The American Taliban

Juan Cole has written a very illuminating post on the Shiavo case. Please read it all. Here’s a portion:

The Schiavo Case and the Islamization of the Republican Party
The cynical use by the US Republican Party of the Terri Schiavo case repeats, whether deliberately or accidentally, the tactics of Muslim fundamentalists and theocrats in places like Egypt and Pakistan. These tactics involve a disturbing tendency to make private, intimate decisions matters of public interest and then to bring the courts and the legislature to bear on them. President George W. Bush and Republican congressional leaders like Tom Delay have taken us one step closer to theocracy on the Muslim Brotherhood model.
The Muslim fundamentalists use a provision of Islamic law called “bringing to account” (hisba). As Al-Ahram weekly notes, “Hisba signifies a case filed by an individual on behalf of society when the plaintiff feels that great harm has been done to religion.” Hisba is a medieval idea that had all be lapsed when the fundamentalists brought it back in the 1970s and 1980s.


I’ve been calling the religious right in this country The American Taliban for some time. I doubt I’m the only one who thought of it – it is too apt, and it doesn’t matter anyway. It is what they are.
If that sounds too shrill, too bad. Just look at what Tom Delay and the religious right are trying to do. They are trying to destroy our system of laws by making them subject to “God’s Law.” Of course, it is Tom Delay and the rest who are writing “God’s Law” as they go along. That alone should give everyone a good dose of the whim whams.
In the process of rampaging through hundreds of years of legal precedent, the religious right is trying to tear down everything that keeps our government stable. Things like res judicata, which allows questions to be finally settled, and the balance of power between the executive, the legislative and the judicial arms of our government. What they want, and they make no bones about it, is a theocracy. They are actively working toward that goal.
In working toward that goal, they will use anyone they can seize and manipulate as a tool. The did it with Elian Gonzales and the Cuban exile community in Florida. They are doing it again with the corpse of Terri Shiavo, and her deluded parents. And notice – they have no concern about consistency when it comes to one of these situations. They are actively trying in the Shiavo case to repudiate Terri and Michael Shiavo’s marriage, and his legal guardianship over his wife’s body. It is a breathtaking display of contempt for a legal relationship that the right has been howling is under attack from the left. The only way to bring these two countervailing ideas into harmony is to paint Michael Shiavo as a demon instead of a husband. They’ve been working overtime to convince people of that, too. Think about it – our government is painting one of our citizens as a murderer for trying to see that his wife is treated humanely and in accordance with her wishes.
Everyone in the country should look on this and be very afraid. You thought you had a legal marriage? You thought you had control over your own body and your life? Not according to the American Taliban. According to them, you and I and the laws that we have relied upon to bring order to our lives are less than nothing. All that’s left is to line up where Tom Delay tells us to. All you need to worry about is whether or not you are in Line A to the bus to the Christian Re-education Camp, or Line B, to the showers. Think that’s too emotional and out there? Think again. Without checks and balances, all that’s left is what somebody like Tom Delay says is the way it is. After all, as he retorted upon being asked to extinguish a cigarette because smoking in a government building is against the law – “I am the law.”