Though left-leaning journalist Ron Fournier did his best to partially defend the Obama administration’s “careful” approach to discussing Islamic terrorism, he ultimately had to admit that the administration was just plain wrong in its refusal to use the term “radical Islam.”
Saying that Obama needed to be “reminded that words matter,” Fournier accused the administration of attempting to “whitewash” the motive of terrorists:
To not call the attacks Islamic extremism whitewashes from public debate an important detail: These terrorists are invoking a great religion to do evil. It’s an uncomfortable fact—but a fact, nonetheless.
The French did not hesitate to declare war on radical Islam. When NBC’s Chuck Todd asked Attorney General Eric Holder if the United States was on the same footing, Holder said, “I would say that we are at war with terrorists who commit these heinous acts and who use Islam. They use a corrupted version of Islam to justify their actions.”
True, but too careful. The word he left out matters.
The problems, he explained, are numerous. The president is not giving Americans “the full story about a generational threat,” and thus failing to “help” Americans “distinguish between a religion and those who bastardize it.” He is not “reminding Muslims that their faith is under siege” (apparently they’re at risk of forgetting this…?). And, finally, Fournier says that by attempting to erase Islam from the story, Obama is only encouraging the “paranoia of political extremists” in the U.S. (by which Fournier of course means Tea Partiers).
Near the end of his piece, Fournier surprisingly turned to a surprising source, George W. Bush, to make a point about the need for an administration to “unify” the country in war situations (something the Obama administration is failing at miserably):
Obama’s predecessor, Republican George W. Bush, worried about that his self-proclaimed war on terror could be viewed as a religious conflict. “Ours is a war not against a religion, not against the Muslim faith. But ours is a war against individuals who absolutely hate what America stands for,” Bush said. “And therefore, we must work together to defend ourselves. And by remaining strong and united and tough, we’ll prevail.”
United and tough.
Obama needs to be reminded that words matter.
Attempting to create some sort of balance, however, Fournier also argued that many of Obama’s critics (including Texas Republican Louie Gohmert) were going too far in his opinion in their pushback against the administration on the issue.