Friday, February 17, 2017

Brief Remarks on the Meaning and Usage of Fascism

In a recent video that addresses some claims about "fascism," its creator addresses several myths that persist about it; I offer some points of clarification on her creation.

National-Socialism and Italian Fascism (capital 'F') are both variants of fascism (lower case 'f'). It is a mistake to identify "fascism" strictly, or primarily, with Italian Fascism, in the same way that Marxists would argue that Communism should not necessarily be identified solely, or even primarily, with Bolshevism. This, despite the fact that the Bolshevik Revolution gave the world the first Communist state and inspired most, if not all, subsequent Communist movements. By the same token, Mussolini's Italy was the first fascist state, but many of the qualities mentioned are expressions of Italian Fascism, not fascism in general.

The video argues that fascism is a "top down" political worldview, and that it idolizes and enshrines "the State." This is certainly true for Italian Fascism, in theory; if you look at "The Doctrine of Fascism," which is the work of Giovanni Gentile and Benito Mussolini, together, and not just the latter alone, you see this emphasis on "the State." And the reason for this is that Gentile was a trained Hegelian philosopher, and Hegel emphasizes the State as the ultimate end of all human action and ultimate justification for human existence.[1]

However, even within "The Doctrine of Fascism," you notice some modest distinctions in the points that Gentile makes and the way he argues them, in the Part I he contributed, and the points that Mussolini makes and argues in Part II. Mussolini focuses a lot of attention, early on, on the concrete historical and social contexts of the Italian Fascist Party's emergence and its subsequent seizure of power. He does mention and discuss the State, but he seems more interested, at least initially, in grounding the organic basis of his movement.

I suggest that the subtlety of this differences arises from the otherwise obscured fact that Italian Fascism, in practice if not in theory, is really "bottom up." It is an organic, grassroots movement, like fascism that exists anywhere (and not just as an abstraction) and is driven by concrete action. Fascism, for Mussolini, derived its legitimacy from mass, social action, from the Italian proletariat, the middle classes, and other popular bases of support, and not just from any prior objectification of "the State," as seems to be the case in theory.

Sir Oswald Mosley of the British Union of Fascists did not give the same emphasis to "the State" that one sees in Gentile and Mussolini's "Doctrine of Fascism," in part because Sir Mosley did not come from the same Hegelian tradition that grounded Gentile. When Sir Mosley does mention "the State," it is not with the same philosophical implication. His aim was to secure the British people and conserve their Empire and to use its resources both to enrich and enliven the British people. Sir Mosley also sought to use his movement to deflect Britain's path toward war with Germany, and all unnecessary foreign entanglement.

For example, in his Belle Vue speech, Sir Oswald Mosley emphasizes the nation, and not the State: "Fascism, above all, rests upon teamwork. The ability to pull together. The power to subordinate every faction, interest, or individual, to the nation as a whole."

Other fascist movements in Europe also laid claim to what were inevitably local issues and distinctive national questions, and in most cases there was no theoretical priority given to "the State" as there was in "The Doctrine of Fascism." It is also useful to note that "The Doctrine of Fascism" was not published until 1933, over a decade after Mussolini seized power in Italy. The "Doctrine" was truly theory that followed practice, and Gentile seized on the prospect given him by Mussolini to stress Hegelian elements of what was otherwise an organic movement grounded in the working class and other grassroots determinants.

It is true that Mussolini did not emphasize race, but it is untrue that he began doing so due to German pressure to deport Jews to camps. Mussolini's racial policies were enacted in the year, 1938, when he denied membership to Jews in the Italian Fascist Party that had been open to them previously. This was before World War II and a full year or two before Jews were put into camps. Also, the adoption of racial policies by the Italian Fascist Party was not due to dependency on Germany; it was a voluntary adoption of policies by Italy.[2]

By contrast, Sir Mosley and the British Union of Fascists insisted that only native and ethnic Britons could be members of his future, hypothetical fascist government. While Sir Mosley rejected racial persecution of any existing minority in Britain, nonetheless, he rejected any non-European immigration to Britain. Even still, he did not amplify ethnic policy, nor take it to the degree that Hitler had taken it in the NSDAP. Sir Mosley rejected policies that might do any harm to British ethnic interests, but he stopped short of policies that people might term overtly racial. This is reflected in his speeches as well as several of his writings.

Mosleyite fascism, Italian Fascism, and German National-Socialism are variants of fascism, because each of them express comparable aims: an authoritarian recovery of life and of a given society in its depths, their elevation of community interests over the interests of their members, promotion of mass action and a popular voluntarism, their mutual advocacy of a populist youth movement to energize mass support, and their effort to curtail what today is often called "free speech" in the interests of the whole nation. Their distinctive views are all unique expressions of fascism, and none are its primary historical representative.

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[1] Alfredo Rocco's "The Political Doctrine of Fascism," which Mussolini personally praised, also reflects this uniquely Italian Fascist emphasis on Hegel's view of the State.
[2] In 1935, Italy invaded the African country of Abyssinia. Britain, France, and the West all protested and imposed economic sanctions on Italy. This alienated Mussolini, who had only recently tried to get Britain and France to act to check Germany's growing strength on the Continent. After the Italian invasion of Abyssinia, Hitler's Germany, alone, did not criticize Italy, and indeed continued to seek Italian friendship. This was an important event for Italy, and Mussolini's government, which voluntarily shifted closer to Germany. One expression of this was the shift in Italian Fascist policy on race. From 1938, Jews were prohibited from being members of the Italian Fascist party, and race was formally emphasized.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Ecofascist Response: "Humanflood," by Pentti Linkola

The following was translated by Harri Heinonen and Michael Moynihan. The original article, as well as the introduction written by Michael Moynihan, may be found here. There are two other articles that trace the outline of ecofascism from a mainstream and a leftist perspective: Derek Wall's "Darker Shades of Green" and David Orton's "Ecofascism."

Pentti Linkola (1932-), Finnish ecologist.

What is man? "Oh, what art thou man?" the poets of the good old days used to wonder. Man may be defined in an arbitrary number of ways, but to convey his most fundamental characteristic, he could be described with two words: too much. I'm too much, you're too much. There's five billion of us - an absurd, astonishing number, and still increasing? The earth's biosphere could possibly support a population of five million large mammals of this size, given their food requirements and the offal they produce, in order that they might exist in their own ecological niche, living as one species among many, without discriminating against the richness of other forms of life.

What meaning is there in these masses, what use do they have? What essential new contribution is brought forth to the world by hundreds of human societies similar to one other, or by the hundreds of identical communities existing within these societies? What sense is there in the fact that every small Finnish town has the same choice of workshops and stores, a similar men's choir and a similar municipal theatre, all clogging up the earth's surface with their foundations and asphalt slabs? Would it be any loss to the biosphere - or to humanity itself - if the area of ??nekoski no longer existed, and instead in its place was an unregulated and diverse mosaic of natural landscape, containing thousands of species and tilting slopes of gnarled, primitive trees mirrored in the shimmering surface of Kuhmoj?rvi lake? Or would it really be a loss if a small bundle of towns disappeared from the map - Ylivieska, Kuusamo, lahti, Duisburg, Jefremov, Gloucester - and wilderness replaced them? How about Belgium?

What use do we have with Ylivieska? The question is not ingenious, but it's relevant. And the only answer isn't that, perhaps, there is no use for these places - but rather that the people in Ylivieska town have a reason: they live there. I'm not just talking about the suffocation of life due to the population explosion, or that life and the earth's respiratory rhythm cry out for the productive, metabolic green oases they sorely need everywhere, between the areas razed by man. I also mean that humanity, by squirting and birthing all these teeming, filth-producing multitudes from out of itself, in the process also suffocates and defames its own culture - one in which individuals and communities have to spasmodically search for the "meaning of life" and create an identity for themselves through petty childish arguing.

I spent a summer once touring Poland by bicycle. It is a lovely country, one where small Catholic children, cute as buttons, almost entirely dressed in silk, turn up around every corner. I read from a travel brochure that in Poland the percentage of people who perished in the Second World War is larger than in any other country - about six million, if my memory doesn't fail me. From another part of the brochure I calculated that since the end of the war, population growth has compensated for the loss threefold in forty years? On my next trip after that, I went through the most bombed-out city in the world, Dresden. It was terrifying in its ugliness and filth, overstuffed to the point of suffocation - a smoke-filled, polluting nest where the first spontaneous impression was that another vaccination from the sky wouldn't do any harm. Who misses all those who died in the Second World War? Who misses the twenty million executed by Stalin? Who misses Hitler's six million Jews? Israel creaks with overcrowdedness; in Asia minor, overpopulation creates struggles for mere square meters of dirt. The cities throughout the world were rebuilt and filled to the brim with people long ago, their churches and monuments restored so that acid rain would have something to eat through. Who misses the unused procreation potential of those killed in the Second World War? Is the world lacking another hundred million people at the moment? Is there a shortage of books, songs, movies, porcelain dogs, vases? Are one billion embodiments of motherly love and one billion sweet silver-haired grandmothers not enough?

All species have an oversized capacity for reproduction, otherwise they would become extinct in times of crisis due to variations of circumstances. In the end it's always hunger that enforces a limit on the size of a population. A great many species have self-regulating birth control mechanisms which prevent them from constantly falling into crisis situations and suffering from hunger. In the case of man, however, such mechanisms - when found at all - are only weak and ineffective: for example, the small-scale infanticide practiced in primitive cultures. Throughout its evolutionary development, humankind has defied and outdistanced the hunger line. Man has been a conspicuously extravagant breeder, and decidedly animal-like. Mankind produces especially large litters both in cramped, distressed conditions, as well as among very prosperous segments of the population. Humans reproduce abundantly in the times of peace and particularly abundantly in the aftermath of a war, owing to a peculiar decree of nature.

It may be said that man's defensive methods are powerless against hunger controlling his population growth, but his offensive methods for pushing the hunger line out of the way of the swelling population are enormously eminent. Man is extremely expansive - fundamentally so, as a species.

In the history of mankind we witness Nature's desperate struggle against an error of her own evolution. An old and previously efficacious method of curtailment, hunger, began to increasingly lose its effectiveness as man's engineering abilities progressed. Man had wrenched himself loose from his niche and started to grab more and more resources, displacing other forms of life. Then Nature took stock of the situation, found out that she had lost the first round, and changed strategy. She brandished a weapon she hadn't been able to employ when the enemy had been scattered in numbers, but one which was all the more effective now against the densely proliferating enemy troops. With the aid of microbes - or "infectious diseases" as man calls them, in the parlance of his war propaganda - Nature fought stubbornly for two thousand years against mankind and achieved many brilliant victories. But these triumphs remained localised, and more and more ineluctably took on the flavour of rear-guard actions. Nature wasn't capable of destroying the echelon of humanity in which scientists and researchers toiled away, and in the meantime they managed to disarm Nature of her arsenal.

At this point, Nature - no longer possessed of the weapons for attaining victory, yet utterly embittered and still retaining her sense of self-esteem - decided to concede a Pyrrhic victory to man, but only in the most absolute sense of the term. During the entire war, Nature had maintained her peculiar connection to the enemy: they had both shared the same supply sources, they drank from the same springs and ate from the same fields. Regardless of the course of the war, a permanent position of constraint prevailed at this point; for just as much as the enemy had not succeeded in conquering the supply targets for himself, Nature likewise did not possess the capability to take these same targets out of the clutches of humanity. The only option left was the scorched earth policy, which Nature had already tested on a small scale during the microbe-phase of the war, and which she decided to carry through to the bitter end. Nature did not submit to defeat - she called it a draw, but at the price of self-immolation. Man wasn't, after all, an external, autonomous enemy, but rather her very own tumour. And the fate of a tumour ordains that it must always die along with its host.

In the case of man - who sits atop the food chain, yet nevertheless ominously lacks the ability to sufficiently restrain his own population growth - it might appear that salvation would lie in the propensity for killing his fellow man. The characteristically human institution of war, with its wholesale massacre of fellow humanoids, would seem to contain a basis for desirable population control - that is, if it hadn't been portentously thwarted, since there is no human culture where young females take part in war. Thus, even a large decrease in population as a result of war affects only males, and lasts only a very short time in a given generation. The very next generation is up to strength, and by the natural law of the "baby boom" even becomes oversized, as the females are fertilised through the resilience of just a very small number of males. In reality, the evolution of war, while erratic, has actually been even more negative: in the early stages of its development there were more wars of a type that swept away a moderate amount of civilians as well. But by a twist of man's tragicomic fate, at the very point when the institution of war appeared capable of taking out truly significant shares of fertile females - as was intimated by the bombings of civilians in the Second World War - military technology advanced in such a way that large-scale wars, those with the ability to make substantial demographic impact, became impossible.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

In Defense of Saddam Hussein and His Regime

"The enemies forced strangers into our sea"
- Saddam Hussein, from his last poem
Saddam Hussein, his regime, and the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq have returned to public discourse. The Chilcot report, recent praise of Saddam Hussein, and the continued terrorist attacks in Europe and the West are all integral to it. US Neoconservatives and leftists are finding common cause in this exchange. In the process, lies and distortions about Saddam Hussein and his regime are reappearing; I disentangle some of these claims.

Saddam Hussein (1937-2006) was already an influential political figure in Iraq from the 1968 coup that brought the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party to power. He remained a decisive force in Iraqi politics through 1979, when he became President of Iraq. In 1990, after diplomacy with Kuwait failed, Iraq invaded Kuwait but was ejected by the US. In 2003, a US-led invasion deposed Saddam Hussein; following a mock trial, he was executed in late 2006.

Recent praise of Saddam Hussein, for suppressing terrorists and keeping his nation unified, has led to articles by Neoconservatives and liberals trying to deflect that praise. Meanwhile, the Chilcot Iraq war inquiry was made public in July 2016. Though most readily exploited by the left, its integral and crucial details and points are also relevant to nationalists.

Many articles criticizing praise for Saddam Hussein do so by pointing out that Iraq had been placed on the US list of "State Sponsors of Terrorism," first in 1979 and then again in 1990. The implication is supposed to be that Saddam's Iraq was not an enemy but a supporter of terrorism. The reality is that Iraq was placed on that list, not because it sponsored terrorism, but because its domestic and foreign policies agitated the regional aims of the US.

The first time it was placed on the list was because of the 1979 coup that brought Saddam Hussein to the Presidency. Signaling how shallow that decision was, Iraq was quickly taken off of the list after Iraq entered a US-backed war with Iran in the 1980s. The second time the US placed Iraq on that list was because Iraq agitated the US by invading Kuwait.

Few in the West understand this, and understand even less why Iraq had invaded Kuwait. In the late 1980s, Iraq was reeling from its war debts; the US-backed war compelled Iraq to get loans from Kuwait and the West. Iraq approached other OPEC countries in an effort to allow the price of oil to rise so Iraq could pay its debts. Kuwait not only refused, but even flooded the oil market, keeping the price of oil down and undermining Iraq's frail economy.

There is also substantial evidence that Kuwait had engaged in what is called "slant drilling," tapping and stealing Iraq's oil. All of this amounted to economic war and theft.[1]

In July 1990, a month before Iraq invaded Kuwait, US officials met with the Iraqi government and signaled that the US would not be involved in the Iraqi-Kuwaiti conflict. US Ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, told Saddam Hussein in July that the US "did not have an opinion" on that conflict. Saddam Hussein understandably interpreted this to mean that the US was and would remain neutral and it would not intervene against Iraq if it attacked Kuwait.

The actual US response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait contrasted sharply with what the US Ambassador to Iraq had indicated. Now, the US was loudly protesting the invasion and also demanded a withdrawal. It was this context that led the US to place Iraq on its list of "State Sponsors of Terrorism" for a second time. Despite what had been told to Saddam Hussein by Glaspie, the US Ambassador to Iraq, Iraq's action annoyed US policymakers.[2]

The Iraqi invasion may have irritated US regional aims, but it was not an act of terrorism or signaled support for terrorism. Placing Iraq back on that list was punishment.[3]

At this time, the Cold War was fading and the threat of Islamic fundamentalism appeared to be diminishing, and so the utility of Saddam's Iraq as an anti-Communist and anti-Islamist force was fading.[4] Neoconservative policymakers wanted to keep NATO in order to secure Israel and prevent new challenges to "democracy." Saddam's Iraq, recently an ally, was now a nuisance. Ten years later, Paul Wolfowitz seized on 9/11 to push for an invasion of Iraq. In "Phase Two" of the 9/11 Commission Report, Colin Powell had recalled that:
"Paul [Jewish author of the "Wolfowitz Doctrine"] was always of the view that Iraq was a problem that had to be dealt with," Powell told us. "And he saw this as one way of using this event [the fact of 9/11] as a way to deal with the Iraq problem."
What exactly was this "Iraq problem"? In 1989-91 the Cold War was ending and the US was now redefining its foreign policy. With an even more pronounced emphasis on Israel and its interests, an Iraq that was very recently an ally was now an irritant. Saddam Hussein was a supporter of the Palestinians and had always opposed Israeli regional dominance. This, and not any supposed support for terrorism or terrorists, was the "Iraq problem".[5]

Putting aside legitimate historical questions about the origin and context of 9/11, Wolfowitz used it to push for an invasion of Iraq. There was no link between Saddam's Iraq and 9/11. But Wolfowitz saw Saddam's Iraq as a persisting threat to Israel and he wanted to exploit US anger over 9/11 to push for war with Iraq. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu was also pressing for it. The effort succeeded, and the pro-Israel lobby got its desired war.

Many other articles that ridicule praise for Saddam Hussein rely on question begging. Both Palestinians and Israelis have committed atrocities, but only Palestinian actions are branded "terrorist." Theft of Palestinian landmurder of Palestinian women, elders, and children, and Israeli atrocities with US complicity are not. Neoconservatives dominate this narrative, and so criticism of Israel is only found on the US left or the Paleoconservative right.

Saddam Hussein's support for the Palestinians is also repeatedly mentioned, including aid to families of "suicide bombers" that attacked Israel. Is US complicity in Israeli atrocities also going to count as support for "terrorism," or are the victims required to be Israeli? Perhaps what all of this amounts to is just support for opposing sides in a lasting conflict.

Recent articles have also cited the attempt on the life of US President G.H.W. Bush in April 1993, when he visited Kuwait. After suspects were arrested and interrogated, the authorities in Kuwait claimed the men confessed to receiving orders from the Iraqi security service. But incredulity saturates this narrative. The suspects retracted their "confession" and said they were tortured. In the article, "Did Iraq really plot to kill Bush?," the author observes:
In Washington there were some doubters, particularly in the Pentagon. They said that the way the Kuwaitis had interviewed their prisoners made their testimony useless... The implication is that the 14 men under arrest were tortured, though the FBI, which later interviewed them, denies this... The trial itself opened before the heavily guarded state security court on 5 June, the first time the accused had been seen by anybody except the police since their arrests.
The official narrative entails dignifying "confessions" taken by a Kuwaiti regime aching for revenge on Iraq. The narrative is spurious and calls for accepting ridiculous assumptions. As the author of the above article concludes, the idea that Saddam Hussein ordered the plot is "difficult to take seriously."[6] The plot was amateurish, and one "ringleader" was a Shi'ite Muslim that took part in a rebellion against Saddam's Sunni-dominated regime.[7]

Also, after the 2003 US-led invasion, Iraqi government files were thoroughly combed. There was no record of anything relating to Hussein's supposed support for this plot.

The ongoing spurt of distorted, misleading, and groundless claims about Saddam Hussein is a reminder of how truly weak the case was for his removal in 2002-03. The emotional and hyperbolic ideation and inflection that it relied on underlies this point, such as the awkward and infantile remark by US President Bush referring to Hussein as "the guy who tried to kill my dad." This materialized in a cesspool of confused and twisted justifications.

The ideological undercurrent justifying the war presupposed a continuance of World War II, replete with comparisons of Hussein and Hitler. In 2006, Donald Rumsfeld cast the Iraq war as a US-led effort against a "new type of fascism."[8] This narrative was supported by some intellectuals, including Christopher Hitchens. He spoke of the horrors of "Islamofascist" rule and also organized a 2009 forum that branded the 1979 coup as a "fascist" coup.

The use of 'genocide' has also increased. In one article, Kurds express gratitude for the Iraq war having prevented the "genocide" of the Kurdish people. In another article, the author accuses Iraq of having committed "genocides" [plural] on the Iraqi people. In "It's 2003 again..." the author predicts a past future: "some form of international military intervention to stop Saddam Hussein was going to occur, either before or after a genocide."

If authors inventing counterfactuals to support their baseless assumptions were not enough, claims that Hussein "sheltered" terrorists also proliferate despite rank hypocrisy. The Jewish war criminal and Stalinist terrorist, Salomon Morel, took refuge in Israel. Poland repeatedly requested his extradition, but Israel refused. Morel, who had murdered and terrorized POWs and civilians, died in peace and comfort in his refuge in Tel Aviv, Israel.

In addition, the false flag USS Liberty incident, in which Israeli agents destroyed a US naval vessel and murdered 34 US citizens, was a deliberate attempt to provoke the US into war with Israel's enemies. It was intentionally covered up to spare Israel humiliation.[9]

The legacy of Saddam Hussein is treated as a simplistic narrative of constant atrocities, with no semblance of recognition for any positive achievement. Even if praise is offered for him, it is usually limited to a functional and relational role relative to Western and US interests. Saddam Hussein's regime had positive achievements to its name, on its own, and one way to refocus the persisting debate is to try to understand what many of these were.

Saddam Hussein became President in 1979, but during the decade prior to this he worked toward building up Iraq as a nation capable of enjoying a relative degree of prosperity, weal, and independence from foreigners. It should be remembered that the geopolitical context of Iraq's emergence as a modern nation followed in the wake of imploding British imperialism and its evaporation from a Middle East, including Iraq, that it had once dominated.


Before Saddam Hussein's regime, Iraq was a an illiterate and a destitute country. Saddam Hussein was determined to lift Iraq out of the residue of his nation's deprivation. Among other things, he sponsored numerous educational initiatives, including the "National Campaign for the Eradication of Literacy" and a program of "Compulsory Free Education in Iraq." These initiatives led to an increase in literacy; hundreds of thousands of Iraqis benefited.


Saddam Hussein made such strides in advancing his educational agenda that he was the recipient of a UNESCO award for achieving higher literacy and living standards.[10]

In addition to an increase in living standards and access to education, literacy, and a variety of social services, Saddam Hussein also used the revenue from oil sales to increase access to basic services, such as electricity, in cities and towns were they had previously been lacking. He also ensured that families of Iraqi soldiers and officials received pensions and state support. Through the 1970s and 1980s, there was an increased quality of life:
During the 1970s, a relatively peaceful interlude when he exercised real control as second-in-command to a weak president, dozens of ambitious projects swiftly created a first-class infrastructure of expressways, power lines and social services. In neighbouring countries, the oil boom generated garish consumption and commission billionaires. Iraqis could fairly claim that their national wealth had been used instead to create a broad, home-owning middle class, the symbol of which was the “Brazili”, a stripped-down Volkswagen bought by the million from Brazil. Generous state subsidies lifted even the very poor out of need. Corruption was unknown.[11]
Saddam Hussein also sponsored and promoted culture and the arts. Ballet, dance, and the promotion of cultural literacy and music education rose under his influence.[12] This is partly evident viewing the documentary, "What Was Life Really Life in Saddam's Iraq?"

Saddam Hussein's regime provided stability and security, a difficult feat to which ongoing strife in the Middle East serves as an enduring testimony. His regime welded and unified Christians, Muslims, and Jews, and while he was tolerant of religious groups in his country, he suppressed strife and discord. In 2006, following a shameful trial and execution, an Iraqi Christian interviewed by Al-Jazeera said of him: "We were heartbroken for him."

The failure to convey anything positive about Saddam's regime is echoed by the incessant depiction of a one-sided personality, despite owning positive personal qualities.

To take one example, Saddam Hussein was praised for his generosity. In 1980, Rev. Jacob Yasso of the Chaldean Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Detroit congratulated Hussein on his Presidency. Hussein later heard that Rev. Yasso's Church was suffering from debts, and he paid them off. Coleman Young, Mayor of Detroit, was so moved by the act that he allowed Rev. Yasso to present Saddam Hussein with the key to the city of Detroit.[13]

According to Rev. Yasso, Saddam Hussein donated to other religious groups throughout the world: "He was a very kind person; very generous..." and "very kind to Christians."

Saddam Hussein could also be very humble and hospitable. In 1981, he financed the film, Clash of Loyalties, which starred British actor Oliver Reed. The production of the film was arduous and many scenes had to be shot repeatedly. Reed was given to drunken outbursts, testing the patience of those involved in the film. Despite this, Reed was to a dinner. At its end, Saddam said calmly: "Mr. Reed, I hope I didn't bore you too much."[14]

Saddam Hussein was a prolific writer. He wrote four novels, including Zabibah and the KingThe Fortified CastleMen and the City, and Begone, Demons. His last poem, "Unbind It," was addressed to the Iraqi people and was written while he was awaiting execution.

These and other details about Saddam Hussein, his personality, and his regime, compliment a broader understanding of the realities surrounding his relationship with the US and his place in history. These are distorted by prevailing narratives that cast him in an overly simplistic role, shorn of any positive qualities. Articles deflecting praise for Saddam Hussein do so by exploiting these narratives and perpetuating outworn myths, lies, and distortions.

Saddam Hussein was a native son of Iraq, and his regime was an organic outgrowth of the history of his country, which he sought to unify and make sovereign, and whose people he offered a degree of prosperity and stability. His regime was not a threat to the US, but was a blight to elements in the US government and Israel that wanted him removed. In the end, he was felled by forces that had destroyed countless others with similar aspirations.

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1. "Slant drilling" is the act of tapping a neighboring country's oil resources. John K. Cooley, "It's Time to Think Straight About Saddam," 1997, New York Times. In addition, Israel was also threatening to move against Iraq in response to any attack on Kuwait.
2. See the first half of my post, "Unjustified Claims Regarding Islamism and Fascism," for a discussion of the context of the Wolfowitz Doctrine at the end of the Cold War.
3. Lionel Beehner, in his article, "What good is a terrorism list?" argues that the "State Sponsor of Terrorism" list "exists solely to punish enemies, not to cajole them to stop sponsoring terrorists. Landing on it places limits on the size and scope of arms, economic aid and other financial transactions a country can have with American citizens. By promising to remove a country from it, we dangle a carrot..." in front of that country.
4. The documentary, "Saddam Hussein - The Truth," argues this point, among many others.
5. See the IHR article, "Iraq: A War for Israel" and its article, "Iraq was invaded to secure Israel" for numerous additional references and context-sensitive quotes.
6. See also "Plot by Baghdad to Assassinate Bush is Questioned," 1993, New York Times.
7. See also this article.
8. After the fall of Hussein's government, Rumsfeld further gloated that "Saddam Hussein is now taking his rightful place alongside Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, Ceausescu in the pantheon of failed brutal dictators and the Iraqi people are well on their way to freedom..."
9. See the following IHR articles, for more context: "Israeli Attack on USS Liberty Was No Accident" and "Israel's 'Knife in the Back' Against America."
10. See the Spartacus International entry on Saddam Hussein.
11. "Saddam Hussein: The Blundering Dictator," 2007, The Economist.
12. Saddam Hussein's efforts to increase the educational and cultural level of Iraq were all unsurpassed in his country and far ahead of most nations in his region.
13. Sue Chan, "Guess who got the key to Detroit?" 2003, CBS News.
14. The film, Clash of Loyalties, has been uploaded and can be found here.

See also the following: Ramsey Clark, the lawyer who defended Saddam, "In Defense of Saddam Hussein"; Jude Wanniski, "In Defense of Saddam Hussein"; the PBS documentary, "The War Behind Closed Doors" and a "Review" of the PBS documentary.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Unjustified Claims Regarding "Islamism" and "Fascism"

Equivocation on 'fascism' has been exploited by both "left" and "right": On the left, what is called "corporate fascism" is taken to represent fascism in general, and on the right, every stripe of undesirables is fused with fascism: "feminazis," "ecofascists" and "Islamofascists," to name a few. The Islamofascist trope has been exploited for years, and since the end of the Cold War has increased in use. All of these reflect warped historical views.

Trotsky was among the first to exploit equivocation on 'fascism': a fascist regime emerges in a society, he argued, when its capitalist class succeeds in insulating itself from revolutionary ferment in the working class. The idea of "corporate fascism," as a marriage of big business, police, and military interests, persists on the left. Recently, for example, Jewish media pundit Rachel Maddow argued on one of her shows that fascism is autocratic capitalism, claiming that Sir Mosley's British Union sought to protect business interests above all.

The "right" has been more amorphous in its use of "fascism": "ecofascists," "feminazis" and "Islamofascists" represent fusions of lifestyles or political and social beliefs with "fascism." The Neoconservative right has reserved its greatest animus for "Islamofascism" or "Islamic fascism." Rooted in admixtures of the "Good War" myth and US Middle East foreign policy, it increased in use as the Cold War was ending and the only remaining resistance to Zionist policies in the Middle East was secular Muslim nations, like Saddam Hussein's.

Neoconservatism is as Jewish in its origin as it is in its aims. Its godfather, Irving Krisol, is a Jew. The Wolfowitz Doctrine that it spawned was also parented by a Jew, Paul Wolfowitz. It led to the historical completion the Jewification of Anglo-American world policy.

The Bush Doctrine grew directly out of the Wolfowitz Doctrine. At the core of both is the idea of preemptive military intervention, nominally to prevent terrorism. Its real aim is to secure and expand Jewish interests in the Middle East and to sustain the economic enrichment of an international Jewish and banking elite. As the Cold War ended, Jews like Charles Krauthammer attacked US white "nativism," "isolationism," and "anti-Semitism". Meanwhile, Jewish-themed films, like Schindler's List, subtly encouraged Zionist interests.

Both the Gulf War of 1990-91 and the 2003 Iraq war were partly justified by analogies of Saddam Hussein with Adolf Hitler. The invasion of Iraq was a war for Israel. After 2003, the Bush Administration increasingly tried justifying this defenseless and costly invasion. From 2006, the "Islamofascist" trope was frequently used. Donald Rumsfeld accused critics of the Iraq war with appeasement of a "new type of fascism." Those who opposed this war, he had argued, were like Neville Chamberlain, who had tried to appease Adolf Hitler.

"Islamofascism" was part of a context of promoting "democracy" and justifying Middle East "regime changes." In fact, it was part of a plan to reorder the Middle East to serve the local interests of Israel and open up limitless resources for a Jewish economic elite.

The conflation of "fascism" with "Islam," however either are crudely conceived, also serves the rhetorical and ideological aims of certain European nationalist leaders. French National Front leader Marine Le Pen went on trial in 2015 for comparing Muslims praying in French cities with German occupiers. The analogy was historical and its intended effect rhetorical, but it rests on a more substantive view of alignments of interests. Like US Neoconservatism, this sibling tendency in Europe is also motivated by a desire to appease Jews.

In an interview with Jewish News One, for example, Marine Le Pen remarked:
I think a lot of our Jewish compatriots realize that we are the only ones capable of defending them passionately against the rise of Islamic fundamentalism. No one in French politics dares to do that. Maybe because they are afraid to be treated as Islamophobes. We say things as they are. We are known for that. We have the courage to tell the truth and to propose the necessary solutions.
It is unlikely that all of Marine Le Pen's supporters agree with her that "anti-Semitism" in Europe results solely from Islamification, and that the presence of Muslims in Europe is not correlated with the influence of Jews. Liberalized immigration policies, in the US and in Europe, the historical fundamental reshaping of immigration policy in order to undermine the racial homogeneity of white countries, and the Islamification of Europe and legitimizing of multiracialism are partly the outcome of Jewish influence and pandering to Jews.

The tendency to draw historical analogies between "fascism" or fascist regimes and Islamic regimes is pervasive, and not just an American or European tendency. In late 2015, Russia began targeting Islamic State forces in Syria, and after sustained criticism, justified its aims by comparisons with past Soviet attempts to undermine Hitler's Germany and to turn Western nations against fascism. Comparisons between Hitler's Germany and Islamic State had already proliferated, including analogies with Western support for fascism.

Comparisons have also been made on internal Islamic State policies, including its policies toward youth. Inevitably, of course, comparisons were made with the Holocaust. These were so pervasive and numerous that it even began to draw skepticism on the left.

Russia's perception of World War II is as mythologized as that of the West. It is grounded in the same unchecked lies about Hitler's prewar aims. In reality, Hitler's underlying, prewar foreign policy was fundamentally confined to mapping out German dominance in the East, forging an alliance with Italy and Britain, and building a land empire extending into a defunct USSR and gaining from its soil a new lease on national life through living space. Russian claims that fascism was a monstrous global threat are self-serving and ludicrous.

The comparison of Islamic State with Hitler's Germany in particular and fascism in general is not confined to Russia. In an article titled, "Umberto Eco's Lessons on Ur-Fascism," John Allen Gay remarks that IS-style Islamism and "fascism" draw comparable minds:
... nobody wants to bring back the fascism of old (save for a few oddballs drawn to the taboo: becoming a fascist is the Stuff White People Like version of joining ISIS)...
There are several claims that underlie this identification. One of them is the belief that Hitler occupies a place in history and had aims comparable to al-Baghdadi. In his 2014 sermon in Mosul, al-Baghdadi proclaimed a "worldwide Caliphate," with the aim not only of conquering the Muslim world but also eventually dominating the rest of the world. Hitler, by contrast, had sought to reunify the German people and secure their existence. The latter led to the war in the East, which Hitler really intended to be a one front war not involving the West.

The comparison also rests on the belief that a propensity to engage in terrorism underlies both. Many books have been put out, especially in the last two decades, attempting to lay out an historical connection between Hitler's regime and radical Islam. But the comparison also ignores certain historical particulars. Hitler wanted to avoid civilian bombing, and tried to get the British government to agree to this. It was Churchill that started the practice, and allowed the RAF to terrorize and decimate German civilian targets early in the war.

There is another analogy that underlies the comparison, and it is the rejection of liberalism, globalism, and humanism that underlies radical Islam and fascism. Neither the fascist nor the radical Islamist wants to live in a society that is dominated by these values. This analogy is sound, but it hardly forms the basis of a claim that identifies Islamism as fascism.


Marine Le Pen's comparison of German occupying forces with Muslim immigrants in France is as shallow as Russia's comparison of Hitler's Germany with Islamic State. It was France and Britain that had threatened Germany with war and then declared war. Moreover, it was Britain and France that rejected peace offers from Hitler after war had been declared. If the comparison insists on being made, then one can legitimately ask if Muslim immigrants in France offered to stay home before being invited, 
or to return home after arriving.

More fundamental analogies of "Islamism" and "fascism" have been made, and it these that represent more critical comparisons. Martin Kramer, in "Islamism and Fascism: Dare to Compare," quotes Manfred Halpern, who defends the concept of "Islamic fascism":
They concentrate on mobilizing passion and violence to enlarge the power of their charismatic leader and the solidarity of the movement. They view material progress primarily as a means for accumulating strength for political expansion, and entirely deny individual and social freedom. They champion the values and emotions of a heroic past, but repress all free critical analysis...
Kramer continues quoting Halpern:
... the institutionalization of struggle, tension, and violence. ... the movement is forced by its own logic and dynamics to pursue its vision through nihilistic terror, cunning, and passion. An efficient state administration is seen only as an additional powerful tool for controlling the community. The locus of power and the focus of devotion rest in the movement itself.... so organized as to make neo-Islamic totalitarianism the whole life of its members.
Kramer also quotes the Jewish and Marxist historian, Maxime Rodinson, who described the Iranian Revolution as an "Islamic fascist" coup. Rodinson is quoted in saying:
But the dominant trend is a certain type of archaic fascism (type de fascisme archaïque). By this I mean a wish to establish an authoritarian and totalitarian state whose political police would brutally enforce the moral and social order. It would at the same time impose conformity to religious tradition as interpreted in the most conservative light.
Halpern and Rodinson's claims are more substantial, because they comprise ideological comparisons, while surface level analogies rest on to justifying domestic and foreign policy. But their basic flaw is that they mark comparisons emptied out of form and substance, concentrating solely on function and process. Fascism is not just a process of national and societal transformation. It is also a worldview that encompasses an embrace of narratives of form and structure: Nations, peoples, and families are central to this narrative.

Therefore, to focus on tokens and emblems of process, with tropes and terms from 'mobility' to 'solidarity,' 'expansion,' 'heroism,' 'state' and 'order,' is to misconstrue the real nature of fascism. "Fascism" is not only a set of functions, but an orderly concept of form. It focuses on the narrative of concrete peoples. The history of humanity is the history of struggles between and among types of people. The history of life on Earth is the history of struggles between and among types of organisms. This is contrary to that of "Islamism."


"Radical Islam" or "Islamism" views the history of humanity as the history of struggle among religious worldviews and between "believers" and "nonbelievers." The "nation" enters into this drama as a deviation at best, a distraction from core faith at the very worst.

Christopher Hitchens has taken notice of the disanalogies that I observe, and he has drawn comparisons of his own between "radical Islam" and "fascism." He observes:
Historically, fascism laid great emphasis on glorifying the nation-state and the corporate structure. There isn't much corporate structure in the Muslim world, where the conditions often approximate more nearly to feudalism than to capitalism, but Bin Laden's own business conglomerate is, among other things, a rogue multinational corporation with some links to finance-capital. As to the nation-state, al-Qaida's demand is that countries like Iraq and Saudi Arabia be dissolved into one great revived caliphate, but doesn't this have points of resemblance with the mad scheme of a "Greater Germany" or with Mussolini's fantasy of a revived Roman empire?
Hitchens recognizes that the fascist emphasis on "nation" contrasts with Islamist rejection of nation, but then he turns to a weak analogy between fascist love of "empire" and an Islamic nostalgia for a "Caliphate." In other words, just to rescue his already weak analogy between fascism and Islamism, Hitchens resorts to a last ditch comparison of these ideas. It is weak and desperate, apart from being historically disingenuous and extremely simplistic.

Hitchens ignores something very important about the concepts he ridicules: The crude fact of their historical reality and the prominence in recent history. The idea of Greater Germany that was so important for Hitler encompassed territories and land that was in the possession of Germany while Hitler was still young. At the end of World War I, right before Hitler got involved in politics, Germany ruled the lands that Hitler would later seek: Poland, Ukraine, the Baltic States, and other territories quickly stripped from Germany at Versailles.

Hitler and Mussolini might have been hyperbolic in talking about "empire," but empires were commonplace in their time. The fact that Hitler and Mussolini both desires empires made them men of their time. There was nothing "mad" or "fantastical" about Germany and Italy wanting something that, at the time, was something that Britain, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Portugal also had. Each of these nations had great empires.

Sir Oswald Mosley of the British Union of Fascists, in fact, had as a cornerstone of his policy the preservation of the British Empire. Sir Mosley wanted to preserve an Empire that already existed. By emphasizing the rhetorical dimension of Hitler and Mussolini's desire for empire, he exaggerates the concept of empire itself, while also ignoring the fact that fascist leaders elsewhere in Europe were struggling to conserve empires that already existed and were all taken for granted as basic aspects of recent European history. Hitchens is wrong.

Hitchens also seems to imply that the concept of empire was somehow unique to fascism, anymore than the concept of race and folk originated in National-Socialism. Hitler took an idea that had been taken for granted in Europe and made it the core of his policies.


In the same way that Hitchens does not understand the fascist idea of empire, he also does not grasp the concept of a Caliphate. The Ottoman Caliphate had endured for hundreds of years, surviving but diminishing in its territorial holdings. Turkey had allied with Germany and Austria-Hungary, and after World War I the Ottoman Caliphate was forcibly dissolved by the Allies. The point is that the idea of a Caliphate is not some ludicrous idea, but a recent reality. Just because Al-Qaeda or IS want seek one does not relegate it to a fringe.

Hitchens goes on to conclude that the West is obliged to "oppose and destroy" fascist and all other "totalitarian movements." These are, one and all, "threats to civilization and civilized values." This is overreaching. Was Franco's Spain, which survived the war through 1975, a "threat to civilization"? Was Hitler's Germany a threat to Britain and France for having been a threat to the Soviet Union? Would a Mosleyite Britain have been a "threat to civilization," or in fact, in his disavowal of war, a solid pillar in the very support of civilization?

The emphasis on process and method, as well as the pursuit of empire, do not get to the heart of what fascism is. Fascism is not an aggregation of processes. It arises as a native impulse that springs within a unique people, forming in response to the realities of national decline that threaten the future of that people and nation. It does not arise in a void, floating up as an abstraction intent on nullifying "civilized values" or "civilization." In the nations were it arose, it did so as a direct result of peoples intent on averting national decline.

"Civilized values" are irrelevant if they lack bodies and minds to perpetuate them, and the British and French decision to threaten and declare war on Germany was the death knell of a now dying West. Europeans are being replaced by racial aliens with other values.

Fascism does not place values over the priority of the existence of a people or its nation. In extracting process, function, and method from fascist regimes or movements and comparing that to "Islamism," what is fascistic disappears in the outcome. Fascism assumes a world of nations and peoples, who rise and fall on the basis of action. Fascism is the authoritarian recovery of life in its depths, the institutionalization of the survival instinct and the use of the state as an organ to effect the persistence of a people and the nation housing it.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Letter to Mussolini from Publisher of AVIATION in 1927

I came across the following interesting letter to Benito Mussolini, apparently left with envoys of Il Duce and translated for his pleasure; it is from the publisher of AVIATION. It serves as a reminder that fascism in general and Mussolini's government in particular had enjoyed a noncontroversial status in the eyes of world leaders, successful businessmen, scientific minds, and other figures the world over prior to the Second World War.


To view a .pdf of a publication of the letter to Mussolini, click here.
Excellency: 
I have the honor to convey to your Excellency an expression of the deepest admiration from innumerable Americans who are interested in aeronautical problems. By them, you are considered as a unique leader of the world in aero. nautical progress. Your determination to make Italy impregnable from air attack has been shown in the manner in which you have organized and encouraged Italian aviation. A strong air defense renders aggression through the air an impossibility. 
Americans have observed with the greatest interest the development of the Italian Air Force, and admire greatly the magnificent organ. ization created by you to give wings to the new and glorious Italy. All nations can learn from the progress you are making, which will be a shining example of the advantages that come from a strong and independent aerial arm. 
Excellency, through your efforts, Italy is now a united country, not only politically but in spirit from the peaks of the Alps to the plains of Cyrenaica. The great admiration which you receive from all parts of the world is due, we like to feel, not only to the statesmanship which you have shown but also because you have demonstrated such great belief in aeronautics. Thanks to the extreme courtesy of the Societa Anonima Navigazione Aera, I have been privileged to view the wonders and beauties of your marvelous country from Genoa to Palermo. You deserve the unstinted praise of every traveler for the creation of the Italian air lines and the splendid facilities that you have made available for fol. lowing the most picturesque air route in the world along the Italian coast. 
After traveling over many air lines, I can say without hesitation that I believe aerial travel in Italy has before it an immense future and will bring great advantages to your Commerce and Industry. 
Excellency, I shall be greatly honored to con. vey to your admirers in America a greeting from you, and if I am not asking too much would greatly appreciate receiving your opinion as to the future of aeronautics.
The Leader of Fascist Italy responded in kind to the warm and respectful letter:
Signor Gardner, 
I greatly appreciate the opinion which you expressed with regard to the Italian aeronautical progress. 
I am well aware that the magazine "Aviation" which you edit is the champion in your country of the broadest and most rapid developments of the wings of peace and of war, and so I ask you to convey my greetings to those Americans whose hearts rally around your flag. 
The United States of America are certainly among the most alert vanguards of the development of aviation. 
Your scientists and experts, uniting with a high intelligence the benefit of material means, bring every day to this development an admirable contribution. 
Your pilots are among the first in the world in daring and skill; your leaders of aeronautical enterprises bring also to this latest undertaking, which employs human flight, the positive spirit and breadth of view which distinguish every American organization. 
Thus our aviators and aeronautical experts take pride in competing with yours because the aeroplanes produced by your industry rank high in the excellence of performance, and because your military aviation has attained a remarkable efficiency which is evident to all. 
Thus, from coast to coast and between the busy cities of your vast continent civil aviation has already begun to stretch a met of aerial transport lines, working day and night, and greatly admired all over the world. 
The future of civil aviation is clearly indicated by its brief but vigorous past, by this new means probably the Atlantic will become like a Mediterranean Sea; by it the most impenetrable continents will be opened to the knowledge of man, to the throb, bing fervour of his traffic and to the intellectual and material exchange among the peoples.
MUSSOLINI. 
Rome–February 1927. 
Anno. Vo.
To view a .pdf of the response of Il Duce to the generous letter, click here.