WASHINGTON — President Obama sharply rebuked critics who say he should condemn terrorists as “radical Islamists,” saying calling the Islamic State by another name will do nothing to defeat it — and could be counterproductive.
“What exactly would using this label accomplish? What exactly would it change? Would it make ISIL less committed to kill Americans? Would it bring in more allies, is there a military strategy that is served by this?” he said. “The answer is none of the above.”
In animated off-the-cuff remarks after meeting with his National Security Council Tuesday, Obama repeated his contention that identifying the Syrian-based terror group as Islamic will only serve as a propaganda tool for their extremist ideology, and potentially alienate Muslim allies. It was his sharpest and most extensive response to date on Republican criticism that his strategy is failing because he’s failed to understand the religious fervor of terrorists.
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