Military gets what it needs

Published Apr 15, 2017 at 4:00pm

During an interview last week, Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend left little doubt about the evil he was seeing in the Iraqi city of Mosul: “It is the toughest and most brutal close-quarters combat that I have experienced in my 34 years of service -- or I have observed or read about through my 34 years of service. ISIS is slaughtering Iraqis and Syrians on a daily basis. ISIS is cutting off heads. ISIS is shooting people, throwing people from buildings, burning them alive in cases, and they’re making a video record to prove it.”

To that, he adds: “This has got to stop. This evil has got to be stamped out.” It’s becoming increasingly clear that Townsend -- the 18th Airborne Corps commander who is leading the coalition effort against ISIS -- and other American military leaders will get what they need to triumph over that evil.

The differences between the Obama administration and President Trump’s administration are showing up in dramatic ways in Mosul and in a host of other venues. Obama was an overly cautious, micromanaging commander in chief but Trump isn’t.

From the outset, he made clear his trust in generals, choosing several former commanders for top posts in his administration. And he has made it known that his hawkishness in budget cutting won’t apply to the Pentagon. This has made it easier to get American boots on the ground to help with the battle against the Islamic State group, in Iraq and to a lesser extent in Syria too.

Generals and Secretary of Defense James Mattis have regained a strong decision-making role as well, getting wide rein to make strategic decisions, and not just in Iraq and Syria. This may be exactly what the country needs -- wise, experienced military leaders taking down an evil that must be stamped out.