WH: This isn’t a war, it’s a “kinetic military action”

posted at 8:48 am on March 24, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

To channel Glenn Reynolds, they told me that if I voted for John McCain, we’d get an administration that used Orwellian terms in an attempt to hide its military adventurism — and they were right!  While Congress demanded answers from Barack Obama for bypassing Congress to send the American military into battle in Libya, one of his national security advisers told the press that bombing and strafing another nation’s military wasn’t really a war at all.  Byron York reports:

In the last few days, Obama administration officials have frequently faced the question: Is the fighting in Libya a war?  From military officers to White House spokesmen up to the president himself, the answer is no.  But that leaves the question: What is it?

In a briefing on board Air Force One Wednesday, deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes took a crack at an answer.  “I think what we are doing is enforcing a resolution that has a very clear set of goals, which is protecting the Libyan people, averting a humanitarian crisis, and setting up a no-fly zone,” Rhodes said.  “Obviously that involves kinetic military action, particularly on the front end.”

Rhodes’ words echoed a description by national security adviser Tom Donilon in a briefing with reporters two weeks ago as the administration contemplated action in Libya.  “Military steps — and they can be kinetic and non-kinetic, obviously the full range — are not the only method by which we and the international community are pressuring Gadhafi,” Donilon said.

As York explains, the Pentagon uses the term “kinetic” to differentiate between violent action and other military operations, such as cyberwarfare or roles strictly relating to logistics and support.  They don’t use it as a euphemism for war, but suddenly the Obama administration has adopted it for that very purpose.

It’s not the first euphemism for war that the White House has introduced, either.  Almost two years ago, the administration announced that they would abandon the phrase “global war on terror” and replace it with “overseas contingency operations.”  Unfortunately, not all terrorist attacks happened overseas, as the Fort Hood shooting, the attempt to blow up Times Square, and the Underwear Bomber proved.  In case that term didn’t prove elastic enough, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano introduced “man-caused disasters” to replace “terrorist attack.”

Oddly, these never quite caught on.  As it happens, people recognize terrorism as something a little more specific than a “man caused disaster,” and the threat from al-Qaeda and other terrorist networks as more dangerous than a generic “contingency.”  Similarly, when one nation sends its military to attack the military of another nation, it’s an act of war, not an example of kinetic energy.

Perhaps next year, Obama and his team of Orwellian obfuscators can experience a kinetic electoral action — when the voters kick their rear ends out of the White House.


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We are probably not the target audience for this word game.

The left really buys into this. Perhaps they were sleeping during Shakespeare class, “A rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet.” Or something close to that.

petunia on March 24, 2011 at 9:59 AM

First there was WTF, now we have another unfortunate acronym: KMA.

debg on March 24, 2011 at 9:04 AM

Nice catch!

katy the mean old lady on March 24, 2011 at 9:59 AM

As opposed to a static military action? As opposed to a kinetic postal action? What the hell are you taking about, President Pyle??

JohnGalt23 on March 24, 2011 at 9:38 AM

It’s really just a game of freeze tag. Kinetic! Static! Kinetic! You’re out!

petunia on March 24, 2011 at 10:01 AM

Is this a follow-up to Scooter’s stealth scratching his face with his middle finger maneuver?

kingsjester on March 24, 2011 at 9:42 AM

I think yes. Most passive aggresive man evah.

katy the mean old lady on March 24, 2011 at 10:03 AM

First there was WTF, now we have another unfortunate acronym: KMA.

debg on March 24, 2011 at 9:04 AM

Yep.

Obama tells America: “You don’t like my decision to go to war in Libya without consulting Congress? Well KMA, bitter clingers!”

AZCoyote on March 24, 2011 at 10:04 AM

They don’t use it as a euphemism for war, but suddenly the Obama administration has adopted it for that very purpose.

It’s not an adoption, it’s a perversion of the term.

Other terms they’ve perverted:

Patriotism
Freedom
Choice
Healthcare
Capital
American
Values
Character

ted c on March 24, 2011 at 10:05 AM

Suckers. Call it what it is already.

antisocial on March 24, 2011 at 10:07 AM

When your leadership is dominated by academia, reality is stretched to point of illusion. Theory is only good when there are those who can make the theories work. In the case of academia, producing is abstract and has no hope of becoming reality.

volsense on March 24, 2011 at 10:08 AM

Speaking of “Passive-aggressive”! Thanks to WH staff for trying!
http://www.newsnet5.com/dpp/news/national/president-barack-obama-locked-out-of-white-house

katy the mean old lady on March 24, 2011 at 10:09 AM

Well, good thing there’s a kinetic electoral action planned for next year. In the meantime, though, we ought to be looking at impeachment.

ernesto on March 24, 2011 at 10:11 AM

Similarly, when one nation sends its military to attack the military of another nation, it’s an act of war, not an example of kinetic energy.

I don’t believe that the word “energy” was used by Mr. Rhodes. That word is generally used to describe behavior around sand traps, but only specific kinds of sand traps.

unclesmrgol on March 24, 2011 at 10:15 AM

FOUND!

Evidence of Kinetic Military Action by the CINC

ted c on March 24, 2011 at 10:15 AM

Evidence of Kinetic Military Action by the CINC

ted c on March 24, 2011 at 10:15 AM

You can actually see evidence of a kinetic strike in that video.

ted c on March 24, 2011 at 10:16 AM

I can’t wait until they feel the kinetic energy from my boot on their collective asses.

Chris of Rights on March 24, 2011 at 10:19 AM

There he goes again, trying to subject his subjects to humiliation (having a great feeling making the human race appear stupid so he can appear smarter). Words have a particular meaning and how you string them together conveys the message. I was taught semantics by the greatest semanticist of my time. Sen. S.I Hayakawa at San Francisco State.

So everyone listen carefully and do not be quick to judge a statement until you have had time to digest it.

MSGTAS on March 24, 2011 at 10:23 AM

I cant keep track of WH spokesmen/women. Which one are we up to today?

abcurtis on March 24, 2011 at 10:27 AM

Well, remember that all is fair in love and kinetic military action.

AverageJoe on March 24, 2011 at 10:29 AM

Meanwhile, terrorists all over the world are laughing their arses off at us.

Thank you 52%. Obama couldn’t have made us more of a bigger joke without your help!

capejasmine on March 24, 2011 at 10:30 AM

are all right wingers now “Kinetic Military Action-mongers” or something?

btw, this quote is headlining drudge right now.

ted c on March 24, 2011 at 10:30 AM

Funny, I can’t find Kinetic Military action in either the Constitution or the oath the POTUS took upon his inauguration…

Impeach.

Odie1941 on March 24, 2011 at 10:31 AM

“Mr. President, the terrorists have declared Kinetic Military Action on us….”

ted c on March 24, 2011 at 10:32 AM

Did the Founders give the Congress the power to Declare “Kinetic Military Action?”

If you can find it in your Article I, please give me the section, and NOooooo ccrrr6, it ain’t in the commerce clause.

ted c on March 24, 2011 at 10:33 AM

The first, black Kinetic Military Action-time President….

how historic.

ted c on March 24, 2011 at 10:34 AM

These attacks have placed our country on a ‘kinetic military action-time’ footing…

ted c on March 24, 2011 at 10:35 AM

Presumably, in contrast to a sessile military operation…

mojo on March 24, 2011 at 10:35 AM

So, WTF, he can certainly KMA as far as I’m concerned.

Tennman on March 24, 2011 at 10:35 AM

as opposed to Potential Military Inaction

energy.

ted c on March 24, 2011 at 10:37 AM

These aren’t just lies. They’re stupid lies.

Slowburn on March 24, 2011 at 10:38 AM

Its been some time since I played that card game-

I-Declare-Kinetic-Military-Action-On-You!!

AverageJoe on March 24, 2011 at 10:38 AM

Kinetic Military Action is preceded only by Potential Civilian Inaction

that pretty much describes the White House/Military relationship, eh?

ted c on March 24, 2011 at 10:38 AM

I assume this idiot and the Obama admin think by changing the terminology – they can avoid Congress concrning the war in Libya.

I want to see Dems and Obama argue over what “war really is”, Reps can sit back and eat popcorn.

Odie1941 on March 24, 2011 at 10:39 AM

LOL! “Kinetic” is a word best used to describe Cosmo Kramer.

It’s certainly not a word used to describe a military action that would have been called by its real name by the Left had Bush done the exact same thing.

Del Dolemonte on March 24, 2011 at 10:40 AM

Is the Tea Party a Kinetic response to a runaway Government …???

wheels on March 24, 2011 at 10:44 AM

How many humanitarian relief missions involve the use of cruise missiles? Can we call them humanitarian relief missiles?

hawksruleva on March 24, 2011 at 10:45 AM

These aren’t just lies. They’re stupid lies.

Slowburn on March 24, 2011 at 10:38 AM

Even when they’re not lies, they’re stupid.

hawksruleva on March 24, 2011 at 10:46 AM

Can we call them humanitarian relief missiles?

hawksruleva on March 24, 2011 at 10:45 AM

that’s 2000lb of kinetic relief this morning comin’ at ya from a USN ship/sub…./

ted c on March 24, 2011 at 10:47 AM

Unbelievable. Forget living in a nation of laws; BHO thinks he has unlimited powers and can dodge that inconvenient “Constitution” through transparent semantic quibbling?

Unbelievable.

Inkblots on March 24, 2011 at 10:49 AM

Did he utter this before or after he was engaged in repeatedly projecting a dimpled orb in a parabolic trajectory towards a submerged conical target beneath a highly maintained stand of a cultivar of Agrostis palustris?

turfmann on March 24, 2011 at 10:50 AM

turfmann on March 24, 2011 at 10:50 AM

your username is fitting…..heh

ted c on March 24, 2011 at 10:55 AM

Evidence of Kinetic Military Action by the CINC

ted c on March 24, 2011 at 10:15 AM

Nice slider!

Vince on March 24, 2011 at 10:57 AM

I tell ya…must be nice to have a ‘D’ next to one’s name as a politician. The amount of cover the media gives you is astounding!

SPGuy on March 24, 2011 at 10:57 AM

Has the Geneva Convention been updated to reflect this change???

Are there “kinetic uniforms” only clauses now?

Odie1941 on March 24, 2011 at 11:09 AM

Back in the Clinton days, there were “Operations Other Than War” and now they’re renamed to “Operations Other Than Kinetic Military Actions”

OOTW (oot-wah)
OOTKMA (oot–key–ma)

change.

ted c on March 24, 2011 at 11:19 AM

WH: This isn’t a war, it’s a “kinetic military action”

Well then, in less than 2 year’s time, let’s use the ‘kinetic voters energy’ to boot out all of these clowns, from the WH and both Houses to finish the business.

Sir Napsalot on March 24, 2011 at 11:26 AM

Looks like Congress needs to pass a “Kinetic Military Action Act”… That War Powers Act thingy they passed in 1973 ain’t working out too well with this POTUS…

Khun Joe on March 24, 2011 at 11:31 AM

KMA sounds like a good way for Milquetoasts In Action to sell Kinetic International Action.

Christien on March 24, 2011 at 11:35 AM

One, two, three, four, I declare a thumb kinetic military action.

rogerb on March 24, 2011 at 11:36 AM

Kinetic military action!
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothin’!

Christien on March 24, 2011 at 11:37 AM

It’s sad that the Daily Show made fun of this on Monday… and that they were not that far from reality.

Ferris on March 24, 2011 at 11:41 AM

come on guys. journalism died A LONG time ago. this is expected.

moonbatkiller on March 24, 2011 at 11:43 AM

Kinetic Military Action Is Not The Answer!

Christien on March 24, 2011 at 11:48 AM

First there was WTF, now we have another unfortunate acronym: KMA.

debg on March 24, 2011 at 9:04 AM

Those happen to be my initials, with a Frederick thrown in there, as well. I remember how much fun it was signing my high school yearbook. I would get a lot of “WTF” looks… ;-)

karl9000 on March 24, 2011 at 11:49 AM

It’s sad that the Daily Show made fun of this on Monday… and that they were not that far from reality.

Ferris on March 24, 2011 at 11:41 AM

OH my heck!!! The final punchline about Obama: I think he was a one term-er.

That is brutal. Obama is in deep doodoo, Stewart’s audience is Obama’s constituency and Stewart unendorsed him. Wow.

petunia on March 24, 2011 at 11:53 AM

Kinetic Military Action Is Not The Answer!

Christien on March 24, 2011 at 11:48 AM

Kinetic Military Action is not healthy for children and other living things.

petunia on March 24, 2011 at 11:54 AM

Kinetic Military Action is not healthy for children and other living things.

petunia on March 24, 2011 at 11:54 AM

You can’t hug a child with kinetic arms!

VegasRick on March 24, 2011 at 12:00 PM

““Obviously that involves kinetic military action, particularly on the front end

.””

Motion military action…?

Seven Percent Solution on March 24, 2011 at 12:10 PM

We’ve always been in kinetic military action with Eurasia.

Jim - PRS on March 24, 2011 at 12:11 PM

You can’t hug a child with kinetic arms!

VegasRick on March 24, 2011 at 12:00 PM

Wait a minute! Does anybody even know a child with kenetic arms?

VegasRick on March 24, 2011 at 12:13 PM

Sounds like some of B.J. Clintoon’s parse-eriffic noise.

hillbillyjim on March 24, 2011 at 12:14 PM

Perhaps next year, Obama and his team of Orwellian obfuscators can experience a kinetic electoral action — when the voters kick their rear ends out of the White House.

Ed, you overestimate the voters. They deserve these Goebleses, fully. If they will be fooled, for a second round, they and their progeny deserve full destruction. It will be completely self-made, as is round one.

WASHINGTON – Returning home to some messy politics, President Barack Obama is confronting a battery of challenges, from a spending standoff that threatens to shut down the government to congressional angst over the U.S.-led attacks on Libya. Foreign crises rage across Africa and the Middle East, and Americans still want the economy to improve more quickly.

The AP didn’t get the Goebles message, yet. They used “war”.

They’ll change the article, soon enough. Plus, their baby cries over “poor Obama’s challenges” are pathetic. Suffocate of what you consume, you toads, Obama’s caca.

Schadenfreude on March 24, 2011 at 12:14 PM

And those aren’t smart bombs, they’re an emergency excavation service.

kingsjester on March 24, 2011 at 12:16 PM

Ah, you say, where is the word “war” – minutes ago this was the AP’s statement. I saved it.

WASHINGTON – Returning home to some messy politics, President Barack Obama must contend with a battery of challenges, from a spending standoff that threatens to shut down the government to congressional angst over the U.S.-led war against Libya. Foreign crises rage across Africa and the Middle East, and Americans still want a more quickly improving economy.

TOLD you they’d get the message the arsholes. HATE and fight your media. They are worse than the ones they enable. They are derelict of their duties. Die of caca suffocation you idiots.

Schadenfreude on March 24, 2011 at 12:17 PM

Hah, they must still get the message at the AP to change “U.S.-led” lest the world confuse this and believe the U.S. leads anything any more. Not PC, not liked by the Arabs and other crap.

“Just pay for it U.S., in blood and treasure. We’ll hate you just the same” — world.

Schadenfreude on March 24, 2011 at 12:19 PM

Heh, when will the AP change their article to “cyber military action”

War — attack — cyber military action

Disintegrate, slowy, you fools in O’s ars.

Schadenfreude on March 24, 2011 at 12:24 PM

Well, good thing there’s a kinetic electoral action planned for next year. In the meantime, though, we ought to be looking at impeachment.

ernesto on March 24, 2011 at 10:11 AM

Are you bipolar? Seriously, I’m worried about you.

runawayyyy on March 24, 2011 at 12:39 PM

Can we stop all these “kinetic military actions” all over the world, start bringing our people home, and putting those forces on the border with Mexico? It ain’t getting better down there and THAT is actually an action to protect American interests.

ptcamn on March 24, 2011 at 12:47 PM

Kiss My A$$

ted c on March 24, 2011 at 9:09 AM

From James Joyce’s Ulysses, at page 124, a chapter in which each segment has a headline:

K.M.A.

—Will you tell him he can kiss my arse? Myles Crawford said throwing out his arm for emphasis. Tell him that straight from the stable.

A bit nervy. Look out for squalls. All off for a drink. Arm in arm. Lenehan’s yachting cap on the cadge beyond. Usual blarney. Wonder is that young Dedalus the moving spirit. Has a good pair of boots on him today. Last time I saw him he had his heels on view. Been walking in muck somewhere. Careless chap. What was he doing in Irishtown?

—Well, Mr Bloom said, his eyes returning, if I can get the design I suppose it’s worth a short par. He’d give the ad, I think. I’ll tell him …

K.M.R.I.A.

—He can kiss my royal Irish arse, Myles Crawford cried loudly over his shoulder. Any time he likes, tell him.

While Mr Bloom stood weighing the point and about to smile he strode on jerkily.

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on March 24, 2011 at 12:51 PM

Are you bipolar? Seriously, I’m worried about you.

runawayyyy on March 24, 2011 at 12:39 PM

Is it that hard to believe? I woke up one morning to find that my country was at war with Libya, and none of my representatives had cast a single vote on the matter. That is, in and of itself, inexcusable.

Sure, I support health care reform, amnesty, gay marriage, and other legislative pushes that democrats tend to make, but on drug law, IP enforcement, and now war, Obama has just gone too far.

ernesto on March 24, 2011 at 12:55 PM

WTF
KMA

A good, solid B+.

GrannyDee on March 24, 2011 at 12:55 PM

Do we have a KMA Czar yet?

tomg51 on March 24, 2011 at 1:01 PM

Knowledgable
Mathematical
Analysis

Obama = Liar * 10^(the national debt)

infidel4life on March 24, 2011 at 1:42 PM

the rumor is that Khan may be in the next Star Trek movie. I can hear it now…

“Cry “Havoc!” and let slip the dogs of kinetic military action”

Ampersand on March 24, 2011 at 1:43 PM

Listening to “Kinetic Military Action Pigs” by Black Sabbath as we speak.

infidel4life on March 24, 2011 at 1:50 PM

Sun Tzu would laugh his ass off.

The Art of Kinetic Military Action
just doesn’t have that zing…

hillbillyjim on March 24, 2011 at 2:01 PM

Like my favorite horse, Man O’KineticMilitaryAction.

Seriously, Dems drop bombs, destroy things and kill people and aren’t willing to call it “war.” But a political battle in Wisconsin against Republicans is war. I guess we know who Dems consider their biggest enemy.

the wolf on March 24, 2011 at 2:20 PM

I woke up one morning to find that my country was at war Kinetic Military Action (TM) with Libya, and none of my representatives had cast a single vote on the matter. That is, in and of itself, inexcusable.

ernesto on March 24, 2011 at 12:55 PM

Fixed.

Del Dolemonte on March 24, 2011 at 2:21 PM

George Bush was the best Kinetic Military Action-time president. Roosevelt was a Democrat, but World Kinetic Military Action II really helped bring us out of the depression and FDR did well during that time.

ted c on March 24, 2011 at 2:24 PM

If a Marine gunnery sergeant like R. Lee Ermey falls out of his chair laughing his a$$ off at this bullshizzat, can we consider that a kinetic military action too?

ted c on March 24, 2011 at 2:31 PM

Land Clearing Protocol Actions for Humanitarian Only Golf Courses.

wtng2fish on March 24, 2011 at 2:36 PM

Kinetic Military Action of the Worlds – H.G. Wells

Left Coast Right Mind on March 24, 2011 at 3:14 PM

“Kinetic Military Action is hell.”

AverageJoe on March 24, 2011 at 3:30 PM

In the book The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, we saw real kinetic military action: in war of independence against the UN of Earth, the Loonies dropped rocks, which hit with so much kinetic energy, they were like h-bombs.

Johnny 100 Pesos on March 24, 2011 at 4:12 PM

This government is quickly moving well beyond inept to absolutely incompetent and embarrassing.

rplat on March 24, 2011 at 4:58 PM

a “kinetic military action”

Children in charge. Unintelligent ones too.

petefrt on March 24, 2011 at 6:13 PM

We’ve always been at war with Eastasia.

petefrt on March 24, 2011 at 6:26 PM

“kinetic military action”

Sounds like a good line to use in a Conservative version of Dr. Strangelove.

Dr. ZhivBlago on March 24, 2011 at 6:42 PM

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