We're a hawk on the issues.

Why Obama Actually Talked about ‘ISIL’ Instead of ‘ISIS’ During Last Night’s Speech

All the talk in the news lately has been about the danger of ISIS.

Last night during the President’s speech, though, he clearly used a different name.

“Now let’s make two things clear: ISIL is not ‘Islamic.’ No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim,” the President said, also threatening to “degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group known as ISIL.”

Why did the President swap out the ‘S’ for an ‘L’?

As it turns out, ISIL is the official U.S. State Department name for the group we know as ISIS. The difference in the last letter has to do with the way it is translated. The ‘S’ stands for Syria. ‘L’ on the other  hand refers to the Levant, which is actually a better translation of the group as they named themselves back in 2004.

Obama and the federal government have also been using the term for a while, but the popular media simply won’t bite.

Especially Fox News, which offered this reason why Obama won’t kowtow to pressure to call it the same thing as everybody else:

“Why would Obama prefer ISIL?” Liz Peek asked. “An ‘army’ of that territorial magnitude takes the focus off the two countries that many believe define Obama’s continued failure in the Middle East. Most likely, he would rather eliminate the connection between the chaos in Iraq with his inaction in Syria. Better that the upheaval in a country to which we committed so much blood and treasure remain the fault of George W. Bush.”

Another right-wing commentator also suggested that Obama does not want to put the ‘S’ on the end for ‘Syria.’

“Obviously we refer to it at NBC News as ISIS,” Chuck Todd said recently on Meet the Press. “The Obama administration, President says the word ISIL. The last ‘S’ stands for Syria, the last ‘L’ they don’t want to have stand for Syria.”

In truth though, the reason President Obama called the group ‘ISIL’ during last night’s speech is much simpler than all than any right-wing conspiracy.

President Obama has the term right, at least according to the translation. The American public simply adopted the media’s own and incorrect term, making the terror group known as ‘ISIL’, now ‘ISIS’ in most people’s minds.

Photo Credit: Screenshot

About the author

Tamar is a New York based freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in over 15 publications. You can catch her work regularly on Issue Hawk, Latest, Jspace, and MediaGlobal.