President Obama Did Use The Word 'Terrorism' At West Point, Despite What You May Have Heard
It seems to me that if the aftermath of the Crotchfire Attack on NWA Flight 253 proved anything about Representative Peter King (R-N.Y.), it's that his main strength as a national security expert is to have excellent intel on the location of various television cameras and the means to get in front of them very quickly.
His alacrity, naturally, comes at the expense of his ability to say anything sensible to those cameras once he's found them, but in the current media universe that doesn't matter: the shininess of pointless political static supercedes the need to actually broadcast anything remotely intelligent.
To wit, here's King, on CNN:
KING: Yes. I -- first of all, they started off the first several months of the Obama administration refusing to use the word terrorism. Janet Napolitano said it would no longer be in the vocabulary of the Department of Homeland Security because they thought that it connoted fear. And Secretary Clinton is saying that the policy of the administration was not to talk about terrorism. Even when the president gave his speech at West Point about the troops going to Afghanistan, he didn't use the word terrorism. He spoke of extremism.
That's basically a lot of valueless babble. For more on how "jettisoning the 'war on terrorism framework' did not mean abandoning the war against al-Qaeda", I'll refer you to Adam Serwer, discussing the matter rationally over at The American Prospect. But what about this weird contention that President Obama did not use the word "terrorism" during his speech at West Point? This is what we call a "lie."
It's also a contention that doesn't pass the "Look What You Can Find On Google Within Thirty Seconds" test. Look for yourself. Here's the complete transcript of President Obama's remarks at West Point. Let's pull some quotes!
"America, our allies and the world were acting as one to destroy al Qaeda's terrorist network and to protect our common security."
"Gradually, the Taliban has begun to control additional swaths of territory in Afghanistan, while engaging in increasingly brazen and devastating attacks of terrorism against the Pakistani people."
"Years of debate over Iraq and terrorism have left our unity on national security issues in tatters, and created a highly polarized and partisan backdrop for this effort."
Of course, for all I know, no one at CNN watched the West Point address or knows how to use an Internet search engine. Hopefully, some outside fact-checking organization will go to the trouble of doing some journalism and will let CNN know what they find out. Until then, Peter King just represents one more vibrant point of view on the matter. That he's entirely incorrect, I guess, is beside the point, because, as you can see for yourself by watching the rest of the clip, King goes on to suggest that the administration's response to the Christmas Crotchfire Attack is the equivalent of the Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina. Like I said, pointless political static is very shiny, and makes the average CNN anchor's eyes dance in wonderment.