Fifteen years ago today, George W. Bush announced the beginning of the Iraq war. Two U.S. presidents, thousands of lives lost, a withdrawal and a reengagement later, American troops are still on the ground—and dying—in Iraq. There are no plans for withdrawal, even though the most recent foe there—ISIS—has been almost entirely defeated.
The conflict in Iraq is just one facet of an ever-expanding and seemingly endless U.S. military campaign across the Middle East, Central Asia, and Africa. Last week, the White House, as required by a new provision in last year’s National Defense Authorization Act, issued a report to Congress on all the countries where ongoing U.S. military operations are taking place. According to the unclassified portion of the report, America is currently at war in seven countries:
In Iraq, the U.S. military is continuing to train and assist Iraqi security forces in order to prevent the reemergence of ISIS, as happened after the withdrawal of U.S. forces in 2011.