President Barack Obama on Wednesday night put forward a plan involving stepped up airstrikes against the Islamic State in the Middle East, and offering equipment and training to people fighting the terrorist group.
But he never called those efforts a "war."
President Barack Obama is refusing to call his stepped up military action in the Middle East a "war." (AP Photo/Saul Loeb, Pool)
Instead, Obama repeatedly cast the effort as a "fight," perhaps trying to draw a distinction between the Iraq war opposed by so many Democrats, and this new effort that is making many Democrats skittish.
"Over the last several years, we have consistently taken the fight to terrorists who threaten our country," Obama began. Obama said later that this "not our fight alone," and that the U.S. cannot rely on Syria's military "in the fight against ISIL," an anagram for the Islamic State.
Obama added that Secretary of State John Kerry would travel across the Middle East "to enlist more partners in this fight."
As he concluded, he used the word more broadly to suggest the military efforts are part of the U.S. "fight against terrorism," a far cry from President George W. Bush's "war on terror."
"[I]t is America that is helping Muslim communities around the world not just in the fight against terrorism, but in the fight for opportunity, and tolerance, and a more hopeful future," he said.
Obama used the word "war" a few times in his remarks, but each time it described the actions of other countries, such as in the case of Syria's civil war, or past U.S. actions under Bush.
"As I have said before, these American forces will not have a combat mission –- we will not get dragged into another ground war in Iraq," he said.
"I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan," he added. "It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil."