Jim Mattis testifies before SASC
Breaking Defense contributor James Kitfield spoke with Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, during Dunford’s swing through Japan, Singapore, Australia, Wake Island, and Hawaii. BD readers know that Defense Secretary Jim Mattis promised Sen. John McCain yesterday that America would get a new Afghan strategy by mid-July. In this second part of Kitfield’s interview, Dunford talks Turkey, Kurds, Daesh (ISIS) and whether the US will boost the number of troops stationed in Afghanistan. Read on! The Editor.
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WNU Editor: The key question and answer is the following ....
.... BD: Is the United States’ “annihilation” battle plan in Iraq and Syria that you’ve spoken of also designed to contain the foreign fighter threat?
Dunford: Yes. When Secretary Mattis looked at our anti-ISIS campaign, he concluded that in some instances we were essentially just pushing the enemy from one location to another. He asked me and the military chain-of-command to make a conscious effort not to allow ISIS fighters to just flee from one location to another, but rather to deliberately seek to ‘annihilate’ the enemy. That was the commander’s intent, and our commanders on the ground have tried to meet that goal of annihilating the enemy in order to mitigate the risk of these terrorists showing up someplace else.
I have lost count over the years on how many complaints I read from the Middle East and elsewhere that the U.S. was enabling the enemy by almost always permitting them a means to escape from the battlefield. It looks like U.S. Secretary Of Defense Mattis wants to put a stop to this practice. I say it is about time.