Secretary of Defense General Mattis ordered the U.S. military to abandon Obama administration methods and start concentrating on killing Islamic State fighters instead, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford told Breaking Defense.
When Secretary Mattis looked at the Obama era anti-ISIS campaign, he decided that in some instances the generals were basically just pushing the enemy from one location to another. Dunmore said that General Mattis asked him and the American chain-of-command to make an effort to not permit ISIS to flee. Destroying their existence is exactly what Mattis wants.
The Pentagon hasn’t yet revealed the new methods to eliminate ISIS, but Mattis has firmly emphasized his goal to be annihilation, not just small skirmishes.
“We have already shifted from attrition tactics where we shove them from one position to another in Iraq and Syria, to annihilation tactics where we surround them. Our intention is that the foreign fighters do not survive the fight to return home to North Africa, to Europe, to America, to Asia, to Africa. We’re not going to allow them to do so. We’re going to stop them there and take apart the caliphate,” Mattis declared in a late May interview with CBSNews.
Dunford, however, stated that ISIS is increasingly putting themselves within civilian populations to protect against U.S. airstrikes.
“One tactic they have adopted is to mix in with the civilian population, and that makes targeting them very difficult. We can’t just indiscriminately bomb people who are leaving these cities. Even with this annihilation battle plan, we have to be very careful about civilian casualties,” He said.
Ultimately, we have to decide if we want to let our civilians die or kill theirs. Because they won’t stop at our armed forces, they want to kill us.