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It ain't over til it's over: America's wars drag on no matter what officials say

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Reprinted from The Guardian

The US military has no intention of withdrawing the remaining 9,000 troops from Afghanistan after 2016. We've seen this mission creep before -- in Iraq

From President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama
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In all three of the countries where the Obama administration declared US wars "over" in the past few years -- Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya -- the US military is expanding its presence or dropping bombs at an ever-increasing rate. And the government seems to be keeping the American public in the dark on the matter more than ever.

Pentagon leaders suggested this week that the US military wants to keep the remaining 9,800 troops in Afghanistan from withdrawing in 2016, despite the fact that the Obama administration declared combat operations in the country "over" six months ago. The gradual extension of the Afghanistan War hasn't been a secret to anyone who's been paying close attention, but sadly it has happened far away from the pomp and circumstance of Obama's now embarrassingly false State of the Union announcement that the Afghanistan War had ended.

Shortly after his January speech, the president signed a secret order that would keep the military fighting and killing in the region through 2015, then delayed any troop pull-out through 2016. Last month, the US was still dropping more than three bombs a day in Afghanistan. That's a 260% increase over the month prior.

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As the Council on Foreign Relation's Micah Zenko remarked: "First it was al Qaeda, then the Taliban, now ISIS will be reason US military remains in Afghanistan." There's always going to be someone. What unnamed group will be holding our attention in 2020 when we still have troops fighting and dying there for nebulous reasons?

Away from the headlines, Libya continues to deteriorate since the US and NATO allies bombed the region and deposed dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. "Many parts of Libya, particularly in the east, have been converted into jihadist training camps, attracting fighters from Tunisia to Iraq," the Daily Beast reported a few days ago.

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Trevor Timm is a co-founder and the executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation. He is a writer, activist, and lawyer who specializes in free speech and government transparency issues. He has contributed to  The (more...)

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