Mosul is not a battle, it’s a siege. There is no such thing as a surprise siege. This is such an idiotic debate point. When I saw Trump’s first tweet on this I laughed it was so ignorant. Sure enough, though, no matter how stupid and facile a point that Trump makes in one of his tweets–they all seem to begin as tweets–the press will feel compelled to ask the same question soon enough. Heated debate follows. Throughout this entire campaign year Trump has kept the process going that way. He’s obviously far too ignorant to be president, but the press’s admirable notion that they must be even handed means that such stupidity has to be treated as being informed and educated. Hence, the reporters repeating Trump’s question about why this Mosul operation–which began six months ago–was not kept a surprise. As if ISIS, knowing an attack was coming eventually and preparing for it for years, would have no idea that the build up of forces investing the city and the six months of aerial bombardment preceding it were not signs of an impending attack. But this is a siege of a fortified city, not a surprise attack on a sleeping army in the field. This assault can be no more a surprise attack than was the battle of Iwo Jima.

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