Here I'd thought that "jihadist" was getting moderately well-established as a term for radical Islamists -- Jonathan Rauch, whom I much respect, suggests that it's actually the best term for them, but at least it's easily understood as one possible term for them -- and now Charles Krauthammer says this, on the Fox Special Report last Friday (emphasis added):
[Jim] Angle: Yes. Now, Charles, one of the interesting things here is that Senator Roberts was talking about the fact that Goss was essentially rebuilding the CIA after some very difficult years, two tumultuous episodes in which its competency was questioned, and rebuilding the size of the agency.
[Charles] Krauthammer: And also trying to deal with the jihadists inside the agency, the people who consider themselves the loyal opposition, which really is the role of Congress, but who oppose administration policy, had been leaking and had been trying to undermine and obstruct administration initiatives.
One of the roles he had adopted, Goss, was to go after these people. He fired Mary McCarthy, who supposedly was the leaker on the secret prison story. And I think there is some -- you know, if you look at this, you could say, well, maybe he was defeated by that element in the CIA. From what I have heard, that's not so. And the next -- and his successor is going to be as tough on the leakers as he was.
Krauthammer also apparently said the same on Hugh Hewitt's radio show:
Well, I think there is a jihadist element in the CIA, people who think that, or a jihad against the administration's policies, and who think that they owe a duty to the nation above their own oath to keep secrets. And they leak stuff as a way to embarrass the administration or undermine a policy or two. And they have been a problem. And we know that Goss acted against that.
Isn't this a titch beyond the level of proper hyperbole, even in these rather shrill times? Is it too much to ask that we save jihadist, terrorist, Nazi, fascist, racist, and the like for people and actions that have some real resemblance to the evil that these terms are associated with?
Thanks to Mark Kleiman for alerting me to this; I can't say I'm nearly as incensed by it as he seems to be, but I agree that this really isn't the way people ought to be talking.