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movement, but to its various cells spread across the Middle East region at large; the “L” stands for “Levant,” an outdated name for the region.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


  1. bc on December 16, 2015 at 7:36 am

    He is using ISIL as oppposed to ISIS because he doesn’t want to “insult” Syria. Hmmm.

  2. Educated on December 17, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    The reason people like myself get irritated when Obama says ISIL instead of ISIS, is that ISIL includes Israel, which is as far from a terrorist state as possible (unless you ask the Palestinians and Iranians, which are terrorist states themselves…)

    And you can dislike Obama’s blatant killing of America’s values, morals, economy, and military without being racist. You can disagree with him trying to turn our country into a weak 3rd world country, with anti-everything beliefs, without his race or religion having even an ounce to do with it.

    Another obvious liberal pro-Obama article, laced with some no so obvious antisemitism.

  3. Glen M on December 18, 2015 at 7:48 am

    As usual the Ersatz Intellectuals are referring to anyone south of New York as some kind of Backwoods Rural Inbred idiot when the reverse is true. In my life I never saw racial discrimination to the extent I saw in the North. Not only Black/White/Brown isolation, but Irish/Italian/French/Hungarian/Polish/English/ neighborhoods abound where 5 generations live on the same block and the borders are from school to school, and block to block. The term ISIL is an insult to Israel since it didn’t exist prior to the definition of the term “Levant” or even the Existance of the “Islamic State” Terrorist movement. Typical Inbred behaviour by Idiots defending the actions of a gang member!

  4. Klou Sr on December 21, 2015 at 4:04 am

    Our Black President has never liked Israel. The old area name “Lavent” refers to the time before the Jews claimed their our current State, when the area was all Islamic.

  5. Butcher on December 21, 2015 at 8:21 pm

    Donald Trump will be the next president, despite idiots that write articles such as this piece of trash.

  6. Victori on December 21, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    I don’t understand why the politicians and media using either term will not preempt discussions and debates by setting the record straight themselves instead of leaving it to the people to guess the motive behind the name they choose to use. Transparency would settle a lot of arguing and unnecessary name calling. I did not know the difference and was ignorant about it, however, I do not feel the president is smarter than any other citizen. None of us knew anything about this until the politicians and media started to use both names.

    • J on December 22, 2015 at 5:52 pm

      I think you missed the point.

    • Broadsword on December 22, 2015 at 7:27 pm

      You are invested in a false egalitarianism. Make no mistake about it: there’s about a 99.995% chance that Barack Obama is smarter than you, and five of your smartest friends combined. Agreed, you are missing the point.

      • Sophie on December 27, 2015 at 9:37 pm

        Yes, he is smarter than most Americans that is why he has been able to enable so much of the militant Islamic movements throughout the Middle East and Northern Africa without anyone saying why are we empowering our sworn enemies?

      • YouSoRad on December 28, 2015 at 9:16 pm

        Wait, so a guy wins a popularity contest and he’s automatically smarter? Well I could see why that would make him smarter than you, but some of us recognize there are other ways to measure intelligence, lest we forget the hullabaloo that was raised over Bush’s academic career while he was in office.

        No, the reality is this article is little more than a piece of ingratiation with nothing but thinly veiled insults. Have to admit though, the author is almost too coincidental. Keep stroking your e-peen there Bill “Palmer”, I’m sure someone out there is impressed with the variety of ways in which you can call someone dumb. If I were anyone else I’d say you sounded bitter that anyone would dare to question his majesty.

        And just so we’re clear, it doesn’t matter what the “ignorant” call them or what his lord and grace calls them, it only matters what they call themselves. So if they don’t refer to themselves as ISIL then Obama is just as ignorant as the masses. I say we start calling them ISPF, Islamic State of Pig F**kers.

    • David on December 25, 2015 at 6:28 am

      ISIL is a map of the middle east under muslim control, the new Ottoman Empire. Without Israel., each time that Obama uses the term ISIL he is calling for the death of Israel.

  7. Jess Sumpter on December 23, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    Of course the president is smarter than millions in this world. It’s a 100% certainty that he’s smarter than any Reoublican.

    He’s made a statement previously on the difference but the ignorant Media refers to it incorrectly as does the chief fool, TRUMP!

  8. Cookie on December 30, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    The terrorists themselves just use “IS” when talking in English. It’s the western media that uses “ISIS” (when talking about the group in Iraq or Syria) or “ISIL” (when talking about the group as a whole in the Middle East).
    And the idiots claiming it’s a jab at Israel… Seriously? How is that a jab? The Levant is an area. Referring to these terrorists as operating in that area does not equate with saying they’re in Israel, even if Israel is also a part of that area – I though Trump-followers would get basic IQ-test questions like “If A=B then B=C?”, but apparently not. But ok, even IF Obama was somehow saying IS was operating in Israel… How is that a jab AT Israel?

    Anyway, we should all be calling them “Daesh”, like the French and most Arab countries do; they HATE that name.

  9. secarney1 on January 13, 2016 at 5:32 am

    Amen, Educated!

  10. Light on January 17, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    I liked that Obama used ISIL instead of ISIS, but for different reasons.

  11. Bond James Bond on February 14, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    Obama purposely says ISIL which stands for Levant which includes Israel because he wants Israel lumped into being part of a terrorist entity in his mind. The author is this article is a moron. It’s ISIS. Period. Donald Trump is correct.

  12. Looster on February 16, 2016 at 12:25 am

    Saying Levant to described the area which contains Israel when you don’t want to include Israel, is like saying Holland borders onto Germany. If you don’t know what I mean look it up. By now people should know better than to think that IS only exists in the region once known as Levant.

  13. TruthSquader on February 20, 2016 at 9:52 am

    This article is, to use the author’s favorite word, ignorant.
    Why would Obama use a “outdated” word at all? Why not just call the group what it calls itself, the Islamic State. This does not imply geographic complaints and in fact the author tells us that the group is expanding geographically. So “Islamic State” or “IS” would cover it now and into the future.
    But Obama insists on “ISIL”. A look at the Levant on the map show that it includes the territory where Israel is now. So Obama’s use of the term signifies his willingness to cede the land of Israel to this terrorist group.

  14. Karen on March 23, 2016 at 8:12 am

    Why does all of the news media say ISIS instead of ISIL? Even right after a speech where Obama has said ISIL dozens of times, the news will come on right after and say ISIS.

  15. Stormy on March 23, 2016 at 9:03 am

    We all know that Obama is Muslim or at the least a Muslim sympathizer. He is sending an insult to Israel and also letting Islam know he is on their side. Read the Quran people. They are allowed to lie, and pretend to be on your side for the “greater good”. If you aren’t with them, then you are an infidel. Even Satan worshipers don’t force their beliefs on others. An easy way to put this to rest is for Obama to explain why he continues to say ISIL vs ISIS. He won’t because then he would anger his Muslim people. On a side note. I typed in ISIL and it spell checked me to ISIS…makes one go hmm.