Ed Driscoll


Via InstaPundit, I found this post by Donald Sensing, one of several blog posts making the rounds today about the press and Jose Padilla, aka Abdullah al Muhajir, aka the suspected “dirty bomber”. Sensing writes:

But this sentence from the Post’s story made me blink:

Jose Padilla, 31, who now goes by the name of Abdullah al Muhajir, was in the custody of the U.S. military and was being treated as an enemy combatant, Attorney General John D. Ashcroft said.

Even though the Post points out that this fellow converted to Islam 11 years ago and changed his name then, for the rest of the story the Post refers to Mr. al Muhajir as “Mr. Padilla.” Now, look here. The Post does not call Mohammed Ali, “Cassius Clay.” The Post does not call Kareem Abdul Jabbar, “Lew Alcindor.”

Why the double standard? Could it be, dare I say it, political correctness? Could the Post be using al Muhajir’s former name rather than his present name because to use his self-chosen Arabic name might imply that (can it be?) our enemies are Arabs? (And yes, I know that by far most Arabs are not our enemies.) This usage is no aberration. They also did the same thing with Abdul Hamid, whom you probably know as Johnny Walker Lindh.

Compare that story to this comment by Jonah Goldberg on NRO’s The Corner about a recent New York Times Sunday Magazine feature on a 13-year-old girl living as a boy:

the author uses male pronouns — “he,” “him,” “his” — throughout. This is standard practice in many quarters these days when referring to girls who believe or pretend they are boys (and vice versa for boys who think they are girls). But it is a deeply political act to do this, betraying profound sympathy for a specific and radical agenda which says sex may be biological but gender is entirely “socially constructed.” My favorite sentence in the Times piece: “M. started getting his period two years ago.” His period. Logically, this is no different than writing “her penis” or “his womb.” But the Times has no trouble with it whatsoever.

So gender-confused teenagers are referred to by the names and terminology of their own choosing, as are superstar athletes. But folks accused of war crimes aren’t?

I guess I missed that page of The Associated Press Stylebook.