National Security

Shameless Semantics

Radical Islam is waging war against West. Leftists are waging war on vocabulary.

Feb. 2, 2015

The Obama administration has reached what is best described as a metastatic level of denial, aided and abetted by semantical manipulation. Last week, one of the five high-level Taliban thugs released from Guantanamo Bay prison in exchange for alleged deserter Bowie Bergdahl was caught making telephone calls to the Taliban. The same week, the same Taliban claimed responsibility for murdering of three American civilian contractors and wounding a fourth at a military base connected to Kabul’s international airport. It is the same Taliban who turned Afghanistan into an al-Qaida training ground, allowing them the opportunity to plan and execute the worst domestic attack in America’s history. Despite all of this, the Obama administration is determined to label them an “armed insurgency,” not a terrorist group.

That put White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest in a bind, because while the State Department hasn’t deemed the Taliban a foreign terrorist organization, the Treasury Department has them listed as “specially designated global terrorists” per a 2002 executive order. Hence, Earnest attempted to find a middle ground that doesn’t exist. “They do carry out tactics that are akin to terrorism, they do pursue terror attacks in an effort to try to advance their agenda,” he conceded, but they’re not a terrorist organization because their murderous sprees “have principally been focused on Afghanistan.”

This is not the first time such fecklessness has occurred. Until Secretary of State John Kerry placed them on the State Department’s terror list, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton adamantly refused to designate Nigeria’s Boko Haram a terrorist organization, even as she hypocritically tweeted, “We must stand up to terrorism” following the kidnapping of 200 Nigerian girls last April – by a group whose level of slaughter is now comparable to that of ISIL.

Why the latest unconscionable hair-splitting? Because our equally feckless commander in chief wishes to maintain the fiction that America does not negotiate with terrorists. Toward that end, one administration hack after another has toed the administration line. Last Sunday, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, referencing the proposed prisoner swap between Jordan, Japan and ISIL, led the charge. “We don’t get into negotiation with terrorists,” he told Fox News. “We don’t pay ransom because that cash then fuels further kidnappings, which just continue to exacerbate the problem. So we’re not going to do that.”

Referencing the same swap, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki noted that every country “has the ability and the right to make decisions,” but reiterated the U.S. position that “we don’t make concessions to terrorists.” During a White House briefing last Wednesday, deputy press secretary Eric Schultz insisted the Taliban was an “armed insurgency” and that our prisoner swaps with them “are traditional end-of-conflict interaction that happens.”

One might be forgiven for noticing that “end-of-conflict” is an equally egregious denial of reality, one that will inevitably resemble the bloody results of Obama unilaterally “ending” the conflict in Iraq. Adding insult to injury, Obama’s “no troops on the ground” commitment vis-à-vis Iraq is another fiction belied by the 1,400 servicemen currently in country, as well as the additional 1,500 approved to be sent there by the president in November.

The administration’s latest assault on the English language can be explained in two words: Bowe Bergdahl. Both Fox and NBC News reported the decision had already been made to try Bergdahl for desertion, though three different military spokesmen denied those reports. Retired Lt. Col Bill Cowan explained the machinations behind the case: “In White House terms, not charging Bergdahl means that he was indeed worth the trade for the Taliban Five. But charging him on any level means that releasing the five Taliban was an error of monstrous proportions, one the administration will never be able to explain away satisfactorily.”

Admirable assessment, but naive. Imagine the worst case scenario for Obama – that Bergdahl is charged as the deserter his comrades in arms allege him to be. Now imagine the president saying while that is unfortunate, we still don’t leave our soldiers behind under any circumstances. Thus, swapping five high-level insurgents for him – as opposed to five hard-core terrorists – was the only reasonable thing to do.

Note the groundwork for this has already been laid, courtesy of the aforementioned jargon about “traditional end-of-conflict” exchanges with insurgencies.

Note further the same media that rushed to defend the president when Bergdahl was released would do so again in a heartbeat. Both The New York Times and The Huffington Post impugned the soldiers in Bergdahl’s unit who claimed he deserted his post because their media appearances were “arranged” by Republican “strategists.” The Times went on to describe Bergdahl as a “free-spirited young man who asked many questions but gave no indication of being a deserter.” Even more incredibly, when the Times revealed that Bergdahl had “wandered away” two previous occasions, they sought to attribute his third disappearance to “an environment of lax security and discipline.”

Radical Islam is waging war against West. Obama, his minions and their media collaborators are waging war on vocabulary. On Saturday, ISIL released its latest video of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto being beheaded, reminding the world that such denial, and the semantical manipulation employed to serve it, are utterly bankrupt conceits.

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