Obama Blocks 75 Percent of Terror Targets From Bombing
Image: Obama Blocks 75 Percent of Terror Targets From Bombing An airstrike by a U.S.-led coalition warplane explodes on an ISIL position on November 10, 2015 near the town of Hole, Rojava, Syria. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
By Loren Gutentag | Friday, 20 Nov 2015 09:35 AM
Due to an Obama administration policy that is aimed to prevent civilian deaths and collateral damage, U.S. military pilots who have returned home from the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq have definitively stated they were unable to obtain clearance to launch strikes and in turn were blocked from dropping 75 percent of their weaponry on terror targets, The Washington Free Beacon reports.
According to the House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., the policy is coming under attack by military leaders who believe it has enabled ISIS to gain strength within the region.
“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.”
While Jack Keane, a retired four-star U.S. general, agreed with Royce’s evaluation of the policy, he noted that it’s not only severely “constricting the U.S.,” but he believes it has “been an absurdity from the beginning.”
“Believe me, the French are in there not using the restrictions we have imposed on our pilots,” Keane added.
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And the same goes for Russians, he said, adding, “They don’t care at all about civilians.”
Pentagon officials, however, are sticking to the policy despite the heavy criticism.
“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,” a Pentagon official told the Washington Free Beacon.
“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.”
However, despite President Obama’s “zero civilian casualties” policy in the fight against ISIS, a new NBC poll released Thursday found that at least 70 percent of Americans are in favor expanding the fight against the Islamic group.
Syrian Oil Tanker Drivers Warned Before US Bombs Fell
(CNSNews.com) – In a bid to deprive the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL) of vital energy supplies and revenues, U.S. forces have for the first time bombed oil tankers in the Syrian desert, but only after dropping leaflets warning truck drivers – deemed to be non-combatants – to “get out of your trucks now and run away from them.”
A total of 116 tankers, queued up near an oil facility in Al-Bukamal in eastern Syria, were destroyed with 500-pound bombs, U.S. Army Col. Steve Warren told reporters at the Pentagon Wednesday in a teleconference briefing from Baghdad.
The assault by A-10 fighters and AC-130 Hercules gunships, while the first targeting trucks, was part of an ongoing operation aimed at destroying the entire oil distribution chain that benefits the terrorists, including wellheads, pumps and collection points, he said.
About 45 minutes before the strikes, aircraft dropped leaflets carrying simple warning messages.
“Get out of your trucks now, and run away from them,” they read. “Warning: airstrikes are coming. Oil trucks will be destroyed. Get away from your oil trucks immediately. Do not risk your life.”
Warren, who is spokesman for the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition mission Operation Inherent Resolve, said assault aircraft also buzzed the trucks beforehand, to make their intentions clear in what he called “a very powerful message.”
“We assessed that these trucks, while – although they are being used for operations that support ISIL, the truck drivers themselves, are probably not members of ISIL,” he said.
“They’re probably just civilians. So we had to figure out a way around that. We’re not in this business to kill civilians, we’re in this business to stop ISIL, to defeat ISIL”
Warren said in one case civilians had run away from the trucks and took shelter inside a nearby tent.
Although by dint of their proximity and what they were doing they were “absolutely legitimate military targets,” he said, they had not been targeted.
“In a great sense of what we’re all about here, those pilots made a decision, you know, from the cockpit that they could accomplish their mission without striking that tent and without hurting any of those civilians.”
Warren suggested the experience may make tanker drivers less likely to continue helping ISIS.
“They’re civilians, they’re citizens of Syria. Granted, they’re oil smugglers. But they’re not really members of ISIL. So many of them have got the message that smuggling oil for ISIL is a much more dangerous business now than it was last week.”
Warren said revenues from stolen oil funds more than half of ISIS’ activities.
“We need to take this away from them so that their operations are more difficult to conduct.”
The mission to target the terrorists’ oil infrastructure is named “Operation Tidal Wave II.”
“This was a tidal wave that swept across these oil fields, and it really crippled them,” Warren said. “So, this was an extraordinarily, we believe, effective operation – Tidal Wave II.”
He said ISIS now faced the problem not of adjusting to the airstrikes, but of “trying to figure out how to fix their broken oil wells.”
The operation is named for a massive bombing raid during World War II in which the U.S. Air Force attacked oil facilities in Romania in a bid to deprive the Nazis of crucial fuel.
The 1943 Operation Tidal Wave came at huge cost, with dozens of B-24 bombers lost, 310 airmen killed, and more than 100 captured. Five Medals of Honor were awarded posthumously.