Trump Has Pledged to ‘Knock the Hell Out of ISIS.’ He Just Gave Military Leaders a Tall, 30-Day Order

Throughout his presidential campaign, Donald Trump vowed to “knock the hell out of ISIS” were he to win the presidency. He even said he had a plan, but refused to reveal it because he didn’t “want to broadcast to the enemy exactly what my plan is.”

Saturday, he revealed his plan: he gave military leaders 30 days to come up with a plan.

Speaking to reporters in the Oval Office, Trump told reporters:

“This is the plan to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. I think it’s going to be very successful.”

As reported by The Hill, Trump signed a memorandum to military leaders on Saturday.

Image Credit: Mandel Ngan/Getty Images

“There can be no accommodation or negotiation,” Trump ordered.

His third directive signed Saturday was a memorandum giving military leaders 30 days to construct and present a report outlining the U.S. strategy for defeating ISIS. His memorandum calls for a “comprehensive plan to defeat ISIS,” stating that “there can be no accommodation or negotiation” with the group.

The directive recommends “changes to any United States rules of engagement” and other policy restrictions, an exploration of alternative strategies to “isolate and delegitimize ISIS and its radical Islamist ideology,” a strengthening of the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition and an exploration of methods to limit the group’s financial support.

Trump also called for “a detailed strategy to robustly fund” the “plan.”

However, while retired Gen. James Mattis was not sworn in as Secretary of Defense until Friday, CNN reported on Tuesday that he was already working with Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford to ready possible options for presentation to Trump.

Officials described two scenarios: One is to “pull” more information from the White House on how it wants to proceed. The other is to “push” to Trump some existing options that Barack Obama never approved when he was in the White House.

These options have been developed with enough detail that the president could quickly sign new presidential authority orders to start the process rolling, although it could take weeks and months to see an impact on the battlefield.

[O]ne option is to begin to arm Kurdish fighters. That was never approved by Obama due to concerns it would deeply alienate Turkey. US relations with Turkey have suffered strains, and there have been concerns the Turks could restrict US access to airbases in that country.

Another option that could be presented is to send more US troops into Syria to engage in combat […] to help push ISIS fighters out.

As The New York Times termed it, Trump would call on the Pentagon to “hit ISIS harder.” In Trump-speak, that’s “knock the hell out of” the terrorist organization — once and for all.

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