Federal agencies, including the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security and the National Counter Terrorism Center, are telling their people not to describe Islamic extremists as "jihadists" or "mujahedeen," according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. Lingo like "Islamo-fascism" is out, too.
The reason: Such words may actually boost support for radicals among Arab and Muslim audiences by giving them a veneer of religious credibility or by causing offense to moderates
So imagine the surprise when President Bush breaks protocol and uses one of the forbidden words:
And so in Afghanistan, yes, we’re making progress. Does that mean that it’s over? No, it doesn’t mean it’s over. We’re in a long struggle, as I’ve told you many a time, against these jihadists. You defeat them ultimately by the advance of democracy.At Contentions, Abe Greewald concludes:
When watching the video of the exchange, you can see Bush pause before settling on “jihadists.” In that pause, the President measured the dubious cost of “glamoriz[ing] terrorism” against the deadly cost of inaccuracy. For a man usually tortured in his effort to find the right word, he came through admirably.Good for President Bush for sticking to his principles--for saying what had to be said about Afghanistan. Meanwhile, in another part of the world, there is the opposite problem where the accepted narrative requires that something must be said.
So while on the one hand--as Andrew McCarthy points out--Mahmoud Abbas goes around advocating violence and terrorism:
January 11, 2007: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (laying a wreath at the grave of his longtime friend and boss,Yasser Arafat): “[W]ith the will and determination of its sons, Fatah has and will continue. We will not give up our principles and we have said that rifles should be directed against the occupation.... We have a legitimate right to direct our guns against Israeli occupation....”despite all that, President Bush--who will call a spade a spade and a jihadist a jihadist--still cannot help but perpetuate one of the great falsehoods in the Middle East:
February 28, 2008: Abbas (in an interview with the Jordanian newspaper al-Dustur): "At this present juncture, I am opposed to armed struggle because we cannot succeed in it, but maybe in the future things will be different." Abbas goes on to recount with evident pride: "I had the honor of firing the first shot in 1965 and of being the one who taught resistance to many in the region and around the world; what it's like; when it is effective and when it isn't effective; its uses, and what serious, authentic and influential resistance is.... It is common knowledge when and how resistance is detrimental and when it is well timed.... We [Fatah] had the honor of leading the resistance and we taught resistance to everyone, including Hizbullah, who trained in our military camps."
April 25, 2008: President Bush (addressing the media about Abbas, who is sitting next to him at the White House): "The president is a man of peace.... He's a man of vision. He rejects the idea of using violence to achieve objectives, which distinguishes him from other people in the region."I guess Bush can afford to tell the truth about Afghanistan--no one is expecting him to bring peace there by the end of the year.
Crossposted at Soccer Dad