Throughout this summer I've been reading various debates on the blogosphere, various magazines, and foreign policy journals about whether or not "Islamic fascism" is an apt description of the enemy that we face in our War on Terror. Now while a lot of people within the various foreign policy circles seem to scoff at such a term and label it as being junior league, I think they're failing to take a deeper look at the bigger picture and realize that maybe "Islamic fascism" is a good term which sums up the individuals who afflict the Muslim world with death and chaos and preach death to the West. Thankfully the multi-talented historian Victor Davis Hanson has written a wonderful article over at National Review Online which lays out a good outline of the true metaphysics of radical Islam and how its modeled around the deadly and expansive ideology that reared its ugly head during the 1930's and 1940's. If you're looking for a great description of what we face then I recommend you read the whole piece but in the meantime here's a sample:
Third, while there is generic fascism, its variants naturally weave preexisting threads familiar to a culture at large. Hitler's brand cribbed together notions of German will, Aryanism, and the cult of the Ubermensch from Hegel, Nietzsche, and Spengler, with ample Nordic folk romance found from Wagner to Tacitus's Germania. Japanese militarism's racist creed, fanaticism, and sense of historical destiny were a motley synthesis of Bushido, Zen and Shinto Buddhism, emperor worship, and past samurai legends. Mussolini's fasces, and the idea of an indomitable Caesarian Duce (or Roman Dux), were a pathetic attempt to resurrect imperial Rome. So too Islamic fascism draws on the Koran, the career of Saladin, and the tracts of Nasserites, Baathists, and Muslim Brotherhood pamphleteers.Hopefully VDH's wonderful piece will give you greater insight of our enemy.
Fourth, just as it was idle in the middle of World War II to speculate how many Germans, Japanese, or Italians really accepted the silly hatred of Hitler, Mussolini, or Tojo, so too it is a vain enterprise to worry over how many Muslims follow or support al Qaeda, or, in contrast, how many in the Middle East actively resist Islamists.
Most people have no ideology, but simply accommodate themselves to the prevailing sense of an agenda's success or failure. Just as there weren't more than a dozen vocal critics of Hitler after the Wehrmacht finished off France in six weeks in June of 1940, so too there wasn't a Nazi to be found in June 1945 when Berlin lay in rubble.
It doesn't matter whether Middle Easterners actually accept the tenets of bin Laden's worldview — not if they think he is on the ascendancy, can bring them a sense of restored pride, and humiliate the Jews and the West on the cheap. Bin Laden is no more eccentric or impotent than Hitler was in the late 1920s. Yet if he can claim that his martyrs forced the United States out of Afghanistan and Iraq, toppled a petrol sheikdom or two, and acquired its wealth and influence — or if he got his hands on nuclear weapons and lorded it over appeasing Westerners — then he too, like the Fuhrer in the 1930s, will become untouchable. The same is true of IranÂs president Ahmadinejad.