The Obama administration has blocked 75 percent of military strikes against the Islamic State group, according to the chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif.
Pilots returning from the battlefield said that the targets are often blocked by the administration for fear of collateral damage and civilian casualties, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
“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,” the representative said. “I don’t understand this strategy at all because this is what has allowed ISIS the advantage and ability to recruit.”
A retired four-star general called the policy absurd.
“This has been an absurdity from the beginning,” retired Gen. Jack Keane said, responding to questions from Royce, according to the Free Beacon. “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 said. “And the response was, ‘But there’s always some civilian casualties. We have the best capability in the world to protect from civilians casualties.’”
The general said Obama’s response was, “No, you don’t understand. I want no civilian casualties. Zero.”
Keane added that the French and Russains are not going to be operating with such restrictions.
He expounded on his stance on “Fox & Friends” Friday.
“We gotta get serious. We have to unleash, once and for all, a devastating, unrelenting air campaign. And we have not had that to date,” he told Steve Doocey.
“We have to have a sense of urgency about ourselves,” he said. “The president talks about, Steve, ‘strategic patience.’ Throw that out the window. We cannot wait for years to defeat ISIS. Time is on ISIS’ side.
“The more time we take, guess what? The more killing takes place, the more barbarism takes place, the more opportunity ISIS has to hurt Americans. We gotta get on with this thing.
A Pentagon official who spoke to the Free Beacon disagreed, and defended the policy.
“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 Free Beacon.
“The fact that aircraft go on missions and don’t strike anything is not out of the norm,” he added. “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.”
The real reason Obama isn’t doing much, Keane told Fox, is because he wants to pass the ISIS problem to the next administration.
“He was betting on the fact that nothing bad would happen,” he said. “Well bad things are happening and we have to fundamentally change.”
Fundamentally change. Where have we heard that before?
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