With Barack Obama trying to get us to return his team to power, it might be well to remember the story of ISIS.
When Barack Obama was president, he sought to defuse Islamic extremism by offering friendship. Obama berated Christians in a speech, reminding them that they had committed crimes during the Crusades of the 11th Century. He told audiences that the Muslim “Call to Prayer” was one of the “prettiest sounds on earth.”
When the so called “Arab Spring” swept across Africa and the Middle East, the Obama-Hillary Clinton State Department welcomed the moment. Libya, which had finally given up its nuclear weapons at American urging, was now gleefully toppled into anarchy.
On the anniversary of 9-11, the American embassy in Benghazi, Libya, was attacked and the American Ambassador was murdered. The Obama administration claimed on national television that the attack was provoked by an intolerant video produced by an Egyptian living in California. We were told that the date of the attack, the anniversary of 9-11, was only coincidental.
Extremist attacks became the norm. A British Army soldier, Lee Rigby, was attacked as he walked down Wellington Street in London in the middle of the day. This father of a 2-year-old was hacked to death and then beheaded by Nigerian Muslims.
The following year, the Boko Haram declared allegiance to the newly proclaimed ISIS. The Boko Haram attacked a boarding school in Chibok, Nigeria, and kidnapped hundreds of teenage girls which were raped and sold as sex slaves to Muslims across Africa.
Thanks to an Obama-Clinton plan to supply anti-government groups in Syria, arms began to inadvertently flow into the newly announced Caliphate of ISIS.
Americans watched in horror on national television as American made tanks and Humvees, with black flags of ISIS flowing from their hatches, raced across the Middle East. By 2015 the new territory controlled 35,000 square miles of Syria and Iraq. Mosul was its capital.
ISIS was rich. It had a population of millions which it robbed and turned into slaves. It controlled massive stockpiles of weapons, oil fields, lucrative smuggling routes, and vast numbers of priceless carvings and art pieces from antiquity which it began selling to collectors all over the world. Inspired by its great successes and its gruesome executions, Islamic extremists flocked to the Caliphate from all over. New ISIS cells popped up in the Philippines, Indonesia, and all across the Middle East and Africa.
Television viewers in Asia, Europe, and the West witnessed mass beheadings on the beaches. And then genocide of villages and cities. Christian communities, which traced their lineage back to the First Century, were now slaughtered. The bodies of these men, women, and children were dumped into mass graves.
There was every reason to believe that what ISIS had done in the Middle East would only be the launching pad for attacks in the West. In November 2105, an attack in Paris left 129 dead.
All during this time, American weapons continued to flow into the hands of ISIS. According to an NBC report, serial numbers and “key markings” on weapons allowed them to be traced back to their American origins. For example, an American owned anti-tank missile passed into the hands of ISIS just 59 days after the American’s purchased it from the Chinese.
In April 2016, during a campaign stop in Connecticut, GOP candidate Donald J. Trump announced the end of ISIS. “We are gonna beat ISIS very, very quickly, folks.” It sounded pretty incredible at the time. “It’s gonna be fast. I have a great plan. It’s going to be great.”
The Hillary Clinton campaign openly ridiculed the idea.
“They ask, ‘What is it?’” Trump said, “Well, I’d rather not say.”
Word leaked out of the Trump campaign that his plans had been gleaned from soldiers in the field. That they involved good business sense, new ideas for choking off the source of ISIS money. New ideas for working with Saudi Arabia, the Kurds, and Israel. Allowing commanders in the field more authority to reduce decision making time. The latter would prove to be one of the key decisions.
Shortly after winning the presidency, Donald Trump took immediate action on ISIS. He called for a Pentagon review on how to win the war. Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, was urged to eliminate layers of approval for tactical decisions.
There was one other critical adjustment. ISIS would no longer be forced out of a city, province, or territory. Now it would be surrounded and annihilated.
The new ideas jelled. ISIS began to break. Its supply of new fighters dried up. And then it collapsed.
Trump claimed more progress in five months than the previous five years.
He was right. Donald Trump made it look easy.
Doug Wead is a presidential historian who served as a senior adviser to the Ron Paul presidential campaign. He is a New York Times best-selling author, philanthropist, and adviser to two presidents, including President George H.W. Bush. He is the author of "Game of Thorns: Inside the Clinton-Trump Campaign of 2016." Read more reports from Doug Wead — Click Here Now.
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