There was some reluctance by some in Washington late last week to use the word “war,” even after President Barack Obama in a prime-time TV address to the nation said he is authorizing the expansion of a bombing campaign in Iraq and start of air strikes in Syria to “degrade and ultimately destroy” Islamist militants, notes Grumpy Editor.
Originally, the White House and Secretary of State John Kerry termed the action a "counter-terrorism operation."
Then, perhaps, someone looked up the “war” definition in a dictionary: a conflict carried on by force of arms, as between nations or between parties within a nation; warfare, as by land, sea, or air.
Later, spokespersons at both the State Department and Pentagon mentioned “we are at war" with ISIL (the Islamic State term favored by the Obama administration but also known as ISIS).
In his speech, the president raised eyebrows by declaring “ISIL is not Islamic.”
CNN, for example, noted, the four-letter term “could still come back to haunt him,” adding, “critics on Twitter quickly fired off on the president for making the assertion, with many noting that ISIL in fact stands for the ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.’ (CNN refers to the group by the acronym ISIS in its news reports. The group recently started calling itself the Islamic State).”
While TV viewers felt the president was facing only a camera crew, Bloomberg reporter Angela Greiling Keane revealed about two dozen people were in the White House foyer.
That included a media pool about 20 feet from the president along with one news photographer and two official White House photographers (with cameras silent), White House staffers handling video, audio and lighting plus Secret Service agents and press secretary Josh Earnest.
Keane mentioned the five on-scene reporters were told to leave electronics and personal effects behind, not make any noise and “don’t let your pens hit the marble floor in the cavernous hall where the slightest noise was sure to echo.”
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Heard Friday on Real Time with Bill Maher: former House speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), looking ahead to the November elections, warned, “Civilization as we know it today would be in jeopardy if the Republicans win the Senate.”