OBAMA AND ISLAMIC TERRORISM. The Washington Post's headline for Barack Obama's foreign policy speech today is "Obama Pledges Aggressive War on Islamic Extremists." Except, actually, he didn't. He certainly called for aggressive action to combat terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan. But what's really notable about his speech is the careful way Obama uses the term "Islam":

  • "The threat is from violent extremists who are a small minority of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims, but the threat is real. They distort Islam."
  • "They say we are at war with Islam…We are not at war with Islam."
  • "We will open 'America Houses' in cities across the Islamic world, with Internet, libraries, English lessons, stories of America's Muslims and the strength they add to our country, and vocational programs."
  • "In the first 100 days of my Administration, I will travel to a major Islamic forum and deliver an address to redefine our struggle. I will make clear that we are not at war with Islam."

This places Obama in direct contrast to people like Rudy Giuliani who seem to be obsessed with labels like Islamic terrorism as a marker that one understands the "true nature" of the problem. Which, of course, is nonsense. The Post inadvertently buys into it, lending credence to Obama in doing so, but unfortunately misses one bit of maturity and sanity that distinguishes what Obama said from the Republicans' rhetoric.

--Steven White