Here we go again. Fox News has the following to say about their upcoming “documentary,” Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West, to air this weekend (strategically just before the mid-term elections, if that escaped your notice):
We see in “Obsession” how closely the Hitler youth bear resemblance to the young Islamic fundamentalists training with Hezbollah, Hamas and other terrorist groups. Of course, Nazi Germany did not train children in the use of suicide belts, as the Islamic fascists do. But manipulating the pliant minds of youth toward fanatical hatred employs the same techniques.
The film contradicts those who say that Muslim extremism is prompted by our actions in the Middle East, pointing out that anti-Western propaganda, school curricula and other indoctrination of Islamic youth has been going on for quite some time. Like Nazi Germany, with whom radical Islamists had a deep affinity before and during World War II, the first step of indoctrination is to dehumanize Jews and Christians by comparing them with pigs and dogs. What we too easily dismiss as infantile stereotypes, particularly regarding the Jews and their supposed domination of America, can sink in if repeated often enough.
Again, the film contends that it’s our own sophistication, and our naïve belief that we’re too likable to be hated, that plays into the enemy’s hand. Muslim extremists often say one thing to the Western media and a very different thing to their own followers. (In one segment, a Muslim condemns 9/11 publicly and then praises the “Magnificent 19” at a 9/11 anniversary “party.”) Our vision is often blinded by our own political correctness, which is used by extremists to their advantage. Instead of focusing on their deceptions and their ultimate intent on our destruction, we obsess on question like “Why do they hate us.”
Unlike our confrontation with Nazi Germany, the current crisis may be worse for two reasons: First, Adolph Hitler, for all his charisma, did not rely on the power of pure religious faith to compel his followers. Islamic fascism is more similar to the fascists in Imperial Japan, who fortified their political positions with the compulsion of a leader who was deemed by loyalists to be a god. Second, this war has no defined national barriers. In fact, the 9/11 hijackers relied on the services and training facilities of the U.S. to become expert in their deadly arts.
Thus, it may well be that today’s fascists are a far greater threat to the free world than the fascists of yesteryear. But there is still time to prevent them from gaining any more ground, if we begin to take the threat more seriously.
Blah blah blah. Especially annoying is the absurd contention that because Islamists have been indoctrinating their children “for quite some time,” then Islamist extremism is not “prompted by our actions in the Middle East.” A perfect non-sequitor. As we apparently must repeat for the third time now:
There were “foreign policy grievances” galore in September 2001. The two al-Qaeda communiques in the immediate aftermath of the attacks (Oct. 7, 2001, Oct. 9, 2001) both invoked the US troop presence in Saudi Arabia, the Iraq sanctions and Washington’s support of Israel. Just because the US has made the situation much worse in the intervening years doesn’t mean that there were no “foreign policy grievances” behind 9-11! And however criminal al-Qaeda’s tactics and however totalitarian its ideology, these grievances are legitimate—a reality we ignore to our own peril.
More to the point, how does the (questionable) assertion that Hitler “did not rely on the power of pure religious faith” make him any the less dangerous? The history of fascism just shows that nationalism can be just as dangerous a force as religion. Which should make Fox News question their uncritical invocation of an “us” that “they” want to kill. The problematic concept of Islamo-fascism almost necessarily implies an insidious revisionism of the history of actual fascism. And would Fox invoke this distinction of lack of religious inspiration to argue that Stalin or Pol Pot were any less dangerous? We think not.