Can USAF Bomb ISIS Faster?

Asked if the Air Force could possibly “accelerate” its bombing campaign as part of the coalition arrayed against ISIS, Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said yes, but “only if it’s coordinated with the rest of the campaign,” meaning ground troops of Iraq and Kurdish Peshmerga, among others. The air campaign has to keep pace with the surface effort, he said. An indiscriminate ramp-up in the pace of bombing—which Goldfein said is already very high, with many munitions dropped per hour—would potentially create “long-term costs” for the US by alienating civilians the US wants to be part of a constructive post-ISIS society. The bombing effort will be wasted “if we don’t create something better for these people on the ground” in the wake of ISIS, he said. The military campaign has to work hand-in-hand with the State Department, USAID and other entities to ensure that what replaces ISIS is something the indigenous population is willing to accept, Goldfein observed. “We go to war with our values,” he asserted, and the Air Force “is very proud” of the painstaking efforts it has taken to avoid killing civilians and collateral damage.