Monday, January 19, 2015


Marine Le Pen, head of the National Front party in France, has an op-ed in The New York Times today. If you're familiar with American right-wing bloviation on foreign policy and terorism, her main recommendation will have a familiar ring:
“To misname things is to add to the world’s unhappiness.” Whether or not Albert Camus really did utter these words, they are an astonishingly apt description of the situation in which the French government now finds itself. Indeed, the French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius no longer even dares pronounce the real name of things.

Mr. Fabius will not describe as “Islamists” the terrorists who on Wednesday, Jan. 7, walked into the offices of the newspaper Charlie Hebdo, right in the heart of Paris. Nor will he use “Islamic State” to describe the radical Sunni group that now controls territory in Syria and Iraq. No reference can be made to “Islamic fundamentalism,” for fear that Islam and Islamism might get conflated. The terms “Daesh” and “Daesh cutthroats” are to be favored instead, even though in Arabic “Daesh” means the very thing to be hidden: “Islamic State.”

Let us call things by their rightful names, since the French government seems reluctant to do so. France, land of human rights and freedoms, was attacked on its own soil by a totalitarian ideology: Islamic fundamentalism. It is only by refusing to be in denial, by looking the enemy in the eye, that one can avoid conflating issues. Muslims themselves need to hear this message. They need the distinction between Islamist terrorism and their faith to be made clearly....

Once things are called what they are, the real work begins.
Really? The work of fighting these people can't even get under way until all government officials are shouting MUSLIM MUSLIM MUSLIM, carefully adding in a whisper, like Le Pen, that they distinguish "Islamic fundamentalism" from "Islam," a distinction that is likely to be ignored by enraged ordinary non-Muslim citizens?

In the past I've called this the "Rumplestiltskin" approach -- you can't act until you utter the magic word. But President Obama generally refrains from uttering the magic word, and he had Osama bin Laden killed. Does Le Pen not consider that part of "the real work"? Does she disapprove of the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, who was said to be a key inspiration for the Charlie Hebdo massacre, even though that killing was also set in motion by the non-"Rumplestiltskin"-uttering President Obama?

There's a case to be made that some of what Le Pen describes as "the real work" is actually counterproductive -- drone strikes that kill civilians, torture prisons, the Iraq War, surveillance exceses. But that's not what she's saying. Like so many American right-wingers, she's saying that efforts to prevent terrorist attacks can't even begin until all politicians utter the particular phrases that give right-wingers a self-righteous thrill.

This is nuts -- but it's widely believed on the right. If Le Pen ever decides to cede control of her party to someone else, she has a promising future as an American right-wing pundit.


Philo Vaihinger said...

Every word you quoted her as saying is right on the money. And, yes, it is important that politicians correctly and truthfully identify enemies against whom they want us to make war.

Grung_e_Gene said...

Conservtives claim the mantle of he-man heroic defenders of Freedom Fries Land so only they can talk about islam not being the problem just the fundamentalists and ony they can win the war on terror.

Roger said...

Le Pen Lizards! That's one fucked up Frog.

KenRight said...

If she maintains her father Jean Marie's platform that France should completely detach itself from America's Israeli-owned Mideast policy, well that's half the battle and will enhance her ability to deal with the other half's internal challenge.

Victor said...

“To misname things is to add to the world’s unhappiness.”

Boy, that sounds like the motto for conservatives around the world!!!

Here in America, in the past 10+ years, we've had the following:
The Patriot Act.
The Death Tax.
Death Panels.

All of this conservative misnaming BS is to cover-up policies that hurt the nation and its people.

Yastreblyansky said...

KenRight: She follows the Rand Paul approach of keeping crazy papa in the closet.

Glennis said...

Philo plans to utter "Islamic fundamentalism" three times, turn widdershins in a circle, and stamp his feet.

That'll do the trick.

GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

Phil's response seems to be: sure, you think Le Pen's awful and racist and full of shit--but here's what you DIDN'T know, which renders your arguments invalid: I, Phil Vangeler [sic--don't care enough to scroll back up], am exactly the same! Take that, libz!