Who Or What Is Fight Against?

Republican and right wing critics of President Obama are upset because his administration has downplayed use of expressions such as “terrorist” or “Islamic terrorist.”A new report by the Institute for Near East Policy argues the US must sharpen the distinction between the Muslim faith and violent Islamic terrorists. Senator Joseph Lieberman recently blasted the White House for “the failure to identify our enemy for what it is –violent Islamic extremism–is offensive and contradicts thousands of years of accepted military and intelligence doctrine to know your enemy.” Huh? Perhaps, the senator could cite what Greeks or Persians said concerning their enemies in order to clarify his comment about “thousands of years of accepted military and intelligence doctrine.”

Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin and others of their ilk who believe victory comes by shouting the loudest have absolutely no specific evidence to support their conception. From the moment George Bush and Dick Cheney began to spout about “the war on terrorism” the result has been confusion. There are many Islamic groups with differing goals who might be cited as examples of “extremists.” We currently in Afghanistan are fighting the Taliban, we are not fighting “terrorism.” We are fighting al-Qaeda, these are specific groups and using abstract terms such as “terrorism” or “Islamic extremism” confused issues.