Watching the Pentagon press conference displaying the results of the initial strikes on ISIS targets in Syria yesterday, I was struck by the apparent paucity of military targets and the limited nature of the strikes. Looking at the before/after images of a few of the strikes it was difficult to see the difference (not to say it didn’t exist).
The Daily Mail rounds up a series of images from the strikes in “‘This is only the beginning’: Pentagon reveal[s] how dozens of smart bombs have blitzed ISIS in Syria and tell terror group more missiles are on their way.” Below is one of the photographic before/after comparisons from the Pentagon press conference. You almost have to squint to make out the damage. The Daily Mail caption reads: “Damaged: This Pentagon image (before air strike left, and after on the right) shows the damage inflicted on a ISIS Finance center in Raqqa, Syria after it was hit by a tomahawk missile[.]”
The New York Times’s Peter Baker reported that the bombing “was aimed primarily at crippling the Islamic State[.]” Air power, however, famously has its limits. Baker reports that the Pentagon is conducting its damage assessment.
There doesn’t seem to be much discussion of the results that can realistically be achieved by the use of air power alone against ISIS. At the American Interest, Walter Russell Mead and staff take a look back at the results of the air campaign in Iraq to date and conclude “Anti-ISIS campaign in Iraq shows limits of air power.”
The Daily Mail story also includes a photo of our team of nitwits meeting with the leaders of our putative coalition partners, visiting for the convening of the UN General Assembly. Enough said.