U.S. News

Actions

How The 'Reluctant Warrior' Became A Wartime President

After vowing to end the war in Iraq, President Obama finds himself leading the country into another one.
Posted at 4:40 PM, Sep 24, 2014

The president who campaigned on ending America's wars …

OBAMA VIA NBC: "I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this war."

… is now leading the country into a new one.

OBAMA VIA FOX NEWS: "This is what America is prepared to do — taking action against immediate threats while pursuing a world in which the need for such action is diminished." 

Wednesday, Obama spoke before the United Nations not as a peacetime president but as a commander in chief overseeing another foreign war. It's a legacy the Nobel Prize laureate probably never envisioned for himself.

Hence the new label the media keeps attaching to his name.  

MSNBC: "He is clearly a reluctant warrior."

CNN: "He's obviously a reluctant warrior."

MSNBC: "He is the reluctant warrior." 

Granted, it might be a little strange to attach that label to him now, seeing as he's long supported a robust military strategy. Syria is now the seventh Arab country he's ordered airstrikes in since taking office.   

Even in 2009, as he picked up his Nobel prize, Obama offered a vigorous defense of the use of military force when a war is considered "just." 

OBAMA VIA NOBEL FOUNDATION: "To say that force is sometimes necessary is not a call to cynicism — it is a recognition of history, the imperfections of man and the limits of reason."

Reluctant or not, Obama is now a wartime president — in a turn of events former State Department official Nicholas Burns calls "almost Shakespearian." 

So does the president consider himself a wartime president? A reporter posed that exact question to President Obama earlier this week.  

According toThe Washington Post, "The president smiled, but he did not answer."

This video includes images from Getty Images.