Current Affairs Military Politics

Substituting Numbers For Results In Iraq And Syria

Soldiers of the United States and Iraqi armies participate in joint exercises, Iraq
Soldiers of the United States and Iraqi armies participate in joint exercises, Iraq

From a report last week by Reuters, republished throughout the “Western” news media:

“More than 10,000 Islamic State militants have been killed since an international coalition launched a campaign against the group nine months ago in Iraq and Syria, a U.S. official said Wednesday.”

Which sounds impressive until one remembers that US officials were claiming in January to have killed 6000 ISIS troops in the first three months of “coalition” attacks. Six months later the estimated number of fatalities has risen by around 4000, and that following a period of intensive strikes by the United States and its allies (acknowledged or otherwise) against the Islamic State. As the Daily Beast rightly points out:

“…if 10,000 ISIS fighters were indeed killed, at least 20,000 could be wounded. If those estimates are roughly correct, that would mean 30,000 ISIS fighters have been injured or sent to their deaths.

According to intelligence community estimates, there are somewhere between 21,500 and 31,000 ISIS fighters on the battlefield.

With that, the numbers left officials scrambling to explain how nearly every ISIS fighter could potentially be wounded or killed—and yet so potent. By midweek, some Pentagon officials said that they believe ISIS is able to replace every dead fighter with a fresh one.”

Presumably from their futuristic, fundamentalist cloning-machine. The War Nerd has more on the difficulties – and perils – of estimating battlefield casualty rates.

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