National Security & Defense

Give Thanks That ISIS Is Going, Going . . .

An Iraqi soldiers walks past an ISIS emblem during fighting north of Mosul, January 2017. (Khalid al Mousily/Reuters)
The terrorist group is nearly crushed, an achievement for which the Trump administration deserves applause.

As Americans pause this week to give thanks, let us be grateful that the dramatically diminished ISIS caliphate is nearly crushed. And let’s applaud the Trump administration’s role in so severely reducing this threat.

As President Donald J. Trump took office, the Islamic State was not just another terrorist group. It was a Muslim-extremist mini-nation. Straddling Iraq and Syria, ISIS controlled some 17,500 square miles — visualize two New Jerseys — according to the Washington Examiner’s Jamie McIntyre.

Its 35,000 fighters enforced Sharia law, detonated historical sites, hurled gay men off of tall buildings, and displaced, persecuted, and slaughtered tens of thousands of Christians, Shiites, and Yazidis. Radical Muslim fools rushed in, boarded the jihadist bandwagon, and stretched ISIS’ bloody tracks from Paris to Brussels to San Bernardino. The Islamofascist group terrified Europeans and Americans. ISIS’ trained killers and Internet-inspired lone rats could attack anytime, anywhere.

But by last September, this veritable Islamic-terrorist country had shriveled to its last 200 square miles — an area roughly the size of Tulsa.

According to a September 27 Operation Inherent Resolve statement, this U.S.-led multinational effort is responsible for “liberating nearly 8 million Iraqis and Syrians from ISIS’s brutal rule and reducing its control of territory to approximately 1 percent of what it previously held.” The Syrian Democratic Forces have worked closely with American personnel to wipe out ISIS. Today’s military combat reportedly focuses on Deir az-Zour, ISIS’ holdout beside the Euphrates River.

“The fight is continuing, and we hope that it will be over in a few months and that will be the last of ISIS’s terrain that it holds in a quasi-conventional way,” Ambassador James Jeffrey, U.S. special envoy for Syrian engagement, told Reuters. “The enduring defeat means not simply smashing the last of ISIS’s conventional military units holding terrain, but ensuring that ISIS doesn’t immediately come back in sleeper cells, come back as an insurgent movement.”

ISIS has lost nearly all of its real estate. Perhaps more important, it has surrendered tons of prestige. Why would anyone brave the blazing sunshine and blistering sands to join the virtual mirage that is today’s Islamic State caliphate? This would be like fording the Rhine to fight for Nazi Germany — in March 1945.

Why is ISIS’ headquarters nearly gone with the wind? Obama’s pussyfooting yielded to President Trump’s robust attacks.

“The Obama White House micromanaged the war against ISIS and did a poor job of it,” Heritage Foundation national-security scholar Jim Phillips told me. “The Pentagon was forced to pull its punches because of tight political restrictions on the use of force. The Obama administration initially ruled out air strikes against ISIS-controlled oil fields and oil trucks carrying ISIS oil because of a fear of causing civilian casualties.” This brilliant policy made ISIS Earth’s wealthiest terrorist group, awash in petroleum revenues.

“President Trump deserves credit for removing counterproductive political restrictions on the U.S. military, escalating the air campaign, deploying U.S. advisers and special operations forces closer to the fighting, and accelerating the defeat of ISIS,” Phillips said. “The U.S. military did the bulk of the heavy lifting in the international campaign to defeat ISIS. Without U.S. involvement, ISIS would still be crucifying its opponents and holding non-Muslim women as sex slaves.”

These positive developments likely are news to most Americans. The Trump-hating old-guard media have sat on this story, lest the president enjoy any kudos for making America and the world safer from these bloodthirsty murderers (ISIS, not the press).

“Since Inauguration Day (January 20, 2017), the three broadcast network evening newscasts have spent more than 10,000 minutes on the Trump presidency, and only 33 minutes (0.33 percent) involved the administration’s handling of the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria,” Media Research Center analyst Bill D’Agostino wrote last month.

There you have it: President Trump has helped shrink ISIS by 99 percent, while his nightly-news tormentors have spent 99.7 percent of their time looking elsewhere.

Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor of National Review Online, and a senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research.

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