The monthly scorecards issued by U.S. Central Command’s Air Force component illustrate how carefully — critics would say how inadequately — the White House oversees the air war against the Islamic State.
About half the combat missions actually unleash ordnance. The other aircraft return to base with just as many bombs and missiles as when they left.
“It is not an air campaign,” said retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney, a Vietnam War fighter pilot and one of 88 admirals and generals who signed a letter supporting Donald Trump. “In addition, a general in Baghdad must approve every bomb dropped — handcuffs on air power to let ISIS survive.”
The Islamic State is also known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh, an Arabic acronym.
The micromanagement reaches higher than Baghdad: A number of military people say the Obama White House wants as close to zero civilian casualties as possible.
In the two-year air war, the Pentagon has sent its most sophisticated and lethal warplanes, including the B-1B bomber and F-22 fighter. But there are many off-limits targets — including buildings in Raqqa, Syria, the Islamic State’s proclaimed capital, and Mosul, Iraq, its largest urban prize — because they house civilians as well as fighters.