Thursday, March 24, 2016


Yesterday, Donald Trump appeared on Bloomberg's With All Due Respect and got into this discussion with interviewer John Heilemann:

HEILEMANN: You talked earlier about the notion that we're losing to ISIL, that they're making us look foolish and soft --

TRUMP: "ISIS." Don't you say "ISIL."

HEILEMANN: ISIS, ISIL, it's all one thing.

TRUMP: You know, it's one thing with the president. He always says "ISIL."

HEILEMANN: Whatever.

TRUMP: "ISIL, ISIL, ISIL." Everyone else says "ISIS." And it's almost like he does it to bother people. Okay? You understand.

HEILEMANN: I'm not doing it to bother you. I --

TRUMP: No, I know that.


TRUMP: But the president of the United States always says "ISIL," and everyone else says "ISIS," and I actually think he does it to bother people.
Yes, Trump actually asserts that the president "does it to bother people" twice. It's almost Rubioesque.

This has stuck in Trump's craw for a while now:

Trump isn't unique in believing this ridiculousness -- back in 2014, Peggy Noonan wrote the following about Obama:
He takes off the table things that should be there, and insists on weird words like “degrade” -- why not just “stop and defeat”? -- and, in fact, “ISIL.” The world calls it ISIS or Islamic State. Why does he need a separate language? How does that help?
If you're interested, here's a post I wrote at the time, in which I reproduced quotes from the heads of state of the three largest English-speaking countries apart from America, all of whom were conservatives (David Cameron of Britain, Tony Abbott of Australia, and Stephen Harper of Canada), and all of whom had publicly called the group "ISIL."

Who else says "ISIL"? The website Capitolwords scours the Congressional Record and finds that of the ten members of Congress who use the term "ISIL" most frequently, six are Republicans (Senators John McCain, Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, and John Cornyn, along with Congressmen Louie Gohmert -- yes, Gohmert! -- and Howard P. McKeon). Rick Santorum, who's a right-wing lunatic but who actually knows something about foreign policy, has also referred to the group as ISIL.

So has Trump's favorite TV interviewer, Joe Scarborough.
How should winning be defined against ISIL? Like it was in World War II--the forces of evil, yes evil, must be crushed.

And yet today, ISIL is on the march.
Eventually, I suppose, Trump will get around to saying what Rush Limbaugh says: that President Obama says "ISIL" because he hates Israel. Really, don't ask.


sdhays said...

Actually, I was under the impression that Obama, at least partially, DOES say ISIL in order to piss a certain group of people off: ISIL itself. They want to be called the IS - the Islamic State (implying "for the whole world"). ISIL stands for "Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant", and ISIS substitutes "Syria" for "Levant". I've understood it as a subtle disrespect towards the band of murderous thugs not to even grant them "Syria". This is similar to how Francois Hollande calls them "Daesh", which is an apparently offensive Arabic acronym for ISIL.

Interesting how ISIL's biggest, yooogest recruiter wants them to get a little more respect from President Obama. I'm sure Republicans are glad he's focussed on the important things that will help keep us safe!

Keir said...

I agree with the previous commentator; referring to ISIS is counterproductive given that the final 'S' represents a country that collapsed after Obama's "red line"

retiredeng said...

As @sdhays mentions, the best term to use is "Daesh" because it's an offensive reference. The French use it for that reason. We should be too but the American public would not understand. So, here we are, arguing about ISIS/ISIL and trying to offend each other instead of the terrorists.

Never Ben Better said...

Just more form over substance idiocy from the party of get nothing substantive done.