In a report broadcast yesterday on CNN, the cable news network raised questions about the effectiveness of US-led airstrikes on ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq. According to the report by CNN Middle East correspondent Arwa Damon, the terror group was warned “weeks in advance” of specific targets that would be hit, and that many of those buildings were empty. According to Damon:
“15-20 days before the airstrikes, (ISIS) buildings were evacuated, and fighters then mixed in with the local population.”
This lends credence to claims by many critics of the military operation that President Obama reluctantly ordered the airstrikes in response to polls showing his approval rating plummeting after gruesome videos of the beheadings of US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff. It also suggests that claims of successful strikes on key ISIS targets and dozens of dead terrorists may be greatly exaggerated. In fact, another report from CNN says several civilians, including women and children, were killed in the attacks.
Military experts have expressed doubts about the effectiveness of “pinprick” attacks against static targets, and also say that air power alone will accomplish nothing, and will have no chance of success in halting the advance of the terror group, reclaiming territory they have already captured, freeing hostages, or shutting down supply lines.
Worse, many Obama detractors say that warning terrorists ahead of time exactly which targets the US intends to strike provides further evidence that the president sympathizes with radical Islamists, and hopes to minimize ISIS casualties. In other words, these airstrikes are nothing but political theater, designed to make a weak leader appear strong, even while he is providing aid and comfort to the enemy.
Another report published yesterday by D.W. Ulsterman on Red Flag News claims an angry Obama stormed out of a military briefing during discussions on the air campaign after an “outraged pro-Islam tantrum.” Several reports from different media outlets, including the Washington Post have said Obama is ignoring the advice of military experts on the best strategy for defeating the terror group, and insists on carrying out these ineffective attacks, which clearly seem designed to play well on the evening news, but ultimately will do nothing to stop ISIS and its affiliates.
The Post report quotes retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, who served under Obama until last year, who spoke last Thursday at a House Intelligence Committee hearing, saying that Obama’s announcement that no American soldiers will be sent into ground combat was counter-productive. “Half-hearted or tentative efforts, or airstrikes alone, can backfire on us and actually strengthen our foes’ credibility,” he said. “We may not wish to reassure our enemies in advance that they will not see American boots on the ground.”
Gen. Mattis is not alone in that belief. Military strategists from around the world have pointed out that the US cannot hope to win a war when it announces to the enemy which targets it will strike ahead of time, and also tells them they need not fear a ground war.