PROMISE KEPT: US Air Force “Bombs the Hell Out of ISIS”, Iraq and Syria Are Now Free

Before this past year, I felt like a witness to some macabre play, in which the United States of America was saddled with a weak, sniveling, clueless milk toast of a President, whose entire Administration was comprised of a bunch of unqualified and unprincipled neophytes, who had no qualms about embarrassing our country and making us look like fools on the World Stage.

As the subject of this post article proves, what I watched with such horror and disgust…has been replaced…and we have an actual AMERICAN PRESIDENT.

FoxNews.com reports that

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.

“I will…quickly and decisively bomb the hell out of ISIS,” Trump, who would name legendary Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis as secretary of defense, promised. “We will not have to listen to the politicians who are losing the war on terrorism.”

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.

Lt. Col. Seth Folsom credits the cooperation between Iraqi Security Forces and the U.S-led coalition for the military defeat of ISIS in Iraq.  (Courtesy U.S Army)
 
The terror organization now controls just 3 percent of Iraq and less than 5 percent of Syria. Its self-styled “caliph,” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is believed to be injured and holed up somewhere along the lawless border of Syria and Iraq.

ISIS remains a danger, as members who once ruled cities and villages like a quasi-government now live secretly among civilian populations in the region, in Europe and possibly in the U.S. These cells will likely present a terrorist threat for years. In addition, the terrorist organization is attempting to regroup in places such as the Philippines, Libya and the Sinai Peninsula.

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.”

After the battle to liberate Mosul – ISIS’ Iraqi headquarters – was completed in July — the U.S.-led coalition retook Tel Afar in August, Hawija in early October and Rawa in Anbar province in November.

Marine Col. Seth Folsom, who oversaw fighting in Al Qaim near the Syrian border, agreed. He wasn’t expecting his part of the campaign against ISIS to get going until next spring and figured even then, it would then “take six months or more.” 

Instead, ISIS was routed in Al Qaim in just a few days.

“We really had one mandate and that was enable the Iraqi Security Forces to defeat ISIS militarily here in Anbar. I feel that we have achieved that mission,” Folsom said. “I never felt constrained. In a lot of ways, I felt quite liberated because we had a clear mandate and there was no questioning that.”

Brig. Gen. Robert “G-Man” Sofge, the top U.S. Marine in Iraq, told Fox News his commanders have “enjoyed not having to deal with too many distractions and there was no question about what the mission here in Iraq was.”

“We were able to focus on what our job was without distraction and I think that goes a long way in what we are trying to accomplish here,” he said.

Sofge said criticism that loosening rules of engagement put civilians at risk is “absolutely not true.”

“We used precision strikes, and completely in accordance with international standards,” he said. “We didn’t lower that standard, not one little bit. But we were able to exercise that precision capability without distraction and I think the results speak for themselves.”

The U.S.-led coalition said this week the Coalition Civilian Casualty Assessment Team has added 30 new staffers to travel throughout the region. It said military leaders continue to “hold themselves accountable for actions that may have caused unintentional injury or death to civilians.”

The coalition also said dozens of reports of civilian casualties have been determined to be “non-credible,” and just .35 percent of the almost 57,000 separate engagement carried out between August 2014 and October 2017 resulted in a credible report of a civilian casualty.

In addition to air support, the U.S.-led strategy also includes training and equipping Iraqi troops on the ground.

While the Trump administration’s success is often underplayed in the U.S. media, it is obvious on the ground in Iraq, according to a spokesman for Iraq’s Ministry of Defense, Yahya Rasool.

“I was not optimistic when Trump first came to the office,” Rasool said. “But after a while I started to see a new approach, the way the U.S. was dealing with arming and training. I saw how the coalition forces were all moving faster to help the Iraq side more than before. There seemed to be a lot of support, under Obama we did not get this.”

Al-Baghdadi, who once ruled a caliphate the size of California, is now in hiding and likely badly injured

Despite the victories on the battlefield, U.S. officials cautioned much work remains to be done.

“ISIS is very adaptive,” noted Col. Ryan Dillon, the U.S.-led coalition spokesman. “We are already seeing smaller cells and pockets that take more of an insurgent guerrilla type approach as opposed to an Islamic army or conventional type force. So we have got to be prepared for that.”

He said as a result the coalition is “adjusting some training efforts” so the Iraqi forces — upwards of 150,000 have already undergone training — are equipped to address such threats and ensure long-term stability.

Folsom said “the worst thing we could do” is not finish the job.

“If a country becomes a failed state, if it becomes a lawless region, you begin to set the conditions for what happened in the years before 9/11,” he said. “In those ungoverned spaces where we don’t know what is going on, that is where those seeds of extremism begin to blossom.”

So, how did we get to the point where ISIS was threatening not only to run roughshod over the entire Middle East, but they were already attacking France and making inroads into other European Nations, such as the United Kingdom?

#1 – Underestimation…and Obfuscation

The Former President of these United States, Barack Hussein Obama, said the following about the Radical Islamic Terrorist Organization, ISIS, in an interview with The New Yorker Magazine, published on January 27th, 2014:

The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a JV team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant. I think there is a distinction between the capacity and reach of a bin Laden and a network that is actively planning major terrorist plots against the homeland versus jihadists who are engaged in various local power struggles and disputes, often sectarian.

Catherine Herridge reported on November 23, 2015 for foxnews.com that

Analysts at U.S. Central Command were pressured to ease off negative assessments about the Islamic State threat and were even told in an email to “cut it out,” Fox News has learned – as an investigation expands into whether intelligence reports were altered to present a more positive picture.  

Fox News is told by a source close to the CENTCOM analysts that the pressure on them included at least two emails saying they needed to “cut it out” and “toe the line.”

Separately, a former Pentagon official told Fox News there apparently was an attempt to destroy the communications. The Pentagon official said the email warnings were “not well received” by the analysts.

Those emails, among others, are now in the possession of the Pentagon inspector general. The IG’s probe is expanding into whether intelligence assessments were changed to give a more positive picture of the anti-ISIS campaign.

The former Pentagon official said there were “multiple assessments” from military intelligence and the CIA regarding the “rapid rise” of ISIS in Iraq and North Africa in the year leading up to the group’s territory grab in 2014.

Similar intelligence was included in the President’s Daily Brief, or PDB – the intelligence community’s most authoritative product — during the same time period. Yet the official, who was part of the White House discussions, said the administration kept “kicking the can down the road.” The official said there was no discussion of the military involvement needed to make a difference.

The IG probe started earlier this year amid complaints that information was changed to make ISIS look more degraded than it really was.

Among the complaints is that after the U.S. air campaign started in August 2014, the metrics to measure progress changed. They were modified to use measures such as the number of sorties and body counts — a metric not used since the Vietnam War — to paint a more positive picture.

Critics say this “activity-based approach” to tracking the effectiveness of strikes does not paint a comprehensive picture of whether ISIS is being degraded and contained.

The New York Times first reported on Sunday that the IG investigation was expanding and adding more investigators, and that the office had taken possession of a trove of documents and emails as part of that probe.

Asked about the report, House intelligence committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said Sunday that his committee and others are involved in the investigation.

“We heard from a lot of whistle-blowers and other informants who have given us information. And not just … related strictly to the latest allegations,” Nunes said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Citing the renewed focus on ISIS after the Paris terror attacks, he added: “So the president, to have a successful strategy, is going to admit that they’ve got it wrong and they need to relook at a larger strategy that deals with north Africa, the Middle East, all the way over to Afghanistan, Pakistan, and then work closely with our NATO allies with what appears to be a command and control structure that ISIS has created successfully in Europe.”

President Obama, speaking at a press conference in Malaysia over the weekend, said he expects to “get to the bottom” of whether ISIS intelligence reports were altered – and has told his top military officials as much.

“One of the things I insisted on the day I walked into the Oval Office was that I don’t want intelligence shaded by politics. I don’t want it shaded by the desire to tell a feel-good story,” Obama said Sunday. “I believe that the Department of Defense and all those who head up our intelligence agencies understand that, and that I have made it repeatedly clear to all my top national security advisers that I never want them to hold back, even if the intelligence or their opinions about the intelligence, their analysis or interpretations of the data contradict current policy.”

At the same time, he said, “As a consumer of this intelligence, it’s not as if I’ve been receiving wonderfully rosy, glowing portraits of what’s been happening in Iraq and Syria over the last year and a half. … [I]t feels to me like, at my level at least, we’ve had a pretty clear-eyed, sober assessment.”

The president’s call for a thorough investigation was greeted with cynicism by those involved in the 2014 intelligence assessments, since the administration did not act on the earlier raw intelligence that painted a dire picture of developments, especially in Iraq.

#2- “Smart Power!”…alienating our friends and empowering our enemies…

In his zeal to appease his American voting base, and those whom he had worked so hard to “organize”, Obama pulled our troops out of the unstable, Radical Muslim nation of Iraq, in a “premature evacuation”.

Proudly announcing that “al Qaeda was on the run”, Scooter (my pet name for Obama) turned his attention to giving campaign speeches and rallying his Liberal Base, even though he was a President presiding over a tanking economy, with over 92 million Americans already gone from our workforce.

Back on July 7, 2013, I wrote

“Now, I’m just spitballin’ here…but, shouldn’t the President of the United States of America be standing for Freedom, not for Oppression?

Is this never-ending Arab Spring in the Middle East a direct result of his June 4, 2009 suck-up to the Muslim World?

Is Meghan McCain useless?

If you will remember, gentle reader, at the same time Obama was kissing the posteriors of the Muslim World, his State Department Spokespeople were telling us that the “War on Terror” was over with, and there were no such thing as Islamic Terrorist Attacks any more, just “Man-Caused Disasters”.

The kissing up to the Muslim World continued in Obama’s Second Term as Obama hosted representatives of the MB, the ISNA, and Radical Islamic Cleric, Sheik Abdullah bin Bayyahm, who had actually been barred from entering our country!

Obama’s job was to protect us from our sworn enemies, not invite them to OUR White House and hug their necks.

While Obama’s DOJ and IRS harassed Christian and Conservative Groups alike throughout his Presidency, Obama welcomed those who wish to behead us Infidels, with open arms.

Think about something, did the gigantic bonfire, known as Arab Spring, happen under President Ronald Reagan? Did it happen under President George W. Bush? NO.

The responsibility for what happened in the Middle East and its ongoing threat to our allies around the Free World and to this sacred land, as well, lies on the narrow shoulders of  Former President Barack Hussein Obama (mm mmm mmmm).”

Lord, I hate it when I’m right.

Then, it happened.

ISIS, a Radical Muslim Terrorist Organization, with over 32 thousand adherents, invaded Iraq, killing innocent Muslims and Christians, and threatened to flood Baghdad, by blowing up an essential dam on the Euphrates River.

Obama sprang into “Community Organizing” mode once again. He sent “military advisors” to Iraq, and sent Secretary of State John “I served in Vietnam” Kerry on a European and Middle Tour to trying to get a consensus to support our actions, and to try to form a coalition to assist in the “prosecution” of ISIS, in order for Obama to keep his promise to his Far Left Supporters that there would be “no boots on the ground” in Iraq.

Think of it as General Custer sending the Scouts first into Little Big Horn, while he sat on his horse, watching from a hill.

Yeah. The Europeans wanted no part of it, either.

However, some of the Middle Eastern Nations decided that they would join in, for their own self-protecting, mercenary reasons (Remember the Hessians in the Revolutionary War?).

President Barack Hussein Obama’s International “Street Cred” was tarnished beyond repair after the abysmal consequences, as regards the stability of the Middle East, of  his failed Foreign Policy of “Smart Power!”

The terrifying results of Obama’s attempt at “Community Organizing” the Muslim World, including the lost of life of both innocent civilians and of America’s Brightest and best, which dwarfed the war casualties which occurred under his predecessor, President George W. Bush, soon began to arrive at our own shores, with Korans and prayer rugs being found at our open Southern Border, honor killings and attacks by Radical Muslims, labeled as “work place violence” by the Obama Administration. and then, thousands of  Syrian “Refugees”, with members of ISIS probably embedded among them, being transported to our cities by Former President Barack Hussein Obama, himself.

The 45th President of the United States of America inherited a unconscionable mess.

He and General Mattis along with our Brightest and Best have accomplished a Herculean Task in less than 12 months, succeeding in driving ISIS out of Iraq and Syria, a task which Former President Barack Hussein Obama and his “Coalition” failed miserably at.

President Trump kept his promise to “quickly and decisively bomb the hell out of ISIS”…and our Sovereign Nation and the world are safer thanks to his decisive actions.

I really appreciate having an American President in the White House again.

I hope you do, too.

Until He Comes,

KJ