“What exactly would using this language accomplish? What exactly would it change? Would it make ISIL less committed to try and kill Americans? Would it bring in more allies? Is there a military strategy that is served by this? The answer is none of the above. Calling a threat by a different name does not make it go away.”
Indeed. But calling things by their right names is always preferable to obfuscation and dissimulation. If there is an Islamic jihad threat, we should call it an Islamic jihad threat. One rhetorical question Obama notably didn’t ask was, “Would calling this threat what it really is help us understand the enemy better and formulate more effective ways to counter it?” To that, the answer is yes.
And his talk about refusing to “validate” al-Qaeda and the Islamic State is just ludicrous. Islamic jihadis aren’t looking to the President of the United States for validation. They aren’t looking to non-Muslims to validate their Islamic authenticity. This is just an excuse for not speaking honestly about the threat, and it’s a dangerous one, since it prevents our law enforcement and military authorities from understanding the threat properly.
“Obama goes on tirade against Trump over ‘dangerous’ Muslim ban, ‘radical Islam,'” by Kevin Liptak and Stephen Collinson, CNN, June 14, 2016:
Washington (CNN)President Barack Obama lit into Donald Trump on Tuesday, turning the tables to make the impassioned case that Trump is the one who’s un-American.
Obama’s extraordinary denunciation of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee was about far more than a personal intervention on behalf of Hillary Clinton in the ugly general election campaign.
The commander in chief’s fury, which seethed out of him in a stunning soliloquy on live television, amounted to a moment of historic significance: a president castigating one of the two people who could succeed him as beyond the constitutional and political norms of the nation itself….
“Where does this stop?” Obama asked Tuesday, condemning Trump’s renewal of his call for a ban on Muslim migration and claims that “thousands and thousands” of Muslims are pouring into the country with the “same thought process” as the terrorist behind the Orlando massacre.
“Are we going to start treating all Muslim-Americans differently?” Obama asked. “Are we going to start subjecting them to special surveillance? Are we going to start discriminating against them because of their faith?”…
“That’s not the America we want,” he said. “It doesn’t reflect our democratic ideals. It will make us less safe.”…
Obama also expressed fury at critiques of his foreign policy, pushing back against criticism for not using the term “radical Islamic terrorism” and calling the debate “a political distraction.”
“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.”…
Much of the criticism has centered on Obama’s refusal to use the phrase “radical Islam,” which the White House argues unfairly maligns the entire Islamic faith.
In a brief statement following Obama’s remarks, Trump said Obama “claims to know our enemy, and yet he continues to prioritize our enemy over our allies, and for that matter, the American people.”
“When I am president, it will always be America First,” Trump said. He was expected to respond more fully during an evening event in North Carolina….
In his remarks Tuesday, the President defended his actions against ISIS, lauding the work of the U.S. military in going after terrorists. He said changing his wording about the threat would not alter those efforts….