Barack Obama campaigned for the presidency in 2008 as a peace candidate. He signaled that he would fundamentally change America's course after the reckless carnage unleashed by the George W. Bush administration. However, by the end of Obama's presidency, the United States was bombing seven different foreign nations.
But Obama's warring rarely evoked the protests or opposition that the Bush administration generated. Why did so many Bush-era anti-war activists abandon the cause after Obama took office?
One explanation is that the news media downplayed Obama's killings abroad. Obama was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize less than 12 days after taking office — not because of anything that he had achieved, but because of the sentiments he had expressed. Shortly after he accepted the Peace Prize, he announced that he would sharply increase the number of American troops in Afghanistan. Much of the media treated Obama's surge as if it were simply a military campaign designed to ensure that the rights of Afghan women were respected. The fact that more than 2,000 American troops died in Afghanistan on Obama's watch received far less attention in the press than did the casualties from Bush's Iraq war.
In early 2011, popular uprisings in several Arab nations spurred a hope that democracy would soon flourish across North Africa and much of the Middle East. Violent protests in Libya soon threatened the long-term regime of dictator Muammar Qaddafi, who had become a U.S. ally and supporter in recent years. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other advisors persuaded Obama to forcibly intervene in what appeared to be a civil war.