Sunday, September 14, 2014

ISIS, ISIL or IS? -- Nomenclature for a "State" of Genocidal Islamists

This summer we have been witness to the extraordinary and meteoric rise of the newest generation of rogue Islamists, along with the ethnic cleansing and Islamicization they have brought to their newly won territory. Of course, I refer to the genocide they have wrought on thousands of innocents, not to mention the beheading of two American journalists and scores of others.

I shall not bore you with a discussion of who these people are, if they can justly be called "people" at all, for that matter. Nor shall I describe their nefarious acts or crazed ideology of blood lust and mass murder. Instead, I ask once simple question. What is this entity called and why?

Strangely, no one seems to be in agreement about exactly what to call them in English.

The news media seems to favor the term ISIS, acrostic for Islamic State of Syria and Iraq, while the White House refers to it as ISIL, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or as I read today, "Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant." And now we are hearing just plain IS, Islamic State.

As we've discussed here in the past, our choice of words is rather revealing about our own often subtle biases. Long before the recent articles unmasking mainstream media's insidious yet shameless collaboration with Hamas, one could plainly recognize that the news media was not simply reporting a story, or offering objective commentary. Rather, the reporter was making a political statement and taking sides. Israel invariably was depicted as the aggressor, occupier and colonial power. Islamo-Fascist genocidal murderers or attempted murderers were depicted as victims. A baby girl beheaded in her crib is called the "settler," the aggressor, while the bloodthirsty savages who beheaded her are victimized Palestinians protesting "illegal occupation." Simple choice of words turns a report of  horrific crime (think Foley, Sotloff or Gaines, except it was a three-month-old infant) into a appallingly contorted political statement, or misstatement, to be more precise.

Name calling is even more telling. How do you define or identify this individual, group or area? For example, if it is the "West Bank," then it relates to the East Bank, or the modern state of Jordan, and there is implied justification for Jordanian occupation or Arab rule. If it is Judea and Samaria, then it is historically Jewish land dating back to antiquity, long before the Mohammedans or even Romans appeared on the horizon.

So what can the media's and White House's disparity on the "Islamic State of Where ever" tell us about their respective agendas?

At first glance, the Levant is a much larger area than Syria. It includes Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Cyprus and Southern Turkey. So it would seem that the White House is identifying the broader ambitions of the IS hordes, perhaps in attempt to justify military US intervention, whereas the media seeks to minimize the scope of the threat.

On second thought, "Levant" is a term most rank and file Americans are unfamiliar. Even in academia, the "Levant" has been relegated to the fields of archeology and literature.  Perhaps the administration chooses to use a largely irrelevant and ambiguous term to downplay the threat. Or perhaps "Syria" is a buzzword, since the government of Syria has massacred close to two-hundred thousand of its own people in recent years, so ISIS is to be avoided, as it pits IS against Assad regime, one group of mass murderers against another. In American foreign policy, we need a clearly defined bad guy.

After further reflection, however, it seems that none of these explanations are plausible. Simply speaking, Americans don't care what the acronym stands for, or that it is an acronym at all. "Isis" sounds good from the media's perspective, while our president hears a more White House-friendly message in "Isil."

"Isis" rhymes with crisis. Crises make headlines, sell newspapers, garner clicks. Crisis also implies an unanticipated upheaval or sudden change for the worse. Furthermore, "Isis" sounds like a medical term, perhaps an abnormal condition or disease. In other words, Isis is a bizarre phenomenon. It could not have possibly been anticipated. It certainly was not festering for decades, ignored or even abetted by Western powers. This would fit neatly into the mainstream media's agenda of downplaying the true evils of the Islamo-Fascist world, instead promoting Muslim victimhood and reaction. Isis cannot possibly be a product of Islamic rage, the cause celebre of the Western media. Instead, it is an anomaly, a disease, but a crisis nonetheless.

The president apparently took this a step further. Not only was it an anomaly, it was not even a crisis worthy of world attention. It was "Isil," an isolated problem, confined to Iraq (we completely withdrew from that place, remember?) and the "Levant," some indistinct area shrouded by obscurity. No cause for worry or any US intervention. That's why the President wasn't even ashamed to admit that he had no strategy on Isil. Why should he have had one? Does the US need to respond to every isolated tribal skirmish in the world?

Sadly, our President has a penchant for promoting the most puritan (i.e. extreme) elements of the Islamic World, like the Muslim Brotherhood, through the guise of "Arab Spring" and ostensibly well-intended efforts to democratize the Middle East. Libya and Egypt are prime examples. And here was Islam in its rawest, most literally Koranic form, operating under the name of "Islamic State." But beheadings and mass murder is bad PR for a president who seeks to protect the image of extreme Islamic movements. So he called it "Isil," isolated.

That was up until last week. After public opinion turned sharply against ISIS following the gruesome beheading of one then two US citizens, Obama was forced to take action, albeit reluctantly. Now obliged to concede that this JV jihadi group is indeed a formidable force that threatens the entire region, even the entire world, the president has chosen a new rhetoric. Isil is not Islamic, he declared. It has nothing in common with Islamists throughout the world, so it is still Isil, isolated. No connection between Isil and Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood, cried the State Department. Qataris, Saudis, and all the rest of the depraved Salafis, share nothing in common with the isolated anomaly called Isil. Islam is a religion of peace, we are told repeatedly. Hence the term "Isil."

The one term both the White House and media avoid is IS, Islamic State. No one wishes to concede that this is indeed a state, or that it is Islamic. However, it is in fact the most accurate, and is what they call themselves. Perhaps the reluctance stems from the old "Emperor's new clothes" syndrome our leadership suffers from -- the inability to see or acknowledge that Islamic State is not an isolated phenomenon at all. It is representative of a much broader problem, the depraved state of worldwide Islamo-Fascism and the consequence of Western pacifism and denial, or worse, collaboration.

No comments: