One Year Ago Today We Started Bombing Syria; ISIS Still Alive and Well

What have we accomplished by bombing Syria to defeat ISIS? Mostly just stimulus for the munitions industry.

A few days ago I posted about our attempts to train and arm soldiers to fight against ISIS. The results were expensive and useless.

But we have also been pursuing another means of dealing with ISIS. A year ago today we began bombing Syria thinking that, if we blew up enough ISIS locations, we would hurt the group.

The Charles Koch Institute website explains,

The strikes were launched against ISIS’ unofficial capital of Raqqa and involved both cruise missiles and precision-guided bombs. The targets included various types of military equipment, training areas, military transportation, and command-and-control facilities.

The New York Times called the airstrikes “a major turning point in President Obama’s war against the Islamic State” that “open[ed] up a risky new stage of the American military campaign.” Prior to these strikes, the United States had only bombed ISIS in Iraq.

One year later, the United States is still bombing ISIS targets in Syria, with no end in sight. The Air Force Times reported that between August 8, 2014— when the first bomb was dropped on an ISIS target in Iraq—and August 7, 2015, over 5,600 bombs were used against ISIS by the United States. The campaign has cost at least $3.21 billion.

For well over three billion dollars (at least!) we have accomplished pretty much nothing. We know the government is embarrassed about this because they tried to lie about our successes (by claiming we had any significant success).

What is the point of a bombing campaign that isn’t accomplishing anything?

For one thing, if we spent $3.21 billion or more, then that means there were plenty of industries supplying bombs and jet fuel and other needed items that were making money off the mission.

But I wonder if the endgame has always been to sell another major land war to the American public. As none of the other options work, we will be told we have “no choice,” but to send more troops.