ISIS or ISIL … pick which one you want to hate

Defense Secretary Ash Carter invoked a term that I find puzzling.

It’s not in a negative way, just a puzzling way.

Appearing this morning on “Meet the Press,” Carter was responding to a question from moderator Chuck Todd, who used the term “ISIS.” Carter answered him using the term “ISIL.”

ISIS, ISIL. Tomato, tom-ah-to.

President Obama for some time has been calling the terrorist monsters ISIL, which stands for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The more, um, colloquial term has been ISIS, which stands for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

The Levant describes a geographical region that covers roughly the nations bordering the eastern Mediterranean Sea. They comprise the site of the ongoing struggle against Islamic terrorists.

I suppose that, given the reach of the Islamic State, that “ISIL” seems a bit more appropriate, as it has done its murderous deeds throughout the eastern Med — and beyond.

Secretary of State John Kerry has been using the term “Daesh” when discussing ISIS/ISIL. Daesh is seen in the Islamic world as an epithet, a slur against the terrorists who comprise this monstrous group.

We all know, of course, how the Islamic State has elevated its profile from something President Obama once called the “JV team” of international terrorists. They’re the first-stringers these days, the varsity, Public Enemy No. 1 worldwide.

It really matters not one damn bit whether we call them “ISIS, ISIL” or “Daesh.” I’d prefer to call them all “dead.” We have killed many thousands of them since 9/11, but there no doubt remain many more to hunt down and, in the parlance so often used, “remove from the battlefield.”

I continue to have faith we’ll be able to do that — one day. I hope to be alive to welcome that event.

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