Commentary > The Dobbs Report
Dobbs Report: A war in defense of truth
It's important to describe our enemies honestly, and with as much clarity as possible.
June 6, 2002: 8:09 PM EDT
By Lou Dobbs, Lou Dobbs Moneyline

NEW YORK (CNN) - Last night, I asked for your opinions about the importance of calling this war against those who would destroy this country by an accurate name. And we'll share some of our viewers' opinions with you tonight. I also suggested that "war on terror" is not adequately descriptive, and far too politically correct to have ample meaning, even though that is the term of art favored by the government and the media. Personally, I believe it's important for us to describe our enemies honestly, and with as much clarity as is possible.

We are engaged globally against terrorist enemies far flung... whether in Asia, Africa, or the Middle East. And in each instance, our enemies are Islamists... not Muslims, not Islamics... but Islamists. Last night, I suggested the term War Against Islamists... and we've been talking with experts on Islam and the Middle East for three days about the subject.

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This is what three highly-respected authorities had to say on the subject today:

Andrew Winner, Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis:

"What about 'War on Islamist Terrorists'? That way it is not about what they believe, but about what they do to further those beliefs."

Geoff Porter, Professor of Middle Eastern Studies, NYU:

"Osama bin Laden is an Islamist. His Islamism is one strain. I would say Lou is right to say Islamist. Personally, I would like it to be more nuanced. It would be better to say 'Radical Islamist'."

Fawaz Gerges, Author, "America and Political Islam":

"I saw the Dobbs Report last night, and I think the distinction Lou made was brilliant. We are not talking about Muslims or Islam. And he made that distinction. At the same time, Islamists are a highly diverse and complex group.

A Radical Islamist basically subscribes to an ideology that he or she would do anything to bring about the establishment of an Islamic state, including violence."

We'll continue to discuss this on this broadcast, with experts, scholars, and political leaders, as we try to lift the fog of war from our language. Nearly everyone agrees that's important. You and I've begun our dialogue on this issue, and as you know, our viewers' thoughts are important to us.... Let us hear from you on this important matter.  Top of page