On Saturday, world leaders hailed the fact that the Islamic State group lost its last swath of territory in Syria, essentially ending the “caliphate” that terrorism’s “JV team” had managed to accumulate.
“Syrian Democratic Forces declare total elimination of so-called caliphate and %100 (sic) territorial defeat of ISIS. On this unique day, we commemorate thousands of martyrs whose efforts made the victory possible. #SDFDefeatedISIS,” Syrian Democratic Forces spokesman Mustafa Bali wrote in a tweet.
The White House was in a celebratory mood when it came to the news.
“We will remain vigilant against ISIS by aligning global counterterrorism efforts to fight ISIS until it is finally defeated wherever it operates,” President Donald Trump promised, according to Bloomberg.
The Hill reported that Trump was briefed on the development aboard Air Force One on his way to Florida. Separately, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders showed reporters a map demonstrating the Islamic State group’s territorial losses.
“You guys can have the map. Congratulations. Just spread it around,” Trump told reporters during remarks on the airport tarmac.
And, on Twitter, Donald Trump Jr. went a step further, reminding America who was responsible for the development.
“ISIS defeated! A really big deal. This is what happens when you let the guys in the field do what is needed to win rather than let Obama’s lawyer bureaucrats in DC call the shots,” Trump Jr. tweeted.
“We’ve now understand full well how incompetent those bureaucrats really were on many levels.”
ISIS defeated! A really big deal. This is what happens when you let the guys in the field do what is needed to win rather than let Obama’s lawyer bureaucrats in DC call the shots. We’ve now understand full well how incompetent those bureaucrats really were on many levels. https://t.co/NdWPc5bHq4
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) March 23, 2019
Lest you think this is just Trump Jr. taking a needless swipe at Obama, it’s important to remember just how much micromanaging the Obama administration did in the fight against the Islamic State group.
“The monthly scorecards issued by U.S. Central Command’s Air Force component illustrate how carefully — critics would say how inadequately — the White House oversees the air war against the Islamic State,” The Washington Times reported in September of 2016.
“About half the combat missions actually unleash ordnance. The other aircraft return to base with just as many bombs and missiles as when they left.”
“It is not an air campaign,” retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney, who was supporting Donald Trump’s candidacy, told the Times for the article. “In addition, a general in Baghdad must approve every bomb dropped — handcuffs on air power to let ISIS survive.”
Two of Obama’s former defense secretaries — Robert Gates and Leon Panetta — also criticized how the White House would interfere with military operations.
“It was micromanagement that drove me crazy,” Gates said at a 2014 forum at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, according to Military.com.
“Gates said he had to deal with members of the NSC staff who directly called four-star generals on matters of strategy and tactics. The White House also attempted to make direct contact with Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC),” the website reported.
“I told JSOC if they got a call from the White House, ‘you tell them to go to hell and call me,’” Gates said.
“I think when a president wants highly centralized control at the White House, that’s not bureaucratic, that’s political.”
Panetta made similar remarks at the forum, saying he was irritated that Obama made it clear ground troops wouldn’t be used.
“Never tell your enemy what the hell you’re going to do,” Panetta said.
There are a whole slew of reasons why the Islamic State group flourished under the Obama administration and presidential micromanagement is just one of them.
I could write a thesis paper on this, but I’d bore both you and me, so I’ll say this much: Turning the commanders out in the field loose to do their jobs beats letting bureaucrats run the operation from Washington.
If you don’t believe me, just ask the Islamic State group.
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