Jonathan Schanzer’s New York Post article “Here’s What All Those Terror Terms Actually Mean” is good to see, not only for its general content but also for its underlying premise.
Schanzer focuses on several conceptual contortions widely used today for the purpose of evading truths about our enemies and what we must do to destroy them. Although I take issue with some of his assumptions (e.g., jihad has no root cause), Schanzer’s article is important because it proceeds from the idea that conceptual precision and clarity are essential to rational thinking and proper action. It’s also humorous and appropriately snarky, given the asininity of some of these popular terms and phrases.
Here’s a sample:
Degrade and destroy: Choose one. If you’re merely degrading a terrorist group, you have probably yet to determine how to destroy it. If you’re destroying the group, there’s no reason to degrade it. Why not just say you want to vanquish your enemy? That way, it’s not a multiple-choice quiz. . . .
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