Saturday, December 9, 2017

Good-bye Pajama Boy; Hello, Mad Dog

If Barack Obama had been president reporters would be falling over themselves singing his praises. Since Donald Trump—a man recently called the Devil Incarnate by famed Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Tribe—is president, the story gets filed away under curiosities. Good to see a Harvard Law Professor contributing to our deliberative democracy.

Anyway, the news is, that the Islamic State, ISIS has been thoroughly defeated in Iraq and is almost completely defeated in Syria. Good news, don’t you think?

Why did it happen? For one thing, we no longer have Pajama Boy running the war. In his place, we have Mad Dog. I was going to say that Donald Trump is in leading the charge, but, in truth Trump’s best decision was to delegate authority to Defense Secretary James Mattis and to the generals. They knew what to do and knew how to do it. Within a year, the Caliphate—a product of Obama administration policy in Iraq and Syria—was defeated.

It’s all about rules of engagement. The Obama administration called off military strikes for fear of having anyone get hurt. Unwilling to engage the fight, the Obama team cowered in the corner. Doesn’t that sound like what supposedly happened in Benghazi?

Hollie McKay reports from Baghdad:

Hundreds of ISIS fighters had just been chased out of a northern Syrian city and were fleeing through the desert in long convoys, presenting an easy target to U.S. A-10 "warthogs."

But the orders to bomb the black-clad jihadists never came, and the terrorists melted into their caliphate -- living to fight another day. The events came in August 2016, even as then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump was vowing on the campaign trail to let generals in his administration crush the organization that, under President Obama, had grown from the “jayvee team” to the world’s most feared terrorist organization.

McKay reports the extent of the American victory:

Just over a year later, ISIS has been routed from Iraq and Syria with an ease and speed that's surprised even the men and women who carried out the mission. Experts say it's a prime example of a campaign promise kept. President Trump scrapped his predecessor’s rules of engagement, which critics say hamstrung the military, and let battlefield decisions be made by the generals in the theater, and not bureaucrats in Washington.

At its peak, ISIS held land in Iraq and Syria that equaled the size of West Virginia, ruled over as many as 8 million people, controlled oilfields and refineries, agriculture, smuggling routes and vast arsenals. It ran a brutal, oppressive government, even printing its own currency.

This does not mean that ISIS has been completely defeated. But, it does mean that the military side of the conflict has been won.

But the military’s job -- to take back the land ISIS claimed as its caliphate and liberate cities like Mosul, in Iraq, and Raqqa, in Syria, as well as countless smaller cities and villages, is largely done. And it has taken less than a year.

“The leadership team that is in place right now has certainly enabled us to succeed,” Brig. Gen. Andrew Croft, the ranking U.S. Air Force officer in Iraq, told Fox News. “I couldn’t ask for a better leadership team to work for, to enable the military to do what it does best.”

President Trump gave a free hand to Mattis, who in May stressed military commanders were no longer being slowed by Washington “decision cycles,” or by the White House micromanaging that existed President Obama. As a result of the new approach, the fall of ISIS in Iraq came even more swiftly than hardened U.S. military leaders expected.

“It moved more quickly than at least I had anticipated,” Croft said. “We and the Iraqi Security Forces were able to hunt down and target ISIS leadership, target their command and control.”

Of course, we still live in a nation of whiners. Those who are not ignoring what is happening in Iraq are expressing their chagrin over the civilian casualties. The never expressed the same chagrin when the caliphate was running wild, destroying lives, raping women, looting and pillaging. The Obamphile left does not like rules of engagement that allow America to win, but prefers rules of engagement that display cowardly weakness and allow the caliphate to flourish.

And, while we are here, ask yourself this: how much of the changes that are happening in the Middle East, from Saudi Arabia to Jerusalem, would not have happened without a firm and resolute American military presence in Iraq and Syria?


trigger warning said...

I doubt IS ever had much internal military expertise. Yes, they knew more than Bur'aq Obama, but that's damning with faint praise. To paraphrase an old joke, the difference between Bur'aq and his combat generals was that the combat generals did not believe they were Bur'aq Obama.

Donald Trump never suffered under such a risible fantasy, and delegated when he needed to delegate.

Sam L. said...

If only Trump had been President during the Viet Nam war...

"And, while we are here, ask yourself this: how much of the changes that are happening in the Middle East, from Saudi Arabia to Jerusalem, would not have happened without a firm and resolute American military presence in Iraq and Syria?" Pretty much ALL of them.