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US President Donald Trump’s Plan to defeat Islamic State (IS) Terror Group Looks much like Barack Obama’s: Official

The bombing campaign against IS over the last two and half years, Deptula noted, has been commanded by Army generals

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Washington, March 18, 2017: The Pentagon has given US President Donald Trump a secret plan to defeat the terror group IS, which is a little more than an “intensification” of what the Obama administration had, senior officials who reviewed the document told NBC News.

Trump had promised during the campaign to implement a “secret plan” to defeat the Islamic State, including a pledge to “bomb the hell out of” the terror group in Iraq and Syria.

However, the plan calls for continued bombing; beefing up support and assistance to local forces to retake its Iraqi stronghold Mosul and ultimately the IS capital of Raqqa in Syria; drying up IS’s sources of income; and stabilising the areas retaken from IS, the officials said in an exclusive interaction with NBC News.

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Two prominent military strategists told the television channel on Friday that they fear the plan is insufficient, and would not fulfil Trump’s pledges to “totally obliterate IS” and do it quickly.

“The current plan to defeat the Islamic State is just like that old saying: Plan B is just, ‘Try harder at Plan A,'” said retired Admiral James Stavridis, an NBC News analyst.

“We have not come up with new ways of approaching this. I would say the President might want to send that report back to his team to take another hard look.”

Retired Air Force Gen Dave Deptula, who planned the air campaign in the first Iraq war and is a vigorous advocate of conventional air power, insisted that the military should be directing more firepower at the IS.

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Last week, the commander of US Central Command, Gen Joseph Votel, signalled to Congress that the current approach was working.

“The Counter-IS campaign has entered its third year and we are on track with the military plan to defeat the terrorist organisation in Iraq and Syria,” said Votel in testimony prepared for the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“If you view the Islamic State as a body, what’s been going on with the current strategy is we’ve been attacking their fingers and their toes,” said Deptula.

The bombing campaign against IS over the last two and half years, Deptula noted, has been commanded by Army generals. He says more air power is needed and that the Army should no longer be commanding the airstrikes against IS.

The NBC News report says the irony of the similarities between the Obama plan and the Trump plan is that as a candidate, Trump repeatedly called Obama’s IS strategy a failure.

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 “We have to be unpredictable starting now. But they’re going to be gone,” he said in August 2016. “IS will be gone if I’m elected President. And they’ll be gone quickly.”

Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis told NBC News that the Defence Department’s preliminary plan sent to the White House is a grand strategy – which places, even more, emphasis on diplomacy, economics and information than it does on the military.

It creates, he says, a framework for more tactical questions to be answered later.

The plan “draws upon the whole-of-government, better synchronising public diplomacy, cyber, information, financial, as well as military instruments of power, and it enhances our coordination across regions,” he added. (IANS)

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Googling ‘idiot’ Bringing up Donald Trump Pictures Drags Google in Trouble

The House committee had also questioned YouTube, Twitter and Facebook executives at separate hearings on bias in big tech

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai testifies at a House Judiciary Committee hearing "examining Google and its Data Collection, Use and Filtering Practices" on Capitol Hill in Washington. VOA

US Democratic Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, in an effort to understand how Google search algorithms work, asked its CEO Sundar Pichai why so many pictures of President Donald Trump appear when she does a Google search for “idiot”.

“Right now, if you Google the word ‘idiot’ under images, a picture of Donald Trump comes up. I just did that,” the California Democrat told Pichai during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday here.

“How would that happen? How does search work so that would occur?” Lofgren asked Pichai, according to the Washington Post.

The Google CEO — who was at the hearing to address allegations of political bias in his company’s widely used search engine — said the results were based on billions of keywords ranked according to over 200 factors such as relevance, popularity, how others were using the search term, to determine how to best match a query with results.

“So it’s not some little man sitting behind the curtain figuring out what we’re going to show the user?” Lofgren asked. “It’s basically a compilation of what users are generating.”

Republicans have long accused Google of political bias, which the company has strongly denied.

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Why googling ‘idiot’ brings up Trump photos, Congresswoman asks Pichai. VOA

In August, Trump said in a tweet that a Google search for “Trump News” showed only reports from “Fake News Media.” He concluded it was “rigged” against him so “almost all stories and news was bad.”

House Republicans said they wanted to hold the hearing — entitled “Transparency & Accountability: Examining Google and its Data Collection, Use and Filtering Practices” — to make sure the search giant was being impartial.

“Americans put their trust in big tech companies to honour freedom of speech and champion open dialogue,” Republican House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia said in a statement before the hearing.

The House committee had also questioned YouTube, Twitter and Facebook executives at separate hearings on bias in big tech.

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In response to Republicans who complained about Google searches, Democratic Representative Ted Lieu said: “If you want positive search results, do positive things. If you don’t want negative search results, don’t do negative things.”

“And to some of my colleagues across the aisle, if you’re getting bad press articles and bad search results, don’t blame Google or Facebook or Twitter, consider blaming yourself.” (IANS)