Dr Claude Rakisits
As Australia prepares to expand its air war against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) to Syria in response to an American request to do so, it is interesting to note that the first anniversary of the beginning of the bombing campaign against ISIS has gone virtually unnoticed in Washington.
This is quite incredible given that by 31 August the air war alone had cost the US treasury well over US$3 billion, or about US$9.4 million per day. Since the beginning of the bombing, there have been almost 20,000 bombs and missiles dropped by American and coalition aircraft for an estimated 15,000 ISIS fighters killed. This is a very expensive and a poor success rate. And it would appear that ISIS is able to replace its losses with new foreign recruits quite easily.
The lack of public interest in this war is even more extraordinary given that all the top military leaders have admitted that this will be a very long fight indeed. This is a war that probably the next two administrations will have to deal with. For example, General Martin Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has stated that this war against ISIS is a “generational conflict”. And General Ray Odierno, the Army’s out-going Chief of Staff, has echoed these sentiments by stating that “ISIS is a 10 to 20 year problem; it’s not a two year problem”.
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