Words and Deeds
So when Obama and his team were dreaming up euphemisms like “overseas contingency operations” and “man-caused disasters,” and loudly disowning terms like “radical Islam,” “Islamic extremism,” and “jihad,” and magnifying our own past misdemeanors while downplaying the felonies of Islam, and bragging of their intention to give KSM his day in court, or Mirandizing Abdulmutallab, or declaiming about Guantanamo, perhaps a subtle message was delivered to radical Islamists that we either would not or could not any longer wage war against them.
Note the incongruity: Despite a lack of any evidence that Obama’s rhetorical flourishes have emboldened Islamic terrorists, Hanson finds it eminently plausible that replacing “global war on terror” with “overseas contingency operations” in a few briefing papers has reinvigorated Al Qaeda.
But dare to suggest our actual deeds – from invading Iraq to torturing detainees to indiscriminate Predator strikes – have inflamed Muslim opinion and Hanson and his ilk will quickly dismiss you out of hand*. Never mind the fact that US foreign policy has an actual, quantifiable impact on the Islamic World. Never mind the fact that a Nidal Hasan or a Faisal Shahzad have quite a few grievances about American policy.
If Hanson is to be believed, bureaucratic terminology has more to do with Muslim extremism than, say, invading and occupying a Muslim country. Because unapologetic hawks only believe in blowback when it suits their rhetorical purposes.
*The Times raises the old charge that if we weren’t in Iraq, neither would be al-Qaida—more of whose members we have killed in Iraq than anywhere else. In 1944, Japan had relatively few soldiers in Okinawa; when the Japanese learned that we planned to invade in 1945, they increased their forces there. Did the subsequent carnage—four times the number of U.S. dead as in Iraq, by the way, in one-sixteenth the time—prove our actions ill considered?