During his campaign for the presidency, Donald Trump frequently told cheering crowds that he would absolutely destroy ISIS. "Their days are numbered," he vowed.
That promise rang hollow to his political enemies. After all, the Islamic State had run roughshod over much of the Middle East. It had enlisted tens of thousands of bloodthirsty warriors, while more volunteers flowed in every day from around the world eager to fight for the radical Islamic cause.
Wherever the ISIS savages ruled, there were beheadings, drownings, beatings, and assorted other subhuman acts of depravity. The group truly inspired terror and for a time seemed unstoppable.
That once-dire situation is far different today. You didn't hear much about it, but this month Iraq declared complete victory over ISIS. The terrorist group, once the very face of evil in the modern world, has lost 98% of the territory it once held. Its dreams of an enduring, powerful caliphate have been dashed.
How did all this happen so quickly, and with such little fanfare? Some military analysts credit President Trump for lifting many of the stifling rules of engagement that had been put in place during the Obama years. The new president gave his commanders free rein and they rained holy hell on ISIS.
But others contend that President Obama and his team deserve the credit. They truthfully point out that ISIS began losing territory before Donald Trump's inauguration
But take a moment to consider a simple question. Would you trust your war strategy to James Mattis and H.R. McMaster, who have a total of seven stars on their epaulets? Or would you prefer people like habitual liar Susan Rice and failed novelist Ben Rhodes? To ask the question is to answer it.
No one should forget that in 2014 President Obama described the Islamic State as a "jayvee team." He actually considered climate change a "potential existential threat" to the world, but not ISIS. This is not to say that Barack Obama ignored ISIS, but fighting terror never seemed to be at the very top of his to-do list.
Another question is why this great news has received so little play in the media. The reason is largely because the near-demise of ISIS took place during a Republican administration. Don't believe that? Just remember what happened with Ronald Reagan and the Soviet Union.
The media and the Washington elite despised President Reagan. The hatred didn't quite reach the levels of today's Trump-loathing, but that was only because Reagan didn't demean the press and never uttered the words "fake news."
But the distaste for Reagan was very real. The scribblers at leading newspapers considered him a "cowboy" who could easily trigger a nuclear war. They assured themselves, and one another, that he wasn't very bright and had no business being president. Longtime Democratic power broker Clark Clifford famously referred to Reagan as an "amiable dunce" and predicted he would be "a hopeless failure."
So the chattering classes were absolutely horrified on March 8, 1983. That was the momentous day when President Reagan denounced the Soviet Union as "the focus of evil in the modern world." Prior to that, U.S. presidents simply tried to get along with the Soviets and their succession of tyrants.
The reaction was swift and merciless. New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis called the speech "primitive," while his Times colleague Tom Wicker said it was "smug and a near proclamation of Holy War." The times may change, but the Times never does.
Then, lo and behold, a few years later the Berlin Wall fell and the truly evil ideology of communism collapsed. Hundreds of millions of people who had suffered through lives of misery and terror and deprivation were finally free of the communist yoke.
Much credit was heaped on Ronald Reagan for his willingness to confront and outspend the Soviets. But the American left saw things differently. Many liberals declared that communism was destined to fail, regardless of who was in the Oval Office.
The Cold War ended, according to Time magazine's Strobe Talbott, "because of internal contradictions" in the Soviet Union. He actually wrote this: "Even if Jimmy Carter had been reelected and been followed by Walter Mondale, something like we have now seen probably would have happened." He wrote it, and he probably believed it.
Newsweek's Eleanor Clift agreed, opining that "the Soviet economy was collapsing." Of course, these geniuses never made any such observations prior to the Soviet demise.
Many on the American left actually preferred to credit lifetime Soviet apparatchik Mikhail Gorbachev. Anyone but Reagan, that amiable dunce who rescued millions from oppressive and brutal existences.
As for today, all sane and civilized people should be grateful that ISIS is a shadow of its former self. The terror group will still carry out and inspire individual attacks, but its fantasy of a massive caliphate is in ruins, much like the Soviet Union's dreams of worldwide communism were shattered.
Was it Reagan who defeated communism? Trump who demolished the Islamic State?
That brutal war of opinion will endure, but Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump have the superior weaponry - facts.