War. Kinetic Military Action. “Time-Limited, Scope-Limited Military Action”?

The White House’s effort to avoid calling a war a war reached even more absurd levels today during the Press Briefing:

American and allied planes and ships pummeled Libyan air defenses and other military targets Thursday as the international alliance confronting Moammar Gadhafi moved toward shifting its command lead from Washington to NATO.

U.S. officials avoid describing the operation as a war. White house press secretary Jay Carney said it was “a time-limited, scope-limited military action.

Quite honestly, it’s really rather pathetic.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. JKB says:

    Well, this is a civil war so we wouldn’t want to call it something disagreeable.

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    The Obama Administration is tying itself into knots over this because Candidate Obama said that the president didn’t have the legal authority to do exactly what President Obama has now done.

  3. ALP says:

    Apparently none of our leaders on either side, including the President, will follow
    their oaths of office. (to uphold and defend the Constitution) Even tho other Presidents
    have used military action not supported by the constitution, does not make it right
    for this President to do also. To me, this is and impeachable action. The constitution
    states that only congress may declare war. Period! The War Powers Act only allows
    the President to use military force to defend against an imminent attack. Period!
    What part of these very straight forward words do some, many people don’t understand. I could go on and on, but I will stop at this. Someone prove me wrong if you can!

  4. Tlaloc says:

    I’d be all for a law or amendment precluding the use of military force without an explicit declaration of war, with some allowance for a limited period reaction to a first strike before congress could meet to declare war. Enough of all the “police action” “kinetic action” BS.

  5. epistorese says:

    I believe that Churchill said it best:
    If the men who start the wars would go themselves rather than sending the best and the brightest of their sons, wars would be a damnsight shorter than they are now. In the U.S. we have modernized the system to include sending poor kids who needed money to go to school.