Before he took office in 2008, Barack Obama vowed to end America’s grueling conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. During his second term, he pledged to take the country off what he called a permanent war footing.
“Our systematic effort to dismantle terrorist organizations must continue,” he said in May 2013. “But this war, like all wars, must end. That’s what history advises. It’s what our democracy demands.”
But Obama leaves a very different legacy as he prepares to hand his commander-in-chief responsibilities to Donald Trump.
U.S. military forces have been at war for all eight years of Obama’s tenure, the first two-term president with that distinction. He launched...