Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 16, 2011

LIEBERMAN, COLLINS CHANNEL GIULIANI'S TALKING POINTS.... The quality of the debate over terrorism-related rhetoric hasn't progressed much in recent years.

What message should we take away from the Fort Hood massacre, where 13 people were allegedly murdered by radicalized Muslim army psychiatrist Nadal Hasan? According to Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Susan Collins (R-ME), the takeaway is that the U.S. should to stop beating around the bush and call America's enemies what they supposedly are: "Islamic extremists."

Lieberman convened the hearing ostensibly to discuss the recently-released report that criticized the federal government for failing to prevent the massacre by not taking appropriate action to remove Hasan from the military. But it quickly turned into a denunciation of the language the Administration supposedly uses to discuss violent acts.

Senate Homeland Security Committee Ranking Member Susan Collins (R-Maine) complained that the Obama administration "is refusing to acknowledge that violent Islamic extremism is the ideology that fuels attacks." Committee Chairman Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) went to criticize "some people in the executive branch of government," for not using the phrase "Islamic extremists."

Great. The talking points from Rudy Giuliani's foolish presidential campaign continue to resonate with the leaders of the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

As part of the same hearing, Philip Mudd, the former deputy director of the Office of Terrorism Analysis at the CIA, told the committee this rhetorical push is off-base. "As somebody who wants to kill the ideology," Mudd said, "I think we ought to call them what they hate to be called. They like to be called 'terrorists.' They like to be called 'Islamic radicals.' They hate to be called 'murderers,' and that is what they are.... Call them 'murderers.'"

Lieberman responded, "I'm unconvinced."

What a surprise.

It's probably worth noting that just a few years ago, the Bush/Cheney administration launched a new effort to change the way U.S. officials communicated on this issue. In fact, Bush/Cheney issued guidelines, entitled "Words that Work and Words that Don't: A Guide for Counterterrorism Communication," urging officials to stop describing extremists as "jihadists" or "mujahedeen," and to drop "Islamo-fascism" altogether. "It's not what you say but what they hear," the memo said in bold italic lettering.

Karen Hughes later conceded, "We ought to avoid the language of religion. Whenever they hear 'Islamic extremism, Islamic jihad, Islamic fundamentalism,' they perceive it as a sort of an attack on their faith. That's the world view Osama bin Laden wants them to have."

Susan Collins and Joe Lieberman apparently don't care.

Steve Benen 11:20 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (16)

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http://www.metafilter.com/100614/They-have-a-dream-too

Excerpt from that posting at Metafilter follows:

In 2009, the question was asked: Can a comic book change the Middle East?Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story (previously on Metafilter) was published in the US in 1957. It outlined the principles of nonviolent resistance, and was used as a guide for the students who launched the sit-in movement. In 2008, Dalia Ziada, Egypt Director of the American Islamic Congress, had the comic translated into Arabic and Farsi, and distributed copies across the Middle East. Now she credits it for helping inspire Egyptian activism.
When, at first, we went to print the comic book, a security officer blocked publication. So we called him and demanded a meeting. He agreed, and we read through the comic book over coffee to address his concerns. At the end, he granted permission to print and then asked: "Could I have a few extra copies for my kids?"

Posted by: Hank Roberts on February 16, 2011 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

Fortunately, we won't have LIEberman around much longer, and the TeaParty has its sights on Collins. Good riddance both.

Posted by: T2 on February 16, 2011 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

Indeed, had Obama called them all Islamic extremists, Hasan wouldn't have killed all those people.

Posted by: Todd for VT House on February 16, 2011 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

OK, you want Islamic Extremists?

I'll trade you even up for Christian Extremists.

You know, like the guy who killed Dr. Tiller, and the Rev. Phelps and his band of not so merry maniacal madmen?

Oh, and Joe, I'm sure there are Jewish Extremists - like many of the founding fathers of Israel, who were terrorists; no if's and's or but's.
Is it ok to call them Jewish Terrorists, or Jewish Extremists?

Joe?
Joe?
You there?

Posted by: c u n d gulag on February 16, 2011 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

The comments are hilarious coming from two well known political terrorists, or is that ideological extremists?

Please sign up as victims Mr. and Mrs. Asshole..

Posted by: Trollop on February 16, 2011 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

Amended:

Philip Mudd, the former deputy director of the Office of Terrorism Analysis at the CIA, told the committee this rhetorical push is off-base. "As somebody who wants to kill the ideology," Mudd said, "I think we ought to call them what they hate to be called. They like to be called 'Senators.' They like to be called 'politicians.' They hate to be called 'fools,' and that is what they are.... Call them 'fools.'"

Much better.

Posted by: Just Guessing on February 16, 2011 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

Joe Lieberman is a dick. 2012 and his retirement from the Senate can't come too soon.

Of course, I'm sure he'll probably appear on the Sunday morning talk shows even more often once he's retired, making solemn statements in support of whatever bullshit the right-wing happens to be peddling that day.

Posted by: David Bailey on February 16, 2011 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, but calling them murderers would make them sound too much like the criminals they are instead of an existential threat to our nation, which they're not. This is what Lieberman and his Rethug buddies have been trying to create for the last ten years. With the end of the Cold War, they and their defense contractor financiers needed another permanent enemy and (surprise!) it's all of the billion Muslims in the world. Now there's an enemy whose "evil empire" will never blindside you by collapsing.

Posted by: dalloway on February 16, 2011 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

This is just like what I saw in Readers Digest - first they won't let me call Christmas by its god-given name, then they won't let me call Muslims by what they really are - terrorists.

Posted by: Ol'Cranky on February 16, 2011 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

How many more freaking days until Lieberman's term is finally up?

Posted by: Freddie on February 16, 2011 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

A Lieberman survey called upon me and asked if Lieberman ran in 2012 would I vote for him. I gleefully and joyfully said NO! Now he is out! Not a day too soon.

Posted by: ML Johnston on February 16, 2011 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Lieberman still thinks Saddam Hussein had active WMD programs, so it's not like he's much for changing his mind in response to the facts.

Posted by: Redshift on February 16, 2011 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, because we ALL know how much safer we'll be if can just address terrorists by the proper title.

Posted by: JEA on February 16, 2011 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

Susan Collins' every vote and utterance these next few years must be understood as attempting to pre-empt a teabagger challenge. With Lieberman, it's the same-old same-o: the endless search for a pretext to ethnic-cleanse "Judea and Samaria".

Posted by: kth on February 16, 2011 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

http://www.scribd.com/doc/48990955/How-Does-Us-Government-Military-Handle-Cases-of-Rape-Etc

Posted by: National Whistleblower Allen Carlton on February 16, 2011 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

"is refusing to acknowledge that violent Islamic extremism is the ideology that fuels attacks."

Wow! I didn't know that the guys responsible for the episode in AZ, the bomb in Seattle, the death of Dr. Tiller, the sale of weapons to the Mexican narco gangs, the would be attack on the Tide Foundation, the thousands of death threats that Beck's various victims have been getting, and similar occurrences were Islamic extremists. Does that mean that Beck is a jihadi leader? Who would a thunk it?

Posted by: Texas Aggie on February 17, 2011 at 12:21 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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