According to several media reports, President Donald Trump has begun a major military policy shift that is freeing up the military from restrictions imposed by President Obama.
For years, the military has faced severe micromanagement from the Obama administration. That included a lack of focus on obvious ISIS targets and rules of engagement that kept the military’s hands tied. That comes after President Obama allowed ISIS to rise up in the first place by withdrawing prematurely from Iraq. The power vacuum was filled by radical jihadists who eventually formed ISIS.
The MOAB bombing last week was not directly ordered by President Trump, but it is a direct result of this shift in policy. Military commanders in the region are calling the shots now, rather than a West Wing bureaucrat. This new freedom to make their own decisions is already paying dividends on the ground.
The fact that the ISIS stronghold targeted by the MOAB has been on the U.S. radar for years, without being dealt with, is indicative of the failure of President Obama to actively pursue a winning strategy against the terror group.
The Trump administration has given the U.S. military significantly more leeway to use whatever means it sees fit in the fight against radical Islamic terrorism, senior officials say, in stark contrast to the Obama administration.
“There’s nothing formal, but it is beginning to take shape,” a senior U.S. defense told The Wall Street Journal. “There is a sense among these commanders that they are able to do a bit more — and so they are.”
President Trump’s new approach is perhaps best demonstrated in the U.S. decision to drop the largest non-nuclear device in the military’s arsenal — “the mother of all bombs” — on the Islamic State in Afghanistan Thursday. The blast ignited a media sensation, and killed nearly 100 ISIS fighters.
“It’s not the same as it was, you don’t have to ask us before you drop a MOAB,” a senior military official told TheWSJ, using the acronym for the large bomb. “Technically there’s no piece of paper that says you have to ask the president to drop a MOAB. But last year this time, the way [things were] meant, ‘I’m going to drop a MOAB, better let the White House know.’”
Top U.S. General in Afghanistan Gen. John Nicholson emphasized to reporters that he is the one of made the decision to drop the MOAB. “It was the right time to use it tactically against the right target on the battlefield,” Nicholson insisted.
This new aggressive push by the U.S. military, coupled by the efforts of the newly emboldened Iraqi army, has led to major victories against ISIS and al-Qaeda in a short time. Sometimes, those efforts come at a high cost, including the loss of Navy SEAL Ryan Owens in January. He and a number of civilians died in a SEAL Team 6 raid in Yemen against an al-Qaeda target.
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