Earlier this year, FiveThirtyEight created a handy chart to show just how many times President Obama’s plan for ending the war in Afghanistan has, uh, evolved:
The downward sloping line represents the number of American troops in Afghanistan since its peak in Obama’s first term—but it could also represent the declining chance that this war will ever really be over. Indeed, as of today, the chart will need an update representing the fifth time President Obama has changed his story about ending this war. CNN reports:
President Barack Obama announced Thursday that U.S. forces will remain in Afghanistan at their current levels throughout much of 2016, yet another delay in their scheduled withdrawal and an acknowledgment that America’s longest war won’t be concluded on his watch.
Obama campaigned as the president who would end two wars, and Thursday’s decision was a major political reversal that jeopardizes a cornerstone of his legacy….The plan announced Thursday keeps 9,800 U.S. troops in Afghanistan before an anticipated drawdown to around 5,500 by the time Obama leaves office.
During the same announcement, Obama insisted that he does “not support the idea of endless war,” but at this point actions speak louder than words—and his actions are screaming across the Middle East (oh, and also Cameroon as of today) that American intervention has no end in sight.