War or Counterterrorism? John Kerry denies it is a War


White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that the United States is “at war with ISIL” on September 12, after Secretary of State John Kerry refused to use the phrase.

“The United States is at war with ISIL in the same way that we are at war with Al-Qaeda and its Al-Qaeda affiliates all around the globe,” he said.

Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby also used the phrase on Sept. 12.

Kerry told ABC News on Sept. 11 that the U.S. was only engaged in a “significant” counterterrorism operation. “I think ‘war’ is the wrong reference term with respect to that, but obviously it involves kinetic military action.”

The U.S. has conducted 158 airstrikes and deployed around 1,600 troops to Iraq to deal with the threat from IS militants.

Luke Johnson in Washington

Mirrored from RFE/RL

Copyright (c) 2014. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.


Related video added by Juan Cole

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4 Responses

  1. If you are launching air raids then you are – by definition – engaged in an “armed conflict”.

    Q: Does international law make a distinction between “armed conflict” and “war”.
    A: No, it doesn’t, and so neither should Kerry.

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