6 May 2008    

The Butter-Cutter On “Jihadists,” "Terrorists," etc. 

“Well, I guess you think it was pretty cute hitting me on the back of the head with a pat of butter the last time I was here,” I said to The Butter-Cutter on approaching the chow line.

“Haven't ya heard? 'Ya f*** with the bull 'n' ya get the horns,' ” he retorted with a grin on his face.

“You're NOT a bull,” I snapped back.

“OK. Since I flipped that pat of butter at ya with a fork, I aughtta say, 'Ya f*** with The Butter-Cutter 'n' ya get a forked pat on the head,' ” he answered and immediately broke out laughing. 

“Enough! I'd like to hear what you seriously think of the recent edict banning the use of the terms 'Islamo-fascism,' 'jihadists' and 'mujahedeen' for Islamic extremists” *

“Ya said 'edict.' Who did this edict shit?” The Butter-Cutter asked.

“Actually, it's a memo originally prepared in March by the Extremist Messaging Branch at the National Counter Terrorism Center and approved last week by the State Department for their personnel,” I explained.

“So this is just fer them 'Foggy Bottom' types.” 

“No,” I answered, “other Federal Agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security have also accepted this guidance. Although DoD wasn't specifically mentioned in the news story, I'm sure they'll follow suit. It's felt that these terms give the bad guys religious credibility and may boost support for them in the Arab world.”

“This memo, did it also ban the use of 'Rag Head,' er 'Billy-Bob Ahkmed,' er 'Fan-Belt Saud,' er . . .”

“WHAAAT!” I screeched. “Those are horrible! Where did you get that stuff?” I interjected.

“Where'd I get that stuff? 'I calls 'em the way I sees 'em.' Like, some o' them wear a rag on their head with what looks like a fan belt ta hold it around their head 'n' . . .”

“NEVER MIND! I don't want to hear it!” I protested.

“Then, ya just don't wanna learn. My names are physical descriptions o' all o' them 'n' not religiously er politically bigoted like 'jihadists' an' 'terrorists,'” and The Butter-Cutter started to laugh again.

“Damn it! This is not a joke. I'm sure you've been told many times that success in this conflict is dependent on winning the hearts and minds of the people and that language doesn't further that goal!” 

“Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!” he answered. “ 'n', what name am I supposed ta call 'em?”

“Terrorists!” I answered.

“Terrorists. Well, that sounds pretty good,” The Butter-Cutter said. “So callin' these guys 'terrorists' will help us win their hearts 'n' minds.” 

“No! No! Not the terrorists' hearts and minds, the people's hearts and minds. It's that large civilian population within which the terrorists hide. By winning the people's hearts and minds, you isolate and expose the terrorists to our forces,” I tried to explain.

“ 'n' what about OUR hearts 'n' minds? They, civilian 'n' terrorist alike, disrespect us by callin' us 'infidels,' 'invaders,' 'occupiers,' etc. What's next, bowin' 'n' kissin' their camels' toes?”

“You're a Marine with a mission to accomplish. That's something you have to endure,” I said in less than a convincing tone of voice.

“Alright, already. 'n' what'm I supposed ta say?”

“Well, you start by saying 'Hello,' 'Ah Salam A Likum,' followed by 'Sayyid' which means 'Sir' or 'Mister.' And, If you don't remember all that, speak English in a normal, calm tone of voice,” I suggested. “In other words, show respect.”

The Butter-Cutter nodded with a serious expression on his face and then said, “Even though I'm dissed by these guys, I have ta show 'em respect ta win their hearts 'n' minds so's ta isolate the terrorists 'n' make 'em vulnerable. Fine! One last question, I wanna make sure I got this absolutely right: Do I respectfully say, 'Uh Salami I Like 'em Mr. Terrorist' before er after I shoot the son-of-a-bitch?”

“Aaaaagggghh, you're incorrigible!” I cried out. In spite of holding my hands over my ears as I walked away, I could hear The Butter-Cutter laughing ever louder behind me. Oh well, I was grateful he couldn't read my mind: For, I thought the names “Billy-Bob Ahkmed” and “Fan-Belt Saud” were funny and the more I thought about them the more I too laughed.

Semper respectfully . . .

Anthony F. Milavic

Major USMC (Ret.)