The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Missing Adjective

I was watching CNN last night as it reported on the Mumbai bombings. The lead story presented the current findings of India’s intelligence service. In the first paragraph of the story (the one that most listeners pay close attention to), the reporter indicated that a “Pakistani-based militant group” planned the attacks in conjunction with a “radical student group” within India proper. The fascinating element in the lead to this story was what was missing – a single adjective that described each of these groups. The adjective is, of course, Islamic.

If you’ve paid attention to mainstream media coverage since 9-11, it’s interesting how often the word Islamic is omitted when violent, terror groups are discussed. Whether it’s the Sudan, Indonesia, or Chechnia, Lebanon, Iraq or Iran, groups with clear Islamist ties, driven by radical Islamist ideology, and often supported by a much broader segment of the local Islamic population are rarely identified as such. Why?

The answer to this question has much to do about our ability to deal with the growing threat of terror from Islamofascist groups and countries (e.g., Iran).

In the United States, political correctness demands that we avoid even the appearance of religious bigotry. Hence, identifying a group’s religious affiliation, no matter how relevant it is to the story at hand, is to be avoided whenever possible. Even more important, we certainly want to avoid creating bad feelings that could lead to hate crimes against innocents. Even more important than that, we certainly don’t want to create the appearance that the global war on terror is actually a religious war.

And yet, the underlying philosophy that precipitated terrorism in New York, London, Madrid, and now, Mumbai is – you guessed it – Islamofascism. The broader religion that has refused to excise (by condemning it without equivocation) the Islamofascist virus from within its core is – you guessed it – Islam.

Our ability to win the “war on terror” will, sadly, be about as successful as our ability to win the “war on drugs” if we refuse to properly and accurately define who we're at war with. You don’t conduct war against an action or an ideology or an inanimate object. You wage war again people who mean to harm and subjugate you, and when those people can be identified within a well-defined group, it would seem reasonable to identify the group at every opportunity. That may not be politically correct, but it is honest.