Ki·net·ic: 1: of or relating to the motion of material bodies and the forces and energy associated therewith. 2: active, lively, dynamic, energizing <a kinetic performer. 3: of or relating to kinetic art.

From the moment the Tomahawks began to fly, the Obama White House has been asked THE question: Are we fighting a war in Libya?

 From military officials to administration spokesmen to the Commander-in-Chief himself, the answer is: NO.” If it’s not war, what exactly is it then?

In typical Obama administration fashion, deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes attempted to “clarify” things yesterday:

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

What? Perhaps national security adviser Tom Donilon’s explanation will clarify things a bit:

“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.”

Okay then. While the term “kinetic warfare” was first used by Bob Woodward in his book,  Bush at War, it fits perfectly with the Obama administration’s practice of obfuscation.

Kinetic warfare involves dropping bombs and shooting bullets—you know, killing people and breaking things. (Notice that Obama and his spokesmen choose the term kinetic “military action” vs. kinetic “warfare,” as it was orginally coined.)

Non-kinetic warfare entails high-tech “non-violent” stuff like cyber-war, messing electronically with the enemy’s communications equipment or wiping out its bank accounts.

Since I’m relatively confident that the U.S. doesn’t use cruise missiles to attack enemy bank accounts, we’ve pretty much gone kinetic, haven’t we?


Oh, and this morning, press secretary Carney called it a “time-limited, scope-limited operation.” That’ll sure strike terror in Gadhafi’s heart.

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Categories: Barack Obama, Military issues, The Obama Administration, War

8 replies

  1. I really hate this linguistic jujitsu. Here is an idea for a bipartisan law, pass something that mandates the President to define the scope, purpose, cost, and end game of a mission before sending troops into battle and force him to seek Congressional approval unless nation is under attack.

  2. Well, my ancient Webster’s has “kinetic” as: “Of, pertaining to or due to, motion.” So kinetic military action is any that requires motion. That leaves actual war as military action that isn’t kinetic; therefore military action without motion. Since we already know that Love is Hate, War is Peace and so on, it seems a good fit. Helps explain how Bush implementing Bush policies is bad while Obama implementing Bush policies is good. I’m learning!

  3. Yeah – I can see why they avoided the other type of energy – “Potential” energy phrase-ology…

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