Counter-terrorism or War: It’s a matter of ‘terminalogy’

Josh Earnest | John Kerry
Josh Earnest | John Kerry

MILLINOCKET, Maine, September 14, 2014 – In an interview Thursday with CNN, Secretary of State John Kerry indicated that the U.S. was not at war with ISIS/ISIL but rather engaged in counter-terrorism in the region. During the interview, Kerry created a new word – terminalogy. This appears be a combination of terminology and analogy and its definition may be saying one thing while meaning another.

On Friday the White House seemed to contradict the Secretary.

Press Secretary Josh Earnest said, “In the same way that the United States is at war with Al Qaeda and its affiliates … the United States is at war with ISIL.”

Was Josh Earnest trying to make it appear that John Kerry wasn’t in tune with the White House? Or could it be another attempt to sidestep the Constitution? Many believe that under Article I, Section 8, Clause 11, Congress has sole authority to declare war. Either way there was a marked contradiction.

“Terminalogy” isn’t the only example of John Kerry’s word craft. On September 3rd, Kerry was speaking at a ceremony to appoint Texas lawyer Shaarik Zafar as special representative to Muslim communities. He said, “Our faiths are inextripably linked on any number of things that we must confront and deal with in policy concepts today. Our faiths are inextripably linked on the environment.”

The media kindly corrected the Secretary and spelled it the usual “inextricably” in their copy, but if you listen to the video, Kerry definitely slips a “p” into the word in both instances.

Maybe we’re nitpicking, but the Secretary of State, our most senior diplomat in dealing with the world at large, should have much better command of the language.

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And now for a political flash-back — do you remember when…
The year was 2012 and Michelle Bachmann was vying to be the Republican nominee for the upcoming presidential election. Talking Sticks imagined what it would be like to have Michelle on a quiz show:


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