When the government knows that the American people are sick of intractable wars and thinks we are stupid enough to be swayed by semantics.
Shooting down planes, destroying tanks, and bombing air defenses to support a faction trying to overthrow their government in a civil war is war. But to call a war a war would mean that the president would have to go to congress before sacrificing our money and lives for his Wilsonian neocon agenda.
As you watch this kinetic military action unfold, just remember that Obama was supposed to be the peaceful alternative. Obama is nothing more than George Bush with more pleasant sounding rhetoric.