Of all the neologisms America was rudely introduced to under the Obama administration, Obamacare is probably the one Americans most want to get rid of. And while that will take time, you can say goodbye right now to another one of our 44th president’s less popular coinages: “ISIL.”
ISIL, you may recall, is how the former administration used to refer to the Islamic State group. Most media organizations would either refer to it as the Islamic State group (as we do) or as ISIS, an acronym for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Some news outlets called the group Daesh, an Arabic acronym for the group that also has the double meaning of “bigot.”
The Obama administration very conspicuously decided to call it ISIL, or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. According to Military.com, a Pentagon memo from Defense Secretary James Mattis said the administration would be switching to ISIS “consistent with” Trump’s labeling of the group.
Trump was dismissive of Obama’s use of ISIL during his time on the campaign trail.
“Do you ever notice — it’s never ISIS, it’s ISIL?” Trump said, according to The Daily Caller “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. Just not a good person.”
There were a lot of theories regarding the change in language. NBC’s Chuck Todd thought it was because the Obama administration wanted to take attention off of its failures in Syria, according to The Washington Post. Rush Limbaugh claimed that it was because “Levant” is an archaic term for an area that included Israel, a nation the Obama administration had a troubled relationship with; he believed the administration meant it as a taunt. The White House, for its part, said it was a more accurate translation.
Whatever the case, the term hadn’t caught on, and it was conspicuously out of touch with the rest of the media and the country. (Not that we’re necessarily big boosters of the media, but stopped clocks, blind squirrels, etc.) It’s a good decision on the part of the administration to shelve the term.
Now, about that whole Obamacare thing …
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