U.S. military pilots who fought against ISIS in Iraq are confirming reports that they were blocked from dropping 75 percent of their ordnance on terror targets because they could not get clearance to strike the targets.
The Washington Free Beacon reports that strikes against ISIS targets are often blocked because of an Obama administration policy to prevent civilian deaths as well as collateral damage.
The policy is being blamed for allowing ISIS militants to gain strength in Iraq and wreak havoc throughout the region and around the world, according to Rep. Ed Royce, who is 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. 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.”
A Pentagon official defended the Obama administration policy and said that the military tries to avoid civilian casualties if possible.
“The bottom line is that we will not stoop to the level of our enemy and put civilian in harm’s way more than necessary,” the official said. “The fact that aircrafts go on missions and don’t strike anything is not out of the norm.”
Retired four-star general Jack Keane agreed with Royce’s assessment of the Obama administration policy.
Keane blamed President Obama for issuing orders that limit the U.S. military when it comes to combating terrorists.
“This has been an absurdity from the beginning,” Keane said. “The president personally made a statement that has driven air power from the inception.”
Keane said President Obama was adamant about avoiding civilian casualties even though they are almost impossible to avoid.
“When we agreed we were going to do air power, and the military said, this is how it would work, 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 civilian casualties.’”
“So that has driven our so-called rules of engagement to a degree we have never had in any previous air campaign from desert storm to the present.”
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