President Obama likes to say “the tide of war is receding.” But war isn’t a tide, and in any case it’s not receding. We’re retreating, and our influence is receding​—​and this makes war, and chaos, and terror, more likely, not less. It is the tide of American power that’s been receding under President Obama.

In his remarks on September 11, Obama paid tribute to members of the 9/11 generation who have worn the uniform in Iraq and Afghanistan. But about the goals they sacrificed for? Nothing. Here’s what their commander in chief had to say on September 11: “Today, the war in Iraq is over. In Afghanistan, we’re training Afghan security forces and forging a partnership with the Afghan people. And by the end of 2014, the longest war in our history will be over.”

The training and partnering now appear to be little more than bloody fig leaves. One war is over, and the other will be over​—​that’s Obama’s message. Obama used to pretend that the end of the wars would be accompanied by all kinds of positive developments in the Muslim world. No longer. Now we’re just heading for the exits, lobbing drones as we go.

The members of the 9/11 generation who fought for our country in Iraq and Afghanistan know the president has blundered. But theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die, says Obama.

And his opponent for president of the United States? He’s apparently concluded that his not to make reply.