Are Manned Air Operations Against ISIS in Syria a Good Idea?

 Words By Steve Hamm, EMS Pilot. Former CW4 OH-58D(R) Kiowa Test Pilot at Fort Campbell, KY.

With the current situation in Syria and the ISIS movement apparently growing stronger day by day, the decision to conduct air strikes seems to be on everyone's mind. President Obama has ordered surveillance flights to gain more intelligence. This decision has had both sides of Congress voicing their opinions. The military generals, both active and retired, have weighed in with their thoughts on conducting air strikes. I was on FB recently and someone asked me "Why can't we just carpet bomb the place and be done with it?" I responded" It's a little more complicated than that".

Are Manned Air Operations Against ISIS in Syria a Good Idea?

"Carpet bombing" Syria could take care of the immediate threat but the collateral damage, both physical and political, could have very bad effects. Having been a helicopter combat pilot, I do have some insight into the ramifications and problems that this type of campaign can bring up. Besides the obvious destruction of property, there is the possibility of non-combatant civilian casualties. If that happens, ISIS would use it against us on the media. The other issue is conducting SAR (Search and Rescue) missions. With the apparent growing number of ISIS fighters, and their brutality of violence, attempting a SAR mission to rescue a downed pilot would be extremely dangerous. I would hope that these issues are already being discussed at the highest levels.

Are Manned Air Operations Against ISIS in Syria a Good Idea?

USAF Pararescue in action during SAR mission.

What do you think?  Are manned Air Ops over Syria a good idea? Sound off in the comments!



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