The Insidious Prophet of Petty Fascism
by B.J. Sabri
June 10, 2003
Thomas L. Friedman, a columnist of the New York Times, is an insidious prophet of petty fascism, where arrogant judgments, studied preconceptions, bloated self-righteousness, and a message for hatred and violence constitute a value system. By comparison with other forms of fascisms, “petty fascism” is an inferior intellectual product that lacks the minimum philosophical requirements to be a subject for a decent argument. The main function of petty fascism is to disseminate superficial knowledge of facts and muddy ideological propaganda. There is no yardstick to compare traditional hideous fascism with its petty homonym, as while the first may appear, at times, sophisticated, albeit, demagogical, the latter can barely camouflage its aggressive scrap cultural model.
In his article, “Because We Could,” Friedman single-handedly unified the essence of three political movements, which are Zionism, Nazism, and Fascism in a unique mixture (ZNF); and as if the resulting mixture was not palatable enough for his taste, he spiced it up with a language borrowed from a street behavior called Hoodlumism. The outcome is a venomous carousel of political views on complex issues that deserve serious study.
Let me explain why I identified ZNF with Friedman’s message. It is Zionist because it immediately branded Israel’s adversaries, Arabs and Muslims, as adversaries of the United States, and condemned them collectively, as Zionism is notorious for capitalizing and amplifying problems befallen on Arabs. Further, American Zionists never attack any nation as long it maintains bonds with Israel. Pointedly, and to be precise, Israel’s enemies are only Arabs, be they Muslim, Christian, or from other faiths. This is for a simple reason: Zionism founded the state of Israel on Arab soil. If Zionism had founded Israel on a parcel of Chinese soil, all Chinese would have become, inevitably, the enemy!
It is Nazi because it immediately promoted the ideological notion of using US military force based on the supremacist premise of being able to wage a war at will and with a sense of societal superiority.
It is fascist because it dealt with the war against Iraq only through the narrow and obtuse ideological prism of American Zionism and Israel’s agenda. Furthermore, it is also fascist because it accepted the absolute supremacy of the state, where this state can lie, deceive, and perjure itself with total impunity. As for my use of Hoodlumism, I see it like this. Friedman, who has the podium to reach every corner of the world, is promoting a notion of romanticized killing to ingratiate himself with a part of an audience that maybe accustomed to a culture of violence, thus, he is consciously expecting that his extremist insinuations could find resonance among potential readers prone to prejudice.
In spite of the above, Friedman’s article has its own merits. With his scant but insidious sentences, he allowed us the rare opportunity to refine our understanding of the ideological thinking of American Zionism and its influence in shaping moods and opinions. Knowing that rebutting an article does not allow expanding on other complex matters, I limit myself only to the main ideas that he touched on.
Friedman considers the issue of not finding the alleged Iraqi WMD a non-issue. He writes, “[B]ut is it the real story we should be concerned with? No. It was the wrong issue before the war, and it is the wrong issue now.”
After all the noisy and incessant commotion raised by American Zionists about Iraq’s mortal danger and its capacity to incinerate US cities in minutes, and now that the US occupies Iraq, the issue of Iraq’s WMD has suddenly become a non-issue! It is Friedman’s privilege to think that he should not be concerned with the issue of Iraq’s WMD. The correct and non-negotiable position, however, is that Iraq’s WMD is the only issue that the Bush Administration used to blackmail the world and wage an imperialistic and colonialistic war of conquest; therefore it cannot be a non-issue. The post-war circus of melodramatic afterthoughts and theatrical congressional investigations is not going to change the fundamental initial equation, which is, the US has dealt the cards based on one and only one assertion claiming that Iraq is a threat to the US through its possession of WMD. Therefore, the US has absolutely no option but to deal with the consequences of its war decision, and end its illegal occupation of Iraq immediately. The blood of the Iraqis, the destruction of their cities and their cultural heritage, the continuing occupation, and the ongoing robbery of its resources are not a subject for Zionist theorizations on the scope of the invasion before war, and the same scope modified after war.
If what Friedman theorized on the non-issue of WMD is valid, then he is implying two unequivocal things. First: that the way of thinking of the ruling elites has entered a phase of irreversible material transformation to an ideology reflecting state-fascism where raw manipulation of facts, slanted opinions, deceptions, and mainly controlled emotions are making the propaganda of traditional fascism child’s play. Second: that the US is setting a dangerous example where a country can invade any other country for a manufactured reason, but it will try to manufacture a different reason once that invasion completes it course, while expecting duped people to remain acquiescent as a sign of patriotic devotion or fear from being accused of anti-Americanism. This ideological attitude is a double-edge sword that only fools can think it will not cut.
Friedman lists four reasons for war against Iraq: the real reason, the right reason, the moral reason, and the stated reason. We only agree with two parts of this classification, which are the stated reason and the real reason. We are fully aware that the other two reasons: “the moral” and “the right” are nothing but ruses and moralizing hallucinations invented by American Zionists. However, as other constructed ideological categorizations, Friedman’s category of four reasons has an intrinsic duality that begs questions and opens the space for arguments not often expected.
Friedman, unprepared to evaluate the implications of his writing, chose the terrain of pedantic and pre-deterministic analysis. In the politics of big powers, as in ordinary life, we are all aware that there are hidden reasons and public reasons. A question: what are the real, right, moral, and stated reasons of the Zionist takeover of Palestine? What are the real, right, moral, and stated reasons for the Japanese attack against Pearl Harbor? What are the real, right, moral, and stated reasons for the Ottoman Empire to occupy half of Europe? What are the real, right, moral, and stated reasons of the white colonists of the United States to exterminate the Native Nations and seize their lands? What are the real, right, moral, and stated reasons of the US war on Iraq in 1991?
In answering the previous questions, it is reasonable to say that no state can satisfy, simultaneously, all of Friedman’s presupposed motives for interventions. Consequently, the entire interventionist equation falls back only to the stated and real reasons, and with the stated reason being heavily preponderant, as if it were the true reason for war. Accordingly, while the stated and real reasons are the driving forces that take nations to war, the right and moral reasons had never characterized any military interventions in the entire history of warfare. If Friedman’s moral and right reasons were applicable in a situation, and despite my unbending opposition to all wars, I would dare to say that the two ideal situations that warranted intervention by world powers should have been to rid the Middle East from the scourge of Zionism, and South Africa from Apartheid when this was thriving.
Friedman states the following point as being the real reasons. “After 9/11 America needed to hit someone in the Arab-Muslim world”. He continues” “The only way to puncture that bubble [terrorism] was for American soldiers, men and women, to go into the heart of the Arab-Muslim world, house to house, and make clear that we are ready to kill, and to die, to prevent our open society from being undermined by this terrorism bubble”.
This passage represents the essence of ZNF, and it has several implications that Friedman in his hasty Zionist zeal did not care to examine. First, Friedman implied that America needed vengeance. In reality, what America needed was to sit and examine why 9/11 happened in the first place, to see where the problem lies. Further, vengeance will beget vengeance; but justice will resolve a conflict. Further, it was a coalition of Zionists, Christian Fundamentalists, militarists, and hyper-imperialists, that decided to unleash military confrontations with the Islamic and Arab worlds for reasons that preceded and are alien to the 9/11 event.
What Friedman called “need” is in reality a reverse psychology appealing to the violent inclination of some jingoistic sections of the American people that see war as a symbol of patriotism, and to propagate this “need” to the entire American population. Third, if this is a proposed justificatory or legal principle, then Oklahoma State should have bombarded Timothy McVeigh’s family, relatives, native city Pendelton, and native state New York! Moreover, for the same reasons, Vietnam, Panama, Iraq, and Serbia, for example, should have taken vengeful actions against the US territory as retaliation for American bombing of their territory. By what standards does the US feel it has the right to bomb countries and their civilian population! Is the life and existences of an Asian, African, and Latin American not as valuable as that of a US citizen?
Friedman touches the lowest point of violent human instincts when he depicts America’s need to send its soldiers to go from house to house to kill and to die. There is, definitely, a sinister Nazi-like mentality about his statement. Indeed, Friedman reminds us of the Nazi practice to hunt down the perceived enemies of the Third Reich regardless of their culpability.
It is pathetic to see Mr. Friedman choose fascist psychology as an instrument to validate violence, as when he talks about killing and dying. For example, when an American kills an adversary, he calls the action killing, which is fine because it is true; but when an adversary kills an American, he describes the killing of the American as dying! This has a very precise explanation. In assigning the term killing to end the life of an adversary, he glamorizes killing as a sadistic pleasure; while in assigning the term dying for an American killed by an adversary, he minimizes the killing action by making it sound less terrible, and more of a natural thing. This is Friedman’s subliminal message: dying or killing through violence is not the same thing! However, the immediate result of this distinction is that certain individuals are going to rev up their homicidal instincts upon comprehending the essence of the message, thus being killed in house to house fight in battles imposed on all by Zionism is only dying. I suppose the families of the fallen soldiers will sing praising hymns for American Zionists who made them aware that their killed sons and daughters, actually, died in the course of battle.
Friedman continues, “[S]mashing Saudi Arabia or Syria would have been fine. But we hit Saddam because we could, and because he deserved it, and because he was right in the heart of that world [Arab-Muslim].
Fanatical American Zionism has a new mantra: “Because we could”! This passage offers many interpretations. 1) That American Zionism hates the Arab-Muslim world with such an intensity, which pushed the US to direct its violence, figuratively, to the heart of this world. 2) It upholds the principle of reciprocal congruity positing that if something is good for you; then, it is good for others. In this case, Friedman is telling us that al-Qaeda’s criminal attack is right, in the precise sense, that it attacked the United States because it could! If you elevate this to a maxim, then if group A kills group B, then it is acceptable because it could. 3) It emulates Nazism in that it directs anger against innocent targets; not that Saddam is a nice person, but that Iraq, as a country has nothing to do with Saddam? Besides, Saddam’s crimes toward his people pale by comparison with the crimes of genocidal thugs such as Begin, Shamir, and Sharon against Palestinian and Arabs. To our knowledge, no one has ever thought to bomb and occupy Israel because of the loathsome violence of its leaders!
Conclusion: the true reasons of war against Iraq, as opposed to Mr. Friedman’s real reasons, are: 1) to implement US hyper-imperialistic agenda in the Middle east and in the world, 2) to remake Iraq into a new type of colony and to control its oil, and 3) to implement Israel’s agenda in the Middle East.
Issue number 4: the right reason/point number 1
When Friedman talks about this point, he takes his Zionist clothes off, and wears a mantle of genuine concern for the Iraqis, “[T]he ‘right reason’ for this war is the need to partner with Iraqis, post-Saddam to build a progressive Arab regime.”
I am not sure why Friedman cares for the welfare of the Iraqis, post-Saddam! He never cared about their death, when they were perishing for twelve years under American sanctions! As a counter argument, I am interested to know if Friedman can show his care for the Arabs by suggesting a way with which we can make Israel abolish its fascist policies toward the Arabs, to end its Apartheid policies against Palestinians, and to abjure, once and for all, its racist and anti-historical Zionist creed.
Still I am at odds with the Zionist dogma that predicates wars on the Arabs to change their regimes. Can Friedman suggest that America goes to war with Israel to abolish its racist constitution thus opening Israel and make it follow the American model, which is open to all religions, all colors and all national origins?
Issue number 4: the right reason/point number 2
As Friedman continues with his Zionist monologue, one cannot but notice all the ideological litter, cultural infantilism, and derisible conclusions that adorn his masterpiece. “[T]he real weapons that threaten us are the growing number of angry, humiliated young Arabs and Muslims, who are produced by failed or failing Arab states—young people who hate America more than they love life”.
The passage above offers the finest opportunity to paraphrase Friedman. In reality, “The real weapons that threaten us are the way with which American Zionism is pushing the United States for wars against Arabs and Muslims”. However, I have to agree with Friedman on a small detail. Those angry Arabs produced by failed or failing states that he was talking about are also angry at the way with which the US and Israel are occupying their lands, killing their people, and destroying their future. As for his reference that “they hate America" I would like to say that the preceding statement is a lurid ideological disease with no possibility for remission, and in the ample sense of the word, it is an infected propagandistic feces with no place to quarantine.
Let me ask Mr. Friedman a question: did the Irish Republican Army hate the British when it declared its war to liberate Northern Ireland from British colonialism? Did Menachem Begin and his terrorist organization “Irgun Zvai” hate Britain, when he attacked the British in Palestine before the creation of the State of Israel? Indeed, the IRA, Irgun Zvai, and Al-Qaeda, shared one message: “Terrorism” for political reasons and not hatred. The word “hatred”, however, is a disclaimer: it relieves the user from his responsibility in causing the birth of terrorism, and it raises the troubled emotions of those who feel subjected to it indiscriminately.
Conclusion: Mr. Friedman’s right reason is an American Zionist ruse to conquer the Middle East. If the US feels the itching urge to implement a right reason for doing something, she can start immediately by reforming her militaristic and aggressive hyper-imperialistic policies that are causing turmoil around the world.
Mr. Friedman loves to indulge in repeating a stock phraseology coined by politicians, speechwriters, Zionists, and advertisement firms. Friedman puts the matter like this, “…The “moral reason” for the war was that Saddam’s regime was an engine of mass destruction and genocide that had killed thousands of his own people and neighbors, and needed to be stopped”
Mr. Friedman erred in describing Saddam. Saddam was a terrible and ruthless dictator, but describing him as an engine of mass destruction is another Zionist exaggeration. If Friedman’s description of Saddam is true, then let us paraphrase him again to describe another entity that has all the makings of Saddam, “[I]srael is an engine of mass destruction and genocide that killed tens of thousands of Palestinians, Lebanese, Syrians, and Egyptians, and needs to be stopped”
Conclusion: insidious prophets of petty fascism invent moral reasons to endorse ideologically motivated atrocities. The war on Iraq becomes another item in the gallery of moral reasons that includes the following examples: Pope Gregory IX and his inquisition; the Nazi atrocities against Jews; Truman’s dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki; the US Korean and Vietnamese holocausts; and Sharon’s permission to the Christian militia to massacre Palestinians in Sabra & Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon.
Mr. Friedman hits a target when he states “[T]he notion that Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction that posed an immediate threat to America. I argued before the war that Saddam posed no such threat and had no links to al-Qaeda, I argued that Mr. Bush should fight this war for the right reasons and the moral reasons. But Mr. Bush stuck with this WMD argument for P.R. reasons”.
We totally agree with Mr. Friedman that the WMD story is an American Zionist fabrication to take Iraq.
Mr. Friedman ends his piece with a Zionist sermon that uncovers many unsaid things: “[B]ut rebuilding Iraq is necessary to win the war….But I will feel terribly insecure if we fail to put Iraq onto progressive path. Because if that does not happen, the terrorism bubble will re-inflate and bad things will follow.”
Mr. Friedman is a hypocrite laureate. Why do American Zionists have concerns for the rebuilding of Iraq, especially knowing that it was a Zionist-controlled US that destroyed it by war? Further, why should Mr. Friedman feel terrible if US hyper-imperialist and Zionists fail to put an occupied Iraq onto progressive path! To our knowledge, aside from an Iraqi-born American agent named Ahmad Chalabi and an Iraqi-born hypocrite theorizer of an American imposed democracy named Kanaan Makia, no Iraqi has ever made a request to US American Zionists to put Iraq on any path!
Further, we understand that Mr. Friedman, a guru of imperialistic globalization is concerned that if the occupation project of Iraq were to fail, terrorism might re-inflate….etc. Because being an insidious prophet of petty fascism is a non-qualifier to be a shrewd political thinker, it is here, where you can see the shortcomings that expose the essence of the hyper-imperialist and Zionist projects. Mr. Friedman well knows that there is no connection between the success of the occupation model in Iraq and the so-called terrorism against the United States. To resolve the problems between the United States and the Middle East permanently and avoid further bloodshed, we propose the following reasonable alternative. The US takes steps to withdraw all of its forces from the Arabic Peninsula, to reverse its occupation of Iraq and give it back to its inhabitants, and to resolve the Palestinian issue based on their inalienable historical and human rights.
B. J. Sabri is an Iraqi-American peace-activist. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org