Until today, President Barak Obama has avoided using the “W” word in relation to ISIS but now, he admits that in fact, the United States is at war with the militant Islamic group. For the first time, White House Press Secretary, Josh Earnest, used specific language during his daily reporter briefing that confirmed the inevitable.
In fact, the same reference to the US being at war with ISIS was used three times today. In one particular statement, Earnest stated that the US is at war with ISIL, which is an alternative acronym used to refer to the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, two countries that border between the group’s territory. He went on to state that the war is the same as the US being at war with al Qaeda.
Within minutes of making the statement, Rear Admiral John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, used terminology that was very similar to that of Earnest. In his statement, Kirby indicated the current war is unlike that of the 2002 Iraq war but for people to make no mistake that everyone knows the US is at war with ISIL, the same way we are at war and continue to fight against al Qaeda and associated affiliates.
Then again during the early afternoon, another spokesman for the State Department repeated the verbiage almost exactly. Prior to today, the Obama administration, to include the President in his Wednesday night national address, avoided making direct implications of being at war. However, Secretary of State John Kerry did not hold back as much.
In his Thursday speech, Kerry stated that he believes what the United States is engaged in is not a full-fledged war as seen before but more of a heightened level of counterterrorism campaign. He continued to saying that while it will move at its own pace and has its own dynamic, it is indeed counterterrorism.
Obama has vowed that the United States will hunt down terrorists affiliated with the Islamic State and that to do so could cost the government $100 million per week. However, if additional airstrikes are needed or the campaign extended into Syria, the cost could go up substantially.
The President also said that 475 military personnel will be deployed to Iraq within the next week but he does not expect Americans will hit the ground of Syria, the base of ISIS’ location. Based on that implication, it remains unclear what types of military resources will be used to fight.