This month, President Barack Obama officially became the U.S. president to have been at war the longest — longer than Lyndon Johnson, longer than Abraham Lincoln and certainly longer than George W. Bush.
Obama acquired the highly dubious honor on May 6, observes The New York Times.
He’s not done yet, either. Far from it! With eight months left to go in his presidency, and with America’s military fighting in several places far-flung, Obama is virtually certain to be the only U.S. president to spend a full eight years presiding over combat.
The Times describes Obama’s status as America’s biggest warmonger president as “an improbable legacy” because he ran as an anti-war candidate back in 2008 and promised to end the wars Bush started after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. (RELATED: Remember When Obama Was The Messiah?)
Obama has approved military action in seven countries in his seven full years as America’s 44th president. There’s Iraq and Afghanistan, of course. There’s also Libya, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. Just recently, Obama announced that he will commit 250 Special Forces troops to war-torn Syria.
On Oct. 21, 2011 — about a year before he ran for re-election — Obama stood in the White House and announced that he was bringing every U.S. soldier in Iraq home. “Our troops will definitely be home for the holidays,” he said, according to the Times.
The next thing that happened was that a new entity called the Islamic State captured huge swath of territory in Iraq and proclaimed a radical Sunni empire complete with a “caliphate.” (RELATED: Don’t Be Alarmed But Radical Muslims Just Declared Their Own Empire Across The Middle East)
In 2014 — before the holidays that year, as it happened — Obama sent 475 American troops to Iraq. Since then, he has sent over 5,000 American soldiers and advisers back to Iraq.
Navy Seal Charles Keating IV died earlier this month in bloody fighting between American forces and ISIS fighters.
In 2014, Obama promised that he would withdraw the last American soldier from Afghanistan before leaving office in 2016. However, he was forced to recant this promise after a Taliban offensive resulted in massive land gains for the Islamic fundamentalist group.
Thousands of U.S. soldiers remain stationed in Afghanistan.
“Obama thinks of war as an instrument he has to use very reluctantly,” Johns Hopkins University military historian Eliot A. Cohen told the Times. “But we’re waging these long, rather strange wars. We’re killing lots of people. We’re taking casualties.”
“For all his faults, with Bush, there was this visceral desire to win,” Cohen added.
Derek Chollet, Obama’s assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs from 2012 to 2015, described Obama’s foreign policy in upbeat, legalistic terms.
“It’s the difference between being a war president and a president at war,” Chollet told the Times.
Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009. The Oslo, Norway-based committee which determines winners of the award announced that Obama would receive the award just over eight months after he became president.
Last year, the Nobel Peace Prize committee demoted Thorbjoern Jagland, who had been chairman when the committee bestowed the prestigious award on then-newly elected Obama. (RELATED: Nobel Peace Prize Committee OUSTS Chairman Who Crowned Obama With $1.4 Million Award)
Jagland, 65, was serving his first year as Peace Prize chairman when his committee conferred the international award upon Obama for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”
The Nobel Peace Prize is the one of the five Nobel Prizes created by the Swedish business mogul Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite.
Prize winners get a medal, a diploma and a substantial amount of cash.
In 2009, Obama received $1.4 million. He gave the money to charities.