- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Obama administration took more heat Sunday for refusing to label enemy combatants in the Middle East as Islamic extremists.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte, New Hampshire Republican, said the White House’s reluctance to identify the enemy “very much matters because you have to define your enemy.”

“And here is the problem, I think they should spend less time on being worried about being politically correct about how we define our enemies and more time on a strategy to defeat them,” Ms. Ayotte said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Former U.S. Ambassador Dennis Ross, who served previously as a special assistant to President Obama, agreed with the senator that “we have to say who it is that we’re actually fighting.”

“We shouldn’t be reluctant to call it ‘Islamic radicalism,’ precisely because there are those in the Middle East who see it as a threat and they’re the ones who ultimately have to discredit it,” Mr. Ross said on “Fox News Sunday.” “We cannot discredit radical Islam. They’re going to have to discredit it.”

The Obama administration has been criticized for describing militant Islamic groups such as the Islamic State, or ISIS, with terms such as “violent extremism” and “terrorist groups” but never referring to them as Islamic.

Secretary of State John F. Kerry described such groups last week as “a form of criminal anarchy, a nihilism, which illegitimately claims an ideological and religious foundation.”

White House spokesman Josh Earnest has said it would be inaccurate to describe such terrorist organizations as Islamic because theirs is an “illegitimate” or “deviant” view of Islam, an approach that has come under increasing criticism.

“We have to decide, radical Islam, whether it’s Sunni or Shia, is the enemy. And we have to then begin to work with those who see that as a threat to them,” Mr. Ross said.

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