- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 12, 2007

If anyone still paid attention to the mythical Bush doctrine — the part about our enemy being terrorist networks and the governments that support them — it would be time to add another government to the enemy watch list: our own.

How else to react to Congress’ rubber stamp on a White House request for tens of millions of dollars for the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) Hamas-Fatah coalition government? And so what if the money is earmarked for terrorist Fatah, not terrorist Hamas? “You’re either with us or you’re against us” was the way it was supposed to go, and Fatah is no more “with us” than Hamas in any struggle against jihad terror. By rights, our support for the PA should put us on our own worst enemies list.

It doesn’t work that way, of course, because the United States, along with Israel, has decided to pretend that Fatah is “moderate.” This makes our support for Fatah, and, by extension, its coalition partner Hamas, practically kosher.

To borrow from the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, this semantic con may be thought of as “defining terrorism down,” lowering the bar on what constitutes civilized statecraft to a point where Fatah can stay involved in suicide-bombing attacks through its al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and keep its hands clean enough to shake those of Quartet players. Defining terrorism down allows Fatah, whose constitution declares as its first goal the “eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence” and its “opposition to any political… alternative to demolishing the Zionist occupation in Palestine,” to be seen as “moderate,” at least in the eyes of its willfully degraded “peace process” partners. Defining terrorism down also eliminates a crucial line between “Us” and “Them.”

Let the U.S. tax dollars flow. Instead of the dividing lines the first Bush term was known for, we now abide by something more like a big blur. Its amorphousness gives cover not just to parleys with Palestinian terror groups, but to negotiations with Iraqi terrorists (a major flop-ola) and even meet-and-greets with assorted terror-masters (think House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Syria’s Bashar Assad, and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and the Muslim Brotherhood). Without traditional guidelines, we lose our bearings. Without words that mean what they say, we fail to realize we have done so.

Meanwhile, new guidelines, even new words, come into practice. For example, the European Union has now compiled a handbook full of “nonoffensive” phrases to use when discussing Islamic terrorism. “Islamic terrorism” is out (the phrase, not the practice), replaced by “terrorists who abusively invoke Islam” or so it is reported. We don’t know for sure because this handbook of sweet nonoffensivenesses is actually classified. According to the Daily Telegraph, other terms banned by this “common lexicon” likely include “jihad,” “Islamic,” and “fundamentalist.” This could pose a problem if anyone wants to discuss a fundamentalist on an Islamic jihad. Then again, thanks to the secret codebook, nobody ever will, right?

Sounds like a plan to define jihad terror down and out — which is not at all the same thing as getting rid of jihad terror. Instead, it eliminates the means by which jihad terror is named, categorized and understood. Fatah is “moderate.” “Jihad” is verboten. “Islamic terrorism” is unmentionable, which, as far as EU-crats are concerned, is like saying it doesn’t exist. Meanwhile, more or less nonviolent “Islamization” isn’t even on the charts.

Such Orwellian movements also eliminate the very concept of an “enemy,” an “other side,” and certainly an “other side” defined by its Islamic precepts of jihad and dhimmitude. Sure, we still have the al Qaedists to kick around, that tiny-band-of-“extremists” we always hear about from political leaders. This same little band was invoked just this week by Sen. John McCain as “a tiny percentage of hundreds of millions of peaceful Muslims… the vast majority of [whom] are trying to modernize their societies… to build the same elements of a good life that all of us want.”

Hmmm. If the vast majority of hundreds of millions of Muslims are trying to build “the good life,” what’s the problem? The problem is with the rhetoric. Any rational assessment of, say, the rapid entrenchment of Shariah across Europe — by no stretch the “good life” we “all” want — turns it into sloppy goop. But rational assessments are out. Blur is in. It’s the post-Bush Doctrine way to define away that vexing problem of Us and Them.

Us, anyway.

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