Over the past few months, as the size of the Islamic State’s caliphate rapidly shrunk, the Pentagon began citing the number of enemy dead as an important barometer of longer-term success. “We have killed, in conservative estimates, sixty thousand to seventy thousand,” General Raymond Thomas, the head of U.S. Special Operations Command, told the Aspen Security Forum, in July. “They declared an army, they put it on the battlefield, and we went to war with it.”
A high kill rate, which once misled the U.S. military about its prospects in Vietnam, has eased concerns in the U.S. today about future attempts at revenge from ISIS’s foreign fighters.  “We’re not seeing a lot of flow out of the core caliphate, because most of those people are dead now,” Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie, Jr., the director of the Pentagon’s Joint Staff, confidently told  reporters this month. “They’re unable to manifest the former activities they …
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