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Sean Davis’s op-ed about the 10 undercovered stories of 2017 reminded me of the different approach taken towards ISIS. In a speech to the nation on Sept. 10, 2014, President Obama said “Now, it will take time to eradicate a cancer like ISIL. And any time we take military action, there are risks involved, especially to the servicemen and women who carry out these missions. But I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil. This counter-terrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist, using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground. This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years. And it is consistent with the approach I outlined earlier this year: to use force against anyone who threatens America’s core interests, but to mobilize partners wherever possible to address broader challenges to international order.”

Actually, that’s what happens when the United States military isn’t unleashed. Early in his administration, President Trump gave the generals the authority to do whatever it took to demolish ISIS. As I write this post, ISIS is virtually eradicated. ISIS’s strongholds in Mosul and Raqqa have been destroyed. Here’s how Davis described the situation:

Islamic State was crushed in Raqqa and Mosul

A year ago, the Islamic State wasn’t just on the rise in the Middle East, it was firmly in charge, with wide swaths of the region under its control. But in October, U.S.-backed forces completed the total liberation of Raqqa, the Islamic State’s Syrian capital. That followed the liberation of Mosul, a major Iraqi city captured by the Islamic State in 2014. In less than a year, Trump and his national security team accomplished what the previous administration suggested was impossible.

Listen to President Obama’s excuse-filled statement about the war against ISIS:

Here’s the part to focus on:

This is going to be a long-term campaign. There are not quick fixes involved. We are still in the early stages. As with any military effort, there will be days of progress and there will be periods of setback.

Actually, Mr. President, there was a quick fix. We just needed a real commander-in-chief who was serious about wiping out ISIS. Clearly, you didn’t fit that description. Further, it’s apparent that President Trump fits that description. It’s worth noting that President Trump has the advantage of having Gen. Jim Mattis as his Defense Secretary.

It’s likely that this is an underreported story because it would expose President Obama as the lackluster commander-in-chief that he was. The disgusting part is that I don’t have hope that we’ll learn from the Obama mistake. I don’t think we’ll learn from it because Obama’s supporters won’t admit that he’s a failure both on the national security front and the economic front.

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Rumor has it that ISIS preferred the Obama administration over the Trump administration. We don’t know that for certain because ISIS hasn’t issued a statement on the issue, mostly because ISIS is too decimated these days to do much of anything. ISIS is too busy dodging bombs to issue more than a monthly rah-rah statement. When the Obama administration was in office, ISIS had time to actually recruit terrorists and plan terrorist attacks. That isn’t happening during the Trump administration.

Seriously, this article lays out what’s happening. The article’s opening paragraphs start by saying “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.”

Predictably, the Obama administration attempted to push back. Predictably, it was feeble:

“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.

I don’t care if ISIS was a top priority for the Obama administration. It isn’t whether it’s a top priority. It’s whether the strategy employed is effective. Clearly, the Obama administration didn’t take things that seriously.

This report spells things out beautifully:

I’ll leave you with this parting thought:

Deptula thinks the ISIS fight would have ended much sooner if then-President Obama had given his military commander in the field more authority. He compared President Obama’s actions to President Lyndon B. Johnson during the Vietnam War. “Obama micromanaged the war,” Deptula said. “We could have accomplished our objectives through the use of overwhelming air power in three months not in three years.

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Notch another foreign policy victory for President Trump. This morning, Raqqa was liberated from ISIS. It seems like forever ago that people were being told that we couldn’t affect regime change in Syria without the threat of ISIS taking over the government. Overthrow, Democrats told us, meant deposing Assad, then watching while ISIS took over. Apparently, President Trump and Gen. Mattis didn’t get that memo.

According to the article, “The Syrian city of Raqqa was liberated from ISIS fighters Tuesday, a commander with U.S.-backed Syrian forces said. The loss deprived the terror group of the capital of its so-called caliphate, which has dwindled from a land mass spanning two countries to a sliver of space in Syria. The last group of Islamic State militants had been holed up Tuesday in a stadium in the Syrian city of Raqqa, their last stand in the fight over what was the terror group’s de facto capital as U.S. backed, Kurdish-led forces close in around them.”

It’s fun hearing that “the last black ISIS flag raised in the city had been taken down.”

This article summarizes things nicely:

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias backed by a US-led international alliance, has been fighting ISIS inside Raqqa since June. SOHR said 3,250 people were killed in the five-month battle, including 1,130 civilians.

A witness said fighting appeared to be almost at an end with only sporadic bursts of gunfire. Militia fighters celebrated in the streets, chanted slogans from their vehicles and raised a flag inside Raqqa stadium. An SDF spokesman said the alliance would capture the last ISIS areas in the city within hours.

Notice that the SDF started their offensive in June of this year. President Trump’s strategy to empower generals on the ground paid dividends because they weren’t micromanaged from the Oval Office like they were during the Obama administration.

President Trump’s goal was defeating ISIS. President Obama’s goal was to do as little as possible because he wanted his legacy to be of an anti-war president. That meant sacrificing military victories to pay for political victories.

Thankfully, we’ve got a real commander-in-chief now.

After ISIS’s rise, President Obama was forced to take action against his will. He really didn’t want to send troops back into Iraq. Initially, the Obama administration announced airstrikes. Predictably, they didn’t have much of an effect. Now that President Trump has increased pressure on ISIS, ISIS is getting exposed as being terrible fighters. This article highlights how ISIS has crumbled.

The article starts by saying “The Islamic State group once drew recruits from near and far with promises of paradise but now bodies of jihadists lie in mass graves or at the mercy of wild dogs as its “caliphate” collapses. Flies buzz around human remains poking through the dusty earth in the Iraqi town of Dhuluiyah, 90 kilometres (55 miles) north of Baghdad, at a hastily-dug pit containing the bodies of dozens of IS fighters killed in 2015. They should have ended up in the stomachs of stray dogs,” local police officer Mohammed al-Juburi told AFP. ‘We buried them here not out of love but because we wanted to avoid diseases.'”

Farmer Shalan al-Juburi is quoted as saying “We buried them with bulldozers. Even in the ground they are still mired in their own filth. They said that they would go to paradise to enjoy the gardens of delights, but this is how they ended up.”

But as Iraqi forces in Anbar now look to oust the jihadists from their final footholds, operation commander Mahmoud al-Fellahi insisted any jihadists killed will end up in mass graves. A similar fate befell IS members in the city of Mosul, the group’s largest urban stronghold in Iraq that it lost in July. There, a senior Iraqi commander told AFP, authorities used earthmoving equipment “to bury the jihadists after we collected information on their identities and nationalities”.

During President Bush’s surge, he benefitted from the Anbar Awakening. Once the people saw that they had a reliable military partner, the people started helping al-Qa’ida strongholds. It didn’t take long to defeat al-Qa’ida.

Unfortunately, thanks to President Obama’s politicization of US foreign policy, the US quickly lost the ground it had gained during the Bush administration. Now that we’ve got a legitimate commander-in-chief again, the tide quickly turned. This video offers a nice summarization:

Buck Sexton’s op-ed opens with grim news for ISIS. Sexton’s opening paragraphs start with “ISIS’s reign of terror is rapidly coming to an end. Within a matter of days, the jihadist menace that shocked the world for years with its pathological sadism will lose its final strongholds within the Syrian city of Raqqa. It has taken 5 months of bloody struggle but the de facto capital of the Islamic State will soon be entirely in the hands of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Across the border in Iraq, the process of rebuilding the devastated city of Mosul is underway after its liberation from the so-called caliphate in July. There are still areas of ISIS control in both Iraq and Syria, but the jihadists have lost over 60 percent of the territory they once held. Their sources of funding are drying up, hostile forces surround them, and ISIS can no longer count on tens of thousands of recruits to flood into Syria to replenish their ranks.”

ISIS sprang to life during the Obama administration. It’s on the verge of elimination in the early days of the Trump administration. That pretty much sums up the difference between the 2 administrations. Strategic patience was replaced by devastating strikes on ISIS strongholds. The key part of Sexton’s op-ed is where he said ISIS’ “sources of funding are drying up, hostile forces surround them, and ISIS can no longer count on tens of thousands of recruits to flood into Syria to replenish their ranks.”

People questioned when President Trump bombed that airfield in Syria shortly after his inauguration. They questioned whether he had a strategy. 6 months later, it’s clear that he has a strategy for victory in Iraq and Syria. This paragraph is important:

On the Syrian front, the world was faced with the lose-lose choice of a collapsing Assad regime and an ascendant ISIS. Now, ISIS’s leadership is on the run, and its fighters are surrendering by the hundreds. Not every militant wants to be among the last suicide bombers for a crumbling caliphate.

When ISIS was first getting started, they were seen as the strong horse. People were travelling to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS’ cause. That definitely isn’t happening at the same rate today. The fight isn’t won but it’s clear who owns the momentum.

The Trump Doctrine is developing a bit at a time. President Trump’s acceleration of hostilities against ISIS is hurting the terrorists. President Trump’s applying of pressure on China is causing hardship for China and North Korea. President Trump’s delegating authority to his in-theater generals is improving the military’s morale, too. These things aren’t happening accidentally.

It’s understatement saying that it’s encouraging to see these Syrians taking the fight to ISIS.

This article in the Pi-Press is disgusting in its dishonesty. In the article, the ‘reporter’ says that “Trump’s highly controversial order suspends refugee admissions for 120 days and bars all immigration for 90 days of citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries with terrorism concerns: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Those now being barred from the country include refugees who have already been thoroughly vetted by U.S. agencies.”

Either this reporter is telling an outright lie or he’s incredibly ignorant of the truth. Though Politifact attempts to sweep things under the carpet, the fact remains that FBI Director James Comey testified that “We can only query against that which we have collected, and so if someone has never made a ripple in the pond in Syria in a way that would get their identity or their interests reflected in our database, we can query our database till the cows come home, but … there’ll be nothing show up, because we have no record on that person.”

Politifact tried spinning things by saying “But did James Comey actually say the FBI “cannot properly vet” people coming from the Middle East? No, he didn’t. Beruff is distorting a point Comey was making about a flaw in the vetting process, but he was reiterating the system in place was actually much better than it had been in the past.”

Here’s the real exchange:

Ranking member Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) asked Comey, “Mr. Director, before this committee, [FBI] Assistant Director [Michael] Steinbach said that the concerns in Syria is that we don’t have the systems in place on the ground to collect the information to vet. That would be the concern. Databases don’t hold the information on these individuals. Is that still the position of the department?”

“Yes, I think that’s the challenge we’re all talking about, is that we can only query against that which we have collected, and so if someone has never made a ripple in the pond in Syria in a way that would get their identity or their interests reflected in our database, we can query our database till the cows come home, but we’re not gonna—there’ll be nothing show up, because we have no record on that person,” said Comey. “That’s what Assistant Director Steinbach was talking about,” he added.

Not having verifiable data to compare against isn’t “a flaw in the vetting process.” That’s admitting that it’s impossible to vet people. Here’s video of FBI Director Comey’s testimony:

That’s pretty open-and-shut testimony.

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This article points to the possibility that the Democrats’ uproar over the so-called Muslim ban is manufactured. The article starts by saying “Many of President Donald Trump’s core political supporters had a simple message on Sunday for the fiercest opponents of his immigration ban: Calm down. The relaxed reaction among the kind of voters who drove Trump’s historic upset victory – working- and middle-class residents of Midwest and the South – provided a striking contrast to the uproar that has gripped major coastal cities, where thousands of protesters flocked to airports where immigrants had been detained.”

Let’s get serious about something. Democrats didn’t utter a peep in 2011 when then-President Obama temporarily stopped admitting Iraqis when 2 al-Qa’ida in Iraq terrorists were discovered in Bowling Green, KY after getting admitted as refugees. The Washington Post’s ‘fact-checker’, Glenn Kessler tweeted his explanation for why the media didn’t say anything about Obama’s temporary halt in bringing in refugees, saying “two big differences: 1) pause was not announced at the time, done quietly. reporters only found out years later. 2) not based on religion.” Roxanne Chester put Kessler in his place with this tweet, saying “The most transparent adm did things they didn’t publish? Isn’t it the job of a free press to monitor that?”

The chances of the Democrats’ protests being spontaneous aren’t high. They’re pretty unlikely. It’s difficult to say that the grass roots are rising up when they’re rent-a-protesters. If these ‘grass roots’ activists are that into human rights, why didn’t they say anything about this?

These protests are as phony as the Democrats. It’s that simple.

The dishonest media is doing its best to whip the nation into a frenzy by not reporting the contents of President Trump’s EO accurately. Democrats are doing everything possible to keep the public misinformed. Kamala Harris, who replaced Barbara Boxer as the junior senator from California, is protesting President Trump’s EO that temporarily bans Muslims from 7 specific nations known as terrorist hotbeds. Rather than doing the job that people expect them to do, which is to accurately inform people of what’s happening in Washington, DC, the dishonest media is doing its best to mislead the public while telling people that President Trump is a racist and an Islamophobe.

William Jacobsen rightly said in this post that people “should actually read it“. The important part of what President Trump’s EO said actually cites the US law that permits him to act in our nation’s national security interests. It says “Pursuant to section 212(f) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. 1182(f), I hereby proclaim that the entry of nationals of Syria as refugees is detrimental to the interests of the United States and thus suspend any such entry until such time as I have determined that sufficient changes have been made to the USRAP to ensure that admission of Syrian refugees is consistent with the national interest.”

Not only is the dishonest media getting things wrong. It’s badly misleading people to the point where it’s difficult that this isn’t intentional. Progressive activists aren’t helping, either, by flocking to social media to complain about President Trump’s EO, then aggregating them under the hashtag #MuslimBan. What the dishonest media and these progressive activists haven’t explained is how the so-called #MuslimBan doesn’t include the nation with the biggest Muslim population in the world (Indonesia) or how Muslim nations like Turkey, Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia aren’t on the list.

Then there’s this:

The order bars all people hailing from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. Those countries were named in a 2016 law concerning immigration visas as “countries of concern.”

If Trump is anti-Muslim for temporarily banning people from these countries, then former President Obama must be anti-Muslim, too, because he signed the bill into law. Thomas Lifson’s article highlights the fact that Syria is the only nation named in President Trump’s EO:

I read the order and Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen are not mentioned in it. Go back and read it again. Do a “ctrl-f” to find “Iraq.” Where is “Iraq” in the order. It’s not there. Only Syria is there. So where are the seven nations? Where is the “Muslim ban?” It turns out this was a form of fake news, or alternative facts. Trump didn’t select seven “Muslim-majority” countries. US President Barack Obama’s administration selected these seven Muslim-majority countries.

This is proof positive that President Trump is right in calling the dishonest media the opposition party. I’d go a step further. I’d argue that they’re unindicted co-conspirators with dishonest Democratic Party politicians like Elizabeth Warren, Chuck Schumer, Kamala Harris, Dianne Feinstein and Nancy Pelosi.

If their collective dishonesty were political capital, that bunch would rule Washington, DC for decades. Thank God that isn’t the case. They’re just a bunch of dishonest progressive politicians that the nation rejected this past November. I’ll leave you with this video:

It’s video of a manipulative, dishonest politician. I never thought I’d say this but I think I’d prefer Harry Reid over this politician.

Peggy Flanagan’s latest e-letter update highlights a new phenomenon known as ISIS deniers. In her e-letter update, she wrote “Every day under Donald Trump seems to bring yet another attack on our beloved community. Today, that attack was a series of executive orders targeting immigrants and refugees who fled to this country seeking better lives for themselves and their families. As a Native woman whose ancestors originally inhabited this land, I know the importance of welcoming the stranger. So today I stood with a beautifully diverse group of state and local leaders to send a message to Donald Trump: We don’t scare easy in Minnesota. Our immigrant and refugee friends and neighbors are part of what makes Minnesota such a wonderful place to live and raise a family. And we stand ready to resist any and all efforts to intimidate our communities. We are all here to stay. We will remain. We will resist.”

I don’t doubt that this makes for good politics within the DFL. It’s that Rep. Flanagan doesn’t appear to care whatsoever about national security. Apparently, DFL legislators are as ignorant of national security threats as Sen. Schumer and Sen. Feinstein are.

I wrote this post to highlight this phenomenon where Democrats pretend that ISIS has been wiped out or, at minimum, has been contained. That’s a myth started by former President Obama. Obama’s problem was that he saw things as he wanted them to be, not as what they really were. Thanks to his rose-colored-glasses view of the world, we’re dealing with a grave national security threat that hasn’t been taken seriously for the better part of a decade. This map should wake Rep. Flanagan up:

It’s time for Rep. Flanagan to pull her head out of her backside and start dealing with reality.

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When President Trump signed an executive order (EO) banning Syrian refugees from entering the United States, several Democrats freaked out. Chuck Schumer went drama queen, saying that tears were streaming down the Statue of Liberty’s face. Sen. Warren said that the move was “a betrayal of American values.” Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) “wrote in an Huffington Post op-ed that ‘Trump has now handed ISIS a path to rebirth.'” Sen. Feinstein said “there is no legitimate national security reason to ban refugees, the vast majority of whom are women and children who have experienced absolute horror.”

SPECIAL NOTE TO SEN. MURPHY: ISIS hasn’t stopped expanding its operational capabilities. It’s impossible to be reborn if you’re still growing your operational capabilities.

This article highlights how ISIS is using the Syrian refugee crisis to infiltrate its operatives into Europe. According to the article, “On a crisp morning last October, 198 migrants arrived on the Greek island of Leros, all of them seemingly desperate people seeking sanctuary in Europe. But hiding among them were four men with a very different agenda. The four were posing as war-weary Syrians — all carrying doctored passports with false identities. And they were on a deadly mission for the Islamic State.”

That isn’t all. There’s more:

Two of the four would masquerade as migrants all the way to Paris. There, at 9:20 p.m. on Nov. 13, they would detonate suicide vests near the Stade de France sports complex, fulfilling their part in the worst attack on French soil since World War II.

It’s frightening that Sen. Feinstein would say that these refugees don’t pose a national security threat to the United States. If ISIS terrorists can make it to western Europe disguised as refugees, ISIS terrorists can make it to the United States disguised as refugees. This should wake up Democrats. Either that or it will expose them as total ISIS deniers:

There’s more:

European security officials say they think that the Islamic State has seeded terrorist cells on the continent over the past year and was able to do so in part because the European Union failed to come to grips with a migrant crisis that opened a funnel for the militant group. Europe is now working with Turkey to bar its doors, ending the waves of irregular migration that washed over the continent last year. But more than a million migrants, a record, have already entered. Hundreds of thousands of them, European intelligence agencies say, may have done so without thorough checks at their entry point: Greece.

The vast majority of migrants were genuinely fleeing war and poverty. But over the past six months, more than three dozen suspected militants who impersonated migrants have been arrested or died while planning or carrying out acts of terrorism. They include at least seven directly tied to the bloody attacks in Paris and Brussels. The Islamic State is gloating that they have far more lying in wait. “We have sent many operatives to Europe with the refugees,” an Islamic State commander said in an interview over an encrypted data service. “Some of our brothers have fulfilled their mission, but others are still waiting to be activated.”

Sen. Feinstein, doesn’t this indicate that ISIS ‘refugees’ pose a legitimate threat to US national security? If it doesn’t, why doesn’t it?

The Statue says “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” It doesn’t say “Give me your terrorists who want to create havoc within our nation.”

It isn’t wrong to accuse the Democratic Party of becoming the Party of ISIS Deniers.

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