Why President Obama’s correct usage of “ISIL” vs “ISIS” drives ignorant people crazy

As President Obama delivered a factual and measured address to the nation last night about the ongoing terrorist threat, some thoughtful Americans took his speech to heart, while others couldn’t seem to get past the fact that he was at times saying “ISIL” instead of “ISIS.” In fact his primary detractor Donald Trump criticized him for it via Twitter, suggesting that Obama was referring to the group incorrectly. As per usual, Trump was standing up on the side of ignorance – and the incident was endemic of why the more ignorant of Americans just can’t seem to stand their current President.

For those wondering, ISIS is a terrorist movement which exists within Iraq and Syria. That’s easy to remember because the final “IS” in “ISIS” stands for those two nations. ISIL refers to the same terrorist movement, but to its various cells spread across the Middle East region at large; the “L” stands for “Levant,” an outdated name for the region. Saying “ISIS” when referring to the entirety of ISIL would be like saying “South Dakota” when referring to both Dakotas combined. You get the point, but it’s still not correct.

Is it important that you and I know the difference, or that we call it by the correct name? Perhaps not. We simply want the movement crushed before it can do more damage. But it is important that the President, who is commanding the military effort against the group, knows the difference. If a President mistakenly thought that these terrorists were limited to just Iraq and Syria, he would have a hard time leading the fight to eradicate it. So Obama makes a point of using the geographically correct terminology as a reminder that this isn’t a two-nation problem. And that’s where he gets into trouble with those who don’t like knowledge.

The reasonable conclusion would be this: because President Obama knows the finer points of the terrorist group he’s been blowing to smithereens, it means the rest of us don’t have to study up on the details. But the most ignorant of Americans see it differently. They’re bothered that the President is using a term they don’t know; they worry that he’s smarter than they are; it makes them feel insecure. They liked it better under the last President, a dummy, because it made them feel smart in comparisons. They can’t be bothered to do ten seconds of googling to find out whether Obama has gotten it right, because they’d rather just assume he’s wrong. That way they can pretend he’s even more ignorant than they are.

And then an enabler like Donald Trump comes along and tells them that their ignorance on the matter is a virtue and that Obama is stupid because he refuses to dumb it down and call a group by the wrong name. So they reward Trump by voting for him. They don’t care that Trump would have no plan for dealing with ISIL or ISIS at all; they simply care that he made them feel good about their ignorance. If you enjoy Daily News Bin, consider making a contribution:




Bill Palmer
Contributed by Daily News Bin staff

236 Comments

  1. Joe on December 7, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    ISIS is also the name of the Jewish special forces group that first started this charade and O is only cow towing toi the Jews pulling his strings by trying to hide their involvement



    • John Lindsay on December 7, 2015 at 6:29 pm

      The Jewish Special Forces are NOT a terrorist group.

      Pretty stupid comment.



      • Kitted out on December 8, 2015 at 1:18 pm

        After all the subversive activities and training of ISIL and ISIS by the Jewish Special Forces your ignorance and stupidity are astonishing and astounding!



    • Mister Salty on December 8, 2015 at 10:29 am

      In addition to your post in general being wrong and ignorant, I don’t see why President Obama would want to tow a cow. Unless you meant “kowtowing.”

      Be cool, stay in school.



      • SmokinBozo on December 8, 2015 at 12:32 pm

        Mister Salty your killing me. Be cool.



        • EW on December 8, 2015 at 1:21 pm

          *you’re. but anyway.



  2. Bob B on December 7, 2015 at 7:26 pm

    It is not ISIS it is call the IDF Israeli Defense Force. The Israeli Military. You and Obama belong in the same class of stupid!



    • Kitted out on December 8, 2015 at 1:19 pm

      After all the subversive activities and training of ISIL and ISIS by the Jewish Special Forces your ignorance and stupidity are astonishing and astounding!



    • Mike on December 8, 2015 at 11:38 pm

      Wow…you can’t truly believe you are smarter and more i informed than the President . What prestigious law school were you president of? What Top Secret meetings have you attended? You are funny.



  3. George E Schweiss on December 7, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    ISIS has two meaning – an over meaning and the true meaning. On the face of it, ISIS means “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.” Interviewer: This is how they called it at the beginning. Ibrahim: Yet the same acronym can stand for “Israeli Secret Intelligence Service.”
    Just google it. Jeez.



    • John on December 8, 2015 at 6:33 pm

      And they have threatened to cut out the tongue of anyone who uses the name they call themselves – ‘Daesh.’ They get so angry when they hear the common mispronunciation. We innocently call them – well, something along the lines of a group of guys who have carnal relations with swine. Hey guys, you chose the appellation yourselves. Don’t blame everybody else.



  4. Aaron on December 7, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    Isis is also an Egyptian god. I know a girl in one of my classes that is named after said god. I feel really bad for her given the association now.



  5. Vincent Paterno on December 7, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    Why can’t we get CBS Radio, NPR and other broadcast and print sources to use ISIL (as most U.S. officials do, not just Obama) rather than ISIS? That’s where most Americans get the term.



  6. Mark on December 8, 2015 at 7:07 am

    Seriously, the main point of this article seems to be to call those of us that NEVER HERD OF ISIL before IGNORANT, Bill Palmer quotes” the “L” stands for “Levant,” an outdated name for the region.” Outdated ? Of course that seems ligical.? NOT . . .



    • Fontana on December 8, 2015 at 7:32 am

      Mark, before you complain about being referred to as ignorant you might want to learn how to spell. Thereby proving the point of this article…



      • Ramon on December 8, 2015 at 8:32 am

        Thank you Fontana for responding to Mark the fart, it saves me the trouble.



      • Brittany on December 8, 2015 at 10:08 am

        So now a typo justifies ignorance?



        • Jerry Zezas on December 8, 2015 at 10:47 am

          You are confusing the word “justifies” with “typifies”, which it can, at times, especially when the writer capitalizes unnecessarily and writes so poorly



        • KARM on December 8, 2015 at 11:11 am

          Yes, it’s not a typo, that’s the way his brain is set up.



        • Mike on December 8, 2015 at 11:43 pm

          Wow…you can’t truly believe you are smarter and more i informed than the President . What prestigious law school were you president of? What Top Secret meetings have you attended? You are funny.



      • EW on December 8, 2015 at 1:22 pm

        This.



    • Jim on December 8, 2015 at 10:59 am

      Ignorant simply mean “not having the knowledge”. It DOES NOT mean dumb… So – read, listen and learn. Suddenly you are now longer ignorant. To learn facts and then deny them, well – that’s another matter entirely



    • Kelly on December 8, 2015 at 11:14 am

      Only if you choose to remain so.



    • Chris Brown on December 8, 2015 at 12:52 pm

      Well normally no. The problem is these nitwits who want to blast the President for EVERYTHING jump up on their high horse screaming about he’s using the wrong term for ISIS when he isn’t. If you don’t know what you’re talking about or you’re not sure you have the correct facts than research them before shooting from the mountaintops that the President is stupid. Also ISIL has been used thousands of times so if you honestly don’t know that term than maybe you’re not ignorant but you haven’t really been following the news thus shouldn’t have such a strong opinion on such matters.



      • Britt on January 12, 2016 at 8:57 pm

        I AGREE 100%!!! With what you said Chris Brown, some people kill me these days.



      • Brittany on January 12, 2016 at 8:58 pm

        I AGREE 100% Chris Brown!



  7. Educated Masses on December 8, 2015 at 8:59 am

    I don’t want to start a fight or anything, but “Levant” isn’t just an outdated term for the region. It refers to the entire geographical area stretching from Turkey throughout the Middle East, which includes Israel. By referring it ISIS as ISIL, you are acknowledging that this Islamic Terrorist Organization has geographical authority over that land – and that land such as Israel belongs to them. When world leaders such as Obama refer to them as ISIL, he is sending a clear message to Muslims around the world that Israel is intruding on their land, which is not the case. This will incite more violence and convince more people that the world should be against Israel, instead of promoting peace and neighboring collaboration for the greater good.



    • Mister Salty on December 8, 2015 at 10:33 am

      Not “geographical authority,” presence. Big difference.



    • Chris Brown on December 8, 2015 at 12:53 pm

      Ummmm yeah no just plain no.



  8. Cliff on December 8, 2015 at 9:00 am

    What countries other than Iraq and Syria does ISIL have a stronghold?



    • DarkMan on December 11, 2015 at 4:46 pm

      Your mom



  9. OLLIE on December 8, 2015 at 9:06 am

    I dislike all asinine liberals and all liberals are asinine.



    • Jim on December 8, 2015 at 11:02 am

      Hmmm.. That leaves open lots of room for discussion… Let discuss that. What is a liberal?



      • KS on December 9, 2015 at 8:22 pm

        Domestic Terrorist is appropriate….



  10. Lynn on December 8, 2015 at 11:56 am

    I would appreciate someone answering Cliff’s question. If the Islamic State has strongholds in other areas beside Iraq and Syria, I would like to know where. Until I know, I tend to believe Obama’s use of ISIL is meant to be inflammatory, at least where Israel is concerned. I honestly think the President feels very connected to Muslims even if he isn’t in favor of radicalization of their religious beliefs. If the term “Levant” is outdated and the Islamic States’ current strongholds are Iraq and Syria, why does he insist on using the term ISIL?



    • Dave on December 8, 2015 at 1:43 pm

      I agree, Lynn. Although, I don’t care much for the arrogance of some here who claim to be open for discussion, I don’t mind speaking up about my issue with Obama’s use of the term.
      The author seems to believe that anyone who disagrees with the president’s use of ISIL in place of ISIS must only do so because they lack intelligence and only blindly follow those who disagree with Obama (because presumably, Obama is more intelligent than any republican, military official, most everyone in the Congress).
      The Levant is an outdated term, and is so because it fails to recognize the legitimacy of Israel, Jordan and others. It’s not as simple as referring to the Dakotas as one state. It’s more akin to referring to Canada as North America without considering their sovereignty apart from the U.S. It’s insulting to a nation that finds itself wholly apart from the beliefs of other nations in the region.
      I don’t believe Obama refers to Daesh as ISIL because he has some brilliant understanding of the terrorist group that no one else can fathom. He only began referring to it as such in May of last year, when he still considered it a jv team. If he thinks Daesh is contained, then why would he use a term that indicates the virus has spread throughout the region? I call bs.



  11. Barbara on December 8, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    We should stop calling them ISIS or ISIL. They do not represent Islam nor are they a State. They are a band of violent criminals. The press, and all of us, need to stop legitimizing them with either of those terms. The Arabic Press calls them Daesh which I believe is a more appropriate name for this band of murdering, drug dealing, kidnapping, thieving, raping THUGS.



    • Damon Ghostdance on December 8, 2015 at 12:51 pm

      How about calling them the J.V. team?



    • Lynn on December 8, 2015 at 1:11 pm

      I have to agree.



  12. John Saunders on December 8, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    ISIL also has fighters in Libya.



    • Lynn on December 8, 2015 at 1:11 pm

      Thanks!



    • Dave on December 8, 2015 at 1:59 pm

      They have fighters in the US, as well. They don’t have military control over our country, just as they don’t have control over the Levant. To call them ISIL, to me, seems to be giving that band of criminals more credit than they deserve. That’s why many refer to them as Daesh, which is, as I understand it, to be insulting to them.



  13. Ken on December 8, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    ISIS is without question an inflammatory reference meant as a dig towards Israel and as an encouragement to Muslim nations.
    Further it is highly unlikely that anyone who voted for this miscreant was even watching on Sunday, never mind actually knowing the difference between ISIS and ISIL. I assume those were the “Americans” you were talking about…



    • DarkMan on December 11, 2015 at 5:00 pm

      Dude you totally flopped on that one. Do you know the difference between ISIS and ISIL?.



  14. Damon Ghostdance on December 8, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    Actually the writer of this article is the ignorant one. The one and ONLY reason obama uses the term ISIL is to poke an insult at Israel. His dislike of Israel is well known. The Levant includes the land of Israel, so each and every time he utters this term, which NO ONE ELSE uses by the way except terrorists, he is attempting to negate and delegitimize the existence of Israel. He sides with terrorists on the existence of Israel, and lets everyone know it each and every time he utters the phrase. Now the author has called the New York Times and virtually every other media outlet in existence “ignorant” , since they too do not use this term. But I think everyone reading this strange defense of obama’s hate for Israel knows who the “ignorant” one really is. Its Billy himself.



  15. J. R. Whiting on December 8, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    The author is very smart and impressive. He set the record for the number of times he used the word ignorant. Such an intelligent guy! It is so generous of him to educate us all. What a fine liberal. Must have been a classmate of Obama’s at the school of arrogance.