Monday, July 12, 2010

Don't Name the Enemy (con't)

Here's an AP article about how the present American administration really is serious about not naming the enemy:

Lieberman raised the issue in a letter to the White House, saying that "the failure to identify our enemy for what it is — violent Islamist extremism — is offensive and contradicts thousands of years of accepted military and intelligence doctrine to 'know your enemy.'"

In a response to Lieberman, Brennan said the administration hasn't specifically issued any directive barring the use of specific words or phrases. But he said it is important to accurately define the enemy and assess the threat.

"In my view, using 'Islamic extremist' and other variations of that phrase does not bring us closer to this objective," Brennan said in a letter to Lieberman. "Rather, the phrase lumps a diverse set of organizations, with different motivations, goals, capabilities and justifications for their actions, into a single group in a way that may actually be counterproductive."

I continue to insist that this is the rough equivalent of the Roosevelt administration insisting its enemies were "militant Germans who have hijacked their nation, chauvinist Italians who are distorting their country's history and militaristic Japanese generals who have usurped the history of their great nation".


Anonymous said...

I agree if we are assuming that we are in the equivalent of January 1933

The qualms I have, if we should be still years away from that month ( I don't have much hope that we are), is that Islamist includes a religion which is even dearer to the heart of folks than nation probably ever can be. I happen to have it seen again and again that disparaging religion hurts people really at the core.

My example is that married Turkish couple of cleaners I had the occasion to get to know a bit. I am pretty sure that all they will hear is that Islam is slammed and that makes me uncomfortable. (never mind I have only one example there are pundits who pontificate on the basis of what taxi drivers told them, while "my" couple has the advantage on having no idea what German Germans wanted to hear from them)

I have no better word than Islamist (with or without extremist or radical or murderous) to offer, but I wish the search would continue
- yes name them and name them unequivocally while lumping them all together equivalent to Germany, Italy or Japan but if at all possible try to find something that leaves religion out of it without becoming vague or sophisticated.
I know the simple people don't count in the decision making but once "they"'ve got there "they" will need them for the "manual" stuff and therefore trying to not lose them may be worth it.


Sérgio said...

That's PC language and its appeasement function at the apex. A true mark of the Obamamia administration.

Anonymous said...

A rose by any other name...

The problem is that Islamist sounds too close to Islam. We could hate the Nazis without hating the Germans. We could hate Fascists without hating the Italians. (I am talking about Americans during WWII, where we had plenty of Americans of German and Italian descent) Of course, we Americans could hate the Japs, because we were suspicious of Orientals anyway. Are people able to say they hate Zionists without hating Jews?

Names do come with historical baggage. It's a problem. I am about 1/3 through Paul Berman's "The Flight of the Intellectuals." He makes a compelling case that the term Islamo-fascists is accurate, but it carries too much baggage.

I propose the name Jihadists.


Anonymous said...

as Jihadists has a double meaning too, how about militant Jihadists or extremist Jihadists - I'd assume that term wouldn't shut the door to my nice Turkish couple.

of course my gut would prefer murderous Jihadists but that's too narrow again


Anonymous said...

Silke -

How about Caliphists?


4infidels said...

I don't know about everyone else, but I also have a problem with the agenda of non-violent Islamists who wish to overthrow the US government and replace it with Sharia law.

We didn't say that our enemy was violent Nazis. We correctly saw anyone carrying that ideology as a member of the enemy camp. CAIR and other Muslim Brotherhood organizations are Islamists and share the goals of the "violent Islamist extremists" even as they differ on the means. CAIR doesn't have a moral problem with killing infidels; they simply believe that they can accomplish more through nonviolent means. Yet our governments reach out to these groups, treat them as allies, give them tours of our airports, have them lead sensitivity training to law enforcement officials and consult them on issues of national security.

While I use the term Islamist sometimes to distinguish those Muslims for whom Islam is simply a personal faith or cultural identification from those who have a political program--whether violent or not--that seeks to undermine the secular and religious institutions and national security of the non-Muslim countries, and desires to impose Sharia law wherever it can.

But let's make no mistake: the Islamists are Muslims whose so-called "extremist" version of Islam is consistent with the authoritative interpretation of Islamic texts, Islamic law and the role of Muhammad in Islamic theology. Hamas, Hezbollah, CAIR and the like quote the Koran accurately and with the same interpretation as classic Muslim scholars, Islamic jurists and traditional authorities such as Al-Ahzar University in Cairo, the highest authority in Sunni Islam.

I think the suggestion of using "jihadists" would be a good start for government officials. Jihad, the goal of which is to extend the domain of Islamic rule and the imposition of Islamic law, is a term that encompass both the "violent Islamist extremists" of the terrorist organizations and the "stealth jihadists" of CAIR and other MB-linked groups seeking to use a variety of methods in their "grand jihad" to infiltrate and destroy our "miserable house from within."

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous, apt and to the point but probably hard to filter into public discourse not least because it doesn't drip easily of the tongue.

but let's keep at it, may one of the muses will honour us one these days

not to belittle your creation which I truly admire and like more than a bit, but when I tried just now to wordplay with it the first thing that popped into my mind was "supercalifragilistic" ...


Caliphatists? - not practical also I'm afraid ...

4infidels said...

Yesterday, Obama's press secretary Robert Gibbs said that the attacks in Uganda display the "murderous hatred of the terrorists."

Gee, I though the terrorists killed out of love for those they are killing. Perhaps they do kill out of love for Allah and their faith or even a future filled with dark-eyed houris...

Just a murderous hatred. No idea what motivates that hatred, toward what ends it is being used, to what religious or political goals the purveyors of that hatred aspire.

Boy that Gibbs is helpful. Eating displays the humans putting food in their stomaches.

Anonymous said...

You two just made me remember that whoever came up with the term "Nazi" hit intentionally or not a gold-mine in the sense I am trying to convey.

- I have no idea who coined it but I know that the term "Socialist" is something that is very dear to Germans' hearts even today (I've been told Lenin thought we'd spearhead the revolution) as probably was "National" at the time. So whoever came up with "Nazi" came up with a pithy, apt, memorable, easy to promounce internationally etc etc umbrella name, as brand names go even way ahead of "fascist"

and I am with Yaacov that as of January 1933 the only correct umbrella name for us was Germany, that's when we had crossed the line, whether Jihadists have or not as of today will probably only become clear to those after us so any attempt, no matter how feeble, at respecting decent (not "moderate") ones is worth it.


AKUS said...

Krauthammer takes a crack at some of this nonsense, which now extents to changing NASA's mission from reaching for the start to outreach to Moslems:

The selective modesty of Barack Obama
By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, July 9, 2010

Remember NASA? It once represented to the world the apogee of American scientific and technological achievement. Here is President Obama's vision of NASA's mission, as explained by administrator Charles Bolden:

"One was he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math; he wanted me to expand our international relationships; and third and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science and math and engineering."

Apart from the psychobabble -- farcically turning a space-faring enterprise into a self-esteem enhancer -- what's the sentiment behind this charge? Sure America has put a man on the moon, led the information revolution, won more Nobel Prizes than any other nation by far -- but, on the other hand, a thousand years ago al-Khwarizmi gave us algebra.

4infidels said...

Well, if Islamic civilization is famous for its tolerance, if Muslims made great contributions to the founding of America, if Islam is really part of the solution to global terrorism, then why not celebrate Muslims great contribution to science as well. With all that is so wonderful about Islamic societies, why are they all such stagnant, underdeveloped and violent places and why so much migration from East to West and so little from West to East?