Does it matter how many terrorists the U.S. kills?


In recent months the Obama administration and the United States military have made a concerted effort to provide figures on the number of ISIS fighters killed in the ongoing battle against the Islamic State. Some have welcomed this transparency while others question the logic. Others do not believe the numbers released to be remotely accurate, especially as they pertain to the number of civilian deaths. But short of the logic or civilian deaths, does the number of ISIS fighters killed matter?

The terra firma tide has turned in the fight against ISIS. The organization continues to lose territory. ISIS leaders are killed by drone strikes. Yet U.S. national security officials are more concerned than ever about the threat ISIS poses to America. And groups across the globe continue to pledge their allegiance to ISIS.

Research demonstrates that leadership decapitation is a shaky at best strategy in defeating terrorist organizations. The U.S. is not waging total war. Thereby, terrorists will remain. Terrorists to continue the ideology and form new groups.

More ISIS deaths is better. But ultimately the fight is not a war, it does not end. And if it does not end then releasing the number of terrorists killed is merely an attempt to placate the public.


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