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.