Today, President Trump announced they had found and killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the now former leader of ISIS.
You have to think that his announcement that we were leaving Syria was connected to this operation. What many thought was a horrible, ill-conceived, and poorly thought out decision suddenly isn’t looking all that bad.
When I heard about Baghdadi was killed, I could only think about President Bush’s lead up to the Iraq invasion.
Unlike Trump’s surprise announcement, President Bush followed all the normal rules of diplomacy.
He told everyone there were weapons of mass destruction. He shared the evidence he was given. Congress approved. And he told Iraq they had better be ready because in six months, we’re coming in to get them.
History says Hussein never had weapons of mass destruction, but we also know he used them on the Kurds at one point. And with six months to move or destroy whatever he had, we may never know what happened to them.
The number two official in Hussein’s air force said they were moved to Syria, a somewhat popular theory, at the time, explaining why we didn’t find anything.
Unlike Bush, Trump didn’t telegraph his intentions or US movements. He let people believe one thing, but ran a completely different option while telling very few about the plan.
It seems to me, in matters of war, this is the way it should be. You can’t tell your enemies what you’re going to do and expect success. In a world that is becoming increasingly sneaky and dishonest (it’s not like the Revolutionary War when we stood across from each other in our team uniforms and shot at each other with dignity), to telegraph your plans – especially six months in advance – is to guarantee they won’t work.
Say what you want about Trump, but one thing he’s certainly grasped is that in matters of the military, the fewer people that know what’s coming, the better.