IT'S NOT A CRUSADE; IT'S AN AWAKENING. The Washington Post's Peter Baker today reports some mind-blowing remarks made by President George W. Bush on the subject of America the Good versus the collective Great Satan known as the Islamo-fascists:

President Bush said yesterday that he senses a "Third Awakening" of religious devotion in the United States that has coincided with the nation's struggle with international terrorists, a war that he depicted as "a confrontation between good and evil."

(Look here for an authoritative explanation of America's "Great Awakenings.")

The president's remarks were made to a "handful of journalists," described by Baker as conservative, in an on-the-record meeting Bush convened in the Oval Office. (Alas, despite my religious fervor for fighting evil-doers, I was not invited.)

Baker notes that after weathering criticism in the days following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, for defining the U.S. response as a "crusade," the president has been careful to avoid characterizing our nation's conflicts on Islamic terrain in such medieval terms.

But, as evidenced by Bush's description in Monday night's presidential address of current U.S. adventures abroad as a "clash for civilization," we're in an election year, so any escalation of vitriol and violence evoked by such a characterization can only help the administration's cause.

--Adele M. Stan