National Security

The Good News From Iraq That No One Heard About

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider-al-Abadi declared victory in the war against the Islamic State.

Paul Albaugh · Dec. 19, 2017

Perhaps one of the saddest aspects of the mainstream media today is that most stories have a very negative narrative. Most “news” has to do with a catastrophe somewhere, or a political scandal — whether it’s true or not — or just about anything that captivates the audience into believing that circumstances are far worse than they actually are. There just isn’t a whole lot of good news being presented to the everyday American. In fact, when there is good news, it’s often overshadowed by bad news. Crisis sells.

Last week, there was some outstanding news that either wasn’t reported or was given such short shrift that most people missed it. In case some have forgotten, we are still at war and have been since 2001. Thanks to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s malfeasance in abandoning Iraq in 2011, the Islamic State has been wreaking havoc for more than three years in the Middle East — specifically with its supposed caliphate in Iraq and Syria — as well as globally with so-called “lone wolf” attacks. The United States military has been actively engaged with the Islamic State, and has been helping the Iraqi military and the rebel fighters in Syria take back the cities in which these jihadis had gained a stronghold.

The goal of the Islamic State was to establish a caliphate, in which they would dominate strategic parts of the Middle East. Their objective was to rule by the force of brutality and to commit evil acts of terror against all those who did not submit to their reign. This group, as we have written before, was not the JV team Obama dismissed early on. No, it was a network of evil people who were a lot smarter, more organized, better funded and more sophisticated than Mr. Spike the Football would admit.

Perhaps the news media was so focused on the Alabama Senate race, Donald Trump’s latest Twitter posts, or the avalanche of sex scandal. But the fact is, there was some really good news from Iraq that should have been given higher billing. On Dec. 9, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider-al-Abadi declared victory in the war against the Islamic State. That’s right, it is defeated — at least in terms of it not having control over any Iraqi cities or territory. This is terrific news, especially for our military and our allies who have been relentless in this long war.

As National Review’s David French, himself a veteran of the Iraq War, puts it, “The caliphate is a smoking ruin. It courted conflict with the great powers. It craved Armageddon, and it got its wish. No one knows ISIS’s exact casualty figures, but its fighters have died by the tens of thousands.” In other words, our fine men and women carried out airstrikes, artillery bombardments and assaults in a highly effective manner, along with Iraqi soldiers, and removed control from one of the most evil terrorist regimes in modern history. Again, this should have dominated headlines but it didn’t.

Why? French notes that while Trump is delivering on his promise to defeat the Islamic State, his own posts on Twitter about fake news or various personal feuds overshadowed any good news from the war front that the media should have reported. In a sense, Trump, intentionally or not, distracts the public from good news by creating his own bad news.

French further notes that Americans as a whole are partially to blame for the lack of good news that is reported. Stories of panic and fear are read far more than stories about victory and peace; people ignore “good news” stories in favor of “bad news,” so journalists focus on the negative. The old ‘80s motto “if it bleeds, it leads” works for the marketing guys.

Regardless, it seems that with the declaration of victory against the Islamic State, reporters should have been flooding the airwaves with this announcement, but it seems that no one showed up to report on it. Perhaps no one thought that this victory against the caliphate was significant enough. Could it be that because the leadership of the Islamic State is stubbornly hanging on that reporters didn’t see the significance? Or is it because any good news for Trump is a non-starter?

Now, let’s be real, the fight against this foe is not over yet, as there are still thousands of jihadis in the battle, not just in the Middle East, but in other parts of the world. Still, the Islamic State today does not have what it had a month ago. It doesn’t have a caliphate and it doesn’t have control over any cities. Jihadis are on the run, and if we can continue to pursue these evil fighters relentlessly with the help of our allies in the Middle East, then one day perhaps the Islamic State will fully be defeated.

Trump and our military should remain committed to defeating our enemies. But the task will likely be more difficult in the years ahead, as many fighters return to their homelands and seek to reorganize and carry out smaller scale attacks. But for now, we all should be happy with the performance of our military in carrying out this difficult mission. And we should all pray daily for their safety wherever they may be serving.

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