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Under Trump, gains against ISIS have dramatically accelerated

Nearly a third of territory reclaimed from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria since 2014 has been won in the past six months, due to new policies adopted by the Trump administration, a senior State Department official said Friday. Brett McGurk, the State Department’s senior envoy to the anti-Islamic State coalition, a job he also held in the Obama administration, said that steps President Trump has taken, including delegating decision-making authority down from the White House to commanders in the field, have “dramatically accelerated” gains against the militants. Although the Trump administration has refused to announce its new strategy for the campaign against the Islamic State, McGurk cited “key changes” under Trump. In addition to the delegation of decision-making authority, which he said has allowed much greater responsiveness to opportunities and changing circumstances, he cited a “campaign of annihilation” that has concentrated on surrounding cities held by the militants before launching offensives, to ensure that no militants will escape. He said the 2,000 militants remaining in Raqqa “most likely will die in Raqqa.”

Under Trump, gains against ISIS have ‘dramatically accelerated’A State Department special envoy said new policies are leading to rapid gains against the militants in Syria and Iraq.https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/under-trump-gains-against-isis-have-dramatically-accelerated/2017/08/04/8ad29d40-7958-11e7-8f39-eeb7d3a2d304_story.html
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Well, who runs ISIS? It is another ploy, after all. I asked this question in one of the last meetings I had a chance to attend, before going crazy about alcohol+helicopters, which doesn't help my own credibility I admit. As a liaison officer, I was treated as garbage and I was quite profoundly surprised to get an answer. "We do." Two simple words, merely enough to make a sentence, but what a sentence..

@Maze So the big question then is, who is "we" specifically?

To be honest, I don't know. It's like lottery numbers, we all know they come up and then there you are, staring at them. "Such an easy sequence, how the hell didn't I guess that?"

@ZonkeyBalls To be honest, I don't know. It's like lottery numbers, we all know they come up and then there you are, staring at...

You may not know the big picture, but you know approximately who was meant by "we". Since you're a Finn, I assume you were operating under NATO, but which alphabet soup organization was it?

@Maze You may not know the big picture, but you know approximately who was meant by "we". Since you're a Finn, I assume...

Well, I wasn't meant to be there in the first place. That's one of the funniest things that ever happened to me, in that context, I was merely escorting other "real" officers. Nobody asked for my clearance, nobody checked who I was, I could've been the pizza boy for all I know. I just ended up in the room and cleared my throat, as if I was meant to be there.

But, to answer your question, I was working as the liaison officer between NATO and Finnish Air Force, well officially that is. It's a bit of a jungle over here, we have surveillance people, who are either in ground forces or not. Air Force officially doesn't have any surveillance people, but I was still paid by them... And I was involved with our planes (CASA C-295) and stuff involving the ground systems. Also trained people for years. It's a mess, I don't even know, if the government has any idea of what they are doing, most of the time.

I fail to see the correlation or causality in this context.

Stuff takes years to prepare and execute, it just doesn't happen overnight. EDIT: Merely stating this as an ex military surveillance officer, a Finn and a bit of a dick.

@ZonkeyBalls I fail to see the correlation or causality in this context. Stuff takes years to prepare and execute, it just...

You fail to see how "delegating decision-making authority down from the White House to commanders in the field" would be correlated with greater operational success? To me, it seems like a pretty short line from A to B, logically speaking. Commanders in the field are better positioned to take advantage of opportunities in the quickly changing environment of battle.

Waiting while info is communicated up the chain of command, then waiting while decisions are made by people on the other side of the planet, and then waiting while those decisions are relayed back down the chain of command means by the time the people in the field get the go ahead, the opportunity could easily have passed.

I guess the principle is, in a fight, agility matters.

@Maze You fail to see how "delegating decision-making authority down from the White House to commanders in the field"...

Well, the real problem in this "quick assessment and making decisions on the fly" strategy is that the information usually needs to be confirmed. That takes time. Having a few lucky hits doesn't negate the underlying problem, which is that tactical information is not accurate.

The fallout of having a huge miss will be on those, who make the decisions and therefore it makes people on the field more vulnerable. In this case, Trump can always say: "Attacking the whale harpoon factory wasn't my idea." And he would be correct, washing his hands pure and simple. The chain of command is in place to make certain, that the probability of making huge mistakes is minimized. It's not about proficiency, although so far I can see your point.

However, agility matters only, when the goal is not in dispute. Making officers in the field to carry the weight of making hard decisions is nothing more than whitewash and praying the luck won't change. It will. And then, everybody's fucked and not happy about it. Not even otters.

@ZonkeyBalls Well, the real problem in this "quick assessment and making decisions on the fly" strategy is that the information...

If you're a soldier and your unit inadvertently kills a bunch of civilians, the locals aren't going to know who exactly made the decision, all they know is what happened. So it will reflect on you no matter what.

But timely action is often the best way to minimize civilian casualties, because if there's a predictable time lag in decision making, that's something the enemy can use against you. They can draw you into an attack and be gone by the time it comes. If decision making is fluid enough that the response begins immediately, they have no time to escape, so you end up hitting the right people.

If you do that often enough, not only do you knock down their numbers, you also kill recruitment, because nobody wants to be those poor bastards. They show up, launch a strike and get blown to smithereens. And the locals say "wow, glad I'm not them."

@Maze If you're a soldier and your unit inadvertently kills a bunch of civilians, the locals aren't going to know who...

I agree with you, Maze, on basic levels. You make very good points, all of which are valid on their own, but the life is more than just a collection of valid points. As a whole, the picture you paint can never be seen without going blind or turning into stone, whichever rocks the boat.

Unfortunately, timely action brings - always - out the possibility of making errors. Judgment calls are based on gut-feeling and sometimes feelings can get the best out of anyone on the field. It's human. It's basic psychology, that being on the field is different than being in a dark room, cornered with computers, which is what I like to do.

I have taken a human life, three times. Twice with a sidearm and once with a sniper rifle, which is quite ironic in the sense, that I was trained to be a sniper. That detaches you from the reality, looking through the scope. But lives are precious. There is nothing more sacred in this life than the lives of the others and for my sins, I'm prepared to be judged. Not that I believe in Christianity's views, but we all have to live with our sins and my soul is stained.

Numbers are numbers, they can be made to show anything one wants them to show. In this case, I want you to see past numbers and notice, that politicians are used to playing games. It doesn't mean, that we have to attend.

@ZonkeyBalls I agree with you, Maze, on basic levels. You make very good points, all of which are valid on their own, but the...

I agree, but in truth, all action carries with it the possibility of errors, as does inaction. The best decisions are made when people have the best information, and there is a rapid time decay factor in operational intelligence. You should know that.

"Sir, ISIS has set up a position and is shelling from [x]."
"Strike [x]"
"Target neutralized."

...

As for your conscience, you would probably be happier if you did adopt Christianity because the greater the sin, the greater the need for salvation. Do you want to personally atone for your sins, or would you prefer to accept Jesus' sacrifice instead? Simple choice really. I mean, if you're going to be crazy, you might as well pick a kind of crazy that brings you peace, right?

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." -Jesus (Matthew 11:28-30)

@Maze I agree, but in truth, all action carries with it the possibility of errors, as does inaction. The best decisions...

All Abrahamic religions are the same.

He loved all of his children, not just the chosen few. That's one of the reasons, why I stay as a heathen. I see people are people. We all have something to regret and my soul is immortal. This is not the first life I have had and I will be reborn again. I don't see any difference between Christianity or Islam. It's the same coin, just different sides. I have no opinion about Jews. Religion is non-sequitur to me, it doesn't matter in the big picture.

@ZonkeyBalls All Abrahamic religions are the same. He loved all of his children, not just the chosen few. That's one of the...

Of course it matters. Your state of being matters. Going through life with a stain on your soul is not fun.

And there is an ocean of difference between Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. We may have things in common, but Jews rejected the Messiah and Muslims believe he was just a man, and thus neither are willing to accept his sacrifice of atonement for their sins.

The Sinner's Prayer

"Heavenly Father, have mercy on me, a sinner. I believe in you and that your word is true. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God and that he died on the cross so that I may now have forgiveness for my sins and eternal life. I know that without you in my heart my life is meaningless.

I believe in my heart that you, Lord God, raised Him from the dead. Please Jesus forgive me, for every sin I have ever committed or done in my heart, please Lord Jesus forgive me and come into my heart as my personal Lord and Savior today. I need you to be my Father and my friend.

I give you my life and ask you to take full control from this moment on; I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ."

Amen.

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