I am truly fascinated with the GOP’s obsession with words over actions. It actually goes back much further than the recent nonsense about what President Obama calls the members of ISIS.
Does anyone remember this?
Even people who acknowledge George Bush’s failings point to that as one of the great moments of his presidency. But by 2002, here’s what he said at a press conference.
Asked about the hunt for Bin Laden at a March, 2002 press conference, Bush said, “I truly am not that concerned about him. I am deeply concerned about Iraq.” “I really just don’t spend that much time on him, to be honest with you,” Bush added.
By that time, President Bush wanted to invade Iraq and wasn’t that interested in the “people who knocked these buildings down.” That task was left to President Obama.
Ten years after 9/11 came the attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi. Republicans immediately became obsessed with whether or not President Obama had called the perpetrators “terrorists.” It has never mattered much to them that – under this President’s leadership – the U.S. captured the mastermind of that attack.
And now, Republicans have convinced themselves that President Obama doesn’t take the threat from ISIS seriously because he won’t call them “Islamic terrorists.” Recently Peggy Noonan attempted to argue why that is important. She draws her case mostly from an article by Graeme Wood in The Atlantic titled: What ISIS Really Wants. But when Noonan is done quoting what Wood says about the religious beliefs of ISIS, she turns to what he has to say about how to defeat them.
A U.S. invasion and occupation, Mr. Wood argues, would be a propaganda victory for them, because they’ve long said the U.S. has always intended to embark on a modern-day crusade against Islam. And if a U.S. ground invasion launched and failed, it would be a disaster.
The best of bad options, Mr. Wood believes, is to “slowly bleed” ISIS through air strikes and proxy warfare. The Kurds and the Shiites cannot vanquish them, but they can “keep the Islamic State from fulfilling its duty to expand.” That would make it look less like “the conquering state of the Prophet Muhammed.” As time passed ISIS could “stagnate” and begin to sink. Word of its cruelties would spread; it could become another failed state.
Hmmm…that sounds exactly like President Obama’s “degrade and destroy” strategy.
Noonan simply ignores all that and – in the end – suggests that we should be respectful of ISIS.
It is, ironically, disrespectful not to name what they are, and what they are about.
Talk about PC madness!!!!
I have to admit that when I approach all of this from a logical standpoint, my head starts spinning. That’s when I know it’s time to leave the logic aside and go in search of root causes.
Of course part of this is fueled by those who want to suggest that because President Obama doesn’t use the words they prefer – he’s not one of us. That ignites the underlying racist fears of the GOP base.
But it also feeds into the desire for a “holy war” of Christianity vs Islam – the very same thing ISIS wants. That is exactly why President Obama’s words of caution at the National Prayer Breakfast were so important – and why his refusal to buy into this dangerous language is exactly the right call.