Terrorism Redefined

Last year, the Boston Marathon bombing shocked the nation. The media rounded up its usual suspects: conservatives. The redefinition of “terrorism” – indeed, the refusal to identify the source of terrorism in the world today – impedes our fight against it.

From the advent of the Obama administration, the “war on terror” was effectively over, with the United States mirroring Neville Chamberlain’s words, “Peace in our time.” But peace cannot be achieved without defeating an implacable foe committed to destroying you.

Since President Obama’s election in 2008, his administration (and useful idiots in politics and the media) have engaged in an Orwellian redefinition of crucial terms, one of those being “terrorism” and variants thereof.

This short primer shows the depths of which political and media elites will go to ignore the terrorist threat facing Americans today, and to exploit tragedies for political purposes.

Terrorism = Man-made Disaster

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano redefined terrorism: “Of course [Islamic terrorism poses a threat]. I presume there is always a threat from terrorism. In my speech, although I did not use the word ‘terrorism,’ I referred to ‘man-caused’ disasters. That is perhaps only a nuance, but it demonstrates that we want to move away from the politics of fear toward a policy of being prepared for all risks that can occur.”[1]

Words matter. Meanings matter. While Napolitano and others have nuanced terrorism out of the dictionary, the reality of its threat has escalated, with successful terrorist attacks in America and an expanding terrorist network at home and abroad.

Terrorism = Workplace Violence

The Obama administration classified the 2009 Fort Hood massacre as “workplace violence” instead of a terrorist attack. Kris Kane observes, “The Fort Hood massacre was a terrorist act, with Nidal Hasan yelling ‘Allahu Akbar’ (‘God is great’). Nidal Hasan had also repeatedly been in contact with Anwar al-Awlaki.”[2]

Denying the source of jihadist terrorist attacks, the government is shackled in its efforts to combat it.

Terrorists = Conservatives and Libertarians

While studiously avoiding (and even denying) the reality of the Islamist jihadist threat, the government targets domestic political foes. As if the IRS targeting conservatives is not enough, Homeland Security must also be involved.

“A secret report distributed by the Missouri Information Analysis Center lists Ron Paul supporters, libertarians, people who display bumper stickers, people who own gold, or even people who fly a U.S. flag and equates them with radical race hate groups and terrorists. This is merely the latest example in an alarming trend which confirms that law enforcement across the country is being trained that American citizens are a dangerous enemy.”[3]

Paul Joseph Watson reported, “A new study funded by the Department of Homeland Security characterizes Americans who are ‘suspicious of centralized federal authority,’ and ‘reverent of individual liberty’ as ‘extreme right-wing’ terrorists.”[4]

The study, Hot Spots of Terrorism and Other Crimes in the United States, 1970-2008 (PDF), omits “the 1993 World Trade Center bombing” but “focuses on Americans who hold beliefs shared by the vast majority of conservatives and libertarians and puts them in the context of radical extremism.”

Terrorists = Tea Party

Liberal leaders in the House and Senate have picked up on this theme. In a closed-door Democratic caucus meeting, on August 1, 2011, Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA) lambasted Tea Party members, claiming, “We have negotiated with terrorists. This small group of terrorists have made it impossible to spend any money.” Vice President Joe Biden concurred: “They have acted like terrorists.”[5]

That’s right, politically championing a smaller government – one that lives within its budget and operates under its constitutional authority – is now “terrorism.”

Terrorists = Right-Wing, Tea Party, Patriots

In the immediate aftermath of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, many commentators and members of the mainstream media jumped to the conclusion that this terrorist attack was committed by the “extreme right,” anti-government groups, or the Tea Party.[6]

Few considered the most obvious culprit: a radicalized Islamic jihadist. An astonishing banner headline appeared on the Salon website: “Let’s Hope the Boston Marathon Bomber Is a White American.” Why? Political correctness? Denial of reality? Hatred of white Americans?

Terrorists = Protestors

In an interview on April 17, 2014, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) defamed supporters of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, saying, “These people, who hold themselves out to be patriots are not. Nothing more than domestic terrorists. … I repeat: what happened there was domestic terrorism.”[7]

These protestors, who feared another Waco or Ruby Ridge, supported a rancher against hordes of federal agents, with “dozens of our finest SWAT members from Metro, Metro black & white cars, EMT, fire rescue trucks, detention buses (a.k.a. Paddy wagons), over 50 Ranger and BLM vehicles, numerous highway patrol vehicles, and a Black Hawk Helicopter on the Moapa airfield, just to name a few.”[8]

But these peaceful protesters were “domestic terrorists” in Reid’s eyes, and in the eyes of some in the media.

UPDATE: On ABC’s This Week, Democratic strategist Donna Brazile compared Bundy to Timothy McVeigh, saying, “Remember, this is the 19th anniversary of the Oklahoma bombing. So this notion that Mr. Bundy has no other recourse but violence is – anti-government violence – is absolutely wrong.”[9] When was Bundy violent? McVeigh committed a violent act of terrorism which killed 168 and injured almost 700. Bundy was peacefully standing up for his rights and his supporters were defending him. One is an aggressive act of indiscriminate terror while the other is a defensive posture against the menacing force of government.

Terrorists = Confrontational Children

Watson has been in the vanguard of those protesting the misuse of the word “terrorist” and the misidentification of “terrorists” themselves. His words deserve careful consideration.

“White House counterterrorism and Homeland Security adviser Lisa Monaco gave a speech this week in which she urged parents to watch their children for signs of ‘confrontational’ behavior which could be an indication of them becoming terrorists.”[10]

“Over the last decade, the federal government has broadened its definition of what constitutes potential terrorism to such a degree that the term has lost all meaning and is clearly being used as a political tool to demonize adversarial political activism.”

“Lisa Monaco’s speech and the federal government’s track record in assailing both banal behavior and political activism as potential ‘terrorism’ serves as a reminder that the war on terror has now been focused inwardly against innocent Americans, making it all the more harder to detect actual terrorists.”

Many have observed that Obama and his colleagues seem to be waging war on their political opponents while waging peace on America’s real enemies. Under Obama, the terrorist threat has expanded worldwide, America’s global prestige and political influence have radically shrunk (the “big stick” has disappeared), and Constitutional liberties are being increasingly imperiled and infringed.

Let’s eliminate Newspeak and return to the original meaning of words such as “terrorism.” Unless we do, the terrorists and big government will win while Americans lose.


[1]       Tim Graham, “Obama-Speak: Homeland Security Secretary Replaces ‘Terrorism’ With the Term ‘Man-Caused Disaster,’Newsbusters, 3/19/09.

[2]       Kris Kane, “Obama: Fort Hood Massacre ‘Workplace Violence,’Western Journalism, 10/22/12.

[3]       Paul Joseph Watson, Kurt Nimmo, and Alex Jones, Police Trained Nationwide That Informed Americans Are Domestic Terrorists,” Prison Planet, 3/13/09.

[4]       Paul Joseph Watson,, “Homeland Security Report Lists ‘Liberty Lovers’ As Terrorists,” Infowars.com, 7/4/12.

[5]       Paul Joseph Watson, War On Terror’s New Targets: Veterans, Tea Partiers, Anti-Fed Activists,” Infowars.com, 8/18/11.

[6]       “First Impulse: Blame the ‘Right Wing’ and Hope the Bomber Is a ‘White American,’” Media Research Center, 4/29/13, and Scott Whitlock, “One Year Ago, Media Jumped to Blame Boston Bombing on ‘Anti-Government’ ‘Extreme Right,’” Media Research Center, 4/15/14.

[7]       Laura Myers, “Reid calls Bundy supporters ‘domestic terrorists,’Las Vegas Review-Journal, 4/17/14, and Lucy McCalmont, “Harry Reid: Cliven Bundy’s ‘domestic terrorists,’Politico, 4/18/14.

[8]       Tim Brown, “Assemblywoman Michele Fiore: The Truth about BLM & Bundy Showdown,” Freedom Outpost, 4/19/14.

[9]       “Donna Brazile Likens Clive Bundy to Timothy McVeigh,” 4/20/14, https://grabien.com/story.php?id=7583.

[10]     Paul Joseph Watson, White House Counterterror Chief: ‘Confrontational’ Children Could be Terrorists,” Prison Planet, 4/18/14.

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