In a Washington Times op-ed, nationally syndicated radio host Monica Crowley advanced the false right-wing talking point that President Obama does not use the word “terror” when describing attacks on the United States; on the January 6 Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade echoed Crowley's attack, falsely claiming that the Obama administration “won't even acknowledge that we're in the war on terror or that a terror strike could occur.” Crowley also falsely claimed that “we hear little to no true condemnation of these acts from the Muslim world,” when, in fact, Muslim groups in the United States routinely condemn terrorism.
Crowley and Kilmeade falsehood: Obama administration uses “euphemisms” instead of “terror” to describe attacks
Crowley: Obama uses “euphemisms” when discussing terrorism instead of describing “the truth: terror against the infidel carried out in the name of Islam as part of a global jihadi movement.” From Crowley's January 6 op-ed:
If you are trying to keep track of President Obama's euphemisms about the war against Islamic terror, he just added a new one. In his weekly radio address, he replaced “global war on terror” with “war on a far-reaching network of violence and hatred.” In another attempt to be “anything-but-Bush,” Mr. Obama has turned the simple, descriptive acronym “GWOT” into the mangled “WFRNVH.” I think even members of al Qaeda are perplexed over the American president's determination to make even simple concepts maddeningly complex.
The “WFRNVH” now joins a motley collection of other powder-puff phrases the Obama administration is using to describe the current war, the attacks against us, and those who carry them out: “Extremism.” “Attempted.” “Isolated.” “Incident.” “Man-made disaster.” “Overseas contingency operation.”
Everything but the truth: terror against the infidel carried out in the name of Islam as part of a global jihadi movement.
Over a week after the Christmas Day terrorist attack aboard Northwest flight 253, Mr. Obama finally acknowledged that it was an al Qaeda operation, planned in Yemen. (And no, it was not an “attempted” attack -- Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab got as far as lighting an explosives-driven fire on an airplane in order to rain bodies on Detroit.)
But that's where Mr. Obama's recognition of the true nature of the threat ended. And it's precisely what's missing from his attempts to prosecute the “WFRNVH.”
Kilmeade: Obama administration “won't even acknowledge that we're in the war on terror or that a terror strike could occur.” On Fox & Friends, Kilmeade and his guest, Washington Times columnist Frank Gaffney, echoed Crowley's argument that Obama and his administration shy from acknowledging terrorism. Kilmeade claimed that Obama “called the attacker [Northwest airline bomber] an 'isolated extremist,' and asked: ” Can we trust the government to protect us from terrorism when they won't even acknowledge that we're in the war on terror or that a terror strike could occur?" Gaffney said that “the uses of euphemisms for the fight we're in, I think is deeply worrying and it is contributed, I'm concerned, to our enemy's perception that we're not serious.”
From the January 6 edition of Fox & Friends:
KILMEADE: It was last year, right after Janet Napolitano was confirmed as the nation's secretary of Homeland Security, that she tried to explain why she doesn't say “war on terror,” saying, quote -- and here it is: “Although I did not use the word terrorism, I referred to man-caused disaster. It demonstrates we want to move away from the politics of fear.” Well, after the attempted bombing of an airline over Christmas, she said, “The system worked,” and that was the quote. And President Obama called the attacker an “isolated extremist.”
Can we trust the government to protect us from terrorism when they won't even acknowledge that we're in the war on terror or that a terror strike could occur? Frank Gaffney is the president of the Center for Security Policy and a columnist for The Washington Times. Frank, do those terms -- does that terminology -- does that worry you?
GAFFNEY: Well, I think the uses of euphemisms for the fight we're in, I think is deeply worrying and it is contributed, I'm concerned, to our enemy's perception that we're not serious. And what that means to them is they should redouble their efforts. And specifically, as we've talked about here many times, Brian, what that translates into is more of the violent kind of jihad, that their ideology -- they call it “Sharia” -- requires them to engage in.
In fact, Obama routinely uses the word “terror” and did so in discussing attempted Christmas Day attack
Sargent: "[T]he plain fact is that Obama has used the word 'terror' and its variants lots and lots and lots of times." As The Plum Line's Greg Sargent wrote in a blog post, “No matter how many times critics say otherwise, the plain fact is that Obama has used the word 'terror' and its variants lots and lots and lots of times." Sargent also noted that despite Sen. Jim DeMint's (R-SC) claim that Obama is not “willing to use the word,” "[i]n his weekly address only 24 hours before DeMint made his claim, Obama used the term 'terror,' 'terrorism,' or 'terrorists' a half dozen times."
Obama repeatedly referred to the attempted Christmas Day attack as a “terrorist attack.” In response to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's attempt to bomb a Northwest Airlines flight on Christmas Day, Obama addressed the nation on the incident and repeatedly described the attack as a “terrorist attack.” From his December 28 remarks:
Good morning, everybody. I wanted to take just a few minutes to update the American people on the attempted terrorist attack that occurred on Christmas Day and the steps we're taking to ensure the safety and security of the country.
Thanks to the quick and heroic actions of passengers and crew, the suspect was immediately subdued, the fire was put out, and the plane landed safely. The suspect is now in custody and has been charged with attempting to destroy an aircraft.
A full investigation has been launched into this attempted act of terrorism, and we will not rest until we find all who were involved and hold them accountable.
Second, I've ordered two important reviews, because it's absolutely critical that we learn from this incident and take the necessary measures to prevent future acts of terrorism.
The first review involves our watch list system, which our government has had in place for many years to identify known and suspected terrorists so that we can prevent their entry into the United States. Apparently the suspect in the Christmas incident was in this system, but not on a watch list, such as the so-called no-fly list. So I have ordered a thorough review, not only of how information related to the subject was handled, but of the overall watch list system and how it can be strengthened.
On December 29, Obama again described attack as a “terrorist attack” and used the word “terrorist” several times. From Obama's December 29 statement:
Good morning. Yesterday I updated the American people on the immediate steps we took -- the increased screening and security of air travel -- to keep our country safe in the wake of the attempted terrorist attack on Christmas Day. And I announced two reviews -- a review of our terrorist watch list system and a review of our air travel screening, so we can find out what went wrong, fix it and prevent future attacks.
There appears to be other deficiencies as well. Even without this one report there were bits of information available within the intelligence community that could have and should have been pieced together. We've achieved much since 9/11 in terms of collecting information that relates to terrorists and potential terrorist attacks. But it's becoming clear that the system that has been in place for years now is not sufficiently up to date to take full advantage of the information we collect and the knowledge we have.
December 31 statement described the incident as an “attempted act of terrorism on Christmas Day.” From Obama's December 31 statement “on Preliminary Assessments from Reviews Ordered on the Christmas Day Incident” :
This morning, I spoke with John Brennan about preliminary assessments from the ongoing consultations I have ordered into the human and systemic failures that occurred leading up to the attempted act of terrorism on Christmas Day and about our government-wide efforts at continued vigilance on homeland security and counterterrorism efforts. In a separate call, I spoke with Sec. Napolitano to receive an update on both the Department of Homeland Security review of detection capabilities and the enhanced security measures in place since the Christmas Day incident.
Obama's January 2 weekly address focused on the “attempted act of terrorism aboard that flight to Detroit on Christmas Day.” In his January 2 weekly address, Obama repeatedly used “terror” or some variation of the word to discuss the attempted Christmas Day attack and other terrorist actions. Additionally, Obama discussed the suspect's relationship with Al Qaeda and security measures in place to help prevent future attacks.
On January 5, Obama used some form of the word “terror” at least eight different times. In his January 5 remarks on the attempted Christmas Day attack, Obama used the words “terrorist,” “terrorism,” “counterterrorism,” or some variation of the word at least eight different times.
Crowley falsely claimed Muslims rarely condemn terror attacks
From Crowley's op-ed:
Does every Muslim commit terror? Of course not. But those who do believe they are carrying out the Koranic command to “strike terror in their [infidel] hearts.” This is one of the reasons why we hear little to no true condemnation of these acts from the Muslim world. Many Muslims may not seek to kill the infidel, but they don't want to condemn those carrying out the holy book command.
Muslim groups in U.S. routinely condemn attacks, and did so in response to attempted Christmas Day attack
CAIR: "[T]he suspect 'should get swift justice.' " A December 26 Detroit Free Press article quoted spokespeople for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim Community Center-Detroit condemning Abdulmutallab. From the article:
“It was shocking to us,” Imam Kazeem Agboola, head of the Muslim Community Center-Detroit, told the Free Press today. The mosque, whose congregation is predominantly Nigerian, opened last year and is part of the growing community of Muslims from west Africa moving to Michigan.
Agboola said that he and other local Nigerians he has talked to know nothing about the suspect, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23.
“We don't know this individual,” Agboola said. “We don't know about his mission.”
Agboola said that Abdulmutallab has nothing to do with their religion. “He does not represent the goal of Islam, the mission of Islam,” Agboola said.
Dawud Walid, head of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said that the suspect “should get swift justice.”
Walid said he hoped that some Americans wouldn't face extra profiling in light of the incident given that they had nothing to do with it.
CAIR routinely issues statements condemning terrorism. CAIR's website has an entire page dedicated to highlighting its anti-terror campaigns and statements condemning terrorism, including a “Not in the Name of Islam” petition, which is “designed to disassociate the faith of Islam from the violent acts of a few Muslims.”
ISNA condemned Fort Hood attack. Following the November 5 shooting at Fort Hood by Nidal Malik Hasan, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) issued a statement saying: “The Muslim Public Affairs Council-DC (MPAC-DC), the Islamic Society of North America Office for Interfaith and Community Alliances (ISNA) and the American Muslim Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Council (AMAFVAC) completely denounce this barbaric act of violence. All three organizations unequivocally denounce the incident in the strongest terms possible and offer their deepest condolences to the victims and their loved ones. Further, they hope and expect that law enforcement officials will resolve this matter as swiftly and justly as possible.”