Thursday, October 06, 2005

Bush on terrorism

I listened to Bush's speech at the National Endowment for Democracy on the War on Terror. I thought that while his description of the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan was much too rosy, he made some powerful points. I agree with his comparison of Islamofascism to communist and Nazi totalitarianism. I agree that appeasement and compromise are not the way to deal with this thread. However, one specific point Bush cited as evidence that Islamofascist terrorism is not driven primarily by the actions of Western countries was misleading:

The government of Russia did not support Operation Iraqi Freedom, and yet militants killed more than 180 Russian school children in Beslan.

True, of course, but radical Islamic terrorism in Russia is largely a reaction to the Russian government's brutal, not to say genocidal, occupation of Chechnya. I hasten to say that this is not an excuse or a justification for terrorism, or a call to "understand" the terrorists. Nothing justifies the deliberate murder of helpless civilians, be they children or adults. But the point is that Russia was not simply randomly targeted because the Islamic radicals seek to sow terror everywhere.

That said, I agree with Bush on this:

In fact, we're not facing a set of grievances that can be soothed and addressed. We're facing a radical ideology with unalterable objectives: to enslave whole nations and intimidate the world.
That's a valid and important point, and there's no need to bend the facts to prove it.

1 comment:

Dean said...

I agree with his comparison of Islamofascism to communist and Nazi totalitarianism.

There is a vitally important difference between so-called 'Islamofascism' (I don't like the term, as it is used almost exclusively by right wing Bushoids) and communist/Nazi totalitarianism, and that is the degree of power that they wield. Communist/Nazis would not have, could not have, caused the havoc that they did if they did not have state power to wield. The Islamic radicals who attacked the WTC did not and do not have that power, nor are they ever going to, even it they manage to come to power in some tiny, backward state.

The two are very, very different. Equating them trivializes the staggering human cost of the totalitarian movements of the 20th century that killed hundreds of millions of people and laid entire nations waste.

The comparison also exaggerates the threat that Al Quaeda poses, which is on the grand scale of things, trivial.