Post-9/11 language

National Public Radio is running a series of reports on “The Language of Post-Sept. 11 U.S. Policy,” which touches on a lot of the discussions we’ve had here.

Monday’s report was on the term “jihad”– which some experts suggest replacing with a less familiar but more precisely negative term.

“The term in Islamic law which best describes the activities of al Qaeda is hirabah, which originally meant brigandage, but has a more general meaning as sinful warfare,” says [Islamic history professor Douglass] Streusand. “If our elected officials started saying ‘This is a war against hirabis,’ that would be more effective. It would certainly be better than using the term jihad or jihadis which is actively harmful.”

Tuesday’s report, about the term “Islamofascism,” featured Paul Berman and his book “Terror and Liberalism.”

“If we can see that this movement has at least some of the qualities… that are similar to the fascism of Europe, then we can conclude from that, that it’s possible to conduct an argument,” Berman says. “And we should be conducting that argument.”

Yes. And too many so-called leftists these days are unwilling to do something as basic as that. They seem to think it’s the first step on the slippery slope to war.

The other reports will focus on “war on terror” (a term which makes me cringe at its meaninglessness), “imperialism” and “democracy.”