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US General Rejects Carpet Bombing in IS Fight


U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter greets Army Lieutenant General Sean MacFarland after arriving in Baghdad, December 16, 2015.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter greets Army Lieutenant General Sean MacFarland after arriving in Baghdad, December 16, 2015.


The American commander of the effort to destroy Islamic State says the U.S. military will not use carpet bombing against terrorists in Iraq and Syria.

Army Lieutenant General Sean MacFarland told journalists on Monday: “We’re the United States of America, and we have a set of guiding principles. At the end of the day, it doesn’t only matter whether or not you win. It matters how you win.”

MacFarland dismissed carpet bombing, saying innocent women, children and men could be killed.

“That is inconsistent with our values,” he said about carpet bombing. MacFarland said he plans on taking “the moral high ground,” meaning he would do what is right to protect others.

Carpet bombing drops large numbers of bombs in one area to cause the greatest amount of devastation, according to the Merriam Webster dictionary.

U.S. military officials said the campaign to bomb Islamic State areas in Syria and Iraq has been very careful. They called it the most precise in the history of warfare.

Critics have accused the United States of carpet bombing during 20th Century warfare. American bombing during World War II and Vietnam were carpet bombings, critics said. U.S. military officials defended the bombings as aimed at military and industrial sites.

I’m Caty Weaver.

Jeff Seldin reported on this story for VOANews.com. Jim Dresbach adapted this story for Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.

How do you think the U.S. military should bomb IS in Iraq and Syria? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section or visit our Facebook page.

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Words in This Story

carpet bombing – n. to drop many bombs in order to cause great destruction over an area

journalist – n. a person who collects, writes and edits news stories for newspapers, magazines, television or radio

principle - n. a moral rule or belief that helps you know what is right and wrong and that influences your actions​

inconsistent - adj. not in agreement with something​

devastation – n. to destroy much or most of something

precise - adj. very accurate and exact​

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