For nearly fifteen years, our servicemen have faced deployment to hostile areas. These men and women have been placed in harm’s way, in combat situations, and away from their families. When Obama was campaigning for the White House, one of the things he promised was that he would bring our troops home. Now, after mixed reviews on this policy, we are faced with cries to send soldiers back into Iraq.
The Washington Post reports:
Nearly 75 percent of U.S. bombing runs targeting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria returned to base without firing any weapons in the first four months of 2015, holding their fire mainly because of a lack of ground intelligence and raising questions about President Obama’s key tactic in pushing back an enemy that continues to expand its territory in the war zone.
The argument is simple. We are sending up pilots, and because they cannot distinguish friendly from non-friendly, they do not drop any bombs. This has needlessly placed American pilots in danger. The answer for some is just as simple, put Americans on the ground to direct the bombers.
The Post continues:
Without ground forces, argues Cmdr. Christopher Harmer, a retired Navy helicopter pilot, U.S. airmen are essentially flying half-blind and, as a result, are returning to base with their bombs still in the bay.
“As long as the body politic or president or whoever is making decisions absolutely refuses to put American air controllers on ground, essentially pilots are flying with one eye closed,” Cmdr. Harmer said. “It’s almost impossible for pilots to designate between [Islamic State] fighters and coalition fighters.”
This makes sense, as we are placing these pilots in danger with little effect. If we are going to stop the ISIS advance, we must hit them, and hit them hard. However, there is the question, where will this lead? Almost without exception, air controllers and advisers lead to combat units. An escalation of an American military presence is what these ISIS thugs want. And they may soon get their wish.
The Post further reports:
The slow tempo of strikes has long been a source of frustration for Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Armed Services Committee. The Arizona Republican said at a hearing this year that missions that don’t drop bombs needlessly put American pilots in danger and that U.S. boots on the ground would produce better intelligence that could lead to more effective bombing missions.
Amid questions of Iraq’s military ability and ISIS advances in almost every theater, there seems little chance that this demand for ground forces will end anytime soon. Though the thought of Americans going to fight a war our politicians lost angers me. Our indecision has led to the creation of this situation, and it has been complicit in ISIS’s continued growth.
Something must be done and soon.