Could be that we’re not serious enough about “destroying and degrading” Islamic State forces.
Case in point: There are dozens of ISIS training camps spread throughout Syria and Iraq training thousands of fighters a month – and we haven’t once targeted a camp in our air campaign.
The fear is hitting civilians – what the military calls “responsible targeting.” But Bill Gertz of the Washington Free Beacon has examined the targets hit by our forces and comes away unimpressed.
The military campaign, known as Operation Inherent Resolve, appears to be floundering despite a yearlong campaign of airstrikes and military training programs aimed to bolstering Iraqi military forces.
A review of Central Command reports on airstrikes since last year reveals that no attacks were carried out against training camps.
Targets instead included Islamic State vehicles, buildings, tactical units, arms caches, fighting positions, snipers, excavators, mortar and machine gun positions, bunkers, and bomb factories.
The risk-averse nature of the airstrike campaign was highlighted last month by Brig. Gen. Thomas Weidley, chief of staff for what the military calls Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve.
“The coalition continues to use air power responsibly,” Weidley said July 1. “Highly precise deliveries, detailed weaponeering, in-depth target development, collateral damage mitigation, and maximized effects on Daesh, are characteristics of coalition airstrike operation in Iraq and Syria.”
Daesh is another name for the Islamic State.
“The coalition targeting process minimizes collateral damage and maximizes precise effects on Daesh,” Weidley said earlier. “Air crews are making smart decisions and applying tactical patience every day.”
Other coalition spokesman have indicated that targeting has been limited to reaction strikes against operational groups of IS fighters. “When Daesh terrorists expose themselves and their equipment, we will strike them,” Col. Wayne Marotto said May 27.
The military website Long War Journal published a map showing 52 IS training camps and noted that some may no longer be operating because of the U.S.-led bombing campaign.
According the map, among the locations in Iraq and Syria where IS is operating training camps are Mosul, Raqqah, Nenewa, Kobane, Aleppo, Fallujah, and Baiji.
The group MEMRI obtained a video of an IS training camp in Nenewa Province, Iraq, dated Oct. 1, 2014.
The video shows a desert outpost with tan tents and around 100 fighters who take part in hand-to-hand combat exercises, weapons training, and religious indoctrination.
We are fighting with one hand tied behind our backs because of the fear of collateral damage. Fair enough. But consider that nearby in Yemen, the Saudis are wontonly killing civilians in their air strikes, and the Syrian government and Hezb’allah are massacring civilians with poison gas and “barrel bombs.”
The Obama administration is running out the clock on the war against Islamic State, hoping they can keep ISIS from a sweeping victory until after they are safely out of office. No messy civilian deaths will be allowed to tarnish the Lightworker’s legacy – even if that means continued suffering and death at the hands of terrorists because we refuse to destroy their training camps.