim opinion was sharply polarized against us. Iran and Syria were told that their cooperation against al-Qaeda was no longer needed because their governowpments would topple soon enough. A power vacuum was left on the streets of Baghdad that parties aligned with Iran have rushed to fill. The Arab-Israeli conflict was sidelined as something that would magically resolve itself once Saddam Hussein was out of the way. And America's allies were taught that our government was not to be relied upon -- that we operated with bad intelligence and initiated wars of choice without any real plans or ideas about how to cope with the aftermath.

That's how we got here. By listening to Bush. By listening to Cheney. By listening to Rumsfeld. The idea that we should keep on listening to them is absurd.
UPDATE: Stephen Elliott at HuffPo:
It's exactly this kind of absurd dishonesty from Rumsfeld that makes the war in Iraq so hopeless. We can't possibly change course in that failed endeavor without first changing our Secretary of Defense. All other approaches are worthless minus that first major step.
More quotes via WaPo:
What bothers me the most is how clever the enemy is... They are actively manipulating the media in this country... They can lie with impunity... The enemy lies constantly - almost totally without penalty... The enemy is so much better at communicating... I wish we were better at countering that because the constant drumbeat of things they say - all of which are not true - is harmful. It's cumulative. And it does weaken people's will and lessen their determination, and raise questions in their minds as to whether the cost is worth it.


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