During a Memorial Day observance at Arlington National Cemetery on Monday, President Obama patted himself and his administration on the back for a supposed accomplishment that many critics immediately questioned. The White House Twitter feed was quick to share Obama’s comment that has fanned a firestorm of controversy.
Image Credit: Twitter/The White House
The president also remarked as he stood near the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington that “today is the first Memorial Day in 14 years that the United States is not engaged in a major ground war.” Critics were quick to pounce, noting that the war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, as well as against the Taliban in Afghanistan, continues. Many contend that it’s the absence of meaningful ground forces that is allowing ISIS to capture and control more and more territory in the Middle East. And it’s Obama’s drone war in Afghanistan that continues to hit Islamic radicals from the skies.
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Announcing an end to a war by withdrawing forces before the enemy is defeated, according to many social media responders to the president’s self-serving declaration, is hardly a valid excuse for celebration. As Jim Geraghty wrote for National Review:
If you’re confused, President Obama declared “the end of the combat mission in Afghanistan” on December 28, 2014.
The opposition did not get that memo. April 10 [via The Boston Globe]: A 22-year-old member of the US Army from Whitinsville was killed in Afghanistan when an Afghan soldier attacked his American allies earlier this week.
On Twitter, the reaction by many was swift and stinging to Obama’s no-war declaration that failed to take into account the growing dangers in the Middle East and beyond that are still keeping our troops — and our allies — in harm’s way.
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And as CNN noted in a recent article on the “end” of the war in Afghanistan — where now the remaining U.S. forces have to be on the lookout for supposed friendlies who want to kill them, “It is a strange experience to be protected from those who America seeks to hand the country over to. But this is how the war ended. Not with ideological victories, or dramatic withdrawals, just the slow and deliberate stepping to one side.”
In addition, The Guardian observes that close to 10,000 U.S. troops remain in war-torn Afghanistan where the Taliban has not given up the fight to regain control of the country.
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