The question wages on in Washington whether the U.S. is at "war," at "combat mission" or at "kinetic-military action."

Call it what you want, but the United States is doing something in Libya. In the most simple of terms, (which is still a mouthful) we are using military force with other allies to enforce a no-fly zone. Oh, and we would like leader Muammar Qaddafi out of power, but that's not necessarily the goal of this particular mission.

Since we're not at war, what are we in?

Here's a sampling of what phrases some officials have said:

-"Operation Odyssey Dawn" - the official military term for the action taken

-"It is a time-limited, scope-limited military action" - White House Press Secretary Jay Carney

-"Kinetic military action" - Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhode

-"This is a war - when you're dropping bombs and they're shooting back, it's a war." - Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill.

-"Limited and well-defined mission in support of international efforts to protect civilians and prevent a humanitarian disaster." - Obama told lawmakers in a letter

-"Prevent Kadhafi's ability to harm his own people and enforce a no-fly zone." - Admiral Mike Mullen on mission via Twitter.

-"Implementing U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973. It is clearly a combat operation or a combat mission." - State Department Spokesman Mark Toner

-"To use america's unique capabilities to create the conditions for the no-fly zone and assist meeting urgent humanitarian needs." -Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

-"Preventing an imminent humanitarian crisis in Libya."- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi

-"Carrying out the mission of the United Nations Security (sic) resolution 1973" - Rear Admiral Ferard Hueber

-"U.S.-led international intervention in Libya" Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, in a letter to President Obama

-"Order to United States Armed Forces to attack the nation of Libya." Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif.,in a letter to President Obama

-"U.S. military resources were committed to war" - House Speaker John Boehner asking President Obama to define the mission in a letter

-"A no-fly zone begins with an attack on Libya to destroy the air defenses." Defense Secretary Robert Gates describing a no-fly zone weeks before it was implemented