Military Campaign Against ISIS Hits Huge Obstacle

The Trump White House has been unusually quiet about its campaign to defeat ISIS. Kimberly Dozier might have an explanation:

U.S. special operations forces have removed roughly 50 top ISIS leaders off the battlefield since President Donald Trump took office, down from 80 killed in the last six months of the Obama administration, according to figures obtained by The Daily Beast. “The pace and the way they have gone about going after these HVT’s [High-value targets] hasn’t changed,” said coalition spokesman Col. Ryan Dillon of the U.S. special operations’ campaign to take ISIS commanders off the Iraqi and Syrian battlefields.

….Trump’s changes to the campaign so far have been tactical—namely, giving the military more autonomy to strike, including special operators….That’s presented a dilemma for those working on the Trump anti-ISIS strategy and slowed its public unveiling, U.S. officials tell The Daily Beast. The White House has asked defense officials to come up with new ideas to help brand the Trump campaign as different from its predecessor, according to two U.S. officials and one senior administration official. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive debates.

The senior administration official described Trump’s plan as “relying even more” on special operations working together with local partner forces. “But that’s nuanced, like most of the suggested changes” and doesn’t easily translate to a talking point, he said. That could help explain why Trump has twice missed his own deadline for unveiling the new anti-ISIS strategy.

I can hardly wait for the new branding campaign. But I’m surprised it’s taken this long. Whatever else you can say about Trump, he’s a master marketer and slogan creator. He has an almost animal cunning for drilling in on weak points and inventing Twitter-friendly catchphrases to bring them to the masses (“low energy,” “lock her up”).

Maybe he’s off his game because he’s too busy stewing about CNN or something. But he should get with it. There’s a whole army of Trump defenders out there who are waiting to take whatever he makes up and parrot it far and wide on every media channel in the galaxy.

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate