THE WAR ON TERROR
First, let me quote a very sensible comment on al Qaida from Riting on the Wall
“so let’s shatter the reification and actually fight this war and not the last one. to subvert the ideological movement, more akin to right totalitarianism without a state than the left totalitarianism manifest in the soviet union, we have to first determine its nature and internal movement (if not “logic” per se). while this doesn’t mean that military action is unnecessary, it should be used as needed and in conjunction with other avenues. alone, it won’t work any more than it did during the cold war.”
He’s correct. A while ago, Frontpagemag.com had a symposium on the nature of Islamist terrorism and the consensus was that their invited experts fit that movement into the familiar paradigm of the Communist front/Cold War challenge. I thought that was off the mark notwithstanding the support Islamism has gained from unreconstructed Marxist fringe groups like ANSWER and crackpot leftist academics like Nicholas DeGenova or front group tactics to build ” respectable ” public apologists for Islamist terror like CAIR.
A better parallel is the prewar spread of Fascism and National Socialism across the western world during the 1920’s and 1930’s. If you have seen photographs of Argentine philo-Nazi rallies with enormous banners of swastikas within a sprocket or delved into the origin of Romania’s gruesome Iron Guard you can understand the analogy with Islamofascism, which likewise spreads memetically, by example and by word. It is no accident that audiocassettes are a more potent weapon for al Qaida than car bombs – the radical idea attracts alienated intellectuals and the Islamic equivalent of what Konrad Heiden termed ” armed bohemians ” – young men eager for action and true belief to psychologically galvanize themselves. The West has to counter that message with attractive memes of our own – democracy, individualism, secularism, capitalism – in short – freedom. Not every Arab longs to live under a mullah”s sandal but to speak out at present, to criticize the Islamists is to risk a charge of apostasy and a violent death. Ideas are things to fight for as well as against