The debate has flared anew.
Why doesn’t President Obama use terminology that many Americans — most notably his critics — wish he’d use to describe the evil acts of a certain brand of terrorists?
I’ve been thinking about this over the course of the past good bit of time and have concluded that the president is making a mistake by refusing to refer to these acts — committed by those who pervert a great religion — as “radical Islamic terrorists.”
I say this as a supporter of the president, as one who voted twice for his election and as someone who bristles outwardly at the criticism of those who allege that Barack Obama harbors some sick “sympathy” toward those who commit these evil deeds.
Omar Mateen decided over the weekend to open fire at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla. He was as American as you and me, man. His parents came here from Afghanistan. Then he decided to call the 9-1-1 dispatch center in Orlando and proclaimed that he had pledged fealty to the Islamic State.
Mateen went about his dastardly deed before being killed by police. Before the cops killed him, Mateen managed to commit the worst massacre in U.S. history.
I understand that the president doesn’t want to use language that suggests we are “at war with Islam.” President Bush made that very same case in the days immediately after 9/11 and he was faithful to that notion during the two terms he served in the White House.
Indeed, President Obama’s refusal to recognize openly what the rest of the country already realizes suggests, as conservative thinker John Podhoretz has written, a certain disconnect from reality.
As Podhoretz writes in the New York Post: “He called it ‘terror,’ which it is. But using the word “terror” without a limiting and defining adjective is like a doctor calling a disease ‘cancer’ without making note of the affected area of the body — because if he doesn’t know where the cancer is and what form it takes, he cannot attack it effectively and seek to extirpate it.”
Here’s the entire essay:
I do not intend to belabor the point. I do want to suggest that the definition of “radical Islam” immediately exempts Muslims who do not commit these acts, who live their lives just like every other decent human being, who are peaceful and only want the best for their families and their communities.
There. I’ve made my case the best way I know how.
I continue to support Barack Obama’s efforts to fight these perverted villains.
However, Mr. President, call them what they are: radical Islamic terrorists.