John Kerry piled on the confusion a day after Obama's prime-time address by refusing to tell CNN's Elise Labott that the U.S. is at war with ISIL.
"Is the United States at war with ISIS?" Labott asked. "It sure sounds from the president's speech that we are."
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Kerry said using the word "war" was the "wrong terminology."
"I think what we are engaging in is a very significant counter-terrorism operation," Kerry said.
"If someone wants to think of it as being a war on ISIL, they can do so, but the fact is, it's a major counter-terrorism operation that will have many different moving parts."