Refusing to brand the current military operation in Libya as "war", US has described it as a combat mission to enforce the UN Security Council resolution of a no-fly-zone over the country and protect the civilian population.
"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," Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes, told reporters when asked if this is a war.
"Obviously that involves kinetic military action, particularly on the front end. But again, the nature of our commitment is that we are not getting into an open-ended war, a land invasion in Libya. What we are doing is offering a unique set of capabilities over a period of days that can shape the environment for a no-fly zone," Rhodes explained.
A similar question was asked at the State Department briefing.
"I think you love these sweeping characterizations and I appreciate it," Sate Department spokesman Mark Toner said in response to a question. "I would say it’s a combat mission, clearly. But beyond that, you can parse that out," he added.
"We are implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1973. It is clearly a combat operation or combat mission. As the (US) President made very clear, there will be no US ground force involved in this and that the US role is frontloaded, if you will, on this. But that’s going to obviously recede into a more broader international coalition as we move forward to implement the no-fly zone," Toner explained.
The Pentagon too maintained a similar line.
"We are carrying out the mission of the UN Security Council resolution 1973 at the direction of the President in his speech," said Admiral Gerald P Hueber, Chief of Staff, Joint Task Force Operation Odyssey Dawn, when asked if he consider himself at war right now.