Some time ago I saw a piece about the UK entering into the air campaign against ISIL. With the decision made,and grudgingly so by some, the old “suitable target” myth balloon was sent aloft. This myth has hampered the Americans and indeed offers fits for the French and now the British. This myth is a dangerous thing,almost as dangerous as over reliance on air power.
I think I should now stress why I call out the “suitable target” myth. Lets talk about “targeting” as it pertains to the theater of operations vis-a-vis ISIL.
On one end of the spectrum what we have the whole who and what businessman stuff. Flying sorties is no inexpensive endeavor. That said sometimes a “minor” target may be deemed unworthy of a ($)strike. A couple of notches up from this and very much related is the timing issue. Somehow an asset locates a potential target but strike assets cannot get on area in a timely enough manner. This end of the spectrum is not a big deal in my view. I guess if I were to be flippant about it I could simply say this stuff is what happens when operating an ongoing combat operation.
The other end of the spectrum is far more troubling and is in my opinion the key to the cheap credibility the myth enjoys. The Rules of Engagement in Iraq,Afghanistan and now Syria has always been a complete fucking mess. The hurdles and bureaucratic quicksand folks need to deal with to strike a target is mind numbing. Surely folks look at friendly fire incidents or the MSF (Doctors Without Borders) affair and proclaim such rigorous checks are necessary. B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T.
The truth of the matter is ISIL is pretty easily found. I get it,sometimes these cowardly bastards are embedded amongst “civilians”. Well too fucking bad. The “civilians” are helping anybody and in many cases actually welcomed these P.O.S.’s in the first place. ISIL is a target rich entity once you stop being a pussy about killing them.
I am not one for crying over “collateral damage”. It is what it is. I also don’t agree that sustaining death and disability amongst “civilians” is necessarily the great ISIL recruiting poster some others want us to believe. The world,and more so the region needs to have ISIL eliminated. The “target” part isn’t the issue ultimately, the silly notion that we want to discern,discuss and debate suitability is. Bombs Away!