Trump, Pence, Mattis, Sessions fail to name “Islamic terrorism” in 9/11 remarks

Trump, Pence, Mattis, Sessions fail to name “Islamic terrorism” in 9/11 remarks


The Trump administration: now digitally McMastered.

“Instead of naming the enemy, Trump seemingly went out of his way to use other descriptors in his speech, including ‘terrorists who attacked us,’ ‘barbaric forces of evil and destruction,’ ‘horrible, horrible enemies,’ ‘enemies of all civilized people,’ and ‘enemies like we’ve never seen before.’”

That’s great, Mr. President, but you will find it impossible to defeat these horrible, horrible enemies without identifying and working to devise ways to confront their motivating ideology. That’s what you seemed to be promising to do when you rebuked Obama and Hillary Clinton for not daring to say “radical Islamic terrorism.” Now you have joined them. You were right the first time.

9/11/2017: Trump, Pence, Mattis, Sessions Fail to Name ‘Radical Islamic Terrorism,’” by Aaron Klein, Breitbart, September 11, 2017:

NEW YORK — On the sixteenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, Islamic terrorist attacks, President Donald Trump did not once mention the terms “radical Islam” or “Islamic terrorism” during a commemoration ceremony at the Pentagon.

Those phrases were also not mentioned in speeches today by other Trump administration senior officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, Defense Secretary James Mattis, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Instead of naming the enemy, Trump seemingly went out of his way to use other descriptors in his speech, including “terrorists who attacked us,” “barbaric forces of evil and destruction,” “horrible, horrible enemies,” “enemies of all civilized people,” and “enemies like we’ve never seen before.”

Similarly, Pence, speaking at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, referred to the scourge as “evil terrorists” and “global terrorism.” Pence did mention “the barbarians known as ISIS,” calling the global jihadist group by its acronym instead of the Islamic State.

Mattis, addressing the same Pentagon memorial as Trump, outwardly minimized the Islamic motivations of the terrorists by calling them “maniacs disguised in false religious garb.” He referred to “attackers perpetrating murder” on that fateful day, not even using the words “terrorist” or “terrorism.”

Sessions perhaps came closest to prescribing a religious ideology, calling out “extremists” who “seek to impose their speech codes, their religion, their theocracy.”

“For these extremists, it’s more than religion; it’s ideology,” he stated. “We have no choice but to defend against it.”

But Sessions did not mention a specific religion and did not expound upon which ideology the terrorists maintain.

When speaking of common threads among terrorists, Sessions also failed to mention the one major thread of Islam when he stated:

While the threats we face are diverse and evolving, terrorist ideologies have one thing in common: their disregard for the dignity of human life and they share an obsession with forcing everyone into their twisted ideology. And the terrorists know they can’t persuade people using reason, so they use coercion and intimidation. They seek acquiescence and inaction.

Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke released a brief statement that referred to the 9/11 radical Islamic jihadist perpetrators as “terrorists.”

Trump’s reluctance to name the actual enemy contrasts with speeches he gave in the past, including during the 2016 presidential campaign, in which he repeatedly utilized the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism.”

“America was under attack,” stated Trump at Monday’s Pentagon memorial, a passive tone that did not specify who the attackers were.

“Today, our entire nation grieves with you and with every family of those 2,977 innocent souls who were murdered by terrorists 16 years ago,” he stated.

“The terrorists who attacked us thought they could incite fear and weaken our spirit. But America cannot be intimidated, and those who try will soon join the long list of vanquished enemies who dared to test our mettle.”

Trump went on to use various other terms to describe the enemy:

In the years after September 11, more than five million young men and women have joined the ranks of our great military to defend our country against barbaric forces of evil and destruction. American forces are relentlessly pursuing and destroying the enemies of all civilized people, ensuring — and these are horrible, horrible enemies, enemies like we’ve never seen before — but we’re ensuring they never again have a safe haven to launch attacks against our country. We are making plain to these savage killers that there is no dark corner beyond our reach, no sanctuary beyond our grasp, and nowhere to hide anywhere on this very large earth.

So here at this memorial, with hearts both sad and determined, we honor every hero who keeps us safe and free, and we pledge to work together, to fight together, and to overcome together every enemy and obstacle that’s ever in our path.

Pence did quote a previous statement from Trump about terrorists’ “radical ideology” but, like the other administration officials speaking, did not say what that ideology was:

But under the leadership of President Donald Trump, as our commander-in-chief, our armed forces have ISIS on the run in Iraq and Syria, and we will not rest or relent until we hunt down and destroy them at their source. Some four weeks ago, President Trump expressed the full commitment of the United States to, in his words, “destroy terrorist organizations and the radical ideology that drives them.

The uniform lack of the mention of radical Islamic terrorism from the administration Monday comes after previous reports that H.R. McMaster, Trump’s embattled national security adviser, has petitioned against using the phrase.

In February, CNN cited a source inside a National Security Council meeting quoting McMaster as saying that use of the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” is unhelpful in working with allies to fight terrorism.

In May, McMaster spoke on ABC’s This Week about whether Trump would use the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” in a speech that the president was about to give in Saudi Arabia. “The president will call it whatever he wants to call it,” McMaster said. “But I think it’s important that, whatever we call it, we recognize that [extremists] are not religious people. And, in fact, these enemies of all civilizations, what they want to do is to cloak their criminal behavior under this false idea of some kind of religious war.”…

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3 comments on “Trump, Pence, Mattis, Sessions fail to name “Islamic terrorism” in 9/11 remarks

  1. Robert Spencer on 9/11: On This Day, December 7, 1957


    A war with no end. My latest at FrontPage:

    Imagine if World War II had been fought the way the defense against the global jihad has been.

    Imagine it is December 7, 1957, the 16th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, and President Adlai E. Stevenson gives what was then something new: a nationally televised address. He looks determinedly into the cameras and says:

    My fellow Americans: We remember, and we will never forget, the 2,403 beautiful lives taken from us so cruelly. We come together in prayer and in gratitude for the strength that has fortified us across these 16 years.

    Perhaps most of all, we stay true to the spirit of this day by defending not only our country, but our ideals. Sixteen years into this fight, and we have not given in to the temptation to demonize and stigmatize entire nations for the deeds of a few extremists. The Germans are not our enemies. The Japanese are not our enemies. We are fighting against the tiny remnant of extremist ideologies that have unfortunately hijacked the noble traditions of the Shinto religion in Japan and National Socialism in Germany. And we will prevail. But we will prevail hand-in-hand with the Japanese and German moderates who have been the first and most numerous victims of these extremists.

    That’s why today, after consulting with representatives from the Council on Japanese-American Relations and the Nazi Poverty Law Center, I have issued a proclamation declaring this 16th anniversary of that terrible day a Day of Solidarity Against Germanophobia and Japanophobia. We’ve mourned the loss of innocents on our battlefields in California and Connecticut, but groups like the Shinto and Nazi extremists know that they will never be able to defeat a nation as great and as strong as America. So, instead, they’ve tried to terrorize in the hopes that they can stoke enough fear that we turn on each other and that we change who we are or how we live. And that’s why it is so important today that we reaffirm our character as a nation, by rejecting all hate and fear. If you see a representative of imperial Japan or Nazi Germany today, give him a hug. Show that we are bigger than the hate of the extremists on both sides. For we know that our diversity — our patchwork heritage — is not a weakness; it is still, and always will be, one of our greatest strengths. May God bless the United States of America.

    I must apologize to Adlai Stevenson for putting this nonsense into his mouth; Democrats of his day were not quite so spectacularly insane as the current variety (much of the verbiage comes straight from one of Barack Obama’s 9/11 blatherings). But is it really as bad today as I have made it seem with that address? In what way is it not? This war has gone on for a very long time, and today, in all the reminiscences, and eulogies, and encomia, and lamentations, virtually no one has explained why, for the simple reason that essentially no one among the political and media elites knows why. The entire Western intelligentsia, the totality of our political and media elites, steadfastly refuses to acknowledge exactly what the mind-set and motivating ideology of the terrorists really is, and where it comes from.

    And so because they have made the wrong diagnosis, they keep applying the wrong remedies. Policies that don’t deal with the actual problem keep being applied and re-applied, at the cost of thousands of American lives, billions of American dollars, and nothing to show for all this expenditure but a sharp and continuing loss of American power and prestige. The jihadis who struck the U.S. on September 11, 2001 have made such immense advances since then not because they are strong, or clever, or capable, but because we are weak, short-sighted, and resolute not in fighting them but in maintaining our denial about who they are and what they want, to the extent that we have taken numerous steps not to stop them, but actually to enable them to achieve their goals.

    One key reason why this war drags on, sixteen years after 9/11, was implied in the address of “President Stevenson”: millions passively and unthinkingly accept the dogma that to speak honestly and accurately about the jihadis’ motives and goals is to descend in “racism” and “bigotry,” and to endanger innocent Muslims. And so sixteen years after 9/11, it is still almost unheard-of for there to be an honest discussion of jihadi motives and goals in the mainstream.

    Sixteen years after 9/11, and even after the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States, the free West is dug in: wholeheartedly committed to denial, willful ignorance, and policies that are self-defeating to the point of suicidal. In light of that, the wonder is not that this war has lasted so long, but that we have held out so long. Unless the political landscape changes considerably and this denial is decisively rejected and discarded, darker, much darker, days are coming.

    • We have another post that analyzes the bishops love for $$ as motivation. If there’s a $$ motivation, it’s the perpetual war machine. Trump appears to have sold himself (and us) into it, too.

  2. I’m reminded of Steve Bannon’s parting remarks on his way out of DC:
    The Trump Presidency That We Fought For, and Won, Is Over.

    I really hope not, except the negatives keep coming and coming.

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