Remember when ISIS was the terrifying Islamic Godzilla (or as Fox News calls it, "Allah-zilla") that was going to kill us all? Ever since the specter of Hillary Clinton's email reared its Republic-threatening head, you hardly ever hear about them anymore, but they're still out there, and things have gone from bad to worse for them.
Just one reporter, The Associated Press' Nedra Pickler, found time this week to run between the Hillary/Iran letter snowflakes to ask about the formerly Most Important Threat Ever. Of course, it was mainly to ask if ISIS getting their balls beaten off in Tikrit is somehow bad new, but it gave White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest to provide an update on just how badly things are going for ISIS:
"There’s no doubt that this Tikrit operation is a major front in the fight against ISIL, and we are pleased to see that Iraqi forces have been advancing, and we are aware of reports that ISIL fighters are actually withdrawing from the area in the face of this offensive from Iraqi security forces.
"We’ve also seen the pressure that’s being applied to ISIL forces in this area has caused some ISIL forces to even desert their posts. And there are reports that commanders, ISIL commanders are actually resorting to executing their own troops to prevent them from deserting. This is an indication of the significant pressure that’s being applied."
They're also reportedly stealing cars to try and get away from the Iraqi-led advance, as the multi-sectarian force has retaken about 75% of the city. To Pickler's point, the participation of the Iranians complicates this story somewhat, and much of the reporting on this offensive is through Iraqi government sources, but the media never has any problem amplifying ISIS propaganda, so it's curious that their interest in this story has been so sporadic of late. If anything, this story demonstrates the importance of diplomacy with the other hot story of the week, Iran.
The White House has been careful to avoid any appearance of coordination with Iran, but their participation is clearly making a difference, and no matter what happens, the United States needs to retain its influence with Iraq in order to quash any renewed sectarian strife.
Of course, it was the Republicans who were most convinced that ISIS was going to come and kill us all, but as Pickler's followup question illustrates, they don't seem all that interested in authorizing the President to fight them:
Q On the Islamic State AUMF, Senator Corker opened the hearing today by noting that not a single Democrat in Congress has signed on to the President’s proposal. Is the President doing anything to try to line up support, or does he really feel like this is out of his hands now that he’s made that proposal?
MR. EARNEST: Well, Nedra, you’ll recall that before the administration even sent language up to Capitol Hill that there were a substantial number of conversations, including at the presidential level, with Democrats and Republicans in the Congress about what language they would like to see included in an Authorization to Use Military Force against ISIL.
Of course, Republicans have moved on to trying to start a war with Iran by vetoing an agreement they can't veto. By next week, they'll be sending a letter to Die Hard, asking if McClane can please take Obama out.
As for the press, they'll be back to reporting on ISIS the minute they have some news they can scare midwesterners with, and not a second before.