President Obama is set to address the country on Sunday night, following the revelation that the San Bernardino shooting was an act of terrorism. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the tragedy that unfolded at the Inland Regional Center that killed 14 and injured over a dozen others. Presidential hopefuls have detailed their own strategies for combating the terrorist organization. One of the most subtle ways to do so may just be the way in which we refer to ISIS. During a recent interview on ABC's This Week on Sunday, Hillary Clinton talked ISIS and refused to call them Muslim extremists. Her reasoning? Using such language would only further incentivize ISIS to target the Western world. Clinton said:
I don't want to do that because, number one, it doesn't do justice to the vast numbers of Muslims in our own country and around the world who are peaceful people. Number two, it helps to create this clash of civilizations that is actually a recruiting tool for ISIS and other radical jihadists who use this as a way of saying we're in a war against the West. You must join us... If you're a law-abiding, peace-loving Muslim, you need to be with us against those who are distorting Islam.
Clinton's viewpoints echo not just Obama but another commander in chief — former President George W. Bush. During the Democratic debate that followed the attacks in Paris, Clinton was adamant about separating Islam from the fight against ISIS. She cited Bush explicitly stating that the country isn't at war with the religion and that "Islam is love" following 9/11. Nonetheless, her rhetoric has been met with hostility from GOP candidates. Republican presidential hopeful even used Clinton's words as a point in her favor, tweeting that "We need a President who will see and speak and act on the truth... Hillary Clinton will not call this Islamic terrorism. I will."
In addition to discussing the distinction between ISIS and radical Islam, Clinton was also very careful in the use of the phrase "declare war" because she says it carries legal implication that are much further reaching than the simple phrase implies. For that reason, she was wary of saying that the United States must declare war against ISIS, instead playing on the strategies and opportunities to combat the terrorist organization that are already present. Clinton's cautious language when discussing ISIS is a move that may help her greatly this election cycle. If anything, it certainly hasn't hindered her ability to lay out a comprehensive plan to combat them.