The ‘change in language’

THE ‘CHANGE IN LANGUAGE’…. On Fox News this morning, Brian Kilmeade and John McCain sounded pretty bitter about the shift in rhetoric regarding global terrorism.

KILMEADE: Do you have a problem calling terrorists, Islamic extremists, terrorists or using the term terror or man-made disasters?

MCCAIN: No, I don’t. Nor do I agree with overseas contingencies because those overseas contingencies can quickly turn into a domestic contingency unless we take care of them overseas.

KILMEADE: But that’s the mindset, Senator. Does that mindset worry you?

MCCAIN: I know. It worries me a great deal. But this change in language comes down from the very top.

I can understand why hacks like these two would be frustrated. After all, President Obama — at the “very top” — probably should have seen this coming.

Indeed, the Obama White House barely left conservative Republicans with any of their favorite phrases. According to Obama’s instructions, Americans aren’t supposed to use the word “jihadist” anymore. “Mujahedeen” is out, too. We’re also not supposed to refer to al Qaeda as a “movement,” and we’re not supposed to talk about “Islamo-fascism.” Given all of this, there was bound to be some pushback from Republicans and their cable news network.

Wait, did I say “Obama’s instructions”? My mistake. I was actually referring to George W. Bush’s instructions. In fact, it was the Bush administration that urged us to stop using words like “jihadist,” “mujahedeen,” and “Islamo-fascism,” not the Obama administration.

According to the Bush administration, misuse of imprecise rhetoric may be “unintentionally portraying terrorists, who lack moral and religious legitimacy, as brave fighters, legitimate soldiers or spokesmen for ordinary Muslims.” Worse, even when the rhetoric may be accurate, “it may not be strategic because it glamorizes terrorism, imbues terrorists with religious authority they do not have and damages relations with Muslims around the world.”

The Bush administration’s directive on this was issued just last year. Funny, I don’t recall McCain and Fox News complaining at the time about the Bush administration’s “mindset” or “change in rhetoric” “worrying” them “a great deal.”

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