As the U.S.-led coalition has gained major ground in both Iraq and Syria in its fight against ISIS, the generals in the theatre are somewhat surprised at how fast their forces have pushed the terror group out. They say it is due in part to the new administration and the leaders they have chosen.
“The leadership team that is in place right now has certainly enabled us to succeed,” Brig. Gen. Andrew Croft, the ranking U.S. Air Force officer in Iraq, told Fox News. “I couldn’t ask for a better leadership team to work for, to enable the military to do what it does best.”
Marine Col. Seth Folsom agreed, saying he thought it was going to take until next spring to make the gains that they have made in less than a year. He attributes it to the “clear mandate” they have received.
“We really had one mandate and that was enable the Iraqi Security Forces to defeat ISIS militarily here in Anbar. I feel that we have achieved that mission,” Folsom said. “I never felt constrained. In a lot of ways, I felt quite liberated because we had a clear mandate and there was no questioning that.”
Even members of the Iraqi military say the different approach from the Trump administration is a major factor in why they are defeating ISIS so quickly.
“I was not optimistic when Trump first came to the office,” Iraq’s Ministry of Defense spokesman Yahya Rasool told Fox News. “But after a while, I started to see a new approach, the way the U.S. was dealing with arming and training. I saw how the coalition forces were all moving faster to help the Iraq side more than before. There seemed to be a lot of support; under Obama we did not get this.”
The success in the short amount of time is in line with what President Donald Trump promised: Giving Secretary of Defense James Mattis greater control of operations and not allowing micromanaging from the White House.