Saturday, September 6, 2014

What's in a name?

For some reason people are still arguing about whether ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) or ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) is the appropriate name to use, and some are even accusing President Obama of using the name ISIL only because he doesn't think Israel has a right to exist.  It's true that Obama has never seemed very fond of Israel, but there's a good chance that he tends to use ISIL only because it's a more accurate translation of the group's Arabic name. The term al-Sham predates any modern concept of Syria the country; what al-Sham refers to is something that would more accurately be described today as Greater Syria, or the Levant.

I call them ISIL not to give their territorial claims any credence, but because that's just the most accurate translation of what they've been calling themselves.  I call them ISIL because I think it's just plain silly to act like these terrorist scumbags plan on staying within the borders of Iraq and Syria when we know damn well that that's not true.  We know what ISIL's goals are, and we know what they call themselves, so let's just be honest about it.  What disturbs me is not that Obama calls them ISIL, but that he so often treats ISIL as if it were a problem for only Iraq and Syria to solve.  They would wipe out Israel if they could, and they'd happily wipe us out too--why wait for them to make a serious attempt at either?

( Lately, ISIL seems to simply be calling itself the Islamic State instead.  I'm not clear on whether that's just supposed to be a shortened version of their name, or if now they are trying to claim the territory of the entire world, or what.  Maybe instead of debating the ISIS vs ISIL thing, we should be debating ISIL vs IS?  I think eventually it will reach the point where I just give up and start calling them The Terrorists Formerly Known as ISIL. )

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