By Lt. Col. Allen West (Ret) at the Allen B. West Website, August 26, 2014 •
I know I’ve mentioned this before but one of my favorite songs from the 80’s is “Words” by Missing Persons. The refrain goes:
What are words for when no one listens anymore
What are words for when no one listens
What are words for when no one listens it’s no use talkin’ at all
This week I listened to two Obama administration spokesmen, Josh “Not So” Earnest from the White House, and Rear Admiral Kirby from the Pentagon in relation to the Islamic terrorist army freely operating in Iraq and Syria. These two individuals and many other voices out of the Obama administration refer to them as ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant). The group has professed the establishment of an Islamic caliphate and refers to itself as IS (Islamic State). The manner in which we should all be referring to this savage and barbaric group is ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria).
Why should that matter? What are words for?
First, if you choose to refer to this group as ISIL, you have basically rewritten the map of the Middle East and fallen into the trap of not recognizing the existence of Israel and also Lebanon. If you use ISIL you are then validating the Islamic totalitarian and jihadist claim that the modern day Jewish State of Israel is an occupation state and does not exist in the eyes of Muslims.
Need I remind you of the faux pas — or perhaps purposeful use — by then-Obama counter-terrorism advisor John Brennan who, at a Ramadan dinner celebration in the White House, referred to the capital of Israel as Al Quds, not as Jerusalem — what are words for indeed? They convey a certain meaning — just like calling the Ft. Hood massacre “workplace violence” and not an Islamic jihadist attack.
Second, if you fall into the trap of referring to this group as IS, you have validated the existence of an Islamic caliphate and through your words lend it recognition and credibility. Some may say, so what? Well, here is the so what: remember when the Clinton administration recognized the Taliban as a legitimate government and even welcomed their Foreign Minister to the White House?
Yeah, well the Taliban welcomed someone into their arms as well. And look what happens when you send your Secretary of State to sit and negotiate a cease fire with Qatar and Turkey — two Islamist-supporting countries — on behalf of a terrorist organization, Hamas. And don’t forget, Barack Hussein Obama’s first phone call as president to an international leader was made to Fatah chief Mahmoud Abbas, aka Abu Mazen — not exactly a nation-state or world leader. What are words for? They’re for realizing what is a declared and recognized state as opposed to a terrorist organization that doesn’t deserve validation.
Lastly, we need to address this group as ISIS because it is seeking to establish an Islamic state within the borders of two recognized nation-states; Iraq and Syria. ISIS can attempt to break down any borders and not recognize them, but we must. We cannot allow this group to reestablish some 7th century regional caliphate and therefore must fight to reestablish sovereignty.
Now, I would much rather use this crisis as a means to establish something long since needed — a separate country called Kurdistan — but my focus would be on destroying ISIS. There is an opportunity here to truly promote a country where there can be respect and coexistence of Muslims, Christians, and other religious minorities. A place that would thoroughly reject the idea of Islamic jihadism and would continue to be a reliable ally of the United States.
It was the dream of Kemal Ataturk to have a secular Muslim country, Turkey, but thanks to the Islamist Recip Tayyip Erdogan, that dream has turned into a nightmare.
So what are words for in this case? They are to properly define your enemy and not allow them to define their goal and objective, which we must reject. However, it does concern me that the Obama administration seems to be embracing the ISIL terminology, which reflects their dismissal of our best ally in the Middle East, Israel.
Am I thinking too deeply in this? Nope. Because America has only been around for 238 years and we fail to realize the nuances of history, language and terminology. During the Clinton administration we didn’t understand the nature of the Balkans and took sides against the Serbians. If we’d studied the Battle of Kosovo in 1389 it would have helped in understanding why the Serbs still harbor angst against Muslims.
In any event, I will continue to say ISIS — and I recommend we all do the same — especially the Obama administration.
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