Cole in Salon: "Blowback from the GOP’s Holy War’

My Salon column is out: Blowback from the GOP’s holy war:
The 2008 Republican race has left a bitter legacy of sloganeering against Muslims. It may well haunt the party this November.


‘Giuliani complained that during their debates, Democratic rivals “never mentioned the word ‘Islamic terrorist,’ ‘Islamic extremist,’ ‘Islamic fascist,’ ‘terrorist,’ whatever combination of those words you want to use, [the] words never came up.” He added, “I can’t imagine who you insult if you say ‘Islamic terrorist.’ You don’t insult anyone who is Islamic who isn’t a terrorist.”

But people are not “Islamic,” they are Muslim. And one most certainly does insult Muslims by tying their religion to movements such as terrorism or fascism. Muslims perceive a double standard in this regard: Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols would never be called “Christian terrorists” even though they were in close contact with the Christian Identity Movement. No one would speak of Christofascism or Judeofascism as the Republican candidates speak of Islamofascism. Muslims point out that persons of Christian heritage invented fascism, not Muslims, and deny that Muslim movements have any link to the mass politics of the 1930s in Europe.

Giuliani’s pledge to take the United States on an offensive against Islamic fascism, which he also said would be a long-term battle, failed to excite the imagination of voters. It may well have alarmed them in a way different from what Giuliani intended: If, by Giuliani’s logic, the United States is only on the “defensive” now, with wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, what would being on the offensive look like? Would Giuliani have started four wars? Interestingly, Giuliani did especially poorly in Florida among retired and active-duty military personnel. ‘

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