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The battle for Mosul

The battle for Mosul

With this week's White House announcement that the U.S. will send 560 more troops to Iraq to help retake Mosul, the largest city still controlled by the Islamic State, President Obama might well have empathized with the words of Michael Corleone, the frustrated gangster played by Al Pacino in the "The Godfather" who longs to get out of the family business and go straight: "Just when I thought I was out... they pull me back in!"

Mr. Obama entered office in 2009 pledging to end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and he hoped he had fulfilled that vow when he withdrew the last U.S. troops from Iraq at the end of 2011. But three years later he was forced to send...