WASHINGTON–The Obama administration is resisting calling the Libya attacks a war. President Obama did not use that word in his Monday address to the nation on Libya and at the Wednesday briefing, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney deflected a question about Libya from a reporter: “Is it a war?”
Replied Carney, “Look, it is a — obviously, it’s military action. Did we invade Libya? No. Are we — do we have U.S. troops on the ground in Libya? No. You can call it — it’s been a false argument that some media outlets have tried to engage about the nomenclature here. It is the use of military force in concert with our allies. Military force is inherently a risky proposition, puts men and women in harm’s way, and military — but what it is not is in the context that we live in today, anything like a situation where you had I believe at one point 170,000-plus U.S. troops on the ground in Iraq; where you have 100,000 U.S. troops and 140,000 ISAF troops overall in Afghanistan in a prolonged engagement, a prolonged war. That is not what is happening in Libya.
“The President made very clear how this is not at all like that. You can call it what you want, but it’s not analogous.”
Whether from the air, sea or land, when U.S. soldiers are shooting at foreign targets–is it a war?