US

US defense chief: Pentagon won't reveal damage from big bomb

  • U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis speaks with reporters after his arrival in Tel Aviv Wednesday, April 20, 2017. (Jonathan Ernst/Pool photo via AP)

    U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis speaks with reporters after his arrival in Tel Aviv Wednesday, April 20, 2017. (Jonathan Ernst/Pool photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis, left, walks with Egypt's Minister of Defense Sedki Sobhi to meet with Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, at the Ittihadiya Presidential Palace, in Cairo, Egypt, Thursday April 20, 2017. (Jonathan Ernst/Pool photo via AP)

    U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis, left, walks with Egypt's Minister of Defense Sedki Sobhi to meet with Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, at the Ittihadiya Presidential Palace, in Cairo, Egypt, Thursday April 20, 2017. (Jonathan Ernst/Pool photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says the Pentagon will not disclose how much damage occurred when the military used its most powerful non-nuclear bomb to strike an Islamic State stronghold in Afghanistan.

The retired four-star Marine general says the Pentagon learned from its Vietnam war experience that it doesn't pay to judge the success of battlefield action in terms of the number of enemy forces killed. It was a reference to the so-called body count that was publicly exaggerated in Vietnam.

Instead, he says the April 13 use of the so-called "mother of all bombs" shows the U.S. doing "what was necessary to break ISIS," whether in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria or elsewhere.

Mattis was asked about the bombing by journalists traveling with him Thursday to Tel Aviv.