WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In the midst of one of the greatest challenges we have ever faced, we in the Western world have developed a serious communications problem. In this era of hyper-sensitivity and political-correctness, words no longer have meaning. Those who are good are too often portrayed as evil; indefensibly wicked acts are made less so by the way they are described. Words like "hero" and "hatred" have lost definition. In the midst of a struggle for survival, the inability to discern attackers from allies, friends from foes and heroes from cowards is potentially catastrophic.
Earlier this week, Scotland Yard and MI5 -- the British domestic intelligence service -- concluded that three of the four young men who killed 52 people with backpack bombs in London on July 7 were home-grown. Law enforcement and security officials suspect that the plastic explosives used to create the carnage originated in Bosnia -- and were smuggled into the U.K. "by a criminal enterprise" after transiting much of the European Union. Investigators described the perpetrators as "criminals" and characterized the event as "unlawful." The government-subsidized BBC referred to them as "bombers" and the act as "barbaric." But for reasons too arcane for most of us to comprehend, none of these stewards of public safety are calling the killers what they are -- or their deed what it is. Those who planned and carried out the killing are, of course, radical Islamic fanatics who committed a horrific act of terrorism.
In the Netherlands, Mohammed Bouyeri, the confessed murderer of Dutch documentary filmmaker Theo van Gogh went on trial in The Hague this week. Instead of putting on a defense, Bouyeri arose in the court and announced that he was proud of what he had done, would have killed more if he could and would do it all again if given the chance. The charge Bouyeri faces is "aggravated murder," not terrorism. In describing the crime, Dutch prosecutors have steadfastly refused to describe Bouyeri as an Islamic radical -- though he has called himself a "soldier of Allah."
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.