The Pentagon has switched the way it describes the Islamic State away from the Obama-era term “ISIL” and to President Donald Trump’s preferred term of “ISIS.”
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis issue a memo on Feb. 13 instructing the Pentagon to use the term “ISIS,” in order to remain consistent with a directive from Trump on Jan. 28, the Associated Press reported Saturday.
This Trump directive in late January instructed the Pentagon to come up with a new plan to fight the radical Islamic terror group.
The military “views ISIS, ISIL and Daesh as interchangeable terms for the same thing,” according to Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis.
Ever since ISIS surfaced in 2014, seizing large swatches of territory in Syria and Iraq, disputes have remained about how exactly to refer to the group.
The Obama administration used the term “ISIL,” which Trump targeted in a campaign event as early as April 2015.
“Do you ever notice — it’s never ISIS, it’s ISIL?” Trump said. “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.”
In December 2015, Trump communicated his hope that Obama would come around to using the term ISIS.
Wish Obama would say ISIS, like almost everyone else, rather than ISIL.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 7, 2015
CNN has noted in the past that the Obama administration used “ISIL” to communicate that the group was interested in expanding beyond just Syria and Iraq. Critics, however, argue that the abandonment of the last letter “S” in “ISIS” represents an attempt by the Obama administration to distract from its failure in Syria.
“Obviously we refer to it at NBC News as ISIS,” NBC News’ Chuck Todd said in 2014. “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.”
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