Who said fascism was dead?

Fascism alive and kicking, eh?
Not that I had any doubts about it. A number of kilometers to our south there is a fascist regime, which constantly reminds us, with its violations of “our” airspace, that our fate is in its hands, that it is our God: it can allow us to live, or take life away from us with the push of a button. To make it worse, the whole region is home to a dozen or so totalitarian, fascist regimes, all of which were supported by USA (and Israel) at one time; some of them still are.

This entry was triggered by a column by Michael Coren that appeared in Saturday’s Toronto Sun, titled “We should nuke Iran”. Don’t ask me how it is that anyone could actually print such garbage. I am sure that by now, the folks at Little Green Footballs Fascists are devouring the pages of Toronto Sun for a taste of more columns of this sort.

Coren begins the article by a classical logical fallacy, dismissing those who might disagree with his thesis as unknowledgeable. Then he “boldly” drops the bomb, arguing that a nuclear bomb should be dropped on Iran. But don’t panic, hear it out, the man is actually quite sensible (sic) and assures us that there would be “a limited and tactical use of nuclear weapons to destroy Iran’s military facilities and its potential nuclear arsenal.” If you aren’t reassured, you are not knowledgeable. But since Coren’s assumption is that he is knowledgeable, we can assume that he is aware of Israel’s real (rather than potential) nuclear arsenal. Why is he so obsessed with Iran’s potential nuclear arsenal, then? The answer is simple. For Coren and millions of fascists like him, there are two definitions under fascism in the dictionary. There are “good fascists”, and those are the people who massacre a Canadian family visiting relatives in south Lebanon. Those are supported by the enlightened and civilized West and most importantly by Tories chairman Stephen Harper. Those are also the ones who oppress women, cut the hands of thieves, throw dissenters into dungeons, and execute homosexuals. They are loved by the media, and their acts – “massacres” always placed in quotation marks, making a mockery of the lives of those who have perished by their WMD – are hailed as strategic necessity. Then there are the “bad fascists”, and those are the ones who murder an Iranian-Canadian photojournalist. This necessitates international investigation, talks on nuclear non-proliferation, a clean-up of the human rights record, and so on. This will steal the headlines for weeks, months, years, whereas the aftermath of the merciful acts of the “good fascists” will be mentioned once or twice (if it’s your lucky day). They will never be on the headlines. Hockey, after all, is second to none. Well, none other than a “bad fascist” headline.

Coren then argues that dropping a nuclear bomb is “the only response that this repugnant and acutely dangerous political entity will understand.” There are a number of problems with this statement. First, has Coren tested all the other possible scenarios, and if so, would he enlighten us as to how he arrived to the conclusion that they would fail? Second, the Iranian regime might be “repugnant”, but the Israeli regime is no less repugnant. The Saudi regime is no less repugnant. The Egyptian regime is no less repugnant. The list goes on. It seems Coren is a man with an agenda, and from his complete disinteredness in the repugnancy of a number of regimes, which by far surpass the Iranian regime in their crimes, it seems that this agenda has nothing whatsoever to do with human rights. What, then, is Coren’s agenda? The answer to the question is in that very sentence. The Iranian regime is considered an “acutely dangerous political entity”. There are no clarifications as to whom it is dangerous for. The Saudis? The Sunni fundamentalists? Turkey? The Iranian/Persian people??? Or is Coren solely concerned with the threat it poses to the sectarian patron-protégé order in Lebanon (via HezbAllah), Israel, and the U.S/allied influence in and military hegemony over the region (facilitated by bases in many a dictatorial – but not repugnant by Coren’s standards – Arab regime)? Hard to tell, really, as Coren strangely does not see fit to elaborate.

Unrelenting a human rights and world peace advocate as Coren is, he terms the nuclear massacre he dreams of a “tragedy”, practically echoing what Shimon Peres once said referring to the Armenian Holocaust, “It is a tragedy what the Armenians went through, but not a genocide.” Yes, he says, people will die, “[b]ut not many”. A consolation. The lives it will save will be in the millions, he argues. The logic has been accorded legitimacy for centuries. What is the burning of a few thousand [heretics] at the stake when the aim is to save the souls of millions? The end justifies the means. Machiavellian ethics to the bone. Literally. The “civilized world” against the world of barbarians who must be subdued and civilized against their will. For their own good. Or so it goes. This is not fascism. This is liberation. And we all know that there are no ifs or buts when it comes to killing in the name of liberation (from whatever it might be, real or perceived). Coren argues that it would be more appropriate to question if there is any sensible alternative (and he assures us the answer will be no – but does not elaborate) than to be disgusted at the barbarism advocated. Even as he drums the tunes of war, he claims that the Iranian regime is obsessed with waging war against its perceived enemies. Its motives are unquestionable, he insists, yet he fails to elaborate as to how he arrived to that conclusion. Something tells me that logical argumentation is one of Mr. Coren’s weakest points. In yet another demonstration of his double standards, he points out that Iran spends billions developing missiles and weapons. Yet what is he implying by stating this fact? That Iran should be prohibited from doing so, but not Israel? That the Iranian regime becomes a dangerous political entity once it adopts such aspirations, but not the Israeli government? How does the Iranian regime differ from Israel? Israel’s human rights record is quite damning, more damning than that of Iran. The only real difference that I can think of is that Iran has used verbal threats and so far acted on none, whereas Israel has threatened a lot and remained true to these threats, massacring and destroying anything that stood in its way. The only fault of many of its victims was that they were moving. A country that is afraid of its own shadow can claim to have achieved victory but will know it will never win.

In a predictable albeit disgusting comparison to the Nazis, he argues that Iran, unlike the Nazi regime back in the 30s, has no “aggressive enemies” in the region. This is mind-boggling. It is evident that Coren has tried too hard to bring Nazism into the article somehow, however stupid it might actually sound. It seems that Mr. Coren, who places great emphasis on fighting fascism, needs a lesson or two in Nazi instigation, aggression, and occupation. But perhaps that would hit too close to home. Israel, after all, is considered a civilized nation. Surely the concept of lebensraum (living space), which formed the core of Nazi ideology and driving force, is an inalienable right? Moreover, isn’t threatening to nuke Iran an aggressive enmity enough to convince it that it needs the nukes to begin with? How would anyone in his/her right mind interpret the double standards that Coren endorses?

Then comes a ritual bashing of Ahmadinajad. The problem is that he controls a brutal police state (bad fascist compared to the good fascist leaders of, say, Egypt, or KSA, or Jordan), “finances international terror” and “provokes bloody [?!] wars in foreign countries” (bad fascist compared to the good fascists who practice and/or fund terrorism all over the world, from Palestine to Iraq to Afghanistan to Vietnam to Grenada and on and on it goes; or maybe I am geographically ignorant – perhaps Mr. Coren would explain to me where Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam, Grenada, and a whole lot of other countries are located in relation to the United States of America). He then argues, parroting the racist claim often voiced by Israelis that “Arabs only understand the language of force”, that Iran and its allies (only good fascists are supposed to have allies) “only listen to power and threat”. From the safety and luxury of his house in Canada, Mr. Coren beats the drums of war and decides that it is better (for the Middle Easterners) to undergo limited suffering than for everyone to suffer in five years. Somehow I doubt that had he been sitting anywhere in the Middle East he would have been advocating nuclear armageddon.

He closes (I do not want to say concludes, because there is no conclusion as there is no logical sequence of argumentation; there is only one idea, and everything else is manipulated in support of that) the article by directing a cheap shot at “post Christian churches” (?!) and “the Marxists” (as if there is only one interpretation of Marx and no diversity in Marxist movements). Yet another instance of fallacious reasoning. An example of ad hominem fit to be printed in a philosophy / logic 101 textbook. The “same sort” (same sort???) of people “moaned and condemned in 1938”, he points out, in another reference to the Nazis. I only wish that, for all his obsession with the Nazis and for the sake of his alleged dedication to fighting fascism, Mr. Coren would take a closer look at the history of WWII. Had he done so before philosophizing about the Nazi regime, he would’ve heard of the appeasements of Hitler by the conservative Chamberlain, or of Operation Barbarossa and its implications. But perhaps I am expecting too much of a fascist who talks about “post-Christian churches” and fantasizes about apocalypse.

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14 responses to “Who said fascism was dead?

  1. The only fascism I know are Islamic and Arab.

  2. The Canadian Arab Federation has requested that Coren be fired. I have that from an excellent source, an email from Coren.

    I support a free and open press. It is also clear that extremist Islamic beliefs are extremes. So too is Mr. Coren’s presentation. Sometimes one extreme spawns other extremes. This is danger of the growing escallation between “terrorists” or “freedom fighters” and governments. At some point, one side or the other will eventually do the unthinkable. This is tragedy of people like the President of Iran, whose actions say war while his mouth cries peace and President Bush whose mouth says war while actions say war. President Bush, supported by the far-Christian right, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad an extremist Islamic revolutionary are playing a school-yard game of I dare you step over that line while the world hangs in the balance.

    Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to power, determined to bring more Islamic revolution, and said so in his first speaking. He believes because the Taliban and Iraq have been put down that he now has power to dictate terms. In reality the Bush war on terrorism has strengthened Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government and empowered Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

    I never believed Iraq presented any urgent threat to the Middle East or to America. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has made no secret of his plans to export Islamic revolution. Iran, even prior to the war in Iraq presented a greater threat to the Middle East than Iraq. John Kerry called Iraq the wrong war, in the wrong place at the wrong time. Iran would have been the proper war because Iran was a far greater threat to stability than Iraq. Why President Bush chased after Iraq is still a mystery to me. I have never supported Bush’s Iraq war.

    I have also refused to define Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, but they are an organization Iran has provided arms in the past. Iran has other such connections. Not all of these connections have the roots of a resistance group like Hezbollah. Iran wishes to be a superpower in the Middle East. Iran may succeed or may fail in this attempt, only time God knows at this point.

    My own personal belief is that when it comes to Iran, I believe President Bush needs to resolve the issue promptly, either though diplomacy or though a war based not on Rumsfield doctrine, but based on Powell doctrine. I believe one way or the other the issue of Iran must be resolved in order for peace to exist.

    I have NEVER supported Bush in Iraq. I will support Bush on any plan to resolve the issue of Iran. Iran built some nuclear sites so no traditional bombs can destory them. Iran made that choice while saying it was peaceful. As a result, if it comes to a military action, weapons may well be used that are not traditional weapons. This is game of chicken that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is playing with Bush. We, the common people have no real say-so when it comes to such games of international chicken.

    I would rather see the Bush Administration give Egypt and other nations nuclear weapons to maintain a balance of nuclear power with Iran than to see the United States have to deal with the issue. If it is about a balance of power, then such a plan would balance the power without war. As was learned during the Soviet Union – United States cold war, the ability of nations to mutually destroy each other helps keep both nations from using such weapons. The question is if it work with the mindset of radical Islamic fundamentalists, or would they feel the God given right to use such weapons because the other nation was not an Islamic government.

    Time will tell the course of these events. These are simply my random thoughts.

  3. This dude is nuts. I wouldn’t call him a fascist though, unless for you fascism is simply another synonym for evil.

  4. Coren is crazy, but be careful with the word fascist. Google Trotsky’s definition. It shows that fascism is a specific tendency, at a specific time.

  5. I would rather see the Bush Administration give Egypt and other nations nuclear weapons to maintain a balance of nuclear power with Iran
    Israel already has nuclear weapons, so Iran getting them would CREATE a balance. It is not nuclear imbalance that worries Bush & co. On the contrary, nuclear BALANCE in the Middle East greatly worries them. It means that Israel would no longer hold the upper hand.

    Renegade:

    Well that was Trotsky’s understanding of it, but in no way does it mean that it is the correct/original one. Moreover, I believe even Trotsky’s understanding applies (albeit loosely) to the likes of Coren (whom Trotsky refers to as “fascist elements” in addressing, in particular, the issue of fascism in the U.S). To call Coren merely “crazy” is a gross understatement. When I referred to him as “fascist” I did not just mean that he is a warmonger, but that people like him (and I have dealt with them on a number of occasions) have a skewed view of how their own countries should be managed and how their foreign policy should be modeled (usually expansionist / imperialist – or what is often referred to as “civilizing the brutes”, which Coren clearly advocates). The radicalization that Trotsky talks about is already in full development in the U.S, and is slowly but surely turning its attention from the foreign sphere to the domestic one. Also look at how the Tories in Canada, for example, came to power. The failure of the NDP and the Liberals to introduce reforms, and the economically degenerate policies they adopted over the years, greatly boosted the Tories’ chances for snatching power.

  6. I will second renegades words of caution, the term fascism is quickly being emptied of meaning altogether by it’s sudden ,extensive useage.Sen. Rick Santorum was saying basically the same things on Sun. and he is corporate driven as well (harkening back to Mussolinis definition,or the one he CLAIMED to invent) but my political instincts tell me not to trot out the F word for these hacks.It actually lends them more ideological importance than they merit. Does that make any sense?

  7. Troutsky, it does not. I don’t see how advocating mass-obliteration has any less merit than Mussolini’s regime, for example. And certainly you are arguing based on merit and relativism.

  8. There is a reality beyond the words in the case of Iran. Bush and Ahmadinejad are two school boys drawing a line in the sand and daring the other to step over the line. Both are willing to play the game and both are willing to step over the line.

    Another reality is someone in Iran and someone in the United States can play a game too, called: “My President is crazier than your President.”

    Iran is certainly not transparent in their nuclear program. The Bush Administration has run a very secret government, so they are not transparent about anything.

    Ahmadinejad wants to export Islamic revolution to the world, he has made that clear. Bush wants to export democracy to the world and he has made that clear.

    Ever wish you could send both of them t their rooms?

  9. The main problem is not Iran’s intentions, but the West’s double standards when it comes to nuclear non-proliferation.

  10. OK we get it – your thesis is “let’s not bomb Iran” – fine. Nobody is voting in favor of that quite yet anyway. But, what is all the spunk about Israel? Your assertions show that you are very Ignorant about the Israeli military doctrine and political course. You sound like you have an axe to grind, you loathing self-affirmer. By the way the Little Green Footballs is the only media outlet so far, who pointed to the fraudulent reporting on the Middle East by Reuters and BBC. Of course, if those are the only ones you are tuned to – no wonder. Some readings besides the New York Times I recommend to you would be by Robert Baer, Bernard Lewis and Walter Laqueur.

  11. Your assertions show that you are very Ignorant about the Israeli military doctrine
    Actually, it seems that the Israeli government is the one that is ignorant about the military doctrine that was adopted many decades ago. In fact, had they followed it to the letter, relative stability would’ve been the norm in this part of the world. Instead, feelings of invincibility and the thirst for expansion blinded them (and Israeli society at large) to the necessity of taking the initiative and forging peace with “moderate” (i.e. weak/defeated) Arabs who had shown willingness to negotiate and compromise on almost everything.

  12. Moreover, it seems that the folks at LGF would be better off covering the kidnapping of Hassan Nasrallah… I mean, Hassan Deeb Nasrallah. Yeah, that’s the guy who was claimed by the righteous media authorities in Israel (i.e. the IDF censors; ironic that those who claim they are free and democratic needed to censor the news, while HezbAllah, which is accused of oppressing the Lebanese, did no such thing, nor attempted to) to have been a “senior HezbAllah leader”, then a “junior HezbAllah militant”, and then… nothing. The irony is that Israel no longer needs someone to expose its lies. The extreme stupidity of its leaders has guaranteed that.

  13. Hi!
    I’m a Canadian, just like Coren, even though I was born here while Coren was born in England. Coren is a rather strange bird. He’s a man of Jewish extraction who converted to Christianity. This is rare. But what is even more rare is that he converted to Roman Catholicism instead of some evangelical sectoid. He manages this feat while carrying over ALL of the cultural baggage of American evangelicalism into Catholicism without realizing how much he contrasts with the Church at large. Not that the Roman Church doesn’t contain some very stern conservative tendencies, but these tendencies are very much different from the sort of religious politics that Coren promotes. He never bothered to learn enough about the religion he adopted to see the differences between its conservativism and the american export that he promotes under the “veil” of catholicism.
    As my Lebanese friend suggests he operates in a fog of ignorance. His “nuclear opinions” are similarily ignorant. Coren has lived just as much a “pampered life”, probably more so, than I have. His familial claims to victimhood are exactly !!! the same as those of my family on my mother’s side. My mother was born in Simferopal, Crimea, and the family who remained in the USSR were exterminated to the last person under Stalin for the sin of being the wrong ethnic group.
    All that is way far in the past, and Coren treats it as an abstraction to justify atrocities in the future. The atrocities that he advocates are characterized by their “bloodlessness”. They have even less reality than the distant past atrocities that his-and my- families suffered in Europe in the 20s,30s and 40s. They are mere numbers to Coren, and he is deluded in the idea that “limited use” of nuclear weapons doesn’t carry the famous term “collateral damage” – but at a much greater scale than conventional weapons. All this is “numbers” to Coren, as he has built up an ideology to insulate himself from reality. I suppose it’s not unique to Coren. I suspect that there are true believers in Iran who would use nuclear weapons against Israel “in support” of the Palestinians even if they would kill 75% of the Palestinians in such an attack. Unlike Canada, the Middle East is a “small” place.
    But to be honest, I think that such insanity is about as common in Iran as it is in Canada. Coren is an extreme example. I think that such insanity is more common in the USA, the only country that has ever actually used nuclear weapons in wartime and the only country that bluntly states that it WILL use such weapons. Even there I think that the vast majority of americans are more sensible than that.
    Coren represents a tiny fraction of political opinion in Canada, and his fantasies about the “American Caliphate” smiting the infidel should be seen as the rantings that they are.
    Pat Murtagh
    Mollymew

  14. The idea that Hezbullah don’t “censor” the news is hysterical. Do you just lap up every little bon mot these guys drop? At least a pretense to honesty would go a long way in your posts. The number of journalists who complained about Hezbullah sideshows, staged media ops and restriction of ability to talk to residents was more than simply “western slanting” could account for.

    Which is not to defend Israeli (or American “embedded”) censorship either. Israel’s level of censorship is often beyond absurd.

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