US Central Command is touting its final report for 2022 as proof it’s “degraded” the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, but questions persist about how deeply the terrorist organization has been wounded.
Released Thursday, Dec. 29, the brief counted 313 operations against ISIS in both Middle Eastern nations.
CENTCOM disclosed that 14 unilateral operations conducted by US forces, and another 108 operations with Syrian Democratic Forces, triggered the deaths of 466 Islamic State group “operatives” and the detentions of 215 others.
In Iraq, CENTCOM conducted 191 operations alongside Iraqi security forces, killing “at least 220 ISIS operatives” and imprisoning 159 others, according to the release…
Coffee or Die Magazine reached out to retired US Army Col. Gregory Daddis, the USS Midway chair in modern US military history at San Diego State University and one of the world’s top experts on measuring success or failure during murky counterinsurgency wars.
Reading the brief, Daddis said it was “telling that CENTCOM leads with quantitative metrics of progress, yet none of those metrics are tied to effectiveness of the operations they tout.”
Daddis, who served in Iraq, pointed to the Phoenix program during the Vietnam War that targeted the communist-led National Liberation Front and questioned whether the same sorts of ineffectual metrics that guided those operations were driving CENTCOM’s efforts in the Middle East.
“They don’t tell us if if the ISIS operatives killed or detained were key players in the organization or low-level members who easily could be replaced,” he said.
Daddis also took aim at fuzzy terms like “degrade,” asking what it really meant.
“How is ‘security and stability within Iraq’ being measured and compared to what definitions?” he added.
He also quibbled about the key assumption that ISIS wants to project global power and can direct and inspire attacks against the US homeland.
“Does ISIS truly have that kind of reach?” he asked.
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