During his debut as moderator of Meet the Press last Sunday, Chuck Todd attempted to explain why President Barack Obama prefers to term “ISIL” over “ISIS” to describe the terrorist network that the U.S. may or may not be at war with currently.
In Todd’s view, calling the group “ISIL,” or the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, avoid the direct reference to Syria in “ISIS.” And since the Obama administration had mostly tried to keep the idea of fighting the group in Syria off the table, they wanted to keep that specific reminder out of the group’s name. With the president’s speech to the nation last week, that inclination may have shifted, but either way, at this point the administration is committed to the term “ISIL.”
But Todd is not the only commentator trying to figure out why Obama says “ISIL” while the media tends to prefer “ISIS.” Fox News’ Harris Faulkner recently said she believed the president is “tipping his hat” to the group by using an “L” instead of an “S.” “Levant is a bigger territory,” she said on Outnumbered. “That’s why they want to embrace that name and it includes many, many more countries than just Syria.”
That theory is closer to the one Glenn Beck espoused in his “daily briefing” with TheBlaze staff Monday, though, unsurprisingly, his ideas are a bit more convoluted.
Beck noticed that technically, “the Levant” includes Israel, along with Lebanon and Jordan. “We actually should be flipped,” he said. “I should be saying it’s ‘ISIL’ and the president should saying it’s ‘ISIS,’” because in Beck’s view, the president wants to minimize the threat while he believes including the Levant better represents the group’s true aims. So, does that mean Beck actually agrees with Obama on this one? Not quite.
Beck accepts that the group should be called “ISIL” and not “ISIS,” but he thinks it should be called “ISIL” as a “warning,” which is apparently not what President Obama is doing.
When Obama uses the term “ISIL,” Beck sees it as a “slap in the face” to Israel. For the president to say that it’s “ISIL” and not “ISIS” and not at the same time “double down” on Israel and warn that the group is “taking over the Holy Land” is somehow disingenuous. “There is no more Israel if it’s ISIL,” Beck declared, ominously.
“So if I’m ISIS, and I hear the president say ‘you’re really ISIL’ and ‘I’m kind of wishy-washy on that whole Israel thing,’ you’re on my side,” Beck concluded. “For him to say ‘ISIL’ is sending a message overseas to them: ‘I know who you are. I’m not doing anything, I’m not doing anything.’”
Get all that? Beck agrees that the group, which calls itself simply “the Islamic State,” should be called “ISIL,” but not for the reasons Obama is using. And somehow, escalating missile strikes against the group in Iraq and possibly now Syria is the same as “not doing anything” because he uses an “L” instead of an “S.”
The truest explanation for why President Obama says “ISIL” instead of “ISIS”? He and his team started using it at one point and have stuck with it long enough that it would be awkward (and somehow perceived as weak) if he started saying “ISIS” now.
It’s kind of like how Obama insisted on using the “Affordable Care Act” before finally giving in and accepting that everyone was going to call it “Obamacare” no matter what he did. And we’ve all seen how well that turned out.
Watch video below, via TheBlaze: