Being an ideologue comes at a price. Short sighted and looking at the world through a distorted world view, Obama had a hard time seeing things as they were. Trying to curtsy favor with Iran, he turned a blind eye when Iranian puppet, Maliki, stole the Iraqi election, and again when he oppressed the Sunni population. Even as his own staff, and a complement of dignitaries both past and present, lined up to warn against a premature military withdrawal, he did it anyway. To be honest, that these actions both increased radical sympathies in the region, and opened it up to take over by the same, likely never occurred to the former President. To him, the real danger was entrenching Western dominance in the country, not the radical Islamist bent on destroying it.
Except for Obama, the rise of ISIS surprised virtually no one. Calling them a JV team, he was one of the last people to recognize the danger they posed. The fact they spread so quickly, and captured so much territory, was to be expected. Power abhors a vacuum, and Obama created a huge one.
Even when people were being murdered by the thousands, Obama continued to act as if he was making the right decisions. Genocide, even though it was connected to his incompetence, did not seem to prick his conscience in the least. The beheading of toddlers, the crucifying of children seemed to mean nothing to him. Only when it became a political issue did he seem to care. By the time he asked the Defense Department to come up with a strategy to defeat the menace, the death toll had become unimaginable.
Speeding ahead, now eight months after Trump gave gave the military new marching orders, ISIS as a political entity is dead. It no longer holds any real territory, billions in cash, or able to claim legitimacy based on its successes. As a fighting force, it has virtually been wiped off the face of the earth. Given as much quarter as it gave others, they have been killed by the thousands. As a result, the long nightmare is over.
While Obama apologists, like Ash Carter, point out the strategy was developed under Obama, and others claim the triumph had a lot to do with arming the Kurds, those claims don’t hold water. While funneling arms to the Kurds accelerated the demise of ISIS, it was part of an overall change in direction.
While Obama was President, military missions were restricted to a small list of predetermined targets. To engage the enemy beyond that list, they had to ask permission up the chain of command; a chain that ultimately ended in DC. As a result, when the preassigned target was not available, fighter pilots would often return to base without attacking anything. Forbes reported that, in 2015, 3 of 4 missions would result in warplanes not dropping a single bomb. Obama’s restrictions were akin to telling a street cop he has to seek permission from the mayor to stop a robbery in progress.
Given his methods, it should come as no surprise that, under Obama, ISIS resupply convoys rarely came under attack. Journalist even took showed video of this flow of arms and men on TV, openly wondering why they were allowed to travel so freely. Similarly, when ISIS was forced to retreat, they could usually do so without fear of being attacked. It was painfully obvious, Obama was not prosecuting a war, but exercising political cover. It was no wonder he said ISIS would take years to defeat.
Obama Explaining His Strategy Against ISIL (ISIS)
In contrast, Trump’s orders were concise and unambiguous. Field commanders, and even front line grunts, suddenly knew they could exercise reasonable discretion without being hauled before a tribunal of political hacks. As General Mattis put it, he no longer had “to listen to the politicians who are losing the war on terrorism.” Closer to the front,
Despite the rhetoric of the left wing political punditry, the difference between Obama’s war against ISIS, and Trump’s was night and day. Instead of day to day strategy being based on the decisions of committees back in Washington, it was done by those on the scene. There was no longer pitiful attempts to capture these monsters, debates on which targets were the least risky politically, or if captured combatants should be read Miranda Rights. No more concerns about acting as a colonial power, or making excuses for Islamist behavior. In dramatic fashion, Trump replaced Obama’s slow War of Attrition with a War of Annihilation.
The dramatic results obtained were due to a change in attitude. The goals of the military under Obama, and the steps to obtain that goal, were essentially the same as under Trump. It was the way they were accomplished that was worlds apart.
It is now time for the victims of the onslaught to put the shattered remains of their lives and homes back together. For the first time in years, they have time to grieve over those buried in mass graves, sisters and wives sold into slavery, and the countless other atrocities committed by the rabid animals who made up ISIS.
While there will be terrorist who try to claim the terror organization’s mantle, and the few remaining clingers will still commit heinous acts, the nightmarish semi-state is finished. A bittersweet consolation for those rebuilding their lives. Tears of joy and pain over a tragedy that never had to be.