War/Not War?: Is John Kerry as Stupid as He Sounds? You Be the Judge


Via Instapundit comes a link to this stunning report from The Hill:

Secretary of State John Kerry wants you to know that whatever it is you call it when you drop bombs on people you want to kill, send troops and advisers to foreign lands to kill and train people, it isn't war.

"What we are doing is engaging in a very significant counterterrorism operation," Kerry said. "It's going to go on for some period of time. If somebody wants to think about it as being a war with ISIL, they can do so, but the fact is it's a major counterterrorism operation that will have many different moving parts."

In a separate interview with CBS News, Kerry also rejected the word "war" to describe the U.S. effort and encouraged the public not to "get into war fever" over the conflict.

"We're engaged in a major counterterrorism operation, and it's going to be a long-term counterterrorism operation. I think war is the wrong terminology and analogy but the fact is that we are engaged in a very significant global effort to curb terrorist activity," Kerry told the network.

"War is the wrong terminology and analogy?"

That's beyond sad—it's insulting to the intelligence of us all.

And, more important, it's the sort of doublespeak whose obfuscations pave the way to greater and greater involvement while pretending the exact opposite.

If what Obama says we're about to do in Iraq and Syria to ISIS isn't war, then why not send "boots on the ground," as former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden and a growing chorus of elected officials are calling for? Why did Obama argue last year that he needed congressional authorization to do the same thing to Syria?

Instapundit suggests that Kerry doesn't want to call it a war because we might lose it. I actually think it's because the administration is delusional and mistakes its ability to rename things via clever word games for material reality. Which is far more troubling than simple cowardice or deceit. Certainly nothing Kerry has said in his new gig argues that he has a robust sense of reality testing.

NEXT: What On Earth Did the Palins Do Now?

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  1. “If somebody wants to think about it as being a war with ISIL, they can do so.”

    “There are some who want to think about it as being a war ?.”

    1. But was he against thinking it was a war before he was for it?

    2. I would say the ones who are going to fight it will think of it as war. The Washington wonkers will think of it as an incursion, police action, counterinsurgency, or some other such nonsense.

      1. This is just Not-Unbelievably Small Kinetic Action. If you want to think of it as a war, you can; but you have Kerry’s permission if you want to think of it as Significant Workplace Violence.

        The word games of this administration make me long for the days when we simply wondered what “is” meant.

  2. We have always been in a major counterterrorist operation against ISIS.

    1. Yea, but now it is really, real counter-terrorist operations.

  3. Is John Kerry as stupid as he sounds?

    At least. For all the Swift Boat he said/they said stuff, though, doesn’t he have any sense that this is exactly how thousands of other Americans, some of whom he served with, died for a cause he claimed was not worth their lives? Apparently, HIS staying in power is worth young men dying for, Nixon’s was not.

    1. Yeah, the irony would be hilarious if the whole enterprise wouldn’t end in disaster.

      1. The whole episode is so absurd. It brings to mind Marx’s adage about history repeating itself, “first as tragedy, then as farce.”

  4. Now, if it was a very very significant counterterrorism operation, that would be war.


    1. Don’t you mean “LURCH INTO A REAL WAR”, mister?

      1. This administration is altogether ooky.

    2. “I start fightin’ a war, I guarantee you’ll see somethin’ new.”

  6. then why not send “boots on the ground,”

    So the 1,300+ already in Iraq are levitating? Wearing flip-flops instead of boots?

    1. “Those aren’t BOOTS-boots.”

      1. Uggs.

    2. Wearing flip-flops instead of boots?

      Just trying to find their beach man.

      1. Then they need to head down toward Basra….way more sand in the south (Corona is probably not available, however).

        1. Well done sir, wasn’t sure if anyone would pick up on that. You get an Extra for that.

    3. They probably wandered in by accident, or are on vacation.

    4. Those SOCOM guys and the Marine FAST that went in are just there to lend moral support from inside a bunker, or something.

      Surely they are not going to do anything warlike.

  7. Yes he is as stupid as he sounds. Probably even more stupid.

    Now that that is settled, can we finally get that 24/7 Palin blurb upgraded to a full post? These people are dangerous and have to be removed from power. Get on it, Reason.

  8. That’s a trick question, right?

    1. Not really, the answer is “yes.”

  9. Cmon Nick, if he calls it a war then he needs congressional approval. Executive orders OTOH are all that’s needed for ongoing counter whatever, as well as police actions, kinetic actions, and whatever other euphemisms some asshole can come up with in the future. It’s all right there in the constitution under the FYTW clause.

    1. Yeah, but in the same breath they will invoke all of the powers that come with a fully declared war.

    2. Spot on. There’s also the technical point in public international law – you call it war, then you’re supposed to do all those tricky things like have a formal declaration, etc etc. For example, the UK Government never called the 1982 the Falklands War, as it didn’t want to trigger any of that. It also of course wanted to maintain that this was recovery of its own territory, not a war over disputed territory.

      1. ^This.

        It also triggers all sorts of treaty/agreement related international law deals that obligates different orgs to halt relations/trade etc with parties in the event

        The question as to whether the AUMF actually adequately covers this ‘counterterrorist operation’ remains open. Kerry is desperate to keep this thing in legal limbo so that they can retain as much flexibility as possible.

        re: International Law…

        its supposed to be a ‘small sacrifice of sovereignty’ by small countries in exchange for guarantees preventing Big Countries from running roughshod over them. International Law is sold to the community of nations as a way to ‘guarantee peace’ through collective action.

        In reality, its more about Big Countries preventing smaller countries from actually acting independently and being a pain in the ass/starting regional conflicts. Because when it comes down to it? Big Countries ignore it, or try and re-write it, or go to lengths to pretend what they’re doing is ‘legal’.

        Kerry is one of these democratic wilsonians who really thinks the future is in UN-style multilateralism (or at least has spent his career pretending this). This ISIS thing gives the lie to his entire raison d’etre

    3. probably true, and perhaps the other parties, Iran, KSA etc that Kerry is working with have their own reasons for avoiding the term.

  10. You dumbells just aren’t as nuanced as Kerry.

  11. I heard Kerry’s babble on the radio, and all I could think of was the phrase “don’t piss on my leg and tell my it’s rain”.

    It’s war dimwit. Nothing else. War.

    And it’s not our war, or at least wouldn’t be if we hadn’t been bumbling around over there for the past hundred years or so.

    p.s. Who was it we were arming last summer?

    1. p.s. Who was it we were arming last summer?

      The Popular Front of Syria?

      1. No, the Syrian Popular Front.

        1. Splitters!

        2. The Syrian People’s Popular Front?

          1. The Popular People’s Syrian Front, hosted by Chuck Woolery. Tuesdays at 7, on FXX.

    2. Well if we don’t arm them, how would they have the firepower for this to be a sporting contest?

  12. The freak show continues.

  13. whatever it is you call it when you drop bombs on people you want to kill, send troops and advisers to foreign lands to kill and train people, it isn’t war.

    Well, sure. Mr. “Peace” prize president cannot be thought of engaging in an aggressive war.

    1. Refusing to pay for other people’s birth control, on the other hand, IS considered an act of war by the Dems.

      1. If we get REALLY pissed at ISIS maybe we’ll stop buying them birth control to teach them a lesson.

  14. . I actually think it’s because the administration is delusional and mistakes its ability to rename things via clever word games for material reality.

    Not just this administration, it’s the basis for the entirety of Leftist ideology, going all the way back to Lenin and beyond. Why do you think they call themselves “liberals” — or did, before they shat upon that term from the failures of their policies, and had to do another renaming.

    1. The manipulation and misuse of language is just as common on the political right. It has an even longer tradition in Christianity. In fact, socialists and communists looked to Christianity for how to manipulate masses and misuse language; they learned from the best.

      1. While that may be the case throughout history, it certainly doesn’t seem to be the case during the past half century, with the Left controlling Academia and the MSM.

        I’m curious about what examples you can provide as evidence that it is just as common on the right. I’m skeptical, but legitimately curious.

        1. I don’t think it’s as common on the right (at least post-WW2) but I will say that your mainstream GOP supporter actually calling themselves a “conservative” (in what government should encompass) is downright absurd.

  15. America’s last constitutionally defined war was WWII wasn’t it?

    1. creech|9.12.14 @ 9:48AM|#
      “America’s last constitutionally defined war was WWII wasn’t it?”

      I think LBJ got congress to back him based on the Tonkin Gulf Lie.

  16. Everyone of you!

    Room 101!

    N O W !


  17. Instapundit called this. They won’t call it a war because they are worried they might lose.

  18. Was Kerry actually in the military? Because that’s the worst salute I’ve ever seen.

  19. Also

    John Kerry walks into a bar. The bartender says, “Hey John, why the long face?”

      1. So, John Kerry walks into a bar. The bartender asks, “What’ll you have?”, and John says, “An olive gin blast.”

        “What the fuck is an olive gin blast?” the bartender says.

        “10 parts gin, 1 part vermouth over ice, and drop an olive in it,” John replies.

        “So, a martini?” asks the bartender.

        “Well, some people call it a martini,” replies John Kerry.

    1. John Kerry walks into a barn. A horse asks, “Why the long face?”

  20. Kerry used to be a leader of an organization called “Vietnam Veterans Against the Police Action”.

    No, wait! It was Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

  21. John Kerry: moronic Secretary of State, or most moronic Secretary of State in history?

  22. It’s actually a kinetic counter-man-caused-disaster action against Asians.

  23. Well see, war is what republicans wage on women. It has a hashtag and everything, so it’s totally a legit war. But this? This is just drones and bombs and arms and military strategy and stuff against an enemy on foreign soil, not war.

  24. Is Kerry stupid? Hmmm, let’s see…couldn’t beat George W. Bush in an open and honest debate on the issues and subsequently lost an election the worst-POTUS ever until 2009? Yeah, I’d say that qualifies.

    1. Both went to Yale at about the same time. And George W Bush had a better GPA.

    2. GWB, while bad, doesn’t even come close to the gigantic awfulness that were Wilson, FDR, LBJ, or Nixon.

      Not even close.

      I wouldn’t even put him in the top 10 (or bottom 10) worst presidents.

      Obama has the ignominious honor of just barely making the number 10 spot. His position might improve (worsen?) depending on just how fantasmically shitty Obamacare is going to be.

  25. It’s not “war” it’s “peacekeeping”.

    All this newspeak is insulting and ignorant.

  26. Argh, I’m an average citizen who hasn’t read any of the US military’s open source publications which delineate the entire range of military operations, I think wars are as easy as just buying an airplane ticket for a bunch of boots and sending them overseas… What’s the difference between an OPORD and an OPLAN you ask? I don’t know, but I do know there is no difference between gang shootings and an airborne assault into a denied area!

    JP 3-0 defines the differences in topology of the Range Of Military Operations that our nation conducts you say?


    A counterterrorism operation doesn’t require anything different than a counterinsurgency operation! There’s no way that the goals would be different, or that the operations would be fundamentally different, or that the roles would be different…

    Saying counterterrorism isn’t war is like saying an Austin Martin isn’t a truck…

    Come on they both have wheels, tires, suspensions, engines, windshields, crank cases, seatbelts and a million other things in common; therefore they are the same!!!

    If you tell me that using missiles doesn’t equal war, I’ll show you that war Russia has on civilian aviation!

    Our elected officials should never used nuanced technical language that reflects the way professionals speak about the issues, because I don’t have the time to actually be informed on these issues!

    1. I’m sure you’re very proud of yourself for this post.
      The rest of the administration has directly contradicted Kerry.
      We will see how many of your precious acronyms your dear leader adheres to.

    2. When you stop using my money for your ______ (aka war), have at it.

    3. nuanced

      Why is it that people who use this word are always full of shit?

      Killing people and breaking shit is war fucknugget. You can try to disguise it in whatever flowery “nuanced” language you want, but it’s still war.

  27. The way I remember International relations teachings is that you can wage a WAR against a COUNTRY. That is so because there must be a formal Declaration of War. ISIL is not a country so it is properly defined as a Counter Terrorist Operation. But, perhaps we are redefining American English here….

    1. You are several decades late to the linguistic party.
      War on poverty, drugs, women. We can go to war against anything!

    2. “If we don’t recognize the sovereign power ruling over a given piece of territory (terrortory?) then it’s not a government. Nothing to see here, no government, no war. Move on, people.”

  28. Kerry has always been a consistent loser, fool, and dumbie. He has of late changed both physically and mentally. He appears to be mentally unbalanced and just plain weird. Heaven help us. Obama surely can not be of any positive use either.

    1. John Ketchup is an android who cannot quite pass for human.

      I’ve never seen his blood, come to think of it. We should have him do the knife between fingers trick.

  29. Hey guys, if it’s a war, then what are the guys we take prisoner during it? The hilarious part here is that if they took ISIS prisoners and called them prisoners of war, you guys would be equally outraged. These comments with a few exceptions are pure partisan bias. Kerry doesn’t want to call it a war because to do so is to legitimize ISIS as some sort of entity one can make war on. Are we going to make treaties with ISIS? Can they get redress at the UN for violations of the Geneva Conventions? The concept of a “war on al-Qa’ida” was stupid, the concept of a “war on ISIS” is equally stupid. This is not even *remotely* a war.

    1. You’ve shown me the light. The Afghanistan War was clearly not a war, because we were fighting terrorists there.
      Makes sense to me, thanks for removing my partisan blinders.

    2. Percy|9.12.14 @ 5:34PM|#
      “These comments with a few exceptions are pure partisan bias.”

      And you, are of course, totally non-partisan, right?
      “This is not even *remotely* a war.”

      Hey, we got a new troll telling us that “up” is really “down”!

    3. Committing copious taxpayer-funded resources and then conducting a media blitz to try and spin the action is what legitimizes ISIS. That and the fact that they control an appreciable amount of Syrian and Iraqi territory.

    4. Can we agree that it’s a *remote* war?

    5. See it’s totally not a war because calling it a war would mean that we’d have to play by some pretty inconvenient rules. Calling it something more nuanced allows us to just willy-nilly bomb the fuck out of “them” at our leisure. And we’ll leave the option open for “boots on the ground,” but even though that’s the threshold we’ve artificially decided amounts to actual “war” it still totally won’t be a war.


  30. How in the world did these people get to be in charge of our country? As Glen Reynolds say, “we are in the best of hands.” Let me remind you that he says that sarcastically and I am sure with his head shaking side to side also. Mid-terms just can’t get here soon enough. 2016 can’t get her soon enough.

    1. Unless all the millennials suddenly vote libertarian (polls say they want to but don’t know it, apparently), midterms and 2016 are only gonna change the faces of the clowns and maybe the particular ways in which we get screwed.

  31. Well, it looks like maybe he’s gonna be the last one to LIE for a mistake.

  32. No, he is not as stupid as he sounds, he is MORE STUPID THAN HE SOUNDS. THis guy has been a loser and dumber than a box of rocks since he first appeared on the scene in the 1970s.

  33. This is how Obama becomes the smartest guy in the room. He fills the room with people who are even dumber than he is.

    1. Yes. If you know more than your advisers about every conceivable topic, then it’s time to get better advisers.

  34. “Don’t tase me bro.” happened at a John Kerry event.

    John Kerry threw his medals over the fence. Then he didn’t. Then he did. It is like he was Susan Rice before Susan Rice.

  35. “Is John Kerry stupid?”
    The question we should be asking is, “Does John Kerry think we are stupid?”

    1. The answer to both of these questions is “yes.”

  36. These turds from the Dem, and Repub parties either keep their power after elections, or the wait until one of their turd party “friends” gets elected. Fucking Goddamn ShitHawks.

  37. At least he didn’t call it a police action.

  38. Yes! He’s as stupid as he sounds.

  39. Is John Kerry as stupid as he sounds? Absolutely. Plus, throw in a pinch of evil and dash of insanity topped off with a generous helping of arrogance, and I think you have him pretty well figured out.

    1. Forgot to add hundreds of millions of dollars from his second wife’s first husband.

    2. Add in some botox and whatever else the fuck he’s done to achieve that Rocky Dennis look.

  40. Zachary . even though Don `s postlng is super, I just bought a new Mitsubishi Evo since I been bringin in $7410 this-past/month and-a little over, 10/k this past-munth . it’s certainly my favourite work Ive ever done . I started this 9-months ago and pretty much straight away started making more than $83 per hour . read this article———

  41. Here is he laughable sad truth from an outsider. No he isn’t that stupid. He is I fact more stupid than he appears or sounds. This creature has to have instructions to put his trousers on each morning

  42. When Secretary Kerry can make a statement like that with a straight face, it is concerning. But then it is not the first time he has made comments or taken actions that drew criticism for either their honesty or rationality. This is the man who agreed to run with John Edwards after all.

  43. One of the few things (maybe the only thing) FDR did right was war. When the U.S. got involved in WW2 our victory was by no means assured. How ever FDR and Churchill agreed that absolute unconditional surrender was the ONLY goal. Either we die or they die. Setting the bar any lower (by mission objective or definition) makes it too easy to get involved in “police actions” i.e. Syria/Iraq, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam, Korea… you get the picture. Going to war should be the absolute last option and a matter of survival. But when you commit to war it should be TOTAL war.

  44. I prefer to think of it as simply a spontaneous reaction to a video.

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