Note To McCain And Fox News: Bush’s DHS Also Objected To Terms Like ‘Islamic Extremists’

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"Note To McCain And Fox News: Bush’s DHS Also Objected To Terms Like ‘Islamic Extremists’"

Today, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) went on Fox News to add to the right-wing backlash against Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. When Fox and Friends host Brian Kilmeade asked McCain “how messed up has Homeland Security been since they took office,” McCain agreed that “some mistakes have been made, obviously.”

McCain and Kilmeade then criticized Napolitano for dropping terms like “terror” and “Islamic extremists”:

KILMEADE: Do you have a problem calling terrorists, Islamic extremists, terrorists or using the term terror or man-made disasters?

MCCAIN: No, I don’t. Nor do I agree with overseas contingencies because those overseas contingencies can quickly turn into a domestic contingency unless we take care of them overseas.

KILMEADE: But that’s the mindset, Senator. Does that mindset worry you?

MCCAIN: I know. It worries me a great deal. But this change in language comes down from the very top.

Watch it:

This change, however, was also adopted during the Bush administration. Last year, the Department of Homeland Security under Secretary Michael Chertoff released a report saying that phrases such as “Islamic terrorist” may actually be hurting counterterrorism efforts:

Because of religious connotations, that report, released in January and obtained by AP this week, counseled “caution in using terms such as, ‘jihadist,’ ‘Islamic terrorist,’ ‘Islamist,’ and ‘holy warrior’ as grandiose descriptions.”

“We should not concede the terrorists’ claim that they are legitimate adherents of Islam,” the report said, adding that bin Laden and his adherents fear “irrelevance” more than anything else

Regarding the “war on terror” catchphrase that has largely been dropped across the Obama administration, a RAND study in July 2008 concluded that “the United States should abandon the use of the phrase. “The term we use to describe our strategy toward terrorists is important, because it affects what kinds of forces you use,” said Seth Jones, the study’s lead author. “Terrorists should be perceived and described as criminals, not holy warriors, and our analysis suggests that there is no battlefield solution to terrorism.”

Transcript:

KILMEADE: Outrage continues to build this week over Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, the former governor of Arizona, her remarks towards U.S. veterans.

Now, the DHS has fired the head of Homeland Security’s agency — that is involved in that decision. Many are wondering is Napolitano next.

Joining us right now, a man that knows her well, Arizona senator, U.S. veteran, Senator John McCain.

Senator McCain, how messed up has Homeland Security been since they took office?

MCCAIN: Well, I think some mistakes have been made, obviously. I was glad to see that Secretary Napolitano removed the person who was responsible for this report. She has apologized. So I’d say that mistakes have been made. Let’s hope she rights the ship very quickly and goes about defending this country, including, recommending sending the National Guard to our borders so that we can make sure this violence by the drug cartels doesn’t spill over into the United States any more than it has. […]

KILMEADE: Do you have a problem calling terrorists, Islamic extremists, terrorists or using the term terror or man-made disasters ?

MCCAIN: No, I don’t. Nor do I agree with overseas contingencies because those overseas contingencies can quickly turn into a domestic contingency unless we take care of them overseas.

KILMEADE: But that’s the mindset, Senator. Does that mindset worry you?

MCCAIN: I know. It worries me a great deal. But this change in language comes down from the very top.

KILMEADE: And have you had success when you talk to the very top and explain to them the risk for all this?

MCCAIN: Brian, the best thing I can do is be active in the United States Senate, go to the floor, pass laws that — and to come on shows like these to make the American people aware that we are in two wars and we’ve seen a little escalation in Iraq which makes us nervous about when we withdraw our troops; the Afghanistan situation is worse. And that’s my job is to talk to the American people.

KILMEADE: Right. I understand, Senator.

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