Deputy Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said during an interview following a Paris conference that U.S. forces have killed “More than 10,000 [ISIS fighters] since this campaign started.”
Given that the CIA has estimated ISIS fighters to number between 20,000 and 32,000 in total, a loss of more than 10,000 jihadists would surely mean that victory is near, right?
That is unlikely because, as U.S. intelligence officials say, ISIS quickly replaces fallen fighters via recruitment and conscription. So CIA estimates of ISIS numbers remains unchanged.
In January, when U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Stuart Jones told reporters that 6,000 ISIS had been killed by U.S. forces, Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby was quick to refute that number. CNN reported that Kirby,
“was adamant that the United States was not keeping a “body count” and said it would be wrong to state that there is such a count.
He called it a “tally” and said the notion of a body count suggests Vietnam War-era statistics. In that war, the Pentagon offered body counts as a measure of its success against the Viet Cong. Kirby said the tally was not aimed at showing any metric of success against ISIS.”
So, if the U.S. is not keeping a tally of ISIS dead and offering a body count is not a metric of success, what is the point of bragging to the world that you’ve killed 10,000 terrorists?
IJReview.com contacted U.S. Army Colonel Kurt Schlichter (Ret.) and asked him for his thoughts on the policy of using only airstrikes and special forces against ISIS:
“Here’s the problem with airstrikes and just special forces, it doesn’t work. The military isn’t superb because we have a superb air force and special forces. It’s because all of our military forces work in concert together.
When you just use bits and pieces, you’re trying to do it on the cheap end. They’re not designed to work independently. And that’s why this type of strategy will always fail.
You can’t secure ground with special forces or air.
If you’re not using dead enemy soldiers as a metric. What’s our metric? Is it taking ground? So what’s the metric that tells us we are winning? We aren’t measuring territory or influence. What are we measuring? It makes no sense.
The thing is none of the stuff we are doing is making sense because the policy doesn’t make sense. It’s not a strategy that is serious about defeating ISIS, it is strategy to put off the inevitable fall of Iraq until the Obama Administration is done in the White House and they can then place the blame on someone else.”
In answer to the question, what’s the point of bragging to the world that you’ve supposedly killed 10,000 terrorists (but who’s counting?) when that number can’t be taken as a measure of our success?
Politics, of course.
What do you think? Is the current policy of ‘winning isn’t important as long as Obama looks good’ working for you?