Didn’t his boss just send a very open-ended war authorization request to Congress last week? Did I dream that?

I can’t tell anymore if the White House’s weird pronouncements on ISIS and radical Islam are examples of fine lawyerly parsing or crude blunt-force denial.

The attorney general was making a broader point about the need for reporters to consider whether publishing sensitive information might undercut American national security. 

“I’ll use an extreme example, perhaps unfair. In World War II, if a reporter had found out about the existence of the Manhattan Project, is that something that should have been disclosed? Now we’re not at a time of war, I understand, and I said, it’s an extreme example. But I think there is a question that members of the press should ask, about whether or not the disclosure of the information has a negative impact on the national security of the nation,” Holder said. 

Tim Mak of the Daily Beast thinks that might be yet another case of Obama’s inner circle getting nervous about calling whatever the hell it is we’re doing with ISIS right now a “war.” The favored term, you may remember from last year, is “counterterrorism operation.” But … the point of calling it a counterterrorism operation rather than a war, I thought, was so that the White House could claim that it didn’t need formal authorization from Congress. Now that Obama has sought authorization, what’s the point of keeping up this Orwellian charade? Another possibility is that “war” is a term Americans associate with the deployment of infantry, the risk of which Obama is keen to downplay. Look at the latest poll numbers, though, and you’ll find the public now basically evenly split on whether ground troops should be used against ISIS. Ed Schultz was pushing the idea last night on MSNBC, for cripes sake. So that’s no reason for Holder to be skittish either. The reason he’s reluctant to call this a war, I think, is because he’s in “legacy” mode now as a departing AG and worried that historians will be rough on him for harassing reporters over natsec leaks. Reporters might do well to suppress sensitive information during wartime, he says — before quickly adding that we’re not at war, or at least not to the extent that we were during World War II, and therefore you can’t accuse Eric Holder of telling the media nowadays to clam up, nosirree.

That’s one theory. Another theory: The thought of Obama waging a new “war” with implications for domestic policing is uncomfortable for the Democratic Party and its leftist base, so even a feeble attempt like this to paper over it will be seized. As corroboration for that theory, via Becket Adams, watch below as he’s confronted with a different bit of “sensitive” terminology and ends up sneering at it with a reference to Fox News, just to signal to lefties that there’s no way to disagree with him and Obama on this without playing into The Real Enemy’s hands.

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