John Kerry argued that it doesn’t really make a difference if we call U.S. action against ISIS a “war.” He criticized the “tortured debate” this morning on CBS. Watch it here.
“Mr. Secretary, thank you so much,” said CBS host Bob Schieffer. “Can I clear up one thing first. This week you went to some lengths to say you wouldn’t call this a war, but yet at the Pentagon and at the State Department even they were saying we are at war with ISIS. Are we at war?”
“Well, Bob, I think there’s frankly a kind of tortured debate going on about terminology,” Kerry responded. “What I’m focused on obviously is getting done what we need to get done to ISIL.
“But if people need to find a place to land: in terms of what we did in Iraq originally, this is not a war. This is not combat troops on the ground. It’s not hundreds of thousands of people. It’s not that kind of mobilization.
“But in terms of al Qaeda, which we have used the word war with, yeah, we’re at war with al Qaeda and its affiliates. And in the same context, if you want to use it, yes, we’re at war with ISIL in that sense.
“But I think it’s a waste of time to focus on that, frankly, let’s consider what we have to do to degrade and defeat ISIL, and that’s what I’m frankly much more focused on.”