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One Step Forward, Several Back in Combating Islamism
As my colleague Jeffrey Imm has recently noted, there has been a alarming few steps back in identifying the Salafist/jihadist threat we face in any way with a growing current of Islam.

The new threat assessment, the State of the Union, (as noted by Andrew Cochran here) both fail to mention Islamism by name.

Our government is not alone. The British government has has decided the Islamist radicals are now to be called criminals so Muslims won't be offended.

But as George Weigel rightly noted, we are fighting "jihadism, the religiously inspired ideology which teaches that it is every Muslim's duty to use any means necessary to compel the world's submission to Islam. That most of the world's Muslims do not accept this definition of the demands of their faith is true—and beside the point. The jihadists believe this. That is why they are the enemy of their fellow Muslims and the rest of the world."

Amidst this lack of fundamental understanding of what the war we are engaged in is really about, there is a small bit of good news.

A Pentagon source has confirmed reports that Maj. (Reserve) Steve Coughlin, a primary briefer on radical Islam in the Pentagon for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has been retained in some fashion.

Coughlin's contract with DOD was set to expire in March, and was not going to be renewed, in part because he clashed with those who felt he was too harsh in his assessments of Islamism.

Coughlin, for one, understood the importance of words and the need to identify the enemy by name.

The move by DOD to keep Coughlin on in some manner was announced by Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC), who carried out her own inquiry into the matter, and said in a press release that "Major Coughlin will be associated with another office program within the Office of the Secretary of Defense where he will continue to spread his message." It is not clear what that really means.

What remains just as unclear, however, is perhaps the most important question: what will happen to Hersham Islam, the person who has gone to some lengths discredit Coughlin, and who seems to have a long history of association and friendship with the Muslim Brotherhood.

He is also a close aide of Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England, who takes what Mr. Islam says on matters large and small relating to Islamists very seriously.

Because of this relationship, Mr. Islam has had great success in bringing ISNA, CAIR and other publicly identified Brotherhood organizations, including unindicted co-conspirators in major criminal cases, into the Pentagon.

But should he even be there? There are reasons to think not. As the Investigative Project outlines, Islam was involved in trying to get England to invite foreign emissaries to his office, in direct contradiction of U.S. policy.

Others have raised issues of substance about Mr. Islam's official biography on a DOD website. The biography has since been taken down.

So, no Islamist references (separating personal Islamic beliefs from the political Islamist project of the Brotherhood, al Qaeda et al), by the government. No definition of the enemy except vaguely as "extremists," with no hint of what they might be extreme about. A modest victory by keeping one person who understands language from being totally cut out of the loop. Not much to be hopeful about there.

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