Speed Reads

ISIS Crisis

John Kerry: On second thought, 'we are at war' with ISIS

John Kerry: On second thought, 'we are at war' with ISIS

Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday walked back his insistence that the U.S. was not at war with ISIS.

Appearing on Face the Nation, Kerry said there was a "tortured debate going on about terminology" regarding the nation's military campaign against the militant group, which is also known as ISIL. Yet when pressed by host Bob Schieffer — who noted the Pentagon refers to the campaign as a war — Kerry conceded the point.

"Originally this is not a war. This is not combat troops on the ground, it's not hundreds of thousands of people. It's not that kind of mobilization," Kerry said. "But in terms of Al Qaeda, which we have used the word 'war' with, yeah."

"In the same context, if you want to use it, yes, we're at war with ISIL," he added.

Kerry last week raised eyebrows by declining to label the offensive a "war" despite President Obama's announcement one day prior of a four-point plan to defeat ISIS with airstrikes and diplomacy.--Jon Terbush