On Tuesday’s “The O’Reilly Factor,” Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer called on President Barack Obama to be more forceful with his rhetoric when it comes to describing the threat of Islamic jihad to the American public.
According to Krauthammer, the notion of Obama not using words like “jihadist” and “Islamist” is an embarrassment and he noted the lengths to which the president goes to avoid using them.
“I say I don’t know what he’s thinking, but I sure know what he’s saying and doing,” Krauthammer said. “The lengths to which he will go to avoid telling us the truth about the enemy is becoming comical and certainly embarrassing. For example, he will never — forget about use the word ‘jihadist.’ He’ll never use that — but he refuses to use the word ‘Islamist,’ which is used throughout the Muslim world. It’s used by journalists, by authors, on the street, in the parliament everywhere, in Egypt. It’s used in Lebanon. It’s used everywhere by Muslims. And yet, Obama won’t touch it because he refuses to use any words that might imply a connection between radical Islam and terrorism, which as anybody who is over the age of nine knows is the single greatest cause of terror in the world today.”
Krauthammer gave one specific example, from a speech Obama gave in Jerusalem during his Middle East trip back in March.
“I’ll give you one example which is completely overlooked by everyone,” Krauthammer said. “It was a rather trivial one. When [Obama] was in Israel, he gave a speech in Jerusalem. And in the middle of the speech he talked about the rise of the Islamist parties in Egypt and elsewhere, the [Muslim] Brotherhood. In Egypt and etc. — what was the phrase he used? We have to be concerned about the rise of ‘non-secular parties.’ What a weird word to use. The word is religious parties. The word is Islamist parties. Yet even in this trivial throwaway line in a speech in Jerusalem he refuses to use the obvious word.”
The reluctance to call out extremist elements pales in comparison to the more forceful language used by leaders in World War II, including former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and former President Franklin Roosevelt, according to Krauthammer.
“It matters because if you want to mobilize the population, if you want to give them the courage to persist and to carry on a fight which should be a difficult fight, it could go on for a generation,” he said. “You have to be clear with your own people about who the enemy is. Churchill did not speak about German extremists. He talked about the Nazi menace. He described it in detail. FDR didn’t speak about extremists in Tokyo. He talked about the Japanese imperialism and its threat to the whole region. You have to be able to be honest with the people if you’re going to get any support. Otherwise, you get an event here, an event there and you say we can’t jump to any conclusions? Within three days everybody understands that these brothers were jihadists.”
The Washington Post columnist speculated that Obama is hesitant to use those terms because it may be an effort to make Islamic threats seem as if they are receding.
“I think it’s more than PR, because again, if you want to lead a nation in a fight that takes a long time — the drone attacks are happening off screen below the radar,” Krauthammer explained. “It doesn’t affect us in our lives. Yes, I commend him on that. Yes, it is happening. But he tries to keep all of this at bay as if it’s not happening. It’s all in secret. We don’t hear about it. And every once in a while you get an attack in Boston, people say what’s going on? I thought Obama said the tide of war is receding. I thought we don’t even use the phrase the ‘war on terror.’ I thought the guy who killed 13 Americans in the Fort Hood shooting who jumped up on a table and yelled ‘Allahu Akbar’ — which is the signature of the jihad — is still today called by this administration officially ‘workplace violence.’”
“I know,” O’Reilly replied. “It’s absurd.”