The Conversation

Terrorist dissonance

Eyebrows were raised when President Obama declined to identify the Boston bombings as an act of "terrorism" during his brief statement on Monday, even though the FBI and the bulk of the national security apparatus is treating it as such, and even the most uncredentialed observer can see that it rather obviously is.

It has been pointed out that certain legal and procedural ramifications occur when the President uses the word "terrorism," but it seems rather absurd to have him tiptoe around the word when we're looking at a plot involving four or five bombs, resulting in over a hundred injuries and at least two deaths... one of them an eight-year-old boy.  He began his statement by promising to direct "the full resources of the federal government to help state and local authorities protect our people, increase security around the United States as necessary, and investigate what happened."  Why would all of that be necessary against any threat that doesn't qualify as "terrorism?"

Chalk it up to the cognitive dissonance that exists when people who speak plain English try to puzzle out forensic political speech.

But I'll cut Obama some slack on keeping the T-word in his rhetorical toolbox for another day or so, provided he doesn't set about cooking up a blatantly false narrative for his own political benefit, as he did with the Benghazi attack.  What really bothers me about today's speech is a word he did use: "tragedy."

Boston police, firefighters, and first responders as well as the National Guard responded heroically, and continue to do so as we speak. It's a reminder that so many Americans serve and sacrifice on our behalf every single day, without regard to their own safety, in dangerous and difficult circumstances. And we salute all those who assisted in responding so quickly and professionally to this tragedy.

We've been going through a lot of verbal re-conditioning in our society lately, as media organizations declare that phrases like "illegal immigrant" and "Islamist" are no longer acceptable.  It's long past time that someone issued a stylebook declaration against using the word "tragedy" to describe an atrocity.


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