Obama's ISIS Offensive Is Not 'War,' Kerry Insists

Kerry says ISIS offensive is "kinetic military action."

ByAlexander Marquardt
September 11, 2014, 7:05 PM

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia— -- The U.S. is not at war with ISIS, Secretary of State John Kerry insisted today, describing the military campaign outlined by President Obama as "a counterterrorism operation of a significant order."

Kerry made his comment to ABC News today a day after the president's address to the nation in which he described the administration's plan to lead a broad coalition of nations to "destroy" ISIS, which is also known as ISIL or the Islamic State. Obama said he would use American warplanes to "degrade" ISIS and he did not rule out having those jets attack ISIS in Syria. In addition, he announced he was sending hundreds of additional U.S. troops to Iraq to help coordinate the fight against ISIS.

In his national address, Obama avoided using the word "war," calling the offensive he outlined as a “counter-terrorism campaign.”

Kerry was asked today whether the U.S. was at war with ISIS.

"No. Look, we’re engaged in a counterterrorism operation of a significant order," the secretary responded. "And counterterrorism operations can take a long time, they go on. I think 'war' is the wrong reference term with respect to that, but obviously it involves kinetic military action."

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