The radical terrorist group known as ISIS was believed to threaten generations to come, until the president recently stated ISIS was defeated. In March of 2019, President Trump declared that ISIS was 100 percent defeated. According to Politico, “The U.S. will be forced to continue to shoulder the burden in Syria, virtually guaranteeing a return to a full withdrawal.” Just because ISIS is “defeated” doesn’t mean US forces will back out of the war immediately. President Trump believes otherwise, stating in early March that he would like the troops home as soon as the war is over. Since the inauguration of President Trump in 2016, ISIS has been very quiet and little news has been published about them.
ISIS once controlled 88,000 square kilometers of territory; stretching from western Syria to eastern Iraq. According to Trump’s statement, the world will no longer have to think about ISIS or their terrorist acts because they are defeated. According to BBC News, “Besides the Euphrates valley, the group has a presence in the opposition-held north-western province of Idlib, in government-held areas south of the capital Damascus, and in the Badiya region, a vast stretch of desert in south-eastern Syria.” ISIS controlled a vast majority of the Middle East and often held beheadings and other gruesome acts publically in local towns or states. The militants have access to heavy weapons and are able to carry out bombings and assassinations throughout the country. A global campaign began in 2014 when the U.S. started attacking ISIS. The battle to drive them out of Syria and the Middle East has been bloody; causing thousands of soldiers to lose their lives. ISIS members and hostages also lost lives against their will, as some were forced to commit suicide bombings and shooting raids.
The percentages of land covered by the United States in the Middle East has varied greatly. First, Trump stated that 100 percent of ISIS was defeated. Yet, many sources say that is not true and argue that only 90 or 92 percent of ISIS territory was taken back from the terrorists. According to The New York Times, “Department officials recently said they were close to declaring an end to the caliphate, but also cautioned that a few hurdles remained. As they take back territory from the Islamic State, the American-backed Syrian fighters must also sweep any buildings for suicide attackers and booby traps that have been left behind a process that can take days.” The Pentagon has tried to chase Trump since his comments about ISIS, but have had little luck finding out more. Two weeks ago, Vice President Mike Pence stated, “we have one mile of territory left to capture.” This seems to leave Americans questioning whether ISIS has truly been defeated. According to President Trump, they are.
La Jolla High Students have been asked what they think about the defeat of ISIS. Sophomore Deandre Vazquez said, “Finally, took them long enough.” Freshman Ambar Parra said, “This is a good thing because there will hopefully be no more violent attacks.” Freshman CJ Maggio said, “I feel relieved knowing ISIS is defeated.” The second question asked was how ISIS affected them personally. Vazquez responded by saying, “My dad’s in the military so it affects my and my family a lot.” Parra agreed with Deandre, as hearing about ISIS makes her and her family angry. Maggio said that ISIS makes him feel upset, but knowing they are defeated makes him feel safe. In regards to how the situation reflects upon Trump, the interviewees agreed that it sheds a positive light on his public image. Vazquez said, “This makes him look more responsible.” Parra said, “this makes him look better as a person and as our president.” Maggio closed the interview by saying that this makes Trump look more professional. ISIS has affected thousands of people worldwide and the debate over whether they have truly been defeated is still going on.