Thursday, December 8, 2016

Monday, November 14, 2016

Ba'athist Ideology in Select Quotes of Michel Aflaq

Michel Aflaq was one of the founders of Ba'athist thought. Below, I present some quotes from Aflaq in order to offer an introduction to elements of the Ba'athist worldview. 'Ba'ath' arrives at "renaissance"; it advocates pan-Arab nationalism and socialism. The Ba'ath Party was the official party in Iraq from 1968, including under Saddam Hussein from 1979 until 2003, and the official party in Syria from 1963 through the present day.

Michel Aflaq (1910-1989)

The cooperation realized by the Arab League charter is inadequate since this cooperation could take place among countries different from each other in language, race and history as they are far from each other regionally and separated from each other by continents. The charter, taken as a whole, is a confirmation of the present state of fragmentation in the Arab world, and an emphasis on the rulers' personal urges. It is also acquiescence on the part of League's states, to the policy of the "fait accompli", which made it easy for them to retreat before the designs of the foreigners on certain parts of the Arab homeland. Such retreat has taken the form of admitting that Palestine has not yet reached the stage of political maturity, neglecting the fate of other Arab lands in North Africa and elsewhere and the silence of these states vis-à-vis the Zionist menace, as well as the annexation of Alexandretta by Turkey. (Our opinion of the Arab League Charter -The Periodical Publication No. (1) 4.April 4, 1945)'
It is now the Arabs who quarrel among themselves over unity and federation, republic and democracy, freedom and sovereignty, or to put it more correctly and justly, the quarrel is between professional political cliques, which have sold themselves, and conscience to the foreigners. There are those who want to open the way for imperialist interests through the call for unity, the republic and freedom. There are Arab royalist governments in support of the republic in Syria. Others surrender to the foreigners but pretend to carry the banner of unity and federation. We must be above such disputes, which have no connection with the real issue of nationalism, even though they are named after it and take on Arabic terms and nomenclatures derived from nationalist aims. But, they are in fact alien to it. (Our task is to struggle to safeguard the aims of the Arabs -Al-Baath, 4 -Dec. 29, 1949).
After the disaster of Palestine, no one can be deceived by appearances that are not based on truth or realities. Large numbers, after the defeat of the seven Arab states in the face of the Zionist gangs, are no longer sufficient to do without quality. Any union that the Arabs intend to realize, after the cruel experiences and predicaments they have undergone, should have the necessary elements of viability. It must acquire quality not quantity, form or territory. In brief, such a union has to rely on the unity of the forces of the people aiming at the increase of production and defence forces, as well as elevating the level of political and nationalist consciousness, which could be likened to spiritual production and spiritual defense and to the material production and military defense. (We want positive objectives -Al-Baath 4 -January 4, 1950). 
There is no doubt that the goals of "The Arab Baath," which we have summarized in “Unity, Freedom and Socialism,” are fundamentally equal in importance and should not to be separated from each other or to be postponed. In addition, unity has a moral priority and superiority which should not be overlooked by the Baathists lest they follow ideological and political currents that are most remote from the idea of Arab renaissance. (The revolutionary nature of the Arab unity, 2 -February, 1953). 
Thus, we reach this fact: The Arab people will not realize the unity of struggle unless it practices the struggle for unity. (The revolutionary nature of the Arab unity, 2 -February, 1953).
The liberty demanded by an Egyptian or an Iraqi party, and the socialism for which a Syrian or a Lebanese party works are something other than the liberty and socialism which the Arab nation needs and is capable of realizing, as a nation of a cultural heritage, capacity and potential for a new and genuine renaissance. The freedom, which every Arab region pursues all alone, cannot reach in profundity, comprehensiveness and positive significance the level of freedom to which the Arab nation aspires when it puts its destiny and the destiny of humanity in question. Similarly, socialism reduced and distorted within the borders of one region, to the point of confining itself to partial and deceptive reforms, will reach its full theoretical and applicable scope when its area becomes the Arab homeland as an economic unity and as a unity of popular struggle. (Unity of struggle and unity of destiny, 1 -August, 1955). 
The revolutionary nature of Arab unity, cannot therefore, be realized from above or on the basis on which the "Arab League" was established. It should come from the depths of the masses of the Arab people, fused with the innermost needs of this people, and with the core of its emancipation and social struggle. It also means that unity, even though it requires for realization time and effort in stages, has a precondition for attaining it, and it should be taken as a target and guideline for our struggle from the beginning. This means that all our other steps should be open to it, connect with it and lead to it. Meanwhile, we have to sacrifice many regional and immediate interests while overcoming the obstacles raised by regional thinking because we shall never find unity at the end of our path unless we put unity at its beginning. (The revolutionary nature of the Arab cause, 2 -April 25, 1956).
The Arab people, in the different parts of its homeland, whether small or large in number, struggles armed by the force of the whole Arab nation because it struggles for the freedom of the whole Arab nation. (The federation of Egypt and Syria, 2 -July 6, 1956).
One of the features of Arab awakening is that it endeavors to emerge from economic backwardness by setting out economic policies on popular, progressive and revolutionary bases. Most efforts are to be directed towards raising the standard of the greatest number of the Arabs and concentrating on fundamental matters such as strengthening defense and establishing basic industries in order to liberate the homeland from foreign dependence. All this should take place in the framework of the logic of Arab unity, which requires that the Arab economy should be integrated with every part complementing others and become open to unifying steps while enhancing them. (The outcome 0£ a stage 0£ struggle, 5 -December, 1956). 
When Arab unity becomes the axis of our revolution, the heart that nourishes it, the horizon that inspires it and gives it fervor, it will negate all the reasoning and precautions which, some ten or twenty years ago, imposed on our life that low level of thinking and action and that superficial and shameful conduct of our affairs and conditions. In both the battle for liberation and independence and the battle for progress and social revolution, the idea of unity has opened the door in every Arab region for radical and decisive solutions, because it makes every Arab region responsible for the burden of the Arab nation in its entirety, while at the same time replenishing them with the potential of the whole Arab nation. The revolutionary nature of the unity becomes apparent in the fact that it elevates the Arab struggle to profound suffering and the gravest danger, that is, to the level of the causes of Palestine and Algeria. (The revolution of Algeria and the revolution of unity, 2 April 4,1958).
The danger to the nationalist cause presented by the errors, which have been responsible for the failure of the experience of unity, will end as soon as the people are aware of these errors and know how to rectify and avoid them. As for the danger of the separatist situation this will not be brought to an end merely by knowing its reality, a reality which is unmasked, but the people must summon up all their fighting energy to resist the reactionary and imperialist privileges of which the new situation is made up. (The relapse into secession, 2-Februarv. 1962). 
The unity of the Arab nation is both a positive and negative fact. Positive, because it is the power and the right order of things. It is a negative fact because the enemies are conspiring against the whole Arab nation and when they hit one of its regions they hit the nation in its entirety. (The distant horizons of revolutionary action, 3. October 14, 1968) 
The battle of destiny faced by our Arab nation requires all the capacities and potential of this nation. This is a truth, which has become axiomatic. But the natural start of deploying and unifying the capabilities of the Arab nation is in the beginning stage and is concentrated in the unity of the masses of the regions surrounding "Israel" and these are: Egypt, Iraq and Syria. (The call of historic responsibility, 3 -March, 1971) 
The solution of the Arabs today is in unity and their road for achieving unity is through democracy. In order that unity does not remain a theoretical quest, and so that democracy does not deviate to objectives less fundamental than unity, the masses should direct their efforts to wresting their right in a democracy linked with unity .In other words, they should achieve unity as masses and realize democracy through the unifying struggle of the masses. (The regimes and the masses are two opposing sides of the Arab nation -The Arab Revolutionary -April 15, 1974) 
Comrades we must look at the Arab unity, which every time that it comes near, slips from our hands, with a new look so that involves no erroneous thoughts and in order not to become subject to unjustifiable despair. Arab unity is approaching and we are now nearer to it than at any other time in the past because it is incorporated in the consciousness of the Arab masses. The awareness of unity has grown a great deal, especially during the last war and the period after. We can reach unity by various ways provided that this new level of maturity which our masses have attained prevents us from the old emotional stands which meant that either the others accepted unity with us or we become enraged, hurt and distressed. Unity means that we have to seize every opportunity and use every field of communication and cooperation and common formation in the Arab regions. We should consider governments and all these barriers temporary and ephemeral and we should build for tomorrow, for posterity. We have to open our way to the masses even in the regions where the governments of which, have capitulated to imperialism. The plan of the enemies is to find us isolated, shrunken, within a cocoon, surrounded, so that they can enter the inside of our house. This plan should be forced to fail through repeated and various initiatives. Iraq must be open to all the Arab regions but should be very careful to define its distance from them in matters concerning principles and the soundness of policy. (The experiment of Baath in Iraq is a starting point for the Arab revolution, 7 -June 24, 1974)

Sunday, October 16, 2016

"Paracelsus in Excelsis" by Ezra Pound


Being no longer human, why should I
Pretend humanity or don the frail attire?
Men have I known and men, but never one
Was grown so free an essence, or become 
So simply element as what I am. 
The mist goes from the mirror and I see. 
Behold! the world of forms is swept beneath- 
Turmoil grown visible beneath our peace, 
And we that are grown formless, rise above- 
Fluids intangible that have been men, 
We seem as statues round whose high-risen base
Some overflowing river is run mad, 
In us alone the element of calm. 

- Ezra Pound, "Paracelsus in Excelsis"

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 peacefully and comfortably 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 invited as a guest to a dinner. At the end, Hussein said: "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 King, The Fortified Castle, Men 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.

--------------------
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, July 8, 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.