Tags: John Kerry | ISIS | war on terrorism | counterterrorism

Kerry, in Reversal, Talks of 'War' With ISIS

By    |   Monday, 15 Sep 2014 07:27 AM


Secretary of State John Kerry, in a reversal, said in an appearance on CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday that the U.S. was "at war" with the Islamic State.

In previous remarks, Kerry had characterized U.S. attacks on the Islamic State (ISIS) more in terms of counterterrorism. On Sept. 11 he said, "Well, we're engaged in a major counter-terrorism operation — and it's going to be a long-term counterterrorism operation. I think 'war' is the wrong terminology and analogy."

Kerry added, "But I don't think people need to get into war fever on this. I think they have to view it as a heightened level of counter-terrorist activity," CBS reported.

He told NBC that the U.S. was not engaged in "a full-fledged war like we were before; it's a heightened level of counterterrorism operation, and it will have its own pace, its own dynamic."

Republicans have argued that Kerry's refusal to say the U.S. is at war with ISIS weakens the U.S. mission, according to CNSNews.

Asked by CNN on Sept. 12 if the U.S. was at war with ISIS, Kerry modified his stance: "I think that's the wrong terminology. What we are doing is engaging in a very significant counterterrorism operation, and it's going to go on for some period of time. If somebody wants to think about it as being at war with [ISIS], they can do so."

Sunday, on "Face the Nation," Kerry was more willing to use the "war" word.

"In terms of al-Qaida, which we have used the word 'war' with, yeah ... we are at war with al-Qaida and its affiliates."

He added, "And in the same context, if you want to use it, yes, we are at war with [ISIS] in that sense." He went on to say, "I think there's, frankly, a kind of tortured debate going on about terminology."

The battle against ISIS will involve more than airstrikes, Kerry said, but neither U.S. combat troops nor those of Arab states opposed to ISIS will be used on the ground.

"The Syrian opposition is on the ground," he said, adding, "Now, with the air support and other efforts from other countries, they will be augmented in their capacity."


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Secretary of State John Kerry, in a reversal, said in an appearance on CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday that the U.S. was at war with the Islamic State.
John Kerry, ISIS, war on terrorism, counterterrorism
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2014-27-15
Monday, 15 Sep 2014 07:27 AM
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