Thursday, October 06, 2005

Bush's War on Terror™ or the Radical Right?

Today Bush gave a "major policy" speech in which he again cried wolf. Loudly. With sinking poll numbers, and Republican leaders being indicted left and right, he needed to remind us all that, yes Virginia, Iraq is central to the "War on Terror™." But listening to the speech, I was stunned at the amount of transference Bush put on to "Islamic extremists" that quite literally applied to his administration, and the Radical Right in general.

Allow me to illustrate my point:
In this new century, freedom is once again assaulted by enemies determined to roll back generations of democratic progress. Once again, we're responding to a global campaign of fear with a global campaign of freedom. And once again, we will see freedom's victory.

Last I heard, the Bush administration wanted to "reform" Social Security by essentially gutting it, cut funding for social programs like Head Start, lower the taxes on the ultra rich, reduce the rights of Americans with the USA PATRIOT Act, and many more I can't remember. Sounds like a roll back of generations of democratic progress to me. To do this, both Bush, his administration and the Republicans have waged a campaign of fear with a global campaign of war.


But allow me to continue, as I paraphrase our fearless leader:
Some call this evil Islamic radicalism; others, militant Jihadism; still others, Islamo-fascism. Whatever it's called, this ideology is very different from the religion of Islam. This form of radicalism exploits Islam to serve a violent, political vision: the establishment, by terrorism and subversion and insurgency, of a totalitarian empire that denies all political and religious freedom. These extremists distort the idea of jihad into a call for terrorist murder against Christians and Jews and Hindus -- and also against Muslims from other traditions, who they regard as heretics.

Some call this movement the Religious Right; others, Conservatism; still others Christian Fundamentalism. Whatever it's called, this ideology is very different from the religion of Christianity. This form of radicalism exploits Christianity to serve a power hungry political vision: the establishment, by fear and subversion and manipulation, of a fundamentalist state that denies civil rights and hard fought freedoms. These extremists distort the idea of Christian patriotism into a call for retribution against Democrats, Moderates and Liberals -- and also against anyone who dissents, which they regard as traitorous.

We know the vision of the radicals because they've openly stated it -- in videos, and audiotapes, and letters, and declarations, and websites. First, these extremists want to end American and Western influence in the broader Middle East, because we stand for democracy and peace, and stand in the way of their ambitions. Al Qaeda's leader, Osama bin Laden, has called on Muslims to dedicate, quote, their "resources, sons and money to driving the infidels out of their lands." Their tactic to meet this goal has been consistent for a quarter-century: They hit us, and expect us to run. They want us to repeat the sad history of Beirut in 1983, and Mogadishu in 1993 -- only this time on a larger scale, with greater consequences.

We know the vision of radical conservatives because they've openly stated it -- from the Project for a New American Century to the Texas Republican Party Platform. First, these extremist want to end the New Deal, because it promotes the poor and middle class democratically which stands in the way of their ambitions. Their tactic to meet this goal has been consistent for a quarter-century: They cut taxes on the wealthy and run up federal deficits. They want to repeat the sad history of Viet Nam and the recessions of the 1980's -- only this time on a larger scale, with greater consequences.

Second, the militant network wants to use the vacuum created by an American retreat to gain control of a country, a base from which to launch attacks and conduct their war against non-radical Muslim governments. Over the past few decades, radicals have specifically targeted Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan, and Jordan for potential takeover. They achieved their goal, for a time, in Afghanistan. Now they've set their sights on Iraq.

The Radical Right's militant network wants to use the hysteria created by trumped up American fear and patriotism to gain control of the US government, a base from which to solidify their agenda and conduct their war against moderates and liberals. Over the past few decades, the radical Right have specifically targeted political races for potential takeover. They achieved their goal in the House, the Senate and the Executive branches. Now they've set their sights on the Judicial branch.

Defeating the militant network is difficult, because it thrives, like a parasite, on the suffering and frustration of others. The radicals exploit local conflicts to build a culture of victimization, in which someone else is always to blame and violence is always the solution.

Defeating the Radical Right is difficult, because it thrives, like a parasite, on the fears and frustrating of others. The Right exploits racial and economic tensions to build a culture of corruption, in which someone else is always to blame, and 9-11 is always the justification.

The influence of Islamic radicalism is also magnified by helpers and enablers. They have been sheltered by authoritarian regimes, allies of convenience like Syria and Iran, that share the goal of hurting America and moderate Muslim governments, and use terrorist propaganda to blame their own failures on the West and America, and on the Jews. These radicals depend on front operations, such as corrupted charities, which direct money to terrorist activity. They're strengthened by those who aggressively fund the spread of radical, intolerant versions of Islam in unstable parts of the world. The militants are aided, as well, by elements of the Arab news media that incite hatred and anti-Semitism, that feed conspiracy theories and speak of a so-called American "war on Islam" -- with seldom a word about American action to protect Muslims in Afghanistan, and Bosnia, Somalia, Kosovo, Kuwait, and Iraq.

The influence of radical conservatism is also magnified by helpers and enablers. They have been sheltered by Republican administrations, and use paid political propaganda to blame their own failures on liberals and Democrats. These radicals depend on front operations, such as the Washington Times, Fox News, and corrupted charities, which launder money for political activity. They're strengthened by those who aggressively fund conservative think tanks. The conservatives are aided, as well, by elements of the Main Stream Media that incite hatred and ignorance, that feed conspiracy theories and speak of a so-called "Liberal" or "Gay" agenda -- with seldom a credible source or grounding in reality.

Some have also argued that extremism has been strengthened by the actions of our coalition in Iraq, claiming that our presence in that country has somehow caused or triggered the rage of radicals. I would remind them that we were not in Iraq on September the 11th, 2001 -- and al Qaeda attacked us anyway. The hatred of the radicals existed before Iraq was an issue, and it will exist after Iraq is no longer an excuse.

Conservatives argue that America has been strengthened by Bush's invasion of Iraq, claiming that our presence there has made us safer. I would remind them that there were no terrorists in Iraq on September the 11th, 2001 -- and although al Qaeda had no ties there, Bush invaded anyway. The hatred of conservatives existed before Iraq was an issue, and will exist after 9-11 is no longer an excuse.

Like the ideology of communism, Islamic radicalism is elitist, led by a self-appointed vanguard that presumes to speak for the Muslim masses. Bin Laden says his own role is to tell Muslims, quote, "what is good for them and what is not." And what this man who grew up in wealth and privilege considers good for poor Muslims is that they become killers and suicide bombers. He assures them that his -- that this is the road to paradise -- though he never offers to go along for the ride.

Like the ideology of communism, radical conservatism is elitist, led by a corrupt leadership that presumes to speak for American morals and values. Bush always says he is the "Commander in Chief." And what this man who grew up in wealth and privilege considers good for poor Americans is that they become soldiers in his War on Terror™. He assures us their deaths make America safer -- though when given the chance to serve didn't go along for the ride.

Like the ideology of communism, our new enemy teaches that innocent individuals can be sacrificed to serve a political vision. And this explains their cold-blooded contempt for human life. We've seen it in the murders of Daniel Pearl, Nicholas Berg, and Margaret Hassan, and many others. In a courtroom in the Netherlands, the killer of Theo Van Gogh turned to the victim's grieving mother and said, "I do not feel your pain -- because I believe you are an infidel." And in spite of this veneer of religious rhetoric, most of the victims claimed by the militants are fellow Muslims.

Like the ideology of communism, the Radical Right teaches that innocent Americans can be sacrificed to serve their political agenda. This exemplifies their cold-blooded contempt for human life. We've seen it in the deaths of nearly 2,000 of our troups and tens of thousands of innocent civilians in Iraq, their lack of response to victems of hurricane Katrina, and their lack of interest in genocide or AIDS in Africa. In spite of their religious veneer, most of the victims affected by conservative policies are the poor and middle class.

Like the ideology of communism, our new enemy pursues totalitarian aims. Its leaders pretend to be an aggrieved party, representing the powerless against imperial enemies. In truth they have endless ambitions of imperial domination, and they wish to make everyone powerless except themselves. Under their rule, they have banned books, and desecrated historical monuments, and brutalized women. They seek to end dissent in every form, and to control every aspect of life, and to rule the soul, itself. While promising a future of justice and holiness, the terrorists are preparing for a future of oppression and misery.

Like the ideology of communism, the Radical Right, pursues totalitarian aims. Its leaders pretend to be an aggrieved party, representing the average working American. In truth they have endless ambitions, controll of Congress, and wish to hold everyone accountable everyone except themselves. Under their rule, they have increased the deficit, poverty, abortions, unemployment, reduced workers rights, eased corporate oversight, gutted environmental laws and chipped away at women's rights. They seek to end dissent in every form, and to control every aspect of a women's body, and to rule morality itself. While promising a future of morality and safety, they are creating a future of bankruptcy and fear.

In listening to this speech, I wonder if Bush understood just how much he was describing his own fundamentalist base.