NYT Agrees with Bush Administration

• Views: 2,162

What does it take to get the New York Times to publish an op-ed agreeing with the Bush administration?

A disturbingly misguided effort to fight a real world problem with fantasy measures and empty words, of course. What Do You Call a Terror(Jihad)ist? - Op-Ed - NYTimes.com.

While the State Department recently circulated an internal memo advising foreign service officers to avoid such terms, President Bush, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and members of the news media continue to use them.

The word “jihad” means to “strive” or “struggle,” and in the Muslim world it has traditionally been used in tandem with “fi sabilillah” (“in the path of God”). The term has long been taken to mean either a quest to find one’s faith or an external fight for justice. It makes sense, then, for terrorists to associate themselves with a term that has positive connotations. For the United States to support them in that effort, however, is a fundamental strategic mistake.

First, to call a terrorist a “jihadist” or “jihadi” effectively puts any campaign against terrorism into the framework of an existential battle between the West and Islam. This feeds into the worldview propagated by Al Qaeda. It also serves to isolate the tens of millions of Muslims who condemn the violence that has been perpetrated in the name of Islam.

Second, these words locate the ideological battle exactly where the extremists want it to be. The terms of discussion are no longer about the murder of innocents in terrorist acts; they are about theology.

Third, when American leaders use this language it sends a confusing message to the Muslim world, showing ignorance on basic issues and possibly even raising doubts about American motives. Why, after all, would we call our enemy a “holy warrior”?

If we want to say what we mean, what terms better describe Qaeda members and other violent extremists? “Muharib” or the more colloquial “hirabi” or “hirabist” would be good places to start. “Hirabah,” the base word, is a term for barbarism or piracy. Unlike “jihad,” which grants honor, “hirabah” brings condemnation; it involves unlawful violence and disorder.

The real ignorance here is the idea that the jihadis or their enablers in the Muslim world care what we call them. And the fundamental strategic mistake is in believing that you can have an affect on Islam’s centuries-old tradition of jihad as conquest, by changing the words you use. It’s political correctness turned into disastrous feel-good, do-nothing foreign policy.

And by the way, if it’s such a great idea, why do all the radical Islamic front groups like CAIR want us to do the exact same thing — stop using “jihad?”

The truth is that this kind of PC whitewashing and tiptoeing around the issue of jihad is precisely what the militant Islamists want us to do. They couldn’t care less if government officials suddenly start calling them “hirabi” or some other word. And I strongly suspect that part of the reason why the State Department is recommending this silliness is because of pressure from those very groups.

(Hat tip: Soccer Dad.)

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Last updated: 2021-06-05 2:51 pm PDT
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