Cover photo from NBCNews
Seriously, good intentions eventually get people killed. According to the Washington Free Beacon:
Strikes against the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) targets are often blocked due to an Obama administration policy to prevent civilian deaths and collateral damage, according to Rep. Ed Royce (R., Calif.), chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee….
“You went 12 full months while ISIS was on the march without the U.S. using that air power and now as the pilots come back to talk to us they say three-quarters of our ordnance we can’t drop, we can’t get clearance even when we have a clear target in front of us,” Royce said. “I don’t understand this strategy at all because this is what has allowed ISIS the advantage and ability to recruit.”
As noble as wanting to prevent civilian casualties may be, we’re fighting a war here. The fact that the enemy is so cowardly that they hide among the women and children is shameful, at least to western eyes. However, the Obama Administration does not see it that way. The Washington Free Beacon contacted a Pentagon official for an explanation on why our fighters are flying “airstrikes” over ripe targets in the Middle East and then whiffing on the them, they got this.
“The bottom line is that we will not stoop to the level of our enemy and put civilians more in harm’s way than absolutely necessary,” the official told the Washington Free Beacon, explaining that the military often conducts flights “and don’t strike anything.”
“The fact that aircraft go on missions and don’t strike anything is not out of the norm,” the official said. “Despite U.S. strikes being the most precise in the history of warfare, conducting strike operations in the heavily populated areas where ISIL hides certainly presents challenges. We are fighting an enemy who goes out of their way to put civilians at risk. However, our pilots understand the need for the tactical patience in this environment. This fight against ISIL is not the kind of fight from previous decades.”
What the pilots understand is that they have been effectively emasculated in front of the rest of the world, and because of that, the terrorists have been able to develop capability and spread their poisonous seduction and terror right under our noses. Retired four-star General Jack Keane, a popular color analyst on the war on terror if you will, puts it plain:
“This has been an absurdity from the beginning,” Keane said in response to questions from Royce. “The president personally made a statement that has driven air power from the inception.”
“When we agreed we were going to do airpower and the military said, this is how it would work, he [Obama] said, ‘No, I do not want any civilian casualties,’” Keane explained. “And the response was, ‘But there’s always some civilian casualties. We have the best capability in the world to protect from civilians casualties.’”
Keane also said that no one else out there carrying out bombing sorties and airstrikes is following this strategy. Certainly not Russia, and most assuredly not France, both of whom are having amazing luck hitting targets that the Obama Administration passed on which include the staging areas, fighting position, oil pipelines, and key leaders, reflected in the screaming headlines of the last year. According the to article, these are not new targets, just targets that the Obama people had no taste for hitting due to civilian casualty possibilities.
While airstrikes by our allies in the war on terror actually hitting targets is progress, it does not change that American airpower has been neutered by Obama’s bizarre rules of engagement that say we fly the largest and most technologically advanced air fleet in the world and don’t bother to hit anything with it. (How much is this costing us, really.) And the flyboys aren’t happy about that. That is not what they signed up for.