Thirteen years ago today, we were drawn into a circle of war we can’t end or escape. And though the battlefields may change, the enemy  remains the same, whether it’s called Al Qaeda–as it was on 9/11– or ISIS: they are all radical Muslims intent on making the world over in their image.

When the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, weapons of mass destruction may have been the prime motive, but President  Bush  continually cited an Al-Qaeda presence there, too.

And when Osama bin Laden was captured and killed in 2011, we celebrated because we thought the end of the founder and leader of Al-Qaeda might end the wars.

But now we’re still fighting Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

And getting ready to take on ISIS, which is linked to Al-Qaeda.

“It was formerly Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Iraq,” the president said.

And the president conceded Al-Qaeda in all its forms has survived thirteen years of war with America.

“We continue to face a terrorist threat. We cannot erase every trace of evil from the world and small groups of killers have the capacity to do great harm.  That was the case before 9/11 and it remains true today,” the president said.

But Al Qaeda and ISIS aren’t countries. They’re visions of how people should live, and who should die.

And I’m not convinced President Obama–or anyone else–can degrade and destroy those beliefs.

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