President (Again) Names the Enemy

Jawa Report guest poster The All-Seeing Eye is relieved to see these words from President Bush today in response to this morning’s announcement of a foiled UK 9/11: “The recent arrests that our fellow citizens are now learning about are a stark reminder that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom, to hurt our nation.” A-SE observes, “May seem like a small thing, but this is the first time, so far as I’m aware, that Bush has ever identified our enemy by name. In my book, that’s a step forward.”

Actually, though, as commenters point out, this isn’t the first time. Indeed, I had a very similar reaction to a November 14, 2005 speech to American troops in Alaska which contained this passage: “Some call this evil Islamic radicalism; others, militant Jihadism; still others, Islamo-fascism. Whatever we choose to call this enemy, we must recognize that this ideology is very different from the tenets of the great religion of Islam.”

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. legion says:

    But I thought all the suspects were British – aren’t they all Anglicans? (/snark off)

  2. skunky spliffmeister says:

    I don’t understand your logic. I thought we are supposed to kill all them brown people, not just the fascist ones?

  3. Gollum says:

    You say jihadist /
    I say irhabist /
    You say Islamo-fascist /
    I say mufsidoon /
    jihadist, irhabist, Islamo-fascist, mufsidoon /
    let’s call the whole thing off . . .

  4. Anderson says:

    Matt Yglesias is worth quoting in full on this one (tho, like everyone else, he can benefit from my added emphasis):

    Bush says today’s plots serve as a “stark reminder that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists.” If anything, it’s a stark reminder of the reverse. A stark reminder that this isn’t a “war” at all — you don’t foil a plot like this with armored personnel carriers and JDAMs. We’re also not going to capture the capital city of “Islamic fascism” — not Kabul, not Baghdad, not even Teheran and Damascus — and force our adversaries to surrender.

    It’s not at all difficult to kill or capture terrorists. Instead, what makes them dangerous is that they’re hard to identify. What makes them doubly dangerous is that because they’re hard to identify, the temptation is to target them very broadly. And as we saw in the administration’s desperately failed strategies in the “Sunni triangle” when you tar huge numbers of not-yet-opponents in your effort to find the bad guys, you wind up generating a much larger number of adversaries. The great challenge is to identify strategies for targeting terrorists narrowly enough so that the number of terrorists actually declines as a result of your counterterrorism operations.

    Bush keeps on doing the reverse — defining the enemy in very broad, very lazy ways; conflating issues that have little to do with each other; charging off half-cocked and pissing people off. Meanwhile, he hasn’t managed to kill or capture Osama or Zawahiri and insists on reacting to everything that happens in the most-alarmist, most-partisan terms he can imagine. Worst of all, the continued failure of his policies to ameliorate the problem is then trotted out as a justification for continuing — or even intensifying — the same failed approach.

    Police work joined with cooperative intel seems to have broken the Heathrow plot, no?

  5. Hal says:

    Islamofascists. Man, who knew that Ossama was a closet corporatist who is an ardent anti-communist!

  6. Trest says:

    Listen, Anderson, you liberal-types don’t seem to understand that you may disagree with Bush, but he is a strong leader because he STICKS WITH THE MESSAGE. People who “analyze” like this Iglesias fellow are merely engaging in partisan class warfare.

    We have to remember that 9/11 changed the world. We no longer have any room for trying to make sense of the actual conditions on the ground. We need to use our military strength to send a message to whoever, that we’re not screwing around. Sure, it may not actually rid the world of the threat or make us any safer, but it will help us stick to the message so the Dummocrats dont get out of hand.

  7. LJD says:

    Let me add, if you don’t go after them where they train and equip, you will be doing ‘police work joined with cooperative intel’ for an eternity.

    Yglesias’ quote clearly reveals his position, with the tired old lefty ‘hasn’t managed to kill or capture Osama or Zawahiri’.

    However, many, many of their misguided followers are dead or captured. So what? We haven’t heard a peep out of Osama for a while. I guess he’s busy trying to stay alive…