U.S. military spokesman Ryan Dillon announced Tuesday that American-backed troops in Iraq and Syria had put the Islamic State “on the verge of a devastating defeat. After three years of intense combat, Dillon said the U.S.-led coalition had “beaten back” ISIS on every imaginable front.
“Our partners have removed ISIS from 87 percent of territory they once held, liberating more than 6 ½ million people,” he said. “Overall, ISIS is losing in every way. We’ve devastated their networks, targeted and eliminated their leaders at all levels. We’ve degraded their ability to finance their operations, cutting oil revenues by 90 percent. Their flow of foreign recruits has gone from about 1,500 fighters a month down to near zero today. ISIS in Iraq and Syria are all but isolated in their quickly shrinking territory.”
Dillon said there were less than 100 ISIS forces still in the Syrian city of Raqqa, which used to be the terrorist outfit’s primary headquarters of operation on the battlefield. He said that while it was a little too early to declare total victory in Raqqa, it was only a matter of time before coalition forces completely cleared the city of its terrorist influence.
The slow annihilation of the Islamic State did not entirely take place under Trump’s watch, of course, but there can be no denying that his presidency changed things dramatically. By taking the handcuffs off our troops, he has allowed our bombing expeditions and our military leadership to destroy the terrorist network using methods that were not available to them under Obama. History will of course give the former president credit for the bombing campaigns that led up to our moment of triumph, but there’s no telling how many years he would have allowed this protracted war to go on. Years in which ISIS could have easily mounted a comeback.
“I totally changed rules of engagement,” Trump said on a radio show this week. “I totally changed our military, I totally changed the attitudes of the military and they have done a fantastic job. ISIS is now giving up, they are giving up, there are raising their hands, they are walking off. Nobody has ever seen that before.”
This isn’t just Trump doing the usual bragging routine. Since coming into office, the president has made a deliberate decision to put more faith into the top military minds at the Pentagon, moving away from the intensely-criticized micromanagement strategy of the Obama administration.
“No longer will we have slowed decision cycles because Washington, DC, has to authorize tactical movements on the ground,” Defense Secretary James Mattis said this year. “I have absolute confidence as does the President, our commander in chief, in the commanders on the ground as he’s proven by delegating this authority to me with the authority to further delegate it and they’ve carried it out aggressively.”
Let the military handle the on-the-ground, tactical decision-making, and you realize that the U.S. armed forces are still the most powerful institution of war on the planet. When they don’t have a liberal “intellectual” trying to play General in the White House, they get results.