August 7th, 2017

ISIS hasn’t been doing so well lately

Good news:

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, 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.

It’s rather surprising that the WaPo is reporting on this.

A great deal of the good Trump might be able to do as president could come from non-interference with people doing their jobs. That’s also true of his policies on the border and illegal aliens and ICE, which includes the deterrence involved in perceptions of Trump’s position by those who would otherwise want to come here illegally:

“The number of illegal aliens apprehended in March 2017 was 30 percent lower than February apprehensions and 64 percent lower than the same time last year,” he said.

Vitiello said the combined efforts of the Trump administration have created a “perception” among illegal immigrants that it’s now much harder to stay in the United States, even if they make it across the border.

“Individuals who might seek to enter the country through unlawful channels do not want to invest significant resources only to be turned around at the border or removed soon after they arrive in the United States,” he said. “We have shown that we are serious about border security and enforcing our immigration laws.”

Another sign of success at the border is that the cost of smuggling people into the U.S. has jumped.

Even the NY Times reported that story back in March, although they hedged by using iffy language, with a headline that read (emphasis mine): “Illegal Border Crossings Appear to Drop Under Trump,” and text like this:

The data is likely to please supporters of President Trump and could let him take credit for quickly making good on his promise to clamp down on illegal immigration.

So, is it not likely to please anyone but Trump supporters? And does it only “allow him to take credit”? What about the fact that it might even be true, and that his “taking credit” might be justified?

27 Responses to “ISIS hasn’t been doing so well lately”

  1. Griffin Says:

    The border may be one of those rare cases where bluster accomplishes just as much as real action. All of Trump’s statements and then the ridiculously over the top reaction to them has served to scare off a lot of potential law breakers.

    Now make sure that there is no back sliding as time goes on.

  2. Matt_SE Says:

    These are a couple of areas where Trump has had an undeniably positive effect, which is why the media is so reluctant to report on them.

  3. Griffin Says:

    Of course they try to spin the border effect as a negative with sob stories about children in central America that will never make it to the land of eternal welfare. But they know this is not a popular opinion so they are forced to downplay it.

  4. huxley Says:

    A great deal of the good Trump might be able to do as president could come from non-interference with people doing their jobs. –neo


    Maybe Trump can do some herculean lifting and, say, put a man on the moon in ten years or something really hard, like repealing Obamacare.

    But to me it’s more than enough if Trump stops the federal government from bigfooting good Americans doing their jobs competently.

  5. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Reports of ISIS being on life support are greatly exaggerated. Distributed terrorist networks are not dependent upon territory. Rogue nations like Iran and Qatar provide logistical support and enabling nations like Yemen and Pakistan provide territorial refuge.

    SecState Tillerson just pulled the rug out from under the Gulf nations that were demanding that Qatar end its active support for Islamic terrorist groups. The result was that demand dying a quick death.

    When the reality is faced that ISIS, al Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah are merely proxy arms of Islam’s inherent aggression, it forces recognition that Medusa like, Islam can always raise up another ‘head’ as long as the focus is upon “radical Islamic aggression”.

    It will never end as long as the West refuses to face Islam’s inherent nature. And, if the West is forced to face it, there may at that point be no alternative to Richard Fernandez’s “The Three Conjectures”.

    The reduced border crossings are welcome but temporary in nature as long as no further consequence and impediment to illegal immigration manifests. Will the next President be committed to stopping illegal immigration? Or will it resume when Trump’s term ends?

    A brief respite is all we can currently claim to have, it takes societal consensus to implement permanent change. What we have is a ‘cold’ cultural war over which irreconcilable differences exist.

  6. neo-neocon Says:

    Geoffrey Britain:

    I don’t think anyone here is suggesting anything remotely approaching the idea that ISIS is “on life support.”

    The news is just that they have lost territory. Initially, their claim to fame (besides their great brutality) was the gaining of actual territory and domination (and murder) of those who came under their thumb.

    It is no small thing to have changed that trajectory, but of course it doesn’t mean they’re on the ropes in any other way.

  7. Tatterdemalian Says:

    Looks like they caught Linda Wenzel at last:

    She participated in the destruction of the Great Mosque of al-Nuri. Shed no tears for her.

  8. DonKeyhoti Says:

    Good friends of ours who own a prominent winery in the Central Coast region of California told us this stunning immigration story this past Saturday. It all began the day before when their vineyard manager was stopped in the small town of Paso Robles by an unmarked ICE car. Twenty years ago, Miguel claimed to be legal as he had shown his SSN and driver’s license to the owners some 20 years ago.

    Years ago, he had tried to re-enter California after going back to Mexico for a visit. He got caught by the Border Patrol and was released but ordered to appear in court which he failed to do. He had literally become part of their family and was someone they completely trusted.

    The ICE people made him park his truck in a store parking lot, put him in their car and he was back in Mexico the next morning, August 5th. Wow! This is California with the most liberal laws for illegal immigrants, Gov. Brown wants to sue the Feds on behalf of Sanctuary Cities, etc., in US. Brown did put out an order that all ICE agents were to move their offices out of State buildings a few months ago. I’m wondering if they are pushing back or if this is just the new order of things under Trump?

  9. MollyNH Says:

    Fool or knave ? DID Obama secretly want Isil (his preferred terminology ) to succeed ? ( So little time so much pay back to deliver ).

  10. Somebody a Liberal Says:


    How can you countenance a) your belief that Islam is the true enemy and all these terrorist groups and evil states are just manifestations of that threat with b) the fact that the vast majority of fighting against ISIS has been done by adherents to Islam–including Iraqi soldiers who are both Muslims and citizens of a democracy with elections and peaceful transitions of power and a free press? You do know that the rulers of those good Gulf states confronting Qatar are also Muslims, right?

    Molly: I recognize that the whole ISIL/ISIS thing really sticks in the craws of many conservatives, but I’ll never really know why (other than, if Obama does it then it must be bad!). ISIL is a more accurate acronym for the transliteration than ISIS, though the Arabic acronym–dai’esh, which is used by pretty much the entire rest of the world–is the most accurate.

  11. Cornhead Says:

    If Obama, Ben Rhodes and Chuck Hagel would have let the military do its job, ISIS never would have gotten its foothold. That reason alone makes me glad Hillary lost. And when Iran tests its nuke next year I only hope Obama pays a real price. Maybe his museum in Chicago doesn’t raise money as easily.


    Your friends weren’t very rigorous in checking. Those documents can be faked and be obtained illegally.

  12. MollyNH Says:

    @somebody, you say it’s the more accurate term then how come Obama was the only one I ever heard say it? That and
    Pa keys Stan, too funny.

  13. Donkeyhoti Says:


    Of course they knew he wasn’t legal. Frankly that’s how the system works here if you want farm labor. The goal of the farmer is to get people to do the work and not to be immigration inforcers. I venture that maybe 10% of all farm labor is legal. Also a very high percentage of them are extremely hard working, honest and family focused. It’s not an easy issue.

  14. Somebody Liberal Says:


    I don’t know why he used the term! I’ll ask him the next time I see him. But I’m guessing the media latched on to “ISIS” early on because most American journalists don’t speak Arabic, but the president has at his disposal a huge number of Arabic linguists and regional experts who could have told him that the last term in the name is “sham,” Arabic for “Levant” and starting with the Arabic letter “shin,” and not “suriyya,” Arabic for Syria, starting with the Arabic letter “sin.”

    But, seriously, each is just as arbitrary as the next. It’s a name the group used to use for itself! ISIS is just as arbitrary as ISIL is just as arbitrary as any other name the group used to use, like AQI. But conservatives seem to be the only ones butt hurt over one arbitrary term because Obama liked to use it.

    And, Obama probably used the correct pronunciation of Pakistan because a) it’s the correct pronunciation and b) he’s a pretentious nerd. I’m guessing he’s the only one who you have heard pronounce it correctly because you don’t actually have a chance to hear from people who pronounce it correctly—and since I’m guessing at least that every Pakistani and every Indian knows how to say it correctly, there are far more of them in the world than there are people like you who, again, get butt hurt over a pronunciation because you’re so provincial that you’ve literally never otherwise heard the name of another country spoken correctly. But, again, I’ll ask him if I ever see him!

  15. Susanamantha Says:


    In the United States, it is the convention to pronounce foreign countries with English pronunciation. We don’t say “Frahnce”, or “Eetahlia”. We call Roma Rome, Pahree Parisss, etc. Call us provincial or whatever, but it’s not necessary to be rude.

  16. Dave Says:

    teen pregnancy problem would be completely eliminated if you make knocking up an underage girl a capital offense.

  17. MollyNH Says:

    Thank you. Susanamantha, just more proof of how out of touch Obama was with Americans, don t forget 57 states. Tell me @somebody how “57 states” is the more accurate description of the USA & of course, corpse man is the accurate pronunciation of corpsman since the fellow was a medic & may have needed to remove bodies from the field.
    Like I contend the guy was someone had no interest or intention of being American & in fact was gonna teach us a thing or 2 about getting off ” our high horse” as Americans & zChristians. He was pre “basket of deplorable s, unredemables ” before Hillary. Guess she thought she could take Obama s thoughts a step further with her ill,& thoughtless
    remarks about half the electorate! Somehow she thought she was still a shoe in as president after pandering to East coast elites by insulting fellow citizens! So glad some one at that event had the decency to give us more of a window on how Hillary s pathetic mind actually works. Pander to &insult the group not here, learned it from Billy boy, I guess.

  18. Ray Says:

    Letting the military commanders do their job was something LBJ could not do during Vietnam. That’s why the war dragged on for years.

  19. arfldgrs Says:

    we believed the russians were stupid to believe such things as communism and their own press…

    No, they are anything but stupid

    They were compelled to act as if they believed, or else..

    and so WE BELIEVED…
    they never did…

    thats a hint for watching things…

  20. arfldgrs Says:

    Prior to President Trump’s inauguration, I predicted a coming story arc in three acts. Act one involved mass protests in the streets because Hillary Clinton’s campaign had successfully branded Trump as the next Hitler. Sure enough, we saw mass protests by anti-Trumpers who legitimately and honestly believed the country had just elected the next Hitler. I predicted that the Hitler phase would evaporate by summer for lack of supporting evidence. That happened.
    I also predicted the anti-Trumpers would modify their attack from “Hitler” to “incompetent,” and that phase would last the summer. That happened too. The president’s critics called him incompetent and said the White House was in “chaos.” There were plenty of leaks, fake news, and even true stories to support that narrative, as I expected. Every anti-Trump news outlet, and even some that supported him started using “chaos” to describe the situation.
    Now comes the fun part.
    I predicted that the end of this three-part story would involve President Trump’s critics complaining that indeed he was “effective, but we don’t like it.” Or words to that effect. I based that prediction on the assumption he would get some big wins by the end of the year and it would no longer make sense to question his effectiveness, only his policy choices.

    How does the anti-Trump media gracefully pivot from “chaos and incompetence” to a story of “effective, but we don’t like it”? They need an external event to justify the turn. They need a visible sign of the White House moving from rookie status to professional status.

    They need General John Kelly to replace Reince Priebus as Chief of Staff.


    ISIS, economy, higher retirement accounts, Priebus, Korea contained so far, mexco..

    whatever… but its more fun reading people who get it right and then watching it unfold than people who are entertained by guessing out of context of missing history and news, and methodologies and so on.

    By year-end, expect “Effective, but we don’t like it.”

    Now for some related fun. I have often said Trump supporters and anti-Trumpers are in the same movie theater but watching different movies on the same screen. You’ve seen lots of evidence of that, but I’m going to give you an experiment you can try at home.

    It might blow your mind.

    1. Identify your most lefty, Trump-hating friend or family member.

    2. Share this link of President Trump’s accomplishments while you are in the same room so you can watch them read it.

    3. Watch as your lefty friend turns “cognitively blind” to the list of accomplishments as if it is not really there. Your subject will KNOW President has accomplished nothing, and all of his or her friends know it, and the television channels they watch know it. So how-the-hell could there be in existence an extensive list of legitimate accomplishments that make perfect sense and can easily be verified?

    The only way that list of accomplishments can exist in your anti-Trumper’s world is if the anti-Trumper has been in a hallucination for months, duped by the media and everyone they love. The existence of the list of accomplishments will form a crack in their reality. It simply can’t exist. That’s the trigger for cognitive blindness. The list will simply be “invisible,” but not in the literal sense, only the mental sense. If you check back in two days, your anti-Trumper will claim once again no such list exists.

    Watch their eyes when they say it. It will be freaky.

    the fun part of magic is that its APPLIED PSYCOLOGY of the non clinical kind that borders on the con artist… people who know peoples minds better than most professionals (and without needing much theory,scieence or such behind it, as its applied, not theory).

    when you apply academia, it does not work well

    but when you apply what someone says that knows, or has experience, or such, then it works.. and works well.

    funny how we prefer the first, hate the second, and even worse, hate being shown thats our preference (and pretend the second doesnt exist).

    kind of the same thing with the trump list of accomplishments.
    and example above…

    here is the link of accomplishmetns

  21. neo-neocon Says:


    Who believed the Russian people believed that?

    When I was growing up—the 50s—it was widely believed that most people in Russia were oppressed mightily by their government and did NOT believe. That idea was held by most Americans as far back as I can remember.

    I also remember learning, when I was quite young, the old saw “There is no Pravda in Izvestia, and there is no Izvestia in Pravda” or in English “There is no truth in News, and there is no news in Truth.”

    So I have no idea what you’re referring to when you write “we believed the russians were stupid to believe such things as communism and their own press…”

  22. Shami Says:

    Somebody Liberal:

    Sorry, the question of ISIL vs ISIS isn’t as clear cut as you claim and the issue certainly can’t be reduced to a domestic political template, which strikes me as classic orientalist silliness. Al-Sham does indeed refer to the Levant as you say, but this usage had long been archaic when Da’ish first employed it. Al-Sham in common usage in Syria and Lebanon, indeed the entire Arab world, has long meant Syria, as Shami was a term Syrians but not Lebanese used to refer to themselves. Sham in the universal parlance of the region also refers to Damascus. Finally there’s the disadvantage of using a term seen by everyone in the region as quaint. While you’re not exactly wrong you’re a long way from being candid and correct. The fact remains that this whole debate boils down to USG once again tripping all over themselves while the rest of the world giggles.

  23. Big Maq Says:

    trump has been doing so well, he wants us to know he deserves credit for the increasing stock market valuations:

    Check it out:

    Perhaps so, but it is strange to see the arguments about why obama didn’t deserve much credit (but it was all about the Fed pumping money) almost disappear from one set of media voices.

  24. Somebody the Liberal Says:


    Shukran! But that’s my point–sham doesn’t map neatly onto Syria or the Levant, making either an arbitrary choice of translation. Further, ISIS (or ISIL) is just as arbitrary as any of the other names the group has picked for itself–AQI or IS or whatever. Arbitrary. But only Donald Trump and his acolytes seemed to get deeply offended when Obama used ISIL, as if there were something more nefarious behind it than simple persnickety nerdishness.

    My favorite remains dai’esh, both because everyone else in the world uses it and because it actually infuriates dai’esh, who threaten death to anyone who uses it. I suspect we don’t do it because Americans struggle with the pronunciation; have you ever heard John Kerry say it? Basically just says “dash.” Ugh.

    Susanamantha and Molly: my accusation of provincialism had nothing to do with her choice of pronunciation. I’m already on record as accusing Obama of being a pretentious twit for using the local pronunciation. My problem was Molly’s claim to have heard that pronunciation from literally no other human being on earth; considering that *at the very least* over a billion South Asians, some of whom live in the US or appear on American media, pronounce Pakistan correctly, then she must have had to really work at it to stay so isolated from the bigger world around her.

    And, just as a reminder to everyone upset at the thought that a mere 2/3 of ISIS territory had been recaptured under Obama, the vast majority of fighting has been performed by Muslims–mostly Sunni Arabs.

  25. MollyNH Says:

    @somebody, Lol, as usual per your remarks

  26. Lizzy Says:

    I appreciate how Trump is committed to going after violent criminal illegal aliens, such as the recent focus on MS-13 in Long Island. Obama’s DHS was quite lax when it came to this particular group, with Napolitano releasing criminal aliens back into our communities and treating all unaccompanied “minors” as DREAMERS despite a lot of them being underage (or pretend underage) gang and cartel members.

  27. Tatterdemalian Says:

    “Obama’s DHS was quite lax when it came to this particular group”

    Understatement of the year. One of Obama’s more carefully hidden “policy successes” was forcing police to release criminals who wouldn’t or couldn’t pay bail, regardless of flight risk or danger to the community.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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