On the word-watch front, please note these two offerings from the White House on what we should call the current military activity in Libya, aka Operation Odyssey Dawn.
#1 –Military Operation or Kinetic Military Action
On Air Force One on Wednesday
Q: Ben, in the congressional briefings, Congress was reportedly told that this is not a war…If it’s not a war, what’s the right way to characterize this operation?
DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER BEN RHODES: This a military operation that will be limited in both duration and scope. Our contribution to this military operation that is enforcing a U.N. Security Council resolution is going to be limited — time limited to the front end, and then we’ll shift to a support role. So I think what we’re doing is we’re enforcing a U.N. Security Council resolution. We’re taking — we’re undertaking a military operation to protect the people of Libya. But that military operation is going to be, again, limited in both time and scope, and that’s the position we took to Congress, although I wasn’t in the precise briefings, so I couldn’t –
Q: But it’s not going to war, then?
RHODES: Well, again, I think what we are doing is enforcing a resolution that has a very clear set of goals, which is protecting the Libyan people, averting a humanitarian crisis, and setting up a no-fly zone. Obviously that involves kinetic military action, particularly on the front end. But again, the nature of our commitment is that we are not getting into an open-ended war, a land invasion in Libya. What we are doing is offering a unique set of capabilities over a period of days that can shape the environment for a no-fly zone.
#2 – Time-Limited, Scope-Limited Military Action
At the White House Press Gaggle today
WENDELL GOLER, FOX NEWS: What is this military action? We’ve been asking, is it a war? And if it is not a war –
WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY: It is a time-limited, scope-limited military action, in concert with our international partners, with the objective of protecting civilian life in Libya from Muammar Qaddafi and his forces.
GOLER: But not a war.
CARNEY: I’m not going to get into the terminology. I think what it is certainly not is, as others have said, a large-scale military — open-ended military action, the kind of which might otherwise be described as a war. There’s no ground troops, as the President said. There’s no land invasion. I think there is precedent for — multiple, multiple precedents for this by presidents of both parties in terms of taking this kind of military action. I would point you to the action taken by President Clinton in Bosnia, which was similar in that it involved the establishment and enforcement of a no-fly zone. And I’m not sure how Fox describes it or other outlets describe that action, but it is of the similar kind of action — although this would be, we believe, more limited in time and scope, in terms of U.S. involvement.
*Credit to @GregSharp for the title of this blog. And don't forget to follow me on twitter @JakeTapper!