By RICH LOWRY It is settled: The Paris terror attacks had almost nothing to do with Islam. If there is any doubt about this, consider that on the one hand, you have the chilling new tape of the Charlie Hebdo attackers declaring, “We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad,” and on the other, you have the tortured reassurances of White House spokesman Josh Earnest. Which are you going to believe? The Obama administration’s mind-bogglingly determined refusal to say that we are at war with “radical Islam,” together with the left’s evasions about Islamic terrorism, means that there has been a haze of euphemism and cowardice around what should be a galvanizing event in the West’s fight against terror. In the immediate aftermath of the attack, Howard Dean opined on “Morning Joe” that the Muslims who had killed the staff of Charlie Hebdo aren’t Muslims. Not usually known as a leading Orientalist, the former Vermont governor shared his interpretation of one of the world’s leading Islamic terror groups, “I think ISIS is a cult. Not an Islamic cult. I think it’s a cult.” Dean didn’t specify what kind of cult ISIS is, if not Islamic. Or what otherwise accounts for its strange obsession with taking over territory in Syria and Iraq to establish a caliphate and to impose a harsh version of Islamic law. Obviously, not all Muslims, or even a majority of them, support terrorism. We don’t want to be needlessly insulting to Muslims or alienate allies in the Muslim world. But it is possible to avoid those pitfalls and still be truthful about the threat that emanates from within Islam, which serves the cause of intellectual clarity. Forget clarity—the administration has lapsed into unselfconscious ridiculousness. Asked why the administration won’t say we are at war with radical Islam, Earnest on Tuesday explained the administration’s first concern “is accuracy. We want to describe exactly what happened. These are individuals who carried out an act of terrorism, and they later tried to justify that act of terrorism by invoking the religion of Islam and their own deviant view of it” (emphasis added). This makes it sound as if the Charlie Hebdo terrorists set out to commit a random act of violent extremism and only subsequently, when they realized that they needed some justification, did they reach for Islam. More via POLITICO Magazine.