While looking for something else I noticed a wrinkle in the transcript of Hillary's speech on ISIS to the Council on Foreign Relations. Her topic is whether we are at war with Islam, which of course no Republican leader is saying:
...we are in a contest of ideas against an ideology of hate, and we have to win. Let’s be clear, though, Islam is not our adversary. Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people, and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism. The obsession in some quarters with a clash of civilization, or repeating the specific words radical Islamic terrorism isn’t just a distraction, it gives these criminals, these murderers more standing than they deserve. It actually plays into their hands by alienating partners we need by our side.
Yeah, yeah, never say "radical Islam" or ISIS wins. But these are her very next words (my emphasis):
Our priority should be how to fight the enemy. In the end, it didn’t matter what kind of terrorist we call bin Laden, it mattered that we killed bin Laden. But we still can’t close our eyes to the fact that there is a distorted and dangerous stream of extremism within the Muslim world that continues to spread. Its adherents are relatively few in number, but capable of causing profound damage, most especially to their own communities throughout an arc of instability that stretches from North and West Africa to Asia.
What?!? There is a "distorted and dangerous" strain of Islam capable of causing profound damage to which we "can't close our eyes"? But using the word 'radical" to describe this "distorted and dangerous" group is out of bounds? (I am giving her a pass on her ludicrous 'Don't know your enemy, just kill 'em' exhortation.)
She has some stray thoughts which touch on this in a puzzling manner:
Today, European nations don’t even always alert each other when they turn away a suspected jihadist at the border, or when a passport is stolen.
Jihadist? How could that have anything to do with terror or Islam? And back in the States:
Law enforcement also needs the trust of residents and communities, including in our own country Muslim Americans. Now, this should go without saying, but in the current climate, it bears repeating. Muslim Americans are working every day on the front lines of the fight against radicalization.
The source of my confusion should be obvious - if the struggle with ISIS has nothing to do with Islam, why is she citing mosques and their efforts against radicalization? Surely the Pope and the US bishops and cardinals could be as helpful in eliciting the assistance of the Catholic Church. Why not mention that?
Her closing thoughts include this:
This is a time for American leadership. No other country can rally the world to defeat ISIS and win the generational struggle against radical jihadism.
Hillary's also used this formulation - it's not radical Islam, it's radical jihadism - at the recent Democratic debate. It was nonsense then and her effort at the CFR speech shows the near-impossibility of discussing ISIS without admitting a connection to Islam.
From the debate:
DICKERSON: Secretary Clinton, you mentioned radical jihadists. Marco Rubio, also running for president, said that this attack showed and the attack in Paris showed that we are at war with radical Islam. Do you agree with that characterization, radical Islam?
CLINTON: I don’t think we’re at war with Islam. I don’t think we’re at war with all Muslims. I think we’re at war with jihadists who have —
DICKERSON: Just to interrupt. He didn’t say all Muslims. He just said radical Islam. Is that a phrase you don’t…
CLINTON: I think THAT you can talk about Islamists who clearly are also jihadists, but I think it’s not particularly helpful to make the case that Senator Sanders was just making that I agree with, that we’ve got to reach out to Muslim countries.
We’ve got to have them be part of our coalition. If they hear people running for president who basically shortcut it to say we are somehow against Islam, that was one of the real contributions, despite all the other problems, that George W. Bush made after 9/11 when he basically said after going to a Mosque in Washington, we are not at war with Islam or Muslims.
We are at war with violent extremism. We are at war with people who use their religion for purposes of power and oppression. And, yes, we are at war with those people. But I don’t want us to be painting with too broad a brush.
Other Clinton excerpts from the debate:
CLINTON: Well, our prayers are with the people of France tonight, but that is not enough. We need to have a resolve that will bring the world together to root out the kind of radical jihadist ideology that motivates organizations like ISIS, a barbaric, ruthless, violent jihadist terrorist group.
I have said the invasion of Iraq was a mistake. But I think if we’re ever going to really tackle the problems posed by jihadi extreme terrorism, we need to understand it and realize that it has antecedents to what happened in Iraq and we have to continue to be vigilant about it.
Hmm, so now we need to understand "jihadi extreme terrorism". Just let's not call it "radical Islam".
I do agree that in particular, Turkey and the Gulf nations have got to make up their minds. Are they going to stand with us against this kind of jihadi radicalism or not?
This Orwellian notion that 'radical jihadism' is fine but "radical Islam" will alienate the world is probably going to be a tough sell to the great unwashed in this country. Especially when both Hillary and the DNC are relying on that progressive darling George Bush, who did in fact, praise Allah, use the dread "radical Islam" phrase in a 2006 State of the Union address:
No one can deny the success of freedom, but some men rage and fight against it. And one of the main sources of reaction and opposition is radical Islam; the perversion by a few of a noble faith into an ideology of terror and death. Terrorists like bin Laden are serious about mass murder and all of us must take their declared intentions seriously. They seek to impose a heartless system of totalitarian control throughout the Middle East and arm themselves with weapons of mass murder.