OPINION | Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those held by Sarah Palin.
President Donald Trump is being credited with the near destruction of ISIS, the terror organization which grew to its height under former President Barack Obama.
According to reports, the group has lost nearly 98 percent of the land mass it controlled at its peak and is just under 1,000 fighters, from nearly 35,000 – 45,000 fighters under Obama’s administration.
Trump wiping out terrorists pic.twitter.com/5olXk81K7u
— Fox News (@FoxNews) December 27, 2017
Per Fox News:
ISIS has lost 98 percent of the territory it once held — with half of that terror group’s so-called “caliphate” having been recaptured since President Trump took office less than a year ago, U.S. military officials said Tuesday.
The massive gains come after years of “onerous” rules, when critics say the Obama administration “micromanaged” the war and shunned a more intensive air strategy that could have ended the conflict much sooner.
The defeat of ISIS in Iraq & Syria rapidly accelerated during Trump’s first year in office, beginning with the fall of East Mosul on Jan. 25, & continuing with a cascading series of defeats for the brutal terrorist group over the next 11 months. https://t.co/KjwErNTNzB
— Security Studies Group (@SecStudiesGrp) December 27, 2017
“The rules of engagement under the Obama administration were onerous. I mean what are we doing having individual target determination being conducted in the White House, which in some cases adds weeks and weeks,” said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. David Deptula, the former head of U.S. Air Force intelligence. “The limitations that were put on actually resulted in greater civilian casualties.”
“This was a top priority from the early days of ISIS gaining the type of territorial safe haven in particular, there was recognition that safe havens for terrorist groups can mean terrorist plots that extend — not just into the region — but to Europe and conceivably into the United States,” said Joshua Geltzer, author of “US Counter-Terrorism Strategy and al-Qaeda: Signalling and the Terrorist World-View,” now a visiting professor at Georgetown Law School.
“The campaign liberated twice as many people and twice as much territory as in the previous 28 months under President Barack Obama.” Amazing what happens when you unleash our military from the burdens placed on them by the Obama admin. https://t.co/MaNVcu639S
— Nick Short 🇺🇸 (@PoliticalShort) December 27, 2017
With bureaucracy put aside, Trump let the U.S. armed forces do what they do best:
The latest American intelligence assessment says fewer than 1,000 ISIS fighters now remain in Iraq and Syria, down from a peak of nearly 45,000 just two years ago. U.S. officials credit nearly 30,000 U.S.-led coalition airstrikes and regional partners on the ground for killing more than 70,000 jihadists. Meanwhile, only a few thousand have returned home.
The retired Air Force Lt. Gen. said that ISIS could have been eliminated in a matter of three months, if the military was not “micromanaged” by Obama.
The United States and the Global @coalition have made significant progress since January 2017 in the fight against ISIS. pic.twitter.com/IeT4Opqrph
— Department of State (@StateDept) December 27, 2017
He added, “We could have accomplished our objectives through the use of overwhelming air power in three months not in three years.”
According to the report, Obama refused to allow the U.S. military to attack the monetary supply of ISIS; “giving the terror group $800 million in much needed revenue to plot attacks and enslave millions of innocents.”
ISIS Territory has Shrunk Drastically pic.twitter.com/fwhVKMmnw4
— Fox News (@FoxNews) December 27, 2017
Washington Examiner reports the staggering difference between the two adminstrations:
On Jan. 20 — the day Trump was inaugurated — an estimated 35,000 ISIS fighters held approximately 17,500 square miles of territory in both Iraq and Syria.
As of Dec. 21, the U.S. military estimates the remaining 1,000 or so fighters occupy roughly 1,900 squares miles of mostly barren desert primarily in Syria, where few people live, and where they will be forced to surrender or die.
Between September 2014 when the counter-ISIS campaign began, and January 2017, U.S.-backed forces in Iraq and Syria liberated 13,200 square miles of territory and 2.4 million people from Islamic State rule.
In the 11 months since Trump took office, an additional 26,800 square miles have been reclaimed and 5.3 million people have been liberated.
Worshippers at the Church of St. George in Telskuf, Iraq celebrated their first Christmas mass since the city was freed from ISIS control. https://t.co/I2zwF2L1RM pic.twitter.com/EX37d4djk0
— ABC News (@ABC) December 27, 2017
They also provide this graphic, showing the territorial losses before and after Trump took office:
They report both administrations served to effectively destroy the terrorist group:
And while the destruction of the ISIS caliphate was a validation of the Obama strategy of working “by, with, and through” partner forces, U.S. commanders gave Trump and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis credit for ending what was largely perceived as micromanagement and overly restrictive rules of engagement under Obama.
Obama handcuffed our military.
Trump took their handcuffs off.
ISIS has been almost wiped out.
— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) December 27, 2017
“We don’t get second-guessed a lot. Our judgment here on the battlefield in the forward areas is trusted. And we don’t get 20 questions with every action that happens on the battlefield and every action that we take,” said Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend when he turned over command of the coalition in September.
“Commanders now don’t, aren’t constantly calling back to higher headquarters asking for permission,” he said. “They’re free to act.”
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