White House: ‘We Are at War With ISIS’

Congressional Hawks Push for Ground Operations

Yesterday, Secretary of State John Kerry loudly objected to the characterization of the new US war on ISIS as a “war,” insisting it isn’t technically a war. The argument appears to have been totally pointless, as the White House confirmed that, indeed, “we are at war with ISIS.”

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said it was important to draw a distinction between the new war in Iraq and the old Iraq War, even though they both are taking place in Iraq and both involved fighting against the exact same faction, albeit this time after al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) changed its name to ISIS and split with al-Qaeda.

He sought instead to draw a parallel between the new war and “success stories” in Yemen and Somalia, two much smaller air wars the US are involved in, and neither of which seems remotely successful.

The admission that the new war is indeed a proper war comes amid new calls from Congress to expand the conflict into a full-scale ground war, with Rep. Buck McKeon (R – CA), the head of the House Armed Services Committee, saying the US needed to “go all-in now.”

Sens. Lindsey Graham (R – SC) and John McCain (R – AZ) also pushed for ground troops, insisting ISIS is a “full-blown army” that requires a major military response.

The political leadership in both parties seem to be content to back President Obama, with House Speaker John Boehner (R – OH) insisting it is “important we give the president what he’s asking for.

When the public was still reticent about the war, the administration was insisting there would be no ground troops involved, but with over 1,500 troops already on the ground now, they are stepping away from that and now suggesting it’s only not in the plans right now.

Indications are that these high profile speeches by the president are meant to slowly prepare the public for a much, much bigger war than they were initially promised, and officials seem to think they’ve at least reached the point where they can admit the “humanitarian intervention” is now a war.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.