While some Republican presidential candidates have suggested that “carpet bombing” ISIS would lead to a quick defeat of the terror group, the top U.S. military commander fighting ISIS doesn’t think that’s a good idea and “inconsistent with our values.”
Lt. General Sean MacFarland told Pentagon reporters today in a video-conference from Baghdad that the U.S. is bound by the laws of armed conflict and “at the end of the day, you know, it doesn’t only matter whether or not you win, it matters how you win.”
“We’re the United States of America and we have a set of guiding principles,” MacFarland added. “And those affect the way we as professional soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines conduct ourselves on the battlefield. So, indiscriminate bombing, where we don’t care if we’re killing innocents or combatants, is just inconsistent with our values.”
MacFarland noted that Russia has been accused of indiscriminate bombing in northwest Syria and “right now, we have the moral high ground and I think that’s where we need to stay.”
The general also told reporters that the Iraqi military’s win in Ramadi is “a turning point” that signals that the defeat of ISIS in Iraq “is a matter of time.”
Paraphrasing Winston Churchill‘s comments during World War II, MacFarland said that in Syria “the beginning of the end is when we get Raqqa back. I mean, that would be a really strong signal that the enemy is in its final death throes.”
MacFarland acknowledged he is developing new options to accelerate the fight against ISIS that could potentially include more American troops in Iraq where there are currently 3,700 service members training and advising the Iraqi military in its fight against ISIS.