After more than 300 airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said this week that the group “remains a very potent force.”
"Yes, they've changed some of their tactics, there's absolutely no question about that, in response to the pressure that we put them under, but that doesn't make them less dangerous or less potent over time," Kirby said.
"Yes, they're blending in more. Yes, they're dispersing, and yes, they aren't communicating quite as openly or as boldly as they once were. That's a good thing, because if they aren't operating as freely, then they aren't as free to achieve their goals.
"That doesn't mean ISIL doesn't still pose a threat. It doesn't mean they aren't still trying and in some cases succeeding at taking and holding ground. No one said this would be easy or quick, and no one should be lulled into a false sense of security by accurate airstrikes. We will not, we cannot bomb them into obscurity."
We’ve heard countless times by now that airstrikes alone will not defeat and destroy the group—a point even Kirby emphasized.
"This is going to be a long struggle," he said, urging "a sense of strategic patience about this entire effort."
"This group will adapt, and we're going to have to adapt right along with them. And air strikes alone, you're just not going to bomb them away. It's not going to happen like that."
He continued: “We've been pretty honest about the fact that military action alone will not win this effort, but that shouldn't be taken as an admission of ineffectiveness, and one of the ways we know we're having an effect is precisely because the terrorists have had to change their tactics and their communications and their command and control."