Stephen thanks for posting the clip below — which quite clearly shows American troops in ground combat in Iraq. The fact of this firefight isn’t remarkable — after all, we’ve known of the special forces presence in Iraq for months — but how quietly the administration has escalated the fight in Iraq. Obama is ending his presidency as he began it, with American forces engaged in war in Afghanistan and Iraq.
In fact, it’s likely that the administration has actually fought on more fronts than did the Bush administration — launching air strikes at targets as far afield as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, and Libya. To be clear, I’m not criticizing the administration for taking active steps to defend the Americans and our allies from jihadists, but I do find it interesting that the “peace president” has ultimately been so aggressive.
Sadly, however, much of this additional aggression likely wouldn’t have been necessary had he not been so reckless in pulling American troops out of Iraq. He created an immense power vacuum, gave jihadists space to expand, and left America with little choice but to launch yet another Iraq war. So now he’s fighting a slow-motion offensive with just enough force to avert disaster, prevent genocide, and maintain a degree of initiative on the ground, but without enough force to rout ISIS and keep its ideology from spreading deeper into Southwest Asia, into North Africa, and even into the heart of Europe.
The next president will face extraordinary national security challenges. Too bad neither major-party nominee appears up for the job.