US military pilots complain hands tied in ‘frustrating’ fight against ISIS

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US military pilots complain hands tied in ‘frustrating’ fight against ISIS | Fox News

U.S. military pilots carrying out the air war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria are voicing growing discontent over what they say are heavy-handed rules of engagement hindering them from striking targets.

They blame a bureaucracy that does not allow for quick decision-making. One Navy F-18 pilot who has flown missions against ISIS voiced his frustration to Fox News, saying: "There were times I had groups of ISIS fighters in my sights, but couldn't get clearance to engage.”

He added, “They probably killed innocent people and spread evil because of my inability to kill them. It was frustrating."

Sources close to the air war against ISIS told Fox News that strike missions take, on average, just under an hour, from a pilot requesting permission to strike an ISIS target to a weapon leaving the wing.

A spokesman for the U.S. Air Force’s Central Command pushed back: “We refute the idea that close air support strikes take 'an hour on average'. Depending on the how complex the target environment is, a strike could take place in less than 10 minutes or it could take much longer.

"As our leaders have said, this is a long-term fight, and we will not alienate civilians, the Iraqi government or our coalition partners by striking targets indiscriminately."

A former U.S. Air Force general who led air campaigns over Iraq and Afghanistan also said today's pilots are being "micromanaged," and the process for ordering strikes is slow -- squandering valuable minutes and making it possible for the enemy to escape.

“You're talking about hours in some cases, which by that time the particular tactical target left the area and or the aircraft has run out of fuel. These are excessive procedures that are handing our adversary an advantage,” said retired Lt. Gen. David Deptula, a former director of the Combined Air Operations Center in Afghanistan in 2001.

Deptula also contrasted the current air campaign against ISIS with past air campaigns.

The U.S.-led airstrikes over Iraq during the first Gulf War averaged 1,125 strike sorties per day, according to Deptula. He said the Kosovo campaign averaged 135 strikes per day. In 2003, the famous “shock and awe” campaign over Iraq saw 800 strikes per day.

According to the U.S.-led coalition to defeat ISIS, U.S. military aircraft carry out 80 percent of the strikes against ISIS and average 14 per day.

Deptula blames the White House for the bottleneck.

“The ultimate guidance rests in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,” he said. “We have been applying air power like a rain shower or a drizzle -- for it to be effective, it needs to be applied like a thunderstorm.”

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., recently complained that 75 percent of pilots are returning without dropping any ordnance, due to delays in decision-making up the chain of command.

A senior defense official at the Pentagon pushed back on the comparisons between the air war against ISIS and past air campaigns.

“The Gulf War and Kosovo are not reasonable comparisons. In those instances, we were fighting conventional forces. Today, we are supporting a fight against terrorists who blend into the civilian population,” he said. “Our threshold for civilian casualties and collateral damage is low. We don’t want to own this fight. We have reliable partners on the ground.”

McCain, speaking on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday, also called for “forward air controllers,” as well as special forces and “more of those kind of raids that were so successful into Syria.”

Another former U.S. Air Force general agreed. “We need to get somebody to find the targets and [U.S.] airpower will blow them up ... period,” said retired Gen. Charles F. Wald, former deputy commander of United States European Command

In a letter to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter Wednesday, Rep. Duncan Hunter asked the secretary to consider arming the Sunnis tribes in Anbar directly in order to defeat ISIS. Like McCain, Hunter also wants to “immediately embed special operators and ground-air controllers to support ground operations against IS[IS].”

But a defense official pushed back on Hunter’s plan to bypass Baghdad and arm the Sunni tribes directly, telling Fox News, “[the plan] doesn’t take into account the presence of Iran inside Iraq right now… there could be unintended consequences and restore a sectarian war.”
 
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Fox News isn't exactly known for reporting the truth. Actually, they're becoming known for the exact opposite. One phrase really sticks out like a sore thumb, for me. It really doesn't sound real at all.

He added, “They probably killed innocent people and spread evil because of my inability to killthem. It was frustrating."
 
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I'd consider this news untrue but similar stories have been published. Late last year . . .

Air Force Pilots Say They Have No ISIS Targets to Bomb - The Daily Beast

Within the U.S. Air Force, there’s mounting frustration that the air campaign against ISIS in Syria and Iraq is moving far more slowly than expected. Instead of a fast-moving operation with hundreds of sorties flown in a single day—the kind favored by many in the air service—American warplanes are hitting small numbers of targets after a painstaking and cumbersome process.

More lies, those?
 
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Have you ever talked to someone who likes to make up pointless lies so they'll look cool, or popular, or whatever? That phrase is the sort of wording people us when they make up lies. The only people in the world that would ever say that are the people who make up the lies.

If the complaint is legitimate, that just makes it worse. But I would bet anything that no real soldier said that. I don't care, honestly, that they told a lie. But I'm a little insulted they didn't feel the need to put a little bit more effort into it.

But, more on point, I wonder if it is even possible to win this fight without taking it to the ground. Has anything else yielded significant results?
 
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Boots on the ground wouldn't solve the problem. How easy would it be for ISIS to blend in with the locals? How would anyone tell who the enemy is? How easy do you think it would be to kill soldiers who don't know the people the are fighting? It's not worth the risk IMO.

If the complaint is legitimate, that just makes it worse. But I would bet anything that no real soldier said that. I don't care, honestly, that they told a lie. But I'm a little insulted they didn't feel the need to put a little bit more effort into it.
In the military only the Senior officers call the shots. If they say strike not the target even if you've sighted it "in the open" that's exactly what you'll do whether you like it or not.
 
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Boots on the ground wouldn't solve the problem. How easy would it be for ISIS to blend in with the locals? How would anyone tell who the enemy is? How easy do you think it would be to kill soldiers who don't know the people the are fighting? It's not worth the risk IMO.


In the military only the Senior officers call the shots. If they say strike not the target even if you've sighted it "in the open" that's exactly what you'll do whether you like it or not.
On the ground, in the sky, or Rambo, you can't effectively fight an enemy you can't see. So what can be done? The US doesn't negotiate with terrorists, right?
 
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On the ground, in the sky, or Rambo, you can't effectively fight an enemy you can't see. So what can be done?
Change the strategies, learn from mistakes. It's quite clear now that getting directly involved in the Middle East ends up only making things worse. Work with those who hate the terrorists. Train them, arm them and let them hunt the savages.

I think though right now, only a Muslim leader respected by all Muslims can help end the conflict.
 
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US military pilots complain hands tied in ‘frustrating’ fight against ISIS | Fox News

U.S. military pilots carrying out the air war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria are voicing growing discontent over what they say are heavy-handed rules of engagement hindering them from striking targets.

They blame a bureaucracy that does not allow for quick decision-making. One Navy F-18 pilot who has flown missions against ISIS voiced his frustration to Fox News, saying: "There were times I had groups of ISIS fighters in my sights, but couldn't get clearance to engage.”

He added, “They probably killed innocent people and spread evil because of my inability to kill them. It was frustrating."

Sources close to the air war against ISIS told Fox News that strike missions take, on average, just under an hour, from a pilot requesting permission to strike an ISIS target to a weapon leaving the wing.

A spokesman for the U.S. Air Force’s Central Command pushed back: “We refute the idea that close air support strikes take 'an hour on average'. Depending on the how complex the target environment is, a strike could take place in less than 10 minutes or it could take much longer.

"As our leaders have said, this is a long-term fight, and we will not alienate civilians, the Iraqi government or our coalition partners by striking targets indiscriminately."

A former U.S. Air Force general who led air campaigns over Iraq and Afghanistan also said today's pilots are being "micromanaged," and the process for ordering strikes is slow -- squandering valuable minutes and making it possible for the enemy to escape.

“You're talking about hours in some cases, which by that time the particular tactical target left the area and or the aircraft has run out of fuel. These are excessive procedures that are handing our adversary an advantage,” said retired Lt. Gen. David Deptula, a former director of the Combined Air Operations Center in Afghanistan in 2001.

Deptula also contrasted the current air campaign against ISIS with past air campaigns.

The U.S.-led airstrikes over Iraq during the first Gulf War averaged 1,125 strike sorties per day, according to Deptula. He said the Kosovo campaign averaged 135 strikes per day. In 2003, the famous “shock and awe” campaign over Iraq saw 800 strikes per day.

According to the U.S.-led coalition to defeat ISIS, U.S. military aircraft carry out 80 percent of the strikes against ISIS and average 14 per day.

Deptula blames the White House for the bottleneck.

“The ultimate guidance rests in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,” he said. “We have been applying air power like a rain shower or a drizzle -- for it to be effective, it needs to be applied like a thunderstorm.”

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., recently complained that 75 percent of pilots are returning without dropping any ordnance, due to delays in decision-making up the chain of command.

A senior defense official at the Pentagon pushed back on the comparisons between the air war against ISIS and past air campaigns.

“The Gulf War and Kosovo are not reasonable comparisons. In those instances, we were fighting conventional forces. Today, we are supporting a fight against terrorists who blend into the civilian population,” he said. “Our threshold for civilian casualties and collateral damage is low. We don’t want to own this fight. We have reliable partners on the ground.”

McCain, speaking on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday, also called for “forward air controllers,” as well as special forces and “more of those kind of raids that were so successful into Syria.”

Another former U.S. Air Force general agreed. “We need to get somebody to find the targets and [U.S.] airpower will blow them up ... period,” said retired Gen. Charles F. Wald, former deputy commander of United States European Command

In a letter to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter Wednesday, Rep. Duncan Hunter asked the secretary to consider arming the Sunnis tribes in Anbar directly in order to defeat ISIS. Like McCain, Hunter also wants to “immediately embed special operators and ground-air controllers to support ground operations against IS[IS].”

But a defense official pushed back on Hunter’s plan to bypass Baghdad and arm the Sunni tribes directly, telling Fox News, “[the plan] doesn’t take into account the presence of Iran inside Iraq right now… there could be unintended consequences and restore a sectarian war.”
It must be so frustrating, to sign on for what you do when you enter the military to then have your hands tied and be unable to help anyone at all. I would get fed up of it very quickly! And as for them "squandering minutes" surely it is a split second decision process and there are no minutes to spare!?
 
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I've always said and will say it again [though I risk being branded a conspiracy theorist] the U.S isn't interested in defeating ISIS. Actually they had absolutely no intention of intervening had it not been for the beheading of American citizens. Their mission in Iraq/Syria I believe is to ensure the war doesn't end. It's good for Israel if their "enemies" are busy fighting each other.
 
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I've always said and will say it again [though I risk being branded a conspiracy theorist] the U.S isn't interested in defeating ISIS. Actually they had absolutely no intention of intervening had it not been for the beheading of American citizens. Their mission in Iraq/Syria I believe is to ensure the war doesn't end. It's good for Israel if their "enemies" are busy fighting each other.
That sounds like something that makes sense, I often wonder why countries like the US and UK need to "intervene" (in cases like the beheadings I understand it) and I firmly don't believe people intervene unless something is n it for them. I don't profess to understand the inner workings of a government and their decision making process but I do understand selfishness and greed.
 
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They intervene mostly because they've got something to gain . . . oil, make friends with any country which has been Russia's ally. And sometimes because of their status, they have to step in to show everyone else how powerful they are. Failure to do that means someone else [China or Russia] might intervene which would make people question if they actually are as powerful as they believe they are.
 
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They intervene mostly because they've got something to gain . . . oil, make friends with any country which has been Russia's ally. And sometimes because of their status, they have to step in to show everyone else how powerful they are. Failure to do that means someone else [China or Russia] might intervene which would make people question if they actually are as powerful as they believe they are.
That's what was great about WWII. There was no question as to how powerful the US was. How does that saying to, "speak softly and carry a big bomb." Or something like that ;)
 
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There's also the marketing angle to consider. It's easier to make someone believe the weapons you sell are better because you've proved you are better than everyone else. Or at least as good as the best. The U.S sells about $60 billion worth of military products each year. If they were to speak softly as you say, no one would be interested in their wares. That's probably the reason why they must be out there starting wars, intervening and then selling weapons to everyone interested in buying.
 
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Well I think it is a good thing they have rules of engagement because their track record of civilian casualty is not very good. Some of these pilots just bomb targets without regard for innocent people including women and children and sometimes even their own allies get killed in these bombings.
 
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