If we’re being candid, the presence of United States airpower in the sky over Iraq and Syria has been the subject of much scrutiny and criticism, both here at home and by other world governments. We have discussed the Rules of Engagement for Operation Inherent Resolve at length, which brings us to one overriding question: Are were in this to win…or not? And if we’re not, what the eff-bomb are we doing?
Here’s a disturbing report, made all the more disturbing because of the grisly familiarity of the topic: ISIS has executed 175 of the 300 Syrian cement workers it kidnapped on April 7. As usual, ISIS was brazen:
The workers from Al-Badiyeh Cement company, based in the town of Al-Dhmeir 30 miles northeast of Damascus, were reportedly taken from their workplace Thursday and put on buses by ISIS militants.
Then most of them were killed. And we can immediately observe that, over the last few years, ISIS has engaged in a lot of outdoor activity; in its own showy fashion, it has murdered hundreds, if not thousands, of people — including Americans.
Yes, ISIS, being the media whore that it is, has typically chosen to commit its murders in fetishistic mass-ceremonies, recorded in broad daylight, so that the whole world can see. It has also defiantly bulldozed or otherwise demolished priceless monuments and archaeological artifacts. By definition, that too, is visible outdoor work.
Which is to say, if the U.S. had really wanted to, it could have been observing, and interdicting, every ISIS action, using drones and other aircraft. More specifically, and desirably, America could have annihilated ISIS fighters wherever and whenever they appeared.
Yes, if the Obama administration had cared, we could have filled the skies over Syria with drones, ready to fire off a rocket or cruise missile every time an ISIS member made a move. Drones are, after all, cheap: In the U.S. today, we have millions of them. In 2015 alone, hobbyists bought 700,000 drones. And so, if ISIS has about 30,000 members, well, it would have been easy for America to put forth a new military doctrine: For each and every ISIS fighter, one watchful drone, one shot — and one kill.
Yes, that technological capacity is available, but it hasn’t been fully used. So we can only conclude that the Obama administration lacks the imagination, or the inclination — maybe both — to truly destroy ISIS.