ISIS Leader Is Dead, According to Trump Anyway

We killed Osama bin Laden long after al-Qaeda was no longer a threat, and now we’ve killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi after ISIS has ceased to be an active threat. Perfect timing! Still, it could be worse. The Greatest Generation never did track down Hitler in his bunker, did they?¹

Anyway, the New York Times reports that it was a close-run thing. Apparently we learned al-Baghdadi’s general location several months ago and began an intelligence operation to track him down more precisely:

But Mr. Trump’s abrupt decision to withdraw American forces from northern Syria disrupted the meticulous planning and forced Pentagon officials to press ahead with a risky, night raid before their ability to control troops and spies and reconnaissance aircraft disappeared, according to military, intelligence and counterterroism officials. Mr. al-Baghdadi’s death, they said, occurred largely in spite of Mr. Trump’s actions.

I also notice with amusement that newspaper headlines are all couching the operation in “Trump says” terms, as if they aren’t quite willing to accept it as unvarnished truth until they have more than just the president’s word.

There’s not much more to say except that Trump treated the whole thing in typically Trumpian fashion: refusing to notify Democrats ahead of time; thanking Russia for help the Russians say they didn’t provide; claiming it was the greatest anti-terrorist operation of all time; and then releasing a staged situation room picture:

This picture was taken a couple of hours after the raid, but the Trumpies were too dumb to hide their tracks by massaging the metadata in the photo to make it look like Trump was following the raid in real time. But I suppose it doesn’t matter. As Reagan taught us, all that matters is that the image itself gets into the news. And it did. A chance to mock Trump certainly got me to post a copy, didn’t it?

¹This is a joke. Take it easy, folks.

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Or at least we hope. It’s fall fundraising time, and we’re trying to raise $250,000 to help fund Mother Jones’ journalism during a shorter than normal three-week push.

If you’re reading this, a fundraising pitch at the bottom of an article, you must find our team’s reporting valuable and we hope you’ll consider supporting it with a donation of any amount right now if you can.

It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you'll agree is worth supporting.

payment methods

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Or at least we hope. It’s fall fundraising time, and we’re trying to raise $250,000 to help fund Mother Jones’ journalism during a shorter than normal three-week push.

If you’re reading this, a fundraising pitch at the bottom of an article, you must find our team’s reporting valuable and we hope you’ll consider supporting it with a donation of any amount right now if you can.

It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you’ll agree is worth supporting.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate