The newest tactical weapon of this administration against our terrorist enemies appears to be one constructed of language. Its deployment began when the term "War on Terror" was replaced by "Overseas Contingency Operations," and terrorist attacks were renamed "man-caused disasters." More recently, as witnessed in the exchange with Attorney General Eric Holder and Rep. Lamar Smith, it consists of a complete absence or rejection of particular words to describe the threat if such descriptions include the term "Islam," even when combined with the modifying adjectives "radical" or "extremist." While these overtures may appease the politically correct tastes of the liberal American mainstream, one wonders how these messages translate to our enemies, as well as how these enemies view the messenger. Rick Moran found that "at least some people are happy that our president has banished the words 'Islam' and 'Islamic extremist,' and 'Muslim terrorist' from the government lexicon" when he reported that a "leading international Arab newspaper has hailed U.S. President Barack Obama for officially removing the description 'Muslim terrorist' as part of his campaign 'to reach out to the Muslim world.'" Another Arab newspaper, the Gaza-based Watan Voice, recently determined to examine the messenger rather than the message, as reported by Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch, although it must not have received the memo about allowable combinations of words to be used in a politically correct sentence, as it published an article entitled: "Is President Obama a Muslim or an Apostate?" When Spencer addressed the same question back in 2007, he found his topic labeled a "smear" campaign against Obama. The Watan Voice author, Mu'ammar Ahmad 'Abd-al-Latif Rajeh, didn't mince words when he concluded:
Islamic law stipulates that if a child is born with either one or both of his parents being Muslim, then the child's religion will also be Muslim. This applies if the father is Muslim and the mother is non-Muslim, such as in President Obama's case. ... Through these Islamic judgments, in comparison with the autobiography of President Barack Hussein Obama, we find that this president is either a Muslim or an apostate from Islam according to the strongest viewpoints of Islamic jurisprudence.
And if there are any questions that such strict interpretations of Islamic law are only extremist, Spencer's summary of results from this recent Pew research poll are quite revealing:
One of the ironies in the survey is the extent to which Pakistanis embrace some of the severe laws associated with the Taliban and al Qaeda, even as they reject Islamic extremism and these extremist groups. The new poll finds broad support for harsh punishments: 78% favor death for those who leave Islam[.]
Walid Shoebat, described as an "Ex-PLO Terrorist" who converted from Islam to Christianity, when recently interviewed on the Steve Malzberg show, asserted that "Obama is culturally a Muslim." Shoebat contends that if Americans properly understood the term "zakat" in Obama's promise to Muslim Americans in his 2009 Cairo speech, they would agree with his assessment. The overtures of this administration have been not only in word, but in deed, such as President Obama's recent entrepreneurship summit for Muslim-majority countries. Jennifer Rubin in Commentary Magazine noted that "[a]t a signing ceremony for the Freedom of Press Act, it is ironic and shameful that Obama could not bring himself to identify the killers who beheaded the man who fearlessly reported on the jihadist terrorists ... If you didn't know already, you'd never figure out that he was talking about the Islamic fundamentalists who butchered Pearl." For our president and liberal mainstream, in the name of political correctness, to deny these terrorists the right to label their own religion as their motivation is actually quite "illiberal," as pointed out by Patrick Sookhdeo in his essay "The Myth of Moderate Islam":
But surely we should give enough respect to those who voluntarily lay down their lives to accept what they themselves say about their motives. If they say they do it in the name of Islam, we must believe them. Is it not the height of illiberalism and arrogance to deny them the right to define themselves?
To add further to the confusion of definitions and nuances in meaning, people such as Nonie Darwish contend:
I have always maintained that "moderate Muslim" is an oxymoron. We have two kinds of Muslims: Terrorist Muslims and ignorant Muslims. The former are those who know Islam well and live by its dictums. The latter have no clue about their religion and have an idealized image of Islam that has no bases in facts.
Surely no one, no matter what they label groups of people or their motivations, can describe the manifestation of Islamic terrorism as anything but evil.
In his famous "Evil Empire" speech, when Reagan labeled the communist ideology as "evil," he was not concerned with political correctness or tolerance of its adherents and had no qualms in naming the Communist regime as our enemy. He further warned:
So, I urge you to speak out against those who would place the United States in a position of military and moral inferiority.
I urge you to beware the temptation of pride -- the temptation of blithely declaring yourselves above it all and label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire, to simply call the arms race a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil.
Ms. Darwish offered: "Intentionally or unintentionally, in the name of tolerance, we are bringing up a generation of Americans who will tolerate Islamic Jihad, in the name of cultural relativism and compassion." She also stated, "Tolerating intolerance is not a sign of virtue, but gross negligence." A nation that, instead of fighting from a strategic foxhole, chooses to pursue political correctness down the rabbit hole of moral relativism and relative truth, unable to define what the meaning of "is" is, cannot be expected to recognize "evil." And if our government leaders cannot or will not even describe our enemy in words, they will find themselves unable to defend us against it. Regardless of the how these Islamic extremist terrorists view our language, our country, and its president, Americans must view this threat through the lenses of common sense and reality. We cannot afford to close our eyes and play this dangerous version of the childish game "what I can't see won't hurt me," or "what I don't name doesn't exist."
By any definition, if the U.S. incurs another terrorist attack preceded by the shouted words "Allahu Akbar," most Americans will ruefully consider this administration a "man-caused disaster."