Thursday, August 31, 2006

More on Bush's speech:

Bush says: (excerpts)
The war we fight today is more than a military conflict; it is the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century.

As veterans, you have seen this kind of enemy before. They are successors to fascists, to Nazis, to communists and other totalitarians of the 20th century. And history shows what the outcome will be.

The security of the civilized world depends on victory in the war on terror, and that depends on victory in Iraq.
So, if it's so important, why haven't we raised taxes, initiated rationing, or (as Slate's Fred Kaplan remarks) "reactivated the draft, printed war bonds, doubled the military budget"?

This whole Clash of Civilizations or whatever it's supposed to be, just seems out of tune with the underlying policy choices already made by Bush and the Republicans who control Congress. They've spent a lot of money, and wasted lives, but on the whole have avoided asking the broad public to sacrifice anything. So how important can it be?

And another thing. All this talk about the enemy being "successors to Fascists, to Nazis, to Communists, and other totalitarians of the 20th century" doesn't resonate well. The Fascists were, if anything, well organized. Snappy uniforms, lots of marching in orderly columns, Nuremberg Rallies, searchlights, out in public in a big way. But terrorist and insurgents are anything but that. Strictly on an image basis, they're scruffy, hiding in caves or bombed out buildings, dressed casually, and furtive.

Some commentators have said that Bush is firing up the base, and that may well be as far as this rhetoric goes. But it's pretty strange, none the less.

UPDATE: If you want to read more on this topic, check out CNN's "The new GOP buzzword, Fascism", which contains this:
Stephen J. Wayne, a professor of government at Georgetown University, suggested White House strategists "probably had a focus group and they found the word `fascist.'

"Most people are against fascists of whatever form. By definition, fascists are bad. If you're going to demonize, you might as well use the toughest words you can," Wayne said.
Is there no tougher word than "fascist"? The thesaurus doesn't offer much hope (for the word "fascist"). Further thesaurusing around didn't help much. The candidates for tougher words seemed limited to: Frankenstein, devil, hellish, venomous, and sinister (or has Bush already used these terms?).

So maybe "fascist" really is the last stop in political name-calling. Maybe it's a sign Bush is running out of rhetorical ammunition, and is, pardong the expression, "in the last throes" of attacking his opponents.


1. Raising taxes would shrink the economy. We want to grow the economy.

2. We haven't initiated rationing because there's nothing in such scarce supply that we need to ration it, again, because of our efficient, successful economy.

3. We haven't reactivated the draft because the national benefits of a highly motivated volunteer army far outweigh the costs of having large volumes of unwilling draftees. (for one thing there's no anti-draft movement, and hence, no anti-war movement.)

4. We haven't printed war bonds because the main reason for war bonds during WW2 was to remove cash from the economy. Millions of war factory workers had suddenly been hired, and were receiving paychecks, but there was not enough consumer goods for those workers to spend their paychecks on. Hence, issuing war bonds shrunk the money supply and prevented inflation. We have no such situation today.

5. You want us to double the military budget? I thought we were wasting money rampantly? You want to waste more? What should we be spending the money on?

6. Every killed and wounded soldier is a sacrifice by the broad public, in the form of lost family, friends and relatives. You seem to lament the fact that you aren't being asked to make stupid, ceremonial sacrifices. What does that have to do with winning the war?

7. The Nazis started out as a bunch of terrorist thugs in a beer hall. The Nuremberg Rallies came later, once they'd achieved a critical mass of national power. You're saying that they aren't dressed dangerously enough for your taste?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/01/2006 6:47 AM  

The nazis wore uniforms the moment they got reasonably organized, long before they took over. In the late 20ies some of the thugs were even thrown out of the party because they did not wear their party badges while beating people up on party orders.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/01/2006 9:34 AM  


By Blogger brainhell, at 9/01/2006 10:34 AM  

Give me a minute while I recover from laughing at Bush's Hitler and Stalin analogies.

If Commander Flight Suit and the chickenhawk Repugs who are AWOL from their very own WWIII, sitting at home at their keyboards... if they keep working hard at the propaganda, they may almost persuade those not paying much attention that their bogey-men are like another Ho-Chi Minh.

That they're cheering on another Vietnam War, that is.

By Anonymous deben, at 9/02/2006 1:05 PM  

They've spent a lot of money, and wasted lives, but on the whole have avoided asking the broad public to sacrifice anything.

Of course we're asked to sacrifice. We're asked to sacrifice that which makes us American - our rights under the Constitution - in the name of not being dead.

What cowards our leaders are.

By Blogger Dr. Squid, at 9/03/2006 10:36 AM  

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