The recent defeat of the ISIS caliphate by U.S.-backed forces might not have merited the cheering crowds that clogged Times Square on V-J Day -- Aug. 14, 1945 -- when America toasted victory over Japan and won World War II. But the annihilation of the vicious, barbaric Islamic State -- once the size of two New Jerseys -- deserved far more than the relative shrug with which the media greeted it.
President Trump grasped this event’s significance and remarked accordingly.
“I am pleased to announce that, together with our partners in the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, including the Iraqi Security Forces and the Syrian Democratic Forces, the United States has liberated all ISIS-controlled territory in Syria and Iraq — 100 percent of the caliphate,’” Trump stated March 23.
He noted that these troops “have retaken more than 20,000 square miles of land and liberated millions of Syrians and Iraqis.” With oddly soothing bluntness, the president added: “To all of the young people on the Internet believing in ISIS’s propaganda, you will be dead if you join. Think instead about having a great life.”
But the liberal media’s response was far more muted, perhaps to give President Trump as little credit for obliterating these mass murderers whom Obama once foolishly dismissed as a “JV team.”
“This story earned coverage as victory approached though, one could argue, not as much as it deserved,” the Media Research Center’s Brent Baker told me. “And then the focus on the impending Mueller report release overwhelmed it on the weekend victory was announced, leaving this news to a few seconds on ABC and CBS while only NBC treated it as a story worth multiple, full reports.”
From March 22, the eve of the caliphate’s demise, through its death the next day, "NBC Nightly" News spent 3 minutes and 20 seconds on this story.
While college basketball eclipsed "CBS Weekend News" on March 23, the network spent just 30 seconds on ISIS’ swan song the previous day. However, it devoted 2 minutes and 20 seconds that night to Snowflake, a duck that a Maine girl turned into an indoor pet.
ABC’s "World News Tonight" ignored ISIS on March 22. The program spent 25 seconds on the caliphate the next night. It then dedicated 1 minute and 20 seconds to New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Police say he enjoyed sexual favors at a Jupiter, Florida, massage parlor. (Parenthetically, unless Kraft knew these masseuses were victims of alleged human trafficking, what did he do wrong? Had a reputed sex slave merely rubbed this widower’s neck, would police have handcuffed him? Also, Kraft is worth $6.6 billion. Class warfare, anyone?)
Despite the Old Guard media’s hushed reaction, the caliphate’s collapse remains a vital strategic boost and major -- if not final -- blow against militant Islam.
“Reclaiming ISIS’ last remaining slice of territory was a significant moment that should be widely celebrated,” Heritage Foundation scholar Robin Simcox tells me. “The destruction of the ISIS’ Caliphate in Iraq and Syria was a crucial victory in the fight against extremism in the Middle East. However, it was also a crucial victory for Western security interests. The Caliphate was like a magnet for Western foreign fighters and was used as a base from which to plan devastating terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels.”
Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, concurs: “Undoubtedly, a defeat for the ISIS brand and the decimation of its caliphate are major short-term setbacks for the global jihad.” The author of "A Battle for the Soul of Islam" adds this caution: “While the Islamic State is hampered by not having a land mass from which to launch operations, it is still rife with cash, and its jihadi adherents are still a major global threat to free peoples everywhere.”
Like many Manhattan socialites, ISIS is now cash-rich and land poor. How, then, did these blood-thirsty killers lose their vast acres of rocks and sand dunes? They largely can thank Donald J. Trump for keeping his promises.
“I would bomb the sh-- out of ’em,” Trump told Iowa voters in November 2015. The Republican nominee put this more elegantly in August 2016: “My administration will aggressively pursue joint and coalition military operations to crush and destroy ISIS.”
As president, Trump gave the Pentagon and ground commanders greater latitude, as opposed to Obama’s control-freakism, which maddened even his own defense secretary. “It was micromanagement that drove me crazy,” Robert Gates said in November 2014.
As pledged, Trump unleashed death from above. According to U.S. Air Forces Central Command, under Obama, Operation Inherent Resolve released 30,743 weapons in 2016. Under Trump, 39,577 in 2017 — a 29 percent increase.
As this tactic proved more lethal, along with more effective use of U.S. military advisers, only 8,713 explosives tumbled onto an ever-shrinking caliphate throughout 2018 -- a 78 percent decrease. November and December’s bombings spiked 230 percent, versus a year earlier, however, as Civilization lunged for ISIS’ jugular.
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The result? The 79-nation Coalition to Defeat ISIS did just that. And Trump, allegedly “unfit” to be president, led the way.
Triumphant anti-ISIS fighters played the “Star-Spangled Banner” on March 23, as they rejoiced atop the rubble of what had been a virulent, Sharia-driven, mini-nation. With gays no longer flung from rooftops, beheadings halted, and crucifixions returned to antiquity, this revelry was just right. Too bad the hoopla has been so subdued here, in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Michael Malarkey furnished research for this opinion piece.