As reporters continued questioning members of the White House about their definition of war, Press Secretary Josh Earnest finally admitted that the United States is “at war” with the Islamic State terrorists.
“The United States is at war with ISIL in the same way we are at war with al-Qaeda and its affiliates around the globe,” Earnest explained to reporters at the White House during the daily press briefing Friday.
President Obama has systematically refused to describe his military air strikes as war, insisting that he has no intention of putting boots on the ground.
On Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry and National Security Adviser Susan Rice argued against using the term “war” to describe Obama’s military actions, insisting that they are sustained counterterrorism operations.
Rice argued that since there were no combat boots on the ground, it was not a war.
But Earnest’s message to reporters was noticeably different than the message from the White House Thursday:
Let’s be clear about this. What the President has said is that this is not a situation of ISIL against the United States. ISIL is waging a war against the broader international community, and the President is determined to build and lead an international coalition to take the fight to them. So in the same way that the United States is at war with al-Qaeda and affiliates around the globe, the United States is at war with ISIL.