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— When I was a kid growing up in the Ozarks everyone knew who our enemies were - Nazis, communists - and it wasn’t illegal or unpopular to point out those living in America who were enemy sympathizers. There were even lists made of communists. Of course the system was abused, but Americans knew we wouldn’t tolerate those who were un-American.

So I get very frustrated when I read headlines: Insurgents Dealt Blow. At least once a day, on a TV newscast or in newspapers, I see or read the word “Insurgents”.

Why don’t we call them what they are? Terrorists! Why does the media insist on giving terrorists a friendly word like “Insurgents”?

According to the dictionary, an insurgent is described as rising in nonbelligerent revolt against civil authority, a member of a political party who rebels against its leadership, one who shows belligerent hostile or aggressive behavior or engaged in warfare.

In contrast, terrorists are described as those using terror, violence and intimidation to achieve an end. They use fear and subjugation and violence toward private citizens, public property and political enemies, promoted by a political group to achieve supremacy.

Which word better describes the enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan and other countries that terrorize citizens and our troops? And why is the media so careful not to offend the terrorists? Let’s call them what they are. Even the news of pirates who terrorized aship were labeled Islamic terrorists, not insurgents or an even milder word.

Our new president is now labeling the war against terrorists “overseas contingency operation.” On the news I heard terrorists called “militants”. That almost made them sound respectable. They aren’t. Much is made of the USA needing to be friends with other countries. But it seems the more we reach out (give in) the more enemies we have.

While the enemy may not be easily identifiable, they should be readily labeled.

When I was on a cruise a few years ago I met an interesting lady from Israel. I questioned her about the violence in her country. She assured me the violence is real and scary. I would hate to live in a place where I never knew if a bomb might go off any minute in any place. I can’t imagine the terror.

I guess that’s why I’m so glad I live in America. I feel safe. That’s an important feeling for a child, for anyone. Our country not only has freedoms unheard of in many countries but we have always had leaders that worked to keep us safe. Then why am I not feeling so safe any more? Why do I fear for my children and grandchildren?

Maybe it’s because evil is being called by other names. I wish we could all live in peace. We all yearn for peace and security and freedom. But wishing doesn’t make it happen. It takes work to build relationships.

Marie Putman, from the Gravette area, is a longtime freelance columnist for The Rogers Hometown News.

Opinion, Pages 4 on 11/04/2009

Print Headline: Call Them What They Really Are: They’re Terrorists

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