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No More "Terrorism" or "Terrorists"

With terrorist attacks continuing to occur around the world – from the Middle East to Europe to the United States – the international media has been forced to acknowledge the vile and violent actions of the extremist perpetrators. But that doesn’t mean that biased journalists always identify said terrorists for what they really are. Writing at The Algemeiner, Dr. Daniel Pipes has decided not to describe them as terrorists, instead deciding to “use words like ‘violent,’ ‘murderous,’ ‘Islamist,’ and ‘jihadi,’ words that do not generate a definitional uproar”:

When the British Broadcasting Corporation, the world’s largest news operation, decided in January not to call the gunmen who attacked the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo terrorists, this made an impression on me…

Does it make sense to soldier on, fighting a semantic battle that will never be won? Why argue for a word that everyone agrees is confusing and some find loaded?

Therefore, I too have stopped using “terrorism” and “terrorist” (“counterterrorism,” however, is a tougher word to drop). It’s not worth the fight. Better to use words like “violent,” “murderous,” “Islamist,” and “jihadi,” words that do not generate a definitional uproar. Better not to have to waste time arguing that the U.S. or Israeli governments are not terrorist.

Worse, this argument over terrorism diverts attention from the important fact, which is destruction and murder. Rather than have a debate whether an act of violence meets some theoretical threshold, let’s focus on the real problems…

It has been five months now since these words fell out of my vocabulary, long enough to be able to report that my analyses hold up and my political efforts are undimmed. In fact, I am better off unburdened of it and its vocabulary debates. You would be too.

Tags: Middle East Unrest , Terrorism

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