Obama's legacy is a renewed war in Iraq


In "The War That Dare Not Speak Its Name," The Wall Street Journal's William McGhurn writes, "For all his promises to get America out, Obama's legacy is a renewed war in Iraq."

All throughout the campaign, Mr. Trump rightly thumped both President Obama and Mrs. Clinton for their refusal to use the I-word - Islamist - when speaking of the terror threat against the American people. But when it came to the W-word - war - Mr. Trump was not much better.

In three presidential debates, neither Mr. Trump nor Mrs. Clinton used the word war to describe the fighting in Iraq in which our troops are now engaged. When they did use the word, the context was almost always frozen in 2002.

The truth today is that the Middle East Mr. Trump inherits is more violent and less stable than the one Mr. Obama inherited from George W. Bush in 2009. Perhaps the best thing Mr. Trump could do in his inaugural address would be to acknowledge the reality Mr. Obama has tried to hide: After eight years of an administration that prides itself on getting America out of wars, we are going back in.

Unfortunately, under Mr. Obama we are not doing so honestly.

Over on Capitol Hill, meanwhile, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Mac Thornberry, points out that the president isn't paying for his troops either, even as he expands their mission.

Mr. Thornberry's office reports that there are today 5,262 U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria, and 8,448 in Afghanistan. For these Americans, it doesn't matter who was right in 2002, 2007 or even 2016. What matters to them is whether their incoming commander in chief will acknowledge that President Obama has left them fighting a war largely hidden from public view.

And will give them the opportunity and wherewithal to win it.

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Former President George W. Bush, speaking Tuesday in Dallas:

North Korea also presents the greatest, sustained humanitarian challenge of our time. The whole country is a prison, run by a sadistic warden. The North Korean people have suffered decades of oppression, and famine, and violence. By controlling access to the broader world, the North Korean government has tried to make this nightmare seem normal to its victims.

Some argue that the spirit of the North Korean people has been beaten into submission so total that opposition is unthinkable. We don't believe that here. The desire for freedom, like the dignity of the person, is universal. A hope placed in human hearts by God cannot be removed by Kim Jong-un. The regime attempts to control every mind, every tongue, every life. But the refugees with us today demonstrate that no oppressor can control the soul. The North Korean people are pleading in silence for their freedom. And the world needs to listen. And the world needs to respond.

Notable & Quotable is compiled by Graham Osteen. Contact him at