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Several weeks after President George W. Bush uttered the "Islamofascist" and "Islamic Fascists" invectives for al Qaeda-style Terrorism, a heated controversy continues as to whether either of these highly condemnatory terms is appropriate to the situation.
Not surprisingly, left-wing and hate-Bush critics in the Congress, in academia, in Hollywood and in the media who have repeatedly vilified the President himself as a "fascist" and a "Nazi" and a "Hitlerite" are angrily resisting these same labels for the genocidal likes of Osama bin Laden and his suicide mass murderers.
To interpret the complex and highly significant implications of the "fascist" label -- which is the modern-day codeword for unpardonable EVIL -- we must look carefully at not only its origins in Mussolini's Italy, but also at (a) its subsequent distortions by Soviet propagandists and (b) its current meanings, both true and false.
First, although "Fascism" and its derivatives are today associated almost entirely with right-wing individuals, practices and causes, the word and the ism were actually coined and instituted in the early 1920s not by a "right-wing capitalist" but by a radical Italian Marxist-cum-Socialist egomaniac, Benito Mussolini.
Drawn from the Roman Empire's ancient symbol of a bundle of sticks fastened by vines at each end -- the so-called "Fasces" -- its message was that one can break a stick but not a bundle of sticks: i.e., in unity (or in this case in collectivism) there is strength.
Second, simultaneously in nearby Germany, another egomaniacal and tyrannical socialist, Adolf Hitler, was inventing and imposing a similar single-party, police-state ideology called "NAZIism" -- the Germanic acronym for National Socialist German Workers Party.
Focused more on Western and Central Europe and on Russia at a time when Mussolini was pointed toward North Africa, Egypt, Ethiopia and neighboring Greece, Hitler's high-octane NAZIism was far more ambitious than Mussolini's Mediterranean Fascism.
Both of these command economies were socialist to the core but not yet committed to nationalizing or collectivizing (i.e., to communizing) everything in sight. For the time being, control over the means of production and distribution to a degree that was tantamount to ownership would be sufficient.
Third, also during the 1920s and 30s yet another and even more terrible variety of police-state socialism -- Leninism/Stalinism -- was taking hold in Russia and its former Czarist Empire. The result was that by the mid-1930s there were three socialist and imperialist juggernauts in place in Europe, competing for lands to conquer and peoples to subjugate.
This was the original Gestapo/Gulag "Axis of Evil" -- with virtually all traditional Western institutions and values (many of them intertwined with the Roman Catholic Church) under vicious attack and slated for eventual control, if not for total elimination.
Once the troublesome Jews and their transcendental loyalty to God and to Jerusalem had been disposed of, the loyal-to-Rome Papists would be next -- with no loyalties permitted other than to Stalin's "Peoples Paradise" and to Hitler's "Thousand Year Reich."
Fourth, it was in June of 1941 that an over-confident Hitler double-crossed his Soviet allies (of Molotov-Ribbentrop Treaty infamy) and invaded Russia with the same ferocity with which he had just subjugated much of Western and Central Europe. And it was at this point that "fascist" was to take on a terrible new meaning -- and to become the geopolitical moniker for brutish and unpardonable evil.
A Soviet Semantic Scam
The ever-deceitful and loudly "Socialist" Soviets quickly decided to demonize Hitler and his invading Germans not as "NAZIs" (which acronym includes the word Socialist) but as "Fascists," instead -- and to add the "right-wing" and "reactionary-right" labels, as well.
With the acquiescence and aid of British, American and other Allies who were also seeking ways to demonize the rampaging NAZIs, both Hitler and Mussolini and their brutal socialist ideologies were summarily moved from far-Left to far-Right -- to be perceived as the antithesis of Stalinism, rather than as its hyena-like clones.
Even Hitler once explained the inherent similarities: “The petit bourgeois Social Democrat and trade union boss will never make a National Socialist, but the Communist always will… There is more that unites us than divides us from Bolshevism…above all the genuine revolutionary spirit.”
Back to bin Ladenism, it can be expected that UBL's proposed worldwide Kaliphate would feature virtually all of the repressions and cruelties of both Leninism and Naziism/Fascism, which are designed for repressing the individual and deifying the all-powerful God-State. That is quite clearly bin Laden's arrogant and self-serving goal as well.
More particularly, all of these isms are pseudo-religious scams of the Heaven-on-Earth variety -- organized and sustained in keeping with Vladimir Lenin's cynical postulation that "We will find our greatest success to the extent that we inculcate Marxism as a kind of religion. Religious men and women are easy to convert and win, and will easily accept our thinking if we wrap it up in a kind of religious terminology."
It is in this spirit of spin, scam and deceit that the fascist-Left Communists created the so-called "Liberation Theology" heresy, condemned as such by the late great Pope John Paul ll in the 1970s and 80s.
And it is in a similar neo-Leninist spirit of apostasy (murtadd) and of "playing God" (Istihlal)that Osama bin Laden is today promoting his pseudo-Islamic war of "Jihadi Martyrdom" -- falsely promising Paradise for dreadful acts of sinful criminality which, according to the Qur'an itself, will send both him and his blood-thirsty suicide mass murderers to Eternal Hellfire (Jahannam), instead.
Conclusion: While al Qaeda and its murderous leaders are clearly "fascist" and jackboot illiberal to the marrow of their pseudo-religious bones, this does not necessarily apply to their professed religion of Islam -- no more than the leaders and enforcers of the Spanish Inquisition embodied the essence of Christianity.
This great religion of 1.4 billion souls should be seen and labeled as "fascist" and inherently EVIL only to the extent that it embraces, acquiesces in or refuses to condemn the sinful criminalities of what is quite obviously The al Qaeda Apostasy -- a satanic status which, in authentic Islam, renders the fomenters of "Jihadi murderdom" punishable by death in this life and by Eternal Hellfire in the next.
The question now is whether "Authentic Islam" will rise to the challenge, draw an eternally bright line between itself and its in-house apostate enemies and avoid being perverted into nothing but a perpetual fascist-Left, AQ-style killing machine.
In the final analysis, it will boil down to a matter of Islam's self definition. N'est-ce pas?