As the current presidential nominees jockey to take the reigns of America’s highest office, the current commander in chief passed a somber milestone earlier this month.
Since President Barack Obama’s ascension to office, his administration has been at war longer than any other US president.
What’s more, the milestone comes after Obama pledged to end America’s longest war ever.
The conflict in Afghanistan takes the lead in the duration of US wars: from 2001 to the present.
Following that would be the Vietnam War, which lasted a little more than ten years, followed by the Iraq war, which took nearly eight years.
Perhaps pointing a rebuking finger toward Obama’s policies would be impetuous: the US’s asymmetric wars are no longer fought in glorified Hollywood fashion with a readily identifiable enemy.
Instead, they can be more “difficult”, in that it has become a game of patience and strategy.
As technology has advanced the capabilities of US forces, so has the ability of enemy forces to meet these upgrades with effective, cheap, and readily available weapons of destruction.
It can also be debated that Obama had inherited a war on such a massive scale, that it would have been impossible to fully withdraw and successfully close out such a war during his administration, if at all. Compared to the 200,000 troops that were stationed in the two countries, the 13,000 that are are now in the area represents a figure that can be as a measurement of success.
On the other side of the aisle, critics claim that he has failed to effectively curb the conflicts, perhaps even damaging the nation’s ability to fight. The definition of “war” can also be fluid and easily manipulated, as in the case of the current campaigns: as Operation Enduring Freedom was officially came to an end, the ongoing Operation Freedom’s Sentinel took the helm the very next day. In addition, as the Pentagon has withdrawn its forces over the years, it has actually agreed to increase the use of non-traditional fighting tools, such as drones.
With plans on sending an additional 250 Special Operations troops to Syria, Obama may be fanning the flames of his legacy or in fact adding fuel for his critics.
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