An Infinite SupplyHaven't we heard this all before? "Terror group X has N fighters, we must bomb them now!". A few weeks later, "Terror group X has 2*N fighters, we must bomb them more". Of course, that too is followed by the 3N and 4N proclomations before somebody realizes how stupid they sound. Until the next time...
The number of fighters killed has not been publicly discussed before but was disclosed by the U.S. ambassador to Iraq Stuart Jones, who told Al Arabiya television earlier in the day that an estimated 6,000 fighters have been killed. Jones said the military effort was having a "devastating" impact on ISIS.Source: CNN.com
Oh really? That same group we were led to believe last spring had at most 10K fighters.
Run by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, an Iraqi jihadist, ISIS may have up to 6,000 fighters in Iraq and 3,000-5,000 in Syria, including perhaps 3,000 foreigners; nearly a thousand are reported to hail from Chechnya and perhaps 500 or so more from France, Britain and elsewhere in Europe.Source: The Economist 6/14/14
Wow. They must be done right? From the same CNN article:
U.S. intelligence estimates that ISIS has a total force of somewhere between 9,000 to 18,000 fighters. However, it is also believed the group can draw on thousands of other fighters whose loyalty shifts and could muster a force upwards of 31,000 total.
So lets get this right. CENTCOM estimates they have killed between 1/3 and 2/3 of ISIS fighters. But if we count the ISIS bench, it drops to 20%.
Well surely then if we keep bombing we will not read three or six months down the road that "CENTCOM estimates it has killed 12,000 ISIS fighters but the US intelligence agencies believe their numbers total 27,000-54,000 with reserves near 100,000". I wouldn't bet too much on that, the Vegas money line looks pretty short.