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Islamic terrorism: What’s in a name?

Islamic terrorism: What’s in a name?

Does it matter what we call perpetrators such as Omar Mateen?

In the wake of the Orlando attack, we have seen the revival of an old debate in which Obama and the left refuse to name this enemy. Either they can’t even say the word “terrorist,” or they can’t use any modifier that implies that Islam has anything to do with it.

After a large and deadly attack such as the one in Orlando, where it was clear almost immediately that the perpetrator was an Islamic (or Islamicist, or radical Islamic) terrorist, it is glaringly apparent that Obama is refusing to call the attack what it is. And this is a weakness that Donald Trump is determined to exploit, and rightly so.

Does it matter what we call perpetrators such as Omar Mateen? Obviously, both Obama and Trump—coming from opposite sides of the question—agree on the fact that it does matter, or this rhetorical battle wouldn’t be going on. By using the words he uses, Trump wants to signal his resolve to oppose Islamic terrorism, as well as opposition to PC leftist language. What does Obama want to signal? Deference to the Muslim community, emphasis on his underlying policy goal of increased gun control, and minimization of the hugely increased threat from ISIS that occurred on his watch while he poo-pooed it.

The always-intelligent Richard Fernandez has this to say about it:

The administration has a security model that is not really working. FBI are looking for ordinary criminals and “hate mongers” and, armed with these descriptions, keep letting the usual suspects go because they don’t fit the bill. Yet time and again they come back as a surprise. Maybe the greatest trick Islamic terrorism ever pulled was convincing Obama it didn’t exist.

That last sentence is a variation on a quote from Baudelaire (see this). The photo that goes with the article has the caption “Can’t solve a problem you can’t define.” That is probably true, but I don’t think that Islamic terrorism actually “convinced Obama it didn’t exist.” Perhaps Fernandez is being sarcastic there, but at any rate it is likely that Obama—and certainly the FBI—know full well that it exists and that it is here. Obama doesn’t want to admit it for the reasons I’ve stated above. And the FBI and other agencies are somewhat hamstrung by the guidelines laid done from the top, plus a very real dilemma involving how proactive they can be and still preserve our liberties.

I doubt that most of the people who work for the FBI are unaware of the danger of radicalized Muslim jihadis in our midst. But what are they to do if a person has engaged in “mere” associations and “mere words,” and knowing they have to be careful to protect that person’s rights (especially for US citizens such as the Orlando perpetrator)? Marco Rubio (remember him?) hit the nail on the head about this when speaking of the Orlando massacre:

There are two parts to the problem of jihadis in the US. The first is the nomenclature; what we call people is not just semantics, it signifies the way we are looking at the issue and the way we plan to approach it. The second is what we will actually do about it. If you remember the Patriot Act that was passed in the wake of 9/11, it brought up the dilemmas inherent in that second part—the action part—dilemmas we’ve been fighting over ever since.

Barack Obama has been deficient in both regards, speech and action. Donald Trump seems to be strong on the first part, but is somewhat vague and generic on the second. Hillary Clinton, Trump’s most likely opponent in the presidential race, seemed to be following the basic Obama playbook but has suddenly switched to tougher talk, perhaps in an attempt to match Trump.

One other fact about the Orlando massacre is that, unlike other terrorist attacks on our soil, it targeted a very specific group: gay people. This is a group that has been allied much more with the Democrats and the left than it has with the right, but the left doesn’t seem all that energized to protect them, and that has not gone unnoticed:

Oh sure, all year I’ve been playing the “Bernie or Hillary?” game with all the other default-Democrats in my social and professional circles. But this is no longer some kind of game. Our lives are on the line. Although I voted for Hillary in the primary, I now cringe inwardly with shame and embarrassment at having done so, and in November I will vote for Trump.

Why? Yes, I know that Trump is an a**hole, Trump is a clown, Trump is a motormouth buffoon. You don’t have to convince me of that. But he’s also the only person saying anything about putting the brakes on Islamic extremism, and in light of what happened last night in Orlando, suddenly that is the only issue that really matters when it comes to the health, well-being and safety of the queer community.

Ted Cruz—another man who wanted to be president—has astutely called the left out on this very point:

If you’re a Democratic politician and you really want to stand for LGBT, show real courage and stand up against the vicious ideology that has targeted our fellow Americans for murder,” he said.

Most of them—including the president—seem either unwilling or unable to do that, despite paying lip service to caring about the LGBT community.

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]


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Wouldn’t that be like one Baptist talking bad about another Baptist that they had seen at a dancehall?

The One, you know, that entity known as a POS who occupies the White House, says he admired Muhammad Ali.

But Ali, more than anyone, thought names, particularly his chosen Muslim name, was really, really important. And in 1967 Ali took Terrell to school to make his point.

The bitch is really coming out of the One now. The more he wades into the campaign for Hillary, done only to “preserve” his miserable and treasonous record, the more he’s gonna get beaten around the ears.

Muhammad Ali knew the significance of calling things by their rightful names.

Ali v. Terrell, 1967,

“From the eighth round on, Terrell was virtually helpless,” Hauser wrote in his book. “And from that point on, Ali taunted him [Terrell] mercilessly. Time and again, he shouted, ‘What’s my name,’ and followed with a burst of blows to Terrell’s eyes. ‘Uncle Tom! What’s my name! Uncle Tom! What’s my name!’ ”

    Observer in reply to pfg. | June 16, 2016 at 6:45 am

    Barry “Don’t Tell Me Words Don’t Matter!” Obama knows the significance as well.

    It is precisely because Obama understands how words shape perceptions that he refuses to call Islamic terrorism “Islamic terrorism.”

    It is the same reason that Obama proposed calling the wars against Islamic terrorists in the middle east “overseas contingency operations, and dismissed the Islamic terrorist massacre at Ft Hood as “workplace violence,” and now officially refers to violent criminals in the U.S. as “justice-involved individuals.”

    Obama knows that words matter, and that is why he tries so hard to force us to change the words we use — his administration’s insistence on replacing the words “illegal aliens” with “undocumented immigrants” is just one example of this type of manipulation.

    Words do matter. And that is why we can’t continue to allow the left to dictate to the rest of us which words we can, and can’t, use.

Common Sense | June 15, 2016 at 8:47 pm

The president is a serial liar. We have seen it many times over his 7 years in office.

Don’t believe your lying eyes. You are not really seeing what you are seeing.

Gaslighting to the extreme.

This revelation as to what we are fighting has taken better than 20 years for the light to just begin to come on. This will get much worse before it gets better and will take years. 20/20 hindsight being what it is, figuring out who and what is responsible is not that difficult for anyone who is interested.
It is a time for choosing, chose wisely.

    Barry in reply to OldNuc. | June 15, 2016 at 10:05 pm

    “This will get much worse before it gets better and will take years. ”

    True, if we continue to ignore the reality. If we decide to go after the state sponsors of terror, it could be ended quickly. But we will not. Bush wouldn’t do it. Obama is on the side of the terrorists. Hillary will side with whoever pays the most. Trump, maybe has the sense to kill the state sponsors. remains to be seen.

Humphrey's Executor | June 15, 2016 at 9:33 pm

What’s in a name? For a US infantryman in WWII it made a BIG difference if you were going up against regular German Wehrmacht forces as opposed to the SS. The latter were fanatics who fought dirty and to the death. The Wehrmacht were professional and good, but they weren’t suicidal. Yes, it makes a BIG difference who you are fighting and what motivates them.

    When discussing German military versus SS fanaticism, don’t forget that all German forces pledged allegiance to Hitler. All were honor bound to follow Hitler’s sometimes fanatical orders.

50 Americans butchered by a radical Islamist Savage. 50+
Wounded. And the gutless moral
cowards of this administration
won’t come near calling it what it is. Shameless. Loathsome. But, face it, utterly expected & predictable.

Branco & Neo have it NAILED.

Chuckin Houston | June 15, 2016 at 10:41 pm

If I may be permitted to suggest a future cartoon. Something along the line of: BHO loudly proclaiming “Disarm! I Shall Protect You! ” HRC proclaiming the same. Both hovering above a field of tombstones. Some with the name Orlando, San Bernadino, Fort Hood. Maybe toss in a blood stained rainbow flag for good measure.

Just don’t call Omar a victim, please.

This guy is risking his life.
Milo at Orlando Shooting Site – YouTube

The thing that gets me about this one is, from what I have been able ti find so far, this guy was apparently known for being violently abusive. Apparently his first marriage fell apart because of domestic abuse, yet no-one ever went to the police about it?

    Elliott in reply to Voyager. | June 16, 2016 at 5:57 am

    Beating, humiliating, isolating, and dehumanizing your wife (or children) is considered de rigueur in Omar’s “culture”. Much study is given over to how, when and it is the compassionate thing to do just like killing gays. Reporting to the police what is required of the faithful is not going to be done. Just like reporting terrorist plots which they deem normal indeed required. Muslim males are not keen on handing over their bullying authority when they come to the west. Reared to do whatever they please and with a mindset of supremacy over all peoples the example of murder moron and his father throwing a screaming fit because he cannot pass the admissions in the local police academy. The Obama administration (like Obama himself) do not like to be thwarted in any way because it does not fit with the culture based upon the Koran. Obama’s fit the other day was a perfect example of this behavior. Treating Islam as a bullying, controlling culture and psychology instead of a religion is not understood by the west. We are going to have to treat it like the KKK or the Mafia which are much more similar.

The simple truth is that Obama has been an abysmal failure when it comes to stopping terrorism and finding stability in the Middle East. Not only did he prematurely pull out of Iraq thereby condemning Iraq to become another failed stated (as predicted by so many before hand), but he utterly failed in his efforts to reign in ISIS. In what can only be called a graphic embarrassment, the Russians came into the picture and proceeded to do more in one month and turn around the fight against ISIS, than what America under Obama could do in all the previous year, and then Obama has the unbelievable audacity to take credit for ISIS being defeated.
But now we are getting a glimpse as to why Obama has been such an utter failure in his fight against ISIS and his refusal to call it Islamic terrorism. If all the reports are to be believed (and there is no reason not to), it turns out that Obama was actually doing all he could to support ISIS (for they were battling against Assad, Russia, and Iran in Syria) while telling America that he was fighting them. Why would you want to label you secret ally with a negative label?

cowgirldiva | June 16, 2016 at 7:54 am

So, IF words “don’t matter” anyway, this antiAmerican so-called “president” can call these evil radical Islamic jihadists who want to KILL us RADICAL ISLAMIC JIHADISTS…!!

And, further, if words don’t matter anyway, we can starting calling this antiAmerican so-called “president” the RACIST, RACE BAITING, TREASONOUS, TRAITOR that he really is instead of “president”, right..???

Pols will use fear to gain your vote. They will talk to you as a victim who needs someone like them to “fix” things. And then they are elected. And then legislation is passed, edicts are pronounced, fiats declared.

Our liberty shrinks with every election.
Was there armed security at Pulse? If not, why not, for such a large crowd? And how did a weaponized Omar get inside? Armed security outside would have likely stopped Omar.

The FBI can only do its work within the laws of the land, as it should be. We don’t need more laws and politicians.

We need a Ted Cruz or a Scott Walker for president. Their talk is not cheap and they won’t make you a victim.

    gulfbreeze in reply to jennifer a johnson. | June 16, 2016 at 6:06 pm

    “Was there armed security at Pulse? If not, why not, for such a large crowd? And how did a weaponized Omar get inside? Armed security outside would have likely stopped Omar.”

    From what I’ve read, there was one armed off-duty officer employed by Pulse who was onsite (but inside) during the first moments during the attack, and he moved to engage Mateen immediately upon hearing gunfire outside the club.

    Apparently Mateen began firing outside as he approached the building. He was engaged by the off-duty officer (who came outside the building) and two other armed on-duty officers who were mobile, but very near Pulse when the first shots were called in.

    Note, this story was filed about 30 hours after the attack ended. While I’ve read numerous accounts of the attack, the exact details of the initial moments are still not clear in those versions.

    “2:02 a.m.

    “A uniformed Orlando police officer working at the club off-duty first heard gunshots. Omar Mateen was outside with an AR-15, a handgun and an explosive device.

    “The officer fired at him, police said. Two more officers showed up and opened fire.

    “Mateen fired back, and walked back into Pulse, trapping dozens of people inside.”