U.S. off war footing at year's end, but wars go on

 | Robert Burns and Deb Riechmann 12/31/2014 9:36 AM MST
US Security Patrol
Credit: Wikipedia Commons

WASHINGTON — Taking America off a permanent war footing is proving harder than President Obama may have suggested.

U.S. troops are back in Iraq, the endgame in Afghanistan is requiring more troops — and perhaps more risks — than once expected and Obama is saddled with a worsening, high-stakes conflict in Syria.

Last spring, Obama described to newly minted Army officers at West Point how "the landscape has changed" after a decade of war. He cited then-dwindling conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. And he said Osama bin Laden, whose plotting from an al-Qaida sanctuary in Afghanistan gave rise to what became America's longest war, "is no more."

"You are the first class to graduate since 9/11 who may not be sent into combat in Iraq or Afghanistan," Obama declared to a burst of applause.

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