News & Politics

Why Obama Uses Meaningless Euphemisms Regarding Terrorism

Why Obama Uses Meaningless Euphemisms Regarding Terrorism
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

In what CNN called a “blistering verbal assault,” President Barack Obama Tuesday rebuked GOP presumptive nominee Donald Trump and lashed out at his Republican critics for having the presumption to criticize his policies in the war on the terror, overseas contingency operation, war against violent extremism.

Much of Obama’s venom was reserved for Mr. Trump, whose “yapping” about a ban on Muslims entering the country, he contended, is harmful to the country’s national security. The president even went so far as to suggest that Trump’s call for a Muslim ban was leading Muslims to attack Americans.

“We are now seeing how dangerous this kind of mindset and this kind of thinking can be,” he said. “We’re starting to see where this kind of rhetoric and loose talk and sloppiness about who exactly we’re fighting, where this can lead us.”

What an extraordinarily obnoxious thing for the president to say. Was he suggesting that Omar Mateen’s deadly rampage at the gay nightclub was spurred by Donald Trump’s “rhetoric and loose talk”? Is Obama off his rocker?

Unfortunately, instead of concurring with Trump’s reasonable call for a temporary pause on Muslim immigration from terror hot spots as terrorist attacks around the world increase, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan undercut his fellow Republican, effectively agreeing with the president’s calculation that such a policy isn’t “who we are.”

Ryan said the “preferred route to go” in regards to entry screening is “a security test — not a religious test.”

He opposed Trump’s Muslim ban proposal when the presumptive GOP nominee first introduced the idea, and stood by his opposition today.

“I do not think a Muslim ban is in our country’s interest. I do not think it is reflective of our principles not just as a party, but as a country. And I think the smarter way to go in all respects is to have a security test and not a religious test,” Ryan said.

Obama thanked the Republican establishment’s moderate stance on Muslim immigration by furiously lashing out at Republicans who criticized him for not using the term “radical Islamic terrorism.”

“What exactly would using this language accomplish? What exactly would it change?” Obama asked during remarks at the Treasury Department. “Would it make ISIL less committed to try and kill Americans?” he continued, using a different acronym for ISIS.

“Would it bring in more allies? Is there a military strategy that is served by this? The answer is none of the above,” he said. “Calling a threat by a different name does not make it go away.”

Can you say “liberal projection”? Changing the language used to describe our enemies is precisely what this president has been doing for seven and a half years. Obama has diluted the language regarding terrorism so much that his approach to the war on terror has been dubbed an “All Euphemism Foreign Policy.”

Ask yourself, “what exactly does using this language accomplish?” as you read these absurd Obama-era GWOT euphemisms:

  • “Outliers” is their kinder, gentler term for “rogue states”
  • “Al-Qaeda core” are the al-Qaeda terrorists who survived the Bush presidency, then regrouped and multiplied under the Obama presidency. They are not in any way, shape or form “decimated.”
  • “Overseas contingency operations” is the Obama administration’s Orwellian term for “the global war on terror.”
  • “Man-caused disaster” is the Obama-speak for “terrorist attack.”
  • “Workplace violence” is how the Obama administration describes Islamic terrorist attacks that take place at work.
  • “Violent extremism” is how the Obama administration prefers to describe terrorism because it gives them an opportunity to lump Islamists in with the KKK, IRA, and Nazi skinhead groups who all together commit about 1% (or less) of the terrorism we see throughout the world.
  • “Kinetic military action” is how the Obama administration says “war” without upsetting anti-war groups.
  • “Leading from behind” is Obama’s euphemism for his “CYA” approach to foreign policy. It translates roughly to, “we’ll wait until it’s too late to be effective, and when pressured, take some modest steps, but don’t blame us when the excrement hits the fan.” (Because it will.)
  • “Strategic patience” is related to Obama’s “leading from behind” philosophy. The administration uses it in place of “dithering,” or “kicking the can down the road for the next president to have to deal with.”

Playing around with the language is what this president does. Andrew McCarthy pointed out this obvious fact at National Review and explained why Obama’s reasoning is completely nonsensical.

It has been Obama who has maintained for the entirety of his presidency that we have to be careful about the language we use to describe our enemies because our words affect their self-perception and their behavior. Calling jihadists “jihadists,” we were told, gives them too much credit and esteem in their culture. We should, we were lectured, resist applying Islamic terms to them because that affirms their self-image: warriors in a great cause, rather than the perverters of a great religion. This theory has always been absolute, unmitigated, one-hundred percent BS. As I’ve argued about a million times, our enemies despise us and do not judge themselves by how we talk about them. At best, they are indifferent to our language; otherwise, they are so hostile that they mock our “progressive” obsession over it. Sharia supremacists have their own civilization and cultural norms by which they judge themselves. They couldn’t care less what we think.

It is not for the Islamists’ sake that we should be precise in calling them what they are, McCarthy argued. It is for our own sake.

Calling the enemy “radical Islam” – and better, discussing their sharia-supremacism – conveys that we understand that our enemies are not just the terrorists; they also include other radicals who want to spread sharia and supplant our Constitution with it. It further conveys that our Muslim friends and allies are the non-radicals who support and embrace Western liberalism.

Charles Krauthammer on Fox News’ Special Report Tuesday evening put his finger on the reason Obama is unwilling to acknowledge the Islamic nature of modern terrorism.

Look, the fact that the President goes way out of his way, for seven and a half years, to avoid the phrase that is obviously the most descriptive of the enemy, radical Islam, means he’s doing it for a purpose. He pretends and says well, it’s a magical phrase. … I think the President said, calling it a threat by a different name doesn’t make it go away. Of course it doesn’t! Nobody implies it does. But deliberately calling it something meaningless: ‘violent extremism’ is a completely empty phrase. No one has ever strapped on a suicide vest in the name of extremism; nobody dies in the name of extremism. Obama is deliberately trying to deny, or to hide, or to disguise, the connection between all of these disparate acts and groups, and if you want to mobilize a country behind you, you need to tell them who the enemy is and why it’s doing what it is. FDR did not say the day after Pearl Harbor, ‘Yesterday is a day that will live in infamy. We were attacked by violent extremists.’

Obama prefers that a considerable portion of the country be indifferent and/or confused about the threat of Islamic terror. That way Americans can “absorb” the next inevitable terrorist attack the way the Community Organizer-in-Chief likes it — with confused calls to ban certain types of guns and confused claims that conservative Christians are just as dangerous as Islamic extremists. That way, nothing significant has to be done about a very serious problem.