CHE: Shouldn't our leaders refer to terrorist cretins as "terrorist cretins"?

Certainly not. To do so would be judgmental. And once we act judgmentally, the terrorists have already won.

Besides, all the really good epithets are already reserved for “Christianists.”

[T]he vast majority of statesmen believe in purely operational talk after terrorist acts. On July 4, Franco Frattini, the EU’s top justice official, announced a wide array of new antiterrorist measures, including an EU-wide passenger-data-recording system, and criminalization of bomb-making instructions on the Internet. “We will find a better way to discourage and detect terrorists,” Frattini said.

Why does such a better way not include a call for sterner moral judgment, forcefully expressed?

Should Ayman al-Zawahri, deputy head of Al Qaeda, be the only “leader” quoted making moral judgments — that Arab regimes are “corrupt” — in a week of terrorist incidents?…

Let’s mention just one key goal [of moral condemnation]: the education of the world’s Muslim youth. Instead of hearing moral praise and encouragement for terrorism from jihadists, which then gets mixed in their minds with the nonjudgmental, tactical talk of Western officials and media, they’d have to absorb a steady stream of insults of terrorists’ intelligence, morality, decency, and reasoning. Young Muslims would have to get used to hearing jihadist heroes described as savages, scum, and uncivilized losers, along with the reasons why. It would intellectually force them, far more than they are forced today, to choose between two visions of the world.

That last paragraph’s hopelessly naive but follow the link and read her five explanations for western moral squeamishness. Numbers two and four are right on target, although I wonder if there isn’t a sixth, unspoken unreason: the fact that Bush, notably among western leaders, is famously willing to use this rhetoric, such that any other head of state who follows suit risks guilt by association. If so, they’re more gutless than I’d thought.

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