Words matter, and in the global war on terror we are losing the battle of words, in a self-inflicted defeat. The consequences could not be more profound.
Recent government policy memoranda, circulating through the national counter-terrorism and diplomatic community, establishes a new "speech code" for the lexicon in the war on terror, as reported by the Associated Press and now available in the public domain.
These new "speech codes" recommended that analysts and policy makers avoid the terms jihad or jihadist or mujhadid or "al-Qaida movement" and replace them with "extremists" and by extension other non-specific terms.
The use of these "new words" and rejection of the "old words" is ostensibly designed to avoid legitimating al-Qaida and its followers while mollifying the sensitivities of the larger Muslim community.
This culmination of previous trends does not surprise me at all.
This is more than simply dancing on the pinhead of cultural sensitivity-words have meaning, ideas have consequences.
This policy is a strategic collapse.