Quote: “Bin Laden and his terrorist allies have made their intentions as clear as Lenin and Hitler before them. The question is: Will we listen? Will we pay attention to what these evil men say?” President Bush.
Figure of Speech: anamnesis (an-am-NE-sis), the figure of remembrance. From the Greek, meaning “remembrance.”
The president once avoided mentioning Bin Laden, whose very existence was something of an embarrassment. Now Bush has decided to revive the terrorist in chief in time for the elections. He uses a special kind of analogy, the anamnesis, to link radical Islam with the twentieth century’s evil isms, fascism and Communism.
It’s a neat trick. By “terrorist allies,” Bush means Iran and whoever is killing troops in Iraq. Which makes Iraq central to the war on terrorism. And it turns critics into appeasers, like those wimps in Old Europe.
While historical analogies produce great rhetoric, they muddle policymaking. Weren’t the Soviets allies in WWII? Should we fight a cold war with radical Islam? Or a hot one with seedbeds of terrorism like Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia? (Oh, wait. The Saudis and Pakis are allies. We think.)
The Democrats are no better when they compare Iraq (deposed dictator, tribal warfare) to Vietnam (nationalist quagmire). Except that the protest songs are still danceable:
And it’s one two three, what are we fighting for?
Don’t ask me, I don’t give a faq.
Next stop will be Iraq.
Snappy Answer: “Can you also pay attention to your constituents?”