Obama Shrinks the War on Terrorism

Obama's foreign policy takes a narrower view of American power — we can't fight everyone all at once

David Furst / AFP / Getty

A group of U.S. Marine preparing for a mission in Farah province, Afghanistan, in October.

To understand Barack Obama's Afghanistan decision, it's instructive to go back to one history-shifting sentence, uttered by his predecessor more than eight years ago. It was Sept. 20, 2001. The nation was in agony, and George W. Bush stood before a joint session of Congress, telling Americans where to direct their rage. "Americans are asking, 'Who attacked our country?'" Bush declared early in his remarks. "The evidence we have gathered all points to a collection of loosely affiliated terrorist organizations known as al-Qaeda."

Had Bush stopped there,...

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