Hardly a day goes by that some top US official, particularly in the Pentagon, doesn’t hype how well the war against ISIS is going, claiming massive territorial gains, huge numbers of slain ISIS fighters, and the group being “on the run.”
All these claims are repeated, usually unquestioningly, but at the same time, ISIS continues with its expansion region-wide, with growing affiliates in Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, and a continued capability to launch attacks in Europe and abroad.
The numbers don’t readily add up, when US officials claim 25,000 ISIS fighters killed in Iraq and Syria, only to revise the number of ISIS fighters in that region down by a few thousand, and then report large increases in Libya with the belief that fighters are flocking there.
ISIS recruitment seems to be able to replace its losses, and as with so many recent US wars, the formal claims of progress in the war aren’t built around anything tangible that can be seen on the ground. Even claims of ISIS losing 40% of their territory are dubious, and built artificially assigning empty desert to ISIS in the past, and claiming it “lost” now, even though it’s no more empty than ever.
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