Rumors Of The Islamic State’s Destruction Were Greatly Exaggerated

It seems like only yesterday that adjudicated fraud and alleged president Donald J. Trump was tweeting that ISIS had been defeated. Actually, that was less than four weeks ago, but you are forgiven for thinking it was yesterday, since all of Trump’s lies are really just adjuncts of the Big Lie, which is Trump himself, so they all blur together into a singularity of falsehood from which no light of understanding ever escapes. This effect warps news time and media space in strange, mind-bending ways.

Of course, we knew at the time of Trump’s Mission Accomplished tweets that the Islamic State still had tens of thousands of fighters, so it was inevitable that Daesh would start launching attacks at any Americans they could, and now that is happening. An American patrol was hit today in northern Syria, killing “U.S. service members” — plural.

“The coalition has not said how many service members were killed. Prior to Wednesday’s attack, only two US service members had been killed in action in Syria since the start of the campaign in 2014,” CNN reports.

In other words, ISIS fighters had only managed to kill two Americans in Syria during all the years before they were supposedly “defeated,” yet they have just killed at least two Americans with a single suicide bomb. This does not look like a caliphate on the wane, but of course Team Trump is sticking to their story:

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least eight people were killed.

A spokesperson for Operation Inherent Resolve tweeted Wednesday that the coalition is “still gathering information” about the explosion.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said President Donald Trump has been briefed on the situation. Vice President Mike Pence has also been briefed, according to a tweet from his press secretary.

However, Pence made no mention of the attack or the deaths of US service members while making remarks at the Global Chiefs of Mission conference at the US State Department Wednesday, claiming “The caliphate has crumbled, and ISIS has been defeated.”

Responding the the president’s remarks, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said the problem with “the statements made by President Trump, is that you set in motion enthusiasm by the enemy we’re fighting. You make people we’re trying to help wonder about us. And as they get bolder, the people we’re trying to help are going to get more uncertain.”

Those words are sure to earn the freshman Democrat plenty of scorn on Fox News OH WAIT THOSE WORDS DID NOT COME OUT OF HER MOUTH AT ALL I AM SO SORRY MY MISTAKE the person who said those words was actually Trump’s favorite fluffer, Sen. Lindsey Graham:

“Every American wants our troops to come home, but I think all of us want to make sure that when they do come home, we’re safe,” he added. “So I would hope the President would look long at hard at where he’s headed in Syria. I know people are frustrated, but we’re never going to be safe here unless we’re willing to help people over there who will stand up against this radical ideology.”

Get that? There is no way to pull out of Syria without risking American lives or allies in the process. Every weapon or piece of equipment withdrawn from Syria leaves the small force there even weaker in the face of a desperate, emboldened foe. Every reduction in troops leaves allies vulnerable to destruction. Neither outcome is desirable from any point of view except Vladimir Putin’s.

The men and women wearing the boots on the ground understand this all too well, and they are not afraid to tell Trump to his face, either.

During his surprise visit to Iraq on December 26, Trump was warned by military commanders that — despite his claims — ISIS was not entirely defeated in Syria. People familiar with the President’s reaction said the conversation was eye-opening for a leader who, days earlier, claimed the terror group was defeated “badly” in the country.

And yet the Russian asset sails blissfully onward, saying nothing, surrendering the strategic advantage to his Kremlin sponsors while his administration struggles to resolve the cognitive dissonance that their commander in chief inspires.

Featured image via Gage Skidmore Flickr/CC