CNN ‘fact checkers’: ISIS didn’t overrun Iraq after all!

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Cable network rates Pence’s factual statement about terror army’s Mideast spread as FALSE
Since Tuesday night’s vice presidential debate, the media fact checkers have gone into overdrive – but sometimes the fact checkers are the ones in desperate need of fact checking.

CNN, in a debate analysis article headlined “Kaine, Pence debate: CNN’s Reality Check Team vets the claims,” leads off with its own head-spinning claim that ISIS did not “overrun Iraq,” as virtually everybody of all political persuasions has heretofore acknowledged as an undeniable, if tragic, truth.

As Sonam Vashi, a member of “CNN’s Reality Check Team,” wrote in a segment headlined “Reality Check: Pence claims ISIS has overrun Iraq”:

Pence argued that “Iraq has been overrun by ISIS.”


In June, a top State department official said that ISIS had lost 47% of the territory it had previously controlled in Iraq, and its ranks had been nearly halved from the members it had in 2014.

“Whereas it once promised lavish pay for recruits, and free services in its ‘caliphate,’ it is now slashing pay, cannot provide services, and is facing internal resistance,” Special Presidential Envoy Brett McGurk said in congressional testimony.

CNN’s fact-checker goes on to note, “In the first half of this year, the IHS Conflict Monitor found that ISIS’s territory had shrunk by 12%.” Moreover, the article continues, “Iraqi forces are about to launch a crucial offensive to retake ISIS’s prize: Mosul. ISIS engulfed Iraq’s second largest city in June 2014, but a long, bloody struggle for control of the city is expected to begin in the coming weeks.”

In conclusion, writes CNN’s Vashi: “While parts of Iraq have been ravaged by ISIS, Pence drastically inflates the group’s control over the country. Verdict: False.”

However, it is an uncontestable fact of recent Mideast history that “Iraq has been overrun by ISIS.” And a plan to retake Mosul in the future does not somehow make Pence wrong to lament that ISIS controls it today. Even accounting for the modest military gains against ISIS that have reduced the territory it currently holds – as seen in this interactive map of the territory held by the terror army in January 2015 versus what it still controls today – Pence was correct in recounting the indisputable fact that ISIS overran Iraq after Obama and Clinton failed to negotiate a “status of forces” agreement for a reasonable stay-behind force of U.S. troops after the war had essentially been won during the presidency of George W. Bush.

To this day, ISIS still holds significant territory in Iraq, from which it continues to enslave, torture and murder innocents. And that’s a fact.