Wow. Our experiment is off to a great start—let's see if we can finish it off sooner than expected.
It's been a year and a half since the United States launched Operation Inherent Resolve, unofficially declaring war on ISIS in Iraq and Syria. The numbers are already staggering: As of January 31, after 542 days of airstrikes, the cost of the campaign reached $6.2 billion, or about $480,000 for every hour of the campaign. And the expenses are set to grow: The Pentagon is asking for another $7.5 billion to continue battling ISIS—double the amount requested for 2016.
Beyond the money, the war itself is ramping up, including more airstrikes with fewer restrictions on civilian casualties and more special-forces troops on the ground. The scope of the battle has also expanded to Afghanistan and Libya (where last Friday airstrikes hit an ISIS camp). And as plans are being drawn up for major battles to recapture the ISIS strongholds of Raqqa, Syria, and Mosul, Iraq, there are calls for more US troops to be deployed in combat or advisory roles.
As Operation Inherent Resolve continues to escalate, here's a closer look at some of the stats behind America's war on ISIS.
So far, 37,000 bombs and missiles have been dropped, and 20,000 ISIS fighters have been killed, according to the Pentagon. US-led airstrikes wiped out hundreds of oil infrastructure targets and a cash storage facility believed to have contained millions of dollars crucial to ISIS's operations. The bombing has also taken a toll on civilians, though the actual numbers remain contentious.
US planes have dropped so many bombs and missiles on ISIS that the Air Force chief of staff has said the Air Force is "expending munitions faster than we can replenish them."
Officially, 3,650 American troops and contractors are currently involved in the campaign against ISIS. The actual number may be closer to 6,000.