Commentary Magazine


What’s in a Name?

Language can be very revealing. So far, the Obama administration has given clear indicators as to who it identifies as the nation’s real enemies.

First up, vague as the “War on Terror” was, it’s now a taboo term. The administration replaced it with “overseas contingency operations” — a phrase so devoid of content that it is the Olestra of the English language.

Next, terrorist attacks themselves were redefined into “man-caused disasters.” (Let’s overlook, for the moment, the inherent sexism of that phrase, although Bernardine Dohrn would take offense.)

Finally, the Obama administration found an area where they could use the term “terrorist” and “terrorism” freely — and that was in the Department of Homeland Security’s report on the threat of right-wing extremism. Now, they couldn’t find very much evidence to back up their broad generalities and concerns (Timothy McVeigh and the Oklahoma City bombing makes a very lonely data point), but they did manage to cast aspersions on such devious, subversive elements as returning veterans.

Meanwhile, other prominent Democrats reacted to this week’s Tea Parties with some very strong language — throwing around terms such as “despicable,” “racist,”  “AstroTurfed,” and the like.

Oddly enough, they didn’t employ those terms to describe the protests at the recent G-20 gathering in London, the routine domestic terrorism of the Animal Liberation Front and the Earth Liberation Front, or even the recent silencing of former Representative Tom Tancredo at the University of North Carolina.

The conclusion seems pretty clear: the real terrorists, the real threat to American security, are not Islamist militants who have vowed to destroy America. No, the real terrorists are those who didn’t vote for Democrats, who stubbornly assert their independence, who insist on placing a high value on their rights, who believe strongly in such heretical concepts as the 1st, 2nd, and 10th Amendments to the United States Constitution, and even those who have sought out training in weapons and tactics by enlisting in the U.S. military.

Thanks for clearing that up, folks.