Baghdadi’s Death Should Have Been a Clear Victory for Trump. It Wasn’t.
Published in The Washington Post
on October 28, 2019
The assassination of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Bagdhadi this weekend should have been a clear victory for President Trump. Instead, his stumbling and graphic announcement of Baghdadi’s death shows why he remains a polarizing figure for so many Americans.
Americans will not mourn the terrorist mastermind’s death. The Islamic State unleashed mass murder in the Middle East and killed many Americans. It inspired or directed others to launch terrorist operations in Western countries, most notably the November 2015 attacks in Paris that left more than 130 people dead. No rational person will miss Bagdhadi or his twisted, evil organization.
Nor will many Americans regret our military’s role in ending the Islamic State’s rule or its leader’s life. The effort to defeat the terrorist group started under President Barack Obama and has received the support of virtually all political leaders. One may differ over specific tactics employed in the battle, but there was no dispute between our increasingly polarized parties that we should utterly destroy the Islamic State.
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Henry Olsen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.