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You're Not Serious Unless You Use Bush Language

Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama gave a speech on combating terrorism yesterday at the Wilson Center in Washington which prompted a lot of discussion in the blogs. Actually the "discussion" was mostly rightie blogs heralding this speech as something akin to the famous "Heeyah!" moment that sunk frontrunner Howard Dean's 2004 bid for the White House.

So what prompted this "he's not ready for primetime" hatefest? Why simply because Obama had the temerity to say he would finish the job that Bush refused to do: hunt down Osama Bin Laden and his terrorist network, even if it meant committing special forces to missions inside Pakistan. It was the last bit that prompted the most indignation. Many cried foul, suggesting that Obama wished to invade Pakistan and warning of the dangers of such actions. Yet I guarantee you none of them would spend even a kilobyte's worth of blog space noting the dichotomy of their own trumpeting of the invasion of a country that had nothing to do with the attacks on 9/11. Hypocrisy just isn't in their vocabulary.

But I would have to say the winner for the most asinine criticism has to come from Ben Smith of The Politico. Smith's apparent beef? Obama didn't use Bush language.
Barack Obama was among those raising his hands in a recent debate to indicate that he believes there is a "war on terror," but his speech today -- and read the whole thing -- marks a really sharp departure from policies past, and seems to challenge Hillary either to come along or be pushed toward the White House.

One note: The phrase "war on terror" appears nowhere in the speech.

The closest he comes: "America is at war with terrorists who killed on our soil. We are not at war with Islam."

Also absent from the speech is any reference to "Islamic terrorism," "Islamism," or "Islamofacism" -- the buzzwords of those who see a global conflict between the West and a specifically Muslim insurgency.

Obama takes pains to point out we are not at war with Islam. Yet those buzzwords whose absence Smith laments have given many in the Muslim world just that impression. I think Obama is to be commended for wishing to consign such acrimonious terminology to the dustbin.

Proponents of the war on terror like to say that "Our enemy is listening". They also have to remember that so is everyone else.

More from Oliver Willis, A.J. Rossmiller, Will Bunch, and A.L.

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)

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