Back in 2014, J.E. Dyer devoted a column to the Obama administration preference for the acronym ISIL to refer to the Islamic State rather than the commonly used designation ISIS. To some observes, it seemed as though they were trying to obfuscate the issue of who the U.S. was at war with, as they did in their stubborn refusal to use the term “radical Islam.”
It is now a moot point as the Pentagon moves away from the Obama-era term to President Donald Trump’s preferred term of “ISIS.” Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis issue a memo on Feb. 13 instructing the Pentagon to use the term “ISIS,” in order to remain consistent with a directive from Trump issued Jan. 28, the Associated Press reported Saturday.
This Trump directive in late January instructed the Pentagon to come up with a new plan to fight the radical Islamic terror group and, with it, a more fitting nomenclature.
Ever since ISIS surfaced in 2014, seizing large swatches of territory in Syria and Iraq, disputes have remained about how exactly to refer to the group.
“Do you ever notice — it’s never ISIS, it’s ISIL?” Trump said back in April of 2015. “The only one that says ISIL is Obama. The only one. He talks about ISIL; everyone else says ISIS. He’s got a little reason because there’s a little part of the region — but he’s the only one.”
In December 2015, Trump communicated his wish that Obama would come around to using the term ISIS:
Wish Obama would say ISIS, like almost everyone else, rather than ISIL.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 7, 2015
CNN has noted in the past that the Obama administration used “ISIL” to communicate that the group was interested in expanding beyond just Syria and Iraq. Critics, however, argue that the abandonment of the last letter “S” in “ISIS” represents an attempt by the Obama administration to distract from its failure in Syria.
“Obviously we refer to it at NBC News as ISIS,” NBC News’ Chuck Todd said in 2014. “The Obama administration, president, says the word ISIL. The last S stands for Syria, the last L they don’t want to have stand for Syria.”
This report, by Jonah Bennett, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.