While a number of Obama administration officials have avoided saying that the U.S. is now waging war on the Islamic State, the Pentagon’s spokesman didn’t shy away from the term today: “make no mistake, we are at war with ISIL,” Rear Admiral John Kirby told reporters.
On Thursday, for instance, Secretary of State John Kerry said it wasn’t accurate to characterize the ongoing air campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq — and its impending expansion into Syria — as a war, instead calling it ”a major counterterrorism operation.”
“Secretary Kerry took a lot of heat for saying this is not a war,” one reporter mentioned to Kirby about the semantic issue. “And you’re backing that up. This is not a war in your mind. You guys are all in agreement about that — that this could go on for years, and we could be there for years, bombing, but we’re not at war.”
“What I said was this is not the Iraq War of 2002 [sic],” Kirby replied. “But make no mistake, we know we are at war with ISIL, in the same way we are at war, and continue to be at war, with al-Qaeda and its affiliates.”