Over the course of the long Labor Day weekend, American bombs rained down on targets spanning nearly 4,000 miles across the Mideast and North Africa.
The strikes hit six countries — Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen — and targeted terrorist groups including the Islamic State (in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria), al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (in Yemen), al Shabab (in Somalia), and the Taliban (also in Afghanistan). About 45 strikes took place in Iraq and Syria alone, plus another 20 or so in Libya and smaller totals in the remaining three nations.
These campaigns, as well as occasional drone strikes in Pakistan, will almost certainly continue past President Obama’s term in office. “This administration really wanted to end these wars,” said Paul Scharre of the Center for a New American Security. “Now, we’ve got U.S. combat operations on multiple fronts and we’re dropping bombs in six countries. That’s just the unfortunate reality of the terrorism threat today.”