So Mehdi Bray wants an apology from President Bush.
Why ... why ... (as the exquisitely named Bray sees it) the nerve of this guy! -- blasting "Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom..."
"There is no doctrine of fascism in Islam," according to Bray, who heads up the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation and was addressing an anti-Bush, anti-Israel rally in Washington over the weekend.
From the look of things, many had concluded Bush owed an apology all right -- to the late Herr Hitler for lowering him, morally, to the level of the Islamofascists who scheme to blow up as many civilians as possible on every possible occasion, with all possible disruption to normal life everywhere.
What do we need to see, really, in order to prove degeneracy -- banners and armbands and jackboots? Wasn't it enough, prior to the ceasefire, just to turn on the television and watch the Katyusha rockets?
Worth noting as well is the ongoingness of the Islamic -- because I don't think Anglicans or Presbyterians are involved in it -- assault on British, not to mention Israeli, society. As of Monday, British police were looking into 70 non-Anglican, non-Presbyterian "terror plots" against the public safety -- this, just 13 months after 56 people died in suicide blasts on London buses.
Sticks and stones tossed by the kind of people who would applaud a Mehdi Bray won't break any presidential bones. Nevertheless, they remind us of the character of this enemy. That character is monstrous -- "a force so dark," Janet Daley calls it in Britain's Daily Telegraph this week, "that it is almost incomprehensible to democratic people."
I do not think Bush's point about fascism was that would-be airplane bombers go goose-stepping about in fantastic uniforms. I think the point was that the cold cruelty and malice of the Islamic fascists, their indifference to innocent life, their disposition to violence call the Nazis unmistakably to mind.
Only one detail doesn't call the Nazis to mind. It is that we knew where the Nazis lived, and what kind of government they had, and what they wanted. The terrorists, from the holes and crannies where they live and plot, give us only the most shadowy idea of an objective, apart from what we read in the newspapers about some great Caliphate they want to establish, where you do exactly as they say or they cut off your head or blow up your children. How delightful.
When are various Moslem leaders going to stop braying like Bray when the truth is spoken about the fetid malignancy of the terrorists who claim to act in Allah's name?
The best way to end talk of Islamic fascism, and of a "clash of civilizations," is for Moslems to step in and acknowledge where the problem comes from -- namely, from inside their own community -- and take action. Turn in the terrorists, cooperate in the fight against them: That's what would get the job done.
It's probably also, at present, the least likely way of getting the job done. You have demagogues like Mehdi Bray, and you have "progressive" Democrats like those who last week denied Sen. Joseph Lieberman renomination as a Democrat, to shift focus where they can from the Islamic fascists themselves to the supposedly misplaced zeal of the United States and Britain in taking the war to the fascists. How you're supposed to deal with fascists of any religion, or none, is the hard question at hand.
If you're not going to call them by their right name, you're certainly not going to oppose them with "undue" force. Instead you'll -- got it! Keep talking, keep conceding, work at avoiding war, and pretty soon you've replicated the Europe of 1938, and the tramping, stamping feet, and the salutes, and the Stukas suddenly diving from the sky over Poland.
What a truly great moment for fascism, when the fascists spoke ("no more territorial ambitions") and the wise and well-meaning swallowed it all.
Until, of course, it was too late.