[UPDATED with McCain comment] The war is escalating. But what have six months of airstrikes against the self-proclaimed Islamic State actually achieved so far? Last week, Jordan launched its retaliation against the Islamic State for burning a Jordanian pilot alive. Yesterday, we learned ISIL had murdered hostage Kayla Mueller. This morning, President Obama formally proposed a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) against ISIL, eliciting ambivalent comments from Congress (more on that below). The crucial question: how much leeway to leave for the future use of US ground troops.
This afternoon, US Central Command (CENTCOM) released its most detailed data yet on what the current airstrikes-only approach has accomplished so far. (We’ve analyzed earlier data here, here, and here). It counts 4,817 targets damaged or destroyed as of February 4th by the US and its coalition partners. The list is broken down into 28 categories, from 752 “fighting positions” — e.g. foxholes — to seven items of “communications equipment.” We thought we’d aggregate that a little for you: Read Full Article