McChrystal: US can't play a 'numbers game' in ISIS fight

Retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal on Sunday said the U.S. shouldn’t play a “numbers game” in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Last week, a senior Obama administration official said 10,000 ISIS members have died since the fight against the terrorist group began last year.

On ABC News’s “This Week,” McChrystal was asked about that latest report and whether it would be a blow to ISIS if its leader, Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi, is found.

“It will be a blow of a sense, because destroying an iconic leader undermines confidence, but you can't a play a numbers game in this kind of effort, you can't count how many people you've killed, particularly how many leaders, because they're replaceable,” said McChrystal, who previously served as the joint special operations commander in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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In an interview last week with a French radio station, Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken said the U.S.-led coalition has recorded more than 10,000 deaths since the fight against the terrorist group began last year.

“What you've got to do is destroy the fabric of the organization, their ability to communicate.  And that's a little bit more intangible and takes a wider, more holistic effort,” McChrystal said Sunday.

McChrystal said if there is a sense that the airstrikes or special operations raids are “episodic” or “spasmodic,” then the enemy “will gain confidence.”

Instead, he suggested the U.S. needs to do a better job of building a network with foreign allies.

Asked if more U.S. boots are needed on the ground in Iraq, McChrystal implied it could be beneficial.

“If the United States can provide help in building the fabric of this network, if that means you put small elements forward, helping Iraqi forces build confidence but also bring in high tech aircraft and things like that, then I think that would be helpful.”