Pentagon Spokesman Says US “at War” With ISIS

Military leaders are no longer mincing words when it comes to current operations against ISIS extremists in Iraq and Syria. “Make no mistake, we are at war with ISIL, just as we are at war with al Qaeda,” said Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby during a briefing with reporters Friday. However, Kirby emphasized the new offensive against the extremist organization “would not be a repeat of the Iraqi war of 2003” when there were thousands of US ground troops engaged. He repeatedly stressed the Administration’s insistence that “there will be no purely military solution” to the threat of ISIS, also known as ISIL. He was particularly insistent that ISIS would not be defeated by the air strikes that have been the primary US effort in Iraq. Although he said the nearly 160 air strikes to date “have been having a tactical effect on ISIL, without having combat boots on the ground.” Still, it will take a coalition of “willing partners” in the region to defeat ISIS. Kirby also repeated the vow that there would be no US ground combat forces involved, despite House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon’s insistence that US boots on the ground are unavoidable. (See also Obama Lays Out Strategy to “Destroy” ISIS.)