Conservatives Should Learn To Google Before Claiming Obama Doesn’t Use The Words ‘Terror’ Or ‘Terrorism’

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) does some talking.Last week, former Vice President Dick Cheney attacked the Obama administration’s approach to terrorism, saying that Obama has been “trying to pretend we are not at war.” The White House aggressively hit back at Cheney, saying he either “willfully mischaracterized” Obama or is “ignorant of the facts.” Politifact called Cheney’s criticism “ridiculously” false because “a review of Obama’s statements of the past year makes it clear he has often said the United States is at war against terrorist organizations.”

But Cheney’s ridiculous attack wasn’t the only barb launched by conservatives at Obama over things he supposedly doesn’t say. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) complained both yesterday and today that Obama is not “willing to use the word” terror. As the Plum Line’s Greg Sargent pointed out, DeMint’s claim has no merit. Similarly, The New Republic’s Editor-in-Chief Marty Peretz rejoiced on his blog yesterday that Obama “finally” used “the word ‘terror'” in his weekly address on Saturday:

President Obama used the terms “terrorism” and “terrorist” six times in his weekly address to the nation. I don’t know how long it has actually been since he’s uttered those words. But my memory is that it’s been a very long time. By using them, however, he was able to make, as it were, structural corrections, talking about Al Qaeda as “a network of violence and hatred” strung out “from East Africa to Southeast Asia, from Europe to the Persian Gulf.”

Simple research would have let Peretz know that it had “actually been” only two days since Obama referred to the Christmas Day plot as an “attempted act of terrorism” that underlined the need for “continued vigilance on homeland security and counterterrorism efforts.” Indeed, in Obama’s address at West Point announcing his escalation in Afghanistan on Dec. 1, he used variations of the word “terror” six times:

— “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.” 

— “In the last few months alone, we have apprehended extremists within our borders who were sent here from the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan to commit new acts of terror.”

— “We will strengthen Pakistan’s capacity to target those groups that threaten our countries, and have made it clear that we cannot tolerate a safe haven for terrorists whose location is known and whose intentions are clear.” 

— “And that’s why I’ve made it a central pillar of my foreign policy to secure loose nuclear materials from terrorists, to stop the spread of nuclear weapons.”

Peretz also praised a New York Times editorial for using “the words ‘terrorism’ and ‘terrorist,’ locutions it otherwise quite faithfully avoids, especially in its news reports.” Clearly, Peretz is unfamiliar with the New York Times’ ample subject category on its website for “terrorism.” To know this, all he would have to do is use what former President Bush called “the Google.”