The penchant for preparing to fight the last war is well noted. We’ve seen it in recent days in remarks by President Bush, a speech by U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum here in Harrisburg and, most notably, in a speech by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld at an American Legion convention.
As if reading from the same script, all have termed what more commonly have been called terrorists “Islamic fascists.” Rumsfeld took it a step further and likened critics of the war in Iraq to Nazi appeasers of World War II.
Looking to stem declining public support for the war in Iraq, the administration has put the conflict with Islamic fanatics on a par with the greatest war in history, one that — unlike today — involved the mobilization of the entire nation.
There is, of course, nothing new about demonizing one’s opponents. Both sides call each other names.
But in this instance it is especially offensive. More important, what these comments reflect is a fundamental misunderstanding of the enemy we’re fighting in Iraq, in other parts of the Muslim world and, indeed, in Islamic communities in Western countries, including our own.