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ISIS’s defeat

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by DAVID FRENCH December 14, 2017 1:43 PM @DAVIDAFRENCH

The momentous news of ISIS’s defeat was greeted, in large part, with silence. Why?

The announcement came on Saturday. Just three days before the Alabama special election that transfixed the nation, and on the same day that President Trump fact-checked the Washington Post’s Dave Weigel, Iraq’s prime minister declared victory in the war against ISIS. Iraq — with indispensable American help — has regained control of its cities and its border with Syria. ISIS has been reduced to a shadow of its former self. The victory isn’t confined to Iraq. American-allied forces control ISIS’s former capital in Syria, and the world’s largest jihadist army is gone. Bands of insurgents still prowl the countryside, and ISIS cells exist across the world, but the war against the “caliphate” is over. It’s been won.

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There is nothing more characteristic of the Trump era, with its fire hose of misinformation, scandal and hyperbole, than that America and its allies recently managed to win a war that just two years ago consumed headlines and dominated political debate and helped Donald Trump himself get elected president — and somehow nobody seemed to notice.

I mean the war against the Islamic State, whose expansion was the defining foreign policy calamity of Barack Obama’s second term, whose executions of Americans made the U.S.A. look impotent and whose utopian experiment drew volunteers drunk on world-historical ambitions and metaphysical dreams. Its defeat was begun under Obama, and the hardest fighting has been done by Iraqis — but this was an American war too, and we succeeded without massive infusions of ground troops, without accidentally getting into a war with Russia, and without inspiring a huge wave of terrorism in the West.

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