It’s only natural after the Islamic State’s beyond-barbaric attacks of the past week in Baghdad, Lebanon, and Paris, to seek an end to the madness that is the Islamic Stat. once and for all. But, of course, ramping up bombing (as the United States has already done on the Islamic State’s oil fields) carries dangers to others beside members of the Islamic State. Yesterday Reuters presented the crux of massive retaliation:
So far, however, the United States has refrained from direct bombardment of known Islamic State headquarters buildings in its self-proclaimed capital of Raqqa, Syria.
That, individuals with knowledge of the matter said, is in part because of the risk of large-scale civilian casualties.
It remains to be seen whether the self-restraint will continue, and whether the Obama administration will generally loosen rules of engagement for airstrikes that some in Congress and elsewhere have called too restrictive.
Of course, US bombing of Islamic State territory has already caused civilian casualties, From the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on Oct. 30:
Despite claims by Canada and coalition forces of a near-perfect bombing record that has rarely harmed or killed civilians in Iraq and Syria, a fifth estate investigation has found nearly 50 credible allegations — involving as many as 600 possible deaths — that merit further review.
… The end result, she says, is local people are starting to fear coalition planes.
“Unfortunately, the coalition airstrikes are hitting innocent civilians,” she says. “Nowadays, the people of Mosul are afraid of both ISIS and the coalition.”
Civilian casualties caused by airstrikes on the Islamic State parallels anti-terror police storming the Bataclan Theater and triggering militants inside to depress the button connected to their their suicide vests, considerably increasing the number of casualties. (Though, of course, they would likely have detanated themselves anyway.)