President Trump announced the death of ISIS founder and leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi who was killed in a daring mission carried out by Army Ranger and Special Forces troops. The President said that our intelligence had been tracking al-Baghdadi for weeks and the mission was scrubbed at the last minute on several occasions due to the unpredictability of the ISIS leader’s movements. Apparently the mission consisted of 8 helicopters (presumably Blackhawks) and just under 100 soldiers. Blackhawks are the military’s workhorse, capable of carrying out any number of tasks and can transport large numbers of personnel and equipment or weaponry. The details of the mission were known to only a few people in Washington, a fact that allowed for the element of surprise. Apparently Nancy Pelosi was upset that she and other Democrats were not informed of the details. The President clearly stated in his news conference that the Dems leak everything and could not be trusted with knowledge of the attempt on the ISIS leader. The goal (as with Osama bin Laden) was to take al Baghdadi alive along with any strategic material from his location. When confronted the terrorist leader ran into a tunnel and detonated an explosive vest to avoid capture and prosecution. He died a coward’s death rather than face retribution for his legendary cruelty. This effort would not have been possible without the President maintaining a good relationship with the Russians, Turks, Iraqis and Kurds. The Dems will NEVER give Trump any credit but his diplomacy in the Middle East appears to be the correct path to follow. We will use our limited military forces strategically and allow the Russians and Turks to do the major fighting in the region. Our presence in the region only creates resentment and hostility. Even Democratic candidate (and Afghanistan veteran) Tulsi Gabbard believes that our days of empire building and regime change are history.
When Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda, was killed on May 2, 2011, President Obama was hailed for a “great accomplishment.” I’m sure there will be little (if any) praise for President Trump following the removal of al-Baghdadi. After his election Trump removed the restrictive “rules of engagement” placed on our military forces by Obama and unleashed field officers to take the steps necessary to defeat ISIS. The caliphate that had grown under Obama was taken back under Trump. ISIS philosophy may never be totally defeated, but as the President emphasized, no terrorist can rest easy, America will be coming for you. By protecting the Syrian oil fields we are now depriving ISIS from much-needed oil revenue and instead allowing our allies, the Kurds to benefit from this resource. Erdogan was intent on invading northern Syria and there was no way to protect the Kurds with our limited forces in the area. We could not attack a fellow NATO member; the President has tried to make the best of a bad situation. I believe he is doing a fine job, despite all the armchair quarterbacks!