I shouldn’t let little things bother me but unfortunately I sometimes can’t help it. I was bothered yesterday when I read this:
“Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said that the United States is aware of Americans who are serving with ISIS in Iraq and Syria. “Over 100 U.S. citizens who have U.S. passports who are fighting in the Middle East with ISIL forces,” Hagel said Wednesday on CNN. “There may be more, we don’t know.” Following ISIS’s execution of American journalist Steven Sotloff, Hagel stressed the need for an aggressive response to the self-proclaimed Islamic State. ” (my emphasis)
What bothers me about this is the USA government’s continuing reference to the radical Muslims group that has beheaded a couple of Americans as ISIL. The government talks about ISIL and the reporter writes about ISIS. Are they talking about the same thing?
ISIL is the acronym for Islamic State in the Levant, the Levant being somewhat synonymous for the Middle East.
The rest of the world including the American media calls this radical group ISIS. ISIS is the acronym for the Islamic State in Syria. Syria is where they originated as a radical force and now have seized up to a third of Iraq.
As best I can tell us these butchers call themselves the Islamic State which would make them IS. When I see the US government and all its agencies walking out of step with the rest of the world I wonder what it is that they hope to accomplish.
It reminds me of another folly that it persists in. This is one in which my favorite of all agencies the FBI refuses to change. To understand this you have to know a little of the background.
When J. Edgar Hoover became director of the FBI back in 1924 his aim was to free America from anarchists and communists who he felt threatened the country. He did such a good job of it that he all but wiped them out by the end of the 1940s. You wouldn’t have known it because Joe McCarthy came around in the 1950s and seemed to think they lived under most desks in the State Department but Joe was being Joe, sort of like Manny being Manny. He had his little shtick which he pushed as far as he could.
But Hoover’s problem was he had become so consumed with chasing the Reds he overlooked another growing problem in the country which was the Mafia. One of the reasons I suggest is that he knew the Mafia helped out our war effort during WWII. It not only made sure the New York ports were free of sabotage (the Irish gangs also pitched in – it shows how in war time even the most implacable enemies can work together). As important, the Mafia gave much help in giving us information for our invasion of Sicily.
In Hoover’s eyes the Mafia was not a threat to America where the Reds were. Hoover had been asked about the Mafia’s rising in power in America but he professed that there was no Mafia. Then in 1957 when news that over 100 Italian men from all over America (Italy, Canada, and Cuba also sent delegates) met in Apalachin, New York, was splashed over the newspapers and airwaves, Hoover was asked what was going on. It appeared to all that a big Mafia meeting had taken place.
Hoover responded. He agreed he said there was no Mafia but he pointed out he never said there was no La Cosa Nostra (literally translated The Our Thing?) Hoover then required all his agents to begin to call the Mafia, the LCN. Hoover stuck to the fiction that the FBI knew about the LCN and that even though it looked in all respects like the Mafia it wasn’t the Mafia.
To this date the FBI still calls the Mafia the LCN. I suppose long after ISIS becomes a casualty of history as all outlier groups eventually do our government will still call it ISIL.