Speed Reads


The Pentagon wants you to see what it's like to bomb ISIS

The U.S.-led military campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) isn't supposed to be a "shock and awe" sort of offensive, but the U.S. brought out some pretty big guns (and guided missiles and drones and fighter jets) in Monday night's first strike against ISIS in Syria. And for some reason — transparency? psychological warfare? — the Pentagon is welcoming the global public into the cockpits of combat aircraft and onto the decks of warships. If you wondered what the anti-ISIS battle looks like from the U.S. front lines, this footage from the U.S. military will give you a taste.

The first thing about the attacks is that they were loud. Here's some U.S. Navy video from the deck of the USS Philippine Sea, launching Tomahawk missiles toward Syria, plus a bit of footage of F-18 fighter jets taking off from the deck of the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush. The U.S. Navy has more footage if these flashes and bangs aren't enough:

By comparison, this raw aerial footage of airstrikes from U.S. Central Command has no sound. Being bombed here are ISIS command centers and a vehicle staging area, and The Associated Press throws in a quick look from a KC-135 Stratotanker as it's refueling an F-16 midair. The destruction looks almost peaceful from the air, with the sound off, but it wasn't. Syrian activists say the airstrikes killed at least 70 ISIS militants and 50 al Qaeda–linked fighters, plus a handful of civilians outside Aleppo. --Peter Weber