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December 28, 2017

WINNING: ISIS has lost 98 percent of its territory — mostly since Trump took office, officials say.

The massive gains come after years of “onerous” rules, when critics say the Obama administration “micromanaged” the war and shunned a more intensive air strategy that could have ended the conflict much sooner.

“The rules of engagement under the Obama administration were onerous. I mean what are we doing having individual target determination being conducted in the White House, which in some cases adds weeks and weeks,” said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. David Deptula, the former head of U.S. Air Force intelligence. “The limitations that were put on actually resulted in greater civilian casualties.”

And this is an important reminder:

AND THIS FLASHBACK FROM VOX: The latest anti-ISIS strategy from the Pentagon looks a lot like the one under the Obama administration.

This timeline makes clear the two worrying trends underlying Trump’s approach to ISIS. As a candidate, he largely bragged about a secret, foolproof plan that didn’t exist and, as Vox’s Yochi Dreazen and Jennifer Williams explain, couldn’t have been executed anyway. Now as president, Trump has not only continued to be reticent on his plan but seems to have clocked out from devising his ISIS strategy entirely, ceding an alarming degree of power to the military.

Neither of these approaches bodes well moving forward.

That was in July. December looks much different, doesn’t it?

Rebecca Tan’s piece was meant to rebuke Trump, but instead is inadvertently devastating to Barack Obama. Obama apparently had the same plans Trump did, or near enough, but chose to impose “onerous” rules of engagement and let innocents die, rather than contradict his pet theory about terrorism. Trump’s “secret” plan may have been nothing more complicated than lifting the Obama-era ROEs which stood between the Coalition and victory over ISIS — and while that might not seem like much of a secret plan, it was enough.

Or as Gen. George Patton once said, “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” Obama had a good plan years ago, and chose to execute it never. Trump took the same plan and executed it immediately.

The difference is what is known as “winning.”