Military personnel are beginning to speak out about the folly of Obama’s war against ISIS. This week, Fox News spoke to American pilots who say that they are handcuffed by the administration. “There were times I had groups of ISIS fighters in my sights, but couldn’t get clearance to engage,” said one F-15 pilot. “They probably killed innocent people and spread evil because of my inability to kill them. It was frustrating.”
After ISIS managed to take the Iraqi city of Ramadi last week, the criticism of the current air campaign has grown louder. The White House continues to assert that their strategy is working, but the facts are not with them. In the effort to keep civilian casualties to a minimum, the U.S. is passing up targets that would severely cripple the Islamic State.
“There are military rules of engagement that our military leaders established for those airstrikes,” Press Secretary Josh Earnest told Fox News. “We are very cautious about making sure there are no civilian casualties.”
That’s an admirable way to fight, but it has to be judged against the pilot’s remarks. How many people are being slaughtered by ISIS because Americans are unwilling to endure collateral damage? With pinpoint strikes and the best technology, we’ve done everything we can to make sure that innocent civilians are not killed in the bombings. But when push comes to shove, are we allowing more human misery and death by adhering strictly to these rules of engagement?
According to General Michael Hayden, the former director of the CIA, the U.S. is not going to be able to defeat ISIS until we have troops on the ground. In an interview with Newsmax, Hayden said, “We need more boots on the ground. We’re under-resourced and more importantly… overregulated. Even the forces we have there now aren’t free to do the kinds of things they’re capable of doing.”
This conspires to create a case of incompetence against Obama. He has hoped that we would be able to rely on the Iraqi army to complete the fight on the ground. That, as we saw so vividly, is not going to happen. The Iraqis fled from Ramadi as if their tails were on fire. They clearly do not have the training or the heart for this fight. Since there are important American security reasons for making sure ISIS does not take Baghdad, we can’t just say, “Well, if they don’t want to fight for it, maybe they shouldn’t have it.” An ISIS-ruled Iraq would be a disaster for Middle Eastern stability, oil prices, and humanity.
We can’t afford to wait until we have a president with more hawkish tendencies. The Republican-controlled Congress needs to step up and demand that this president take the fight to ISIS in a more complete way. Take off the gloves, and let’s do this thing. If we wait until a Republican takes the White House, we will be looking at an ISIS that is much stronger than the one we’re facing now. The time is now.