In a recent television interview, the President of the United States, Barack Obama, once again refused to admit that the fight against ISIS is a religious one, insisting that referring to it as such hurts efforts to root out fanatical Islamists from Muslim communities.
To Obama’s mind, the ISIS war is more of an inconvenience than anything else, as he added that overplaying the terror threat plays into the hands of the militants.
“I don’t quibble with labels. I think we all recognize that this is a particular problem that has roots in Muslim communities. But I think we do ourselves a disservice in this fight if we are not taking into account the fact that the overwhelming majority of Muslims reject this ideology.”
CNN reported that a number of Republicans have criticized Barack Obama in recent weeks for his refusal to call the radical Muslim threat to the U.S. and the West a religious war, when to them the answer is clear.
As Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said on Fox News in January, “We are in a religious war with radical Islamists. When I hear the President of the United States and his chief spokesperson failing to admit that we’re in a religious war, it really bothers me.”
Nevertheless, that apparently isn’t Obama’s style, as he reckons the U.S. has to be wary of handing terrorists “the victory of overinflating” their actions and the threat they pose.
As Obama said, terror groups like ISIS are not an “existential threat to the United States or the world order.”
Barack Obama continued, “The truth of the matter is that they can do harm. But we have the capacity to control how we respond in ways that do not undercut what’s the essence of who we are. That means that we don’t torture, for example, and thereby undermine our values and credibility around the world. It means that we don’t approach this with a strategy of sending out occupying armies and playing whack-a-mole wherever a terrorist group appears because that drains our economic strength and it puts enormous burdens on our military.”