- Official White House
As the current presidential nominees jockey to take the reins 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 that of any other US president.
The milestone comes after Obama, from the time he entered office, had pledged to end what has become America’s longest war.
The conflict in Afghanistan has been ongoing since 2001.
The Vietnam War lasted a little more than 10 years, while the Iraq War 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 because Obama inherited a war on such a massive scale, it would have been difficult to fully withdraw and successfully close out such a war during his administration, if at all. Compared with the 200,000 troops who were stationed in the two countries, the 13,000 who are now in the area represents a figure that can be used as a measurement of success.
On the other side of the aisle, critics say 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 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 In addition, as the Pentagon has withdrawn its forces over the years, it has actually agreed to increase the use of nontraditional fighting tools, such as drones.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.