Charles Krauthammer, George Will Slam Obama for Calling Murdered Christians ‘Egyptian Citizens’

On Monday night, the panelists on the Fox News Channel (FNC) show Special Report excoriated the Obama administration for saying in a statement that the Coptic Christian men from Egyptian beheaded by ISIS in a video along the Libyan coast were “Egyptian citizens” and labeling Islamic State fights as merely “ISIL-affiliated terrorists” instead of further identifying them as Muslims or Islamic extremists.

Fox News contributors George Will, Charles Lane, and Charles Krauthammer took turns criticizing the administration for being “burlesque,” and “truly pathological in its inability to actually state what's going on” in its wording and refusing to diagnose the expanding global threat of the terrorist group. Will even joked that bets will be taken “as to when the first time they will actually identify an orange is an orange.”

Speaking first, Will remarked how “[w]ouldn't you love to be a fly on the wall in the room where the White House semanticists meet every morning” to try and avoid “offending those who did it.” He also suggested that they coin the term “non-Islamic randomness” because “[t]hat would explain just about everything that they have to deal with.”

Will then continued: 

[A]t this point, it is beyond burlesque, its pathological, its clinical their inability and unwillingness to say – to accurately describe things. The secret of decent, strong communication is specificity. Man got into the car and drove around the corner. The man got into a light gray Buick and drove around the corner tells you more. Why can't they say what specifically happened? 

Lane doubted that the White House would change course in its rhetoric and wondered whether it would recognize that Europe is being squeezed simultaneously by “the economic problem” of Greece, “Putin's aggression and the corrosion of their own civil society by this hanging threat of Islamic terrorism.”

Asked by substitute host Ed Henry whether the wording matters, Krauthammer argued that it does and compared how Winston Churchill “saved England and civilization” in World War II by using “the English language and he put it to work” while the Obama administration is doing “precisely the opposite.” 

He declared that the White House is doing so by “deconstructing any resistance with its refusal to acknowledge the obvious” that “Islamic supremacy” is at work and “akin to Nazism.”

Later, Krauthammer compared the struggle against ISIS to the Cold War in that “the leadership of the United States” will be the ones having to end the threat but, for now:

We have an administration that is truly pathological in its inability to actually state what's going on. In the video that was released that showed the savage beheading, it was addressed to the nations of the cross. It pledged itself to the conquest of Rome. When the Pope, who is not exactly a Christian militant, who isn't exactly a revancist on, you know, on behalf of a Christ, says these people were killed because they were Christian and the administration says that the ones who were killed were Egyptian citizens, you've got a serious problem and it's in this administration and it is with the President. 

Wrapping up the over seven-and-a-half-minute discussion, Will predicted that more countries will identify and recognize the need to defeat the terrorist group while the U.S. government stubbornly remains in the dark:

Well, pretty soon everyone in the world is going to be speaking in one way and this administration is going to be speaking in another and it just is going to become untenable. People will be counting and watching and laughing and making bets and making booker around the water cooler as to when the first time they will actually identify an Orange is an Orange. 

The relevant portions of the transcript from FNC’s Special Report on February 16 are transcribed below.

FNC’s Special Report
February 16, 2015
6:38 p.m. Eastern

ED HENRY: George, I want to start with you. How could the White House put out a statement over the weekend specifically on the other big terror issue with ISIS on the beaches of Libya, 21 Christians murdered, beheaded, and not mention that the victims were Christian and not mention the perpetrators were Muslims? 

GEORGE WILL: Yes. What they said is they were Egyptian citizens. Wouldn't you love to be a fly on the wall in the room where the White House semanticists meet every morning and figure out how they could probably make this announcement without offending those who did it. I think the phrase they should come up with is non-Islamic randomness. That would explain just about everything that they have to deal with, but it does – at this point, it is beyond burlesque, its pathological, its clinical their inability and unwillingness to say – to accurately describe things. The secret of decent, strong communication is specificity. Man got into the car and drove around the corner. The man got into a light gray Buick and drove around the corner tells you more. Why can't they say what specifically happened? 

(....)

CHARLES LANE: The big picture, which I hope will be focused on by the administration, not in isolation but in separate issues, is Europe is in a deep squeeze right now among these three forces: the economic problem, Putin's aggression and the corrosion of their own civil society by this hanging threat of Islamic terrorism. That is a big strategic challenge for the United States and I think it has to be looked at that way. 

(....)

HENRY: Charles? Language matter here?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Of course it does. It defines the conflict. I mean, Churchill, for one, saved England in civilization because in 1940, he was able to enlist the English language and he put it to work on behalf of civilization. What this administration is doing is precisely the opposite. It's sort of deconstructing any resistance with its refusal to acknowledge the obvious and the obvious is this. It's not just Islamic radicalism anymore or Islamic terrorism, which is only a tactic. This is Islamist supremacy and in that sense, it is akin to Nazism. That was a racial supremacy, here it’s Islamic and the ideology of ISIS is clearly supremacist in the sense that anybody who is not Islamic, in their understanding, is to be either enslaved or eradicated. This is a genocidal movement. You kill Christians, you kill Jews, you kill Yazidis but you may in certain circumstances enslave them. That's what we're up against and we have an administration that will not even admit that there's a religious basis underlying what's going on.

(....)

KRAUTHAMMER: In the end, it's going to be the leadership of the United States exactly as it was in the Cold War. We have an administration that is truly pathological in its inability to actually state what's going on. In the video that was released that showed the savage beheading, it was addressed to the nations of the cross. It pledged itself to the conquest of Rome. When the Pope, who is not exactly a Christian militant, who isn't exactly a revancist on, you know, on behalf of a Christ, says these people were killed because they were Christian and the administration says that the ones who were killed were Egyptian citizens, you've got a serious problem and it's in this administration and it is with the President. 

HENRY: George, speaking of the Pope, I remember President Obama holding up the Pope and his role in Cuba policy and that that was critical. Now, the Pope says this and you're not hearing the same from the White House. 

WILLL Well, pretty soon everyone in the world is going to be speaking in one way and this administration is going to be speaking in another and it just is going to become untenable. People will be counting and watching and laughing and making bets and making booker around the water cooler as to when the first time they will actually identify an orange is an orange. 

Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck
Curtis Houck is the Managing Editor of NewsBusters for the Media Research Center