Those following the debate on whether it's a bad thing for the U.S. government to use words like "jihad" and "Islamist" in referencing the fight against terrorism need to check out Bill Gertz's story in today's Washington Times.
Gertz obtained an unclassified report by a U.S. Central Command "Red Team" which finds accuracy should trump political sensitivities. Part of the Red Team's task, Gertz reports, is challenging conventional thinking. It was written by civilian analysts and contractors working with CentCom. Accuracy, the report finds, is more important than faux political sensitivities:
"The fact is our enemies cite the source of Islam as the foundation for their global jihad," the report said. "We are left with the responsibility of portraying our enemies in an honest and accurate fashion."
Earlier this year, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Counterterrorism Research Center (CRC) issued memos recommending government officials avoid references to religion and words such as jihad, arguing they could engender popular support for terrorists.
"Don't invoke Islam," the CRC memo said, explaining Al Qaeda should be treated as an illegitimate political organization despite its use of religious text to justify its terrorism. The DHS memo said even the word "liberty" was troublesome "because many around the world would discount the term as a buzzword for American hegemony."
Gertz cites the Red Team report's conclusion that the DHS and CRC memos were based on "the views and opinions of a very small [number] of Americans whose contributions may have escaped critical review. ... While there is concern that we not label all Muslims as Islamist terrorists, it is proper to address certain aspects of violence as uniquely Islamic."