Obama’s war on ‘terrorism’ (the word)

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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The GOP is out with a new web ad this morning, asking the question: Why won’t President Barack Obama call the attacks on Libya a terrorist attack?

After all, everyone else knows it was an act of terror.

Modern political campaigns are largely about making mountains out of mole hills, but this seems like a legitimate question — primarily because the president’s reluctance to call a terrorist attack a terrorist attack may speak to larger issues.

As far as I can tell, there are a few possible explanations.

First, it’s possible Obama doesn’t believe it was a terrorist attack. This seems highly implausible, though, inasmuch as on Monday, Obama conceded on “The View” that Libya “wasn’t just a mob action.”

Second, he may be making a political calculation based on the assumption that a terrorist attack on his watch might hurt his electoral chances. If that’s the case, it is hardly a profile in courage.

There are other theories. Maybe Obama views these murderers as mere criminals? — a dangerous possibility with consequences that transcend mere semantic differences.

Or maybe it’s a naive hope that burying his head in the sand and refusing to say the T-word will somehow change reality?

If so, he has interesting company. A few years ago, Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld was mocked for refusing to refer to insurgents as … insurgents. Is Obama personally trying to do to the T-word what Rummy attempted to do to the I-word?

If that’s the case, we have big problems. The first step toward recovery is to admit you have a problem. How can America be expected to vanquish terrorists if the commander-in-chief won’t say the word?