Tags: ISIS/Islamic State | John McCain | air | commander | rules | engagement | isis

Air Commander Fighting ISIS Defends Tight Rules of Engagement

By    |   Friday, 05 Jun 2015 05:29 PM

The commander of the air campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS) has shot back at critics who've questioned the rules of engagement for pilots dropping bombs, saying the aerial battle against the militant jihadists is like no other.

Air Force Lt. Gen. John Hesterman says ISIS fighters no longer march in large groups, and live right alongside innocent citizens in Iraq and Syria, making precision strikes difficult, Defense News reports.

"I am comfortable with the rules of engagement," he said, Defense News reports.

"Nothing stops us from self-defense. If we see the enemy shooting at friendly forces or
at us, we kill them right away."

"There's never been a target that is easily available for a terrorist enemy that is
wrapped around the population," Hesterman added, Defense News reports. "You have
to unwind them from around a population and kill them where you can."

Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain has bitterly complained that fighters pilots are
frustrated about having to return to base without firing a weapon about 75 percent of
the time, and has called for so-called joint terminal attack controller support that's far away
from the battlefield – managing strikes via surveillance feed – would be better
off embedded with Iraqi forces to better identify targets, Defense News reports.

That might be "helpful," Hesterman conceded, also agreeing that McCain's 75 percent
figure is "probably accurate," Defense News reports.

Since the anti-ISIS air campaign began in August, airstrikes have killed more than
1,000 militants per month, Defense News reports.

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The commander of the air campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS) has shot back at critics who've questioned the rules of engagement for pilots dropping bombs, saying the aerial battle against the militant jihadists is like no other.
air, commander, rules, engagement, isis
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2015-29-05
Friday, 05 Jun 2015 05:29 PM
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