Lack of Intel Limits Effectiveness of US Airstrikes on ISIS

Only One in Four Warplanes Sees Anything to Bomb

Three months into the US air war in Iraq and Syria, the attacks are still as haphazard as they’ve ever been, with warplanes heading out with no intelligence on what they’re out to get, or specific targets.

Rather, the planes are just told to overfly ISIS territory looking for “attacks of opportunity,” which is to say bombing anything that looks like it might be conceivably ISIS-related.

Even with a loose definition of ISIS-related that has seen warplanes bombing grain silos and any convoy of more than a couple cars, only about one in four sorties actually runs into anything to bomb.

Despite US claims that the bombings have done major damage to ISIS, including a weekend sortie that reportedly killed 50 ISIS members, British military leaders warn that there even in the best case scenario that those slain actually were ISIS leaders, the group will quickly recover.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of