A top US military commander has revealed that the US-led airstrikes nearly targeted Iraqi forces instead of terrorists of the ISIL group.
Lt. Gen. John Hesterman, the US commander of the air campaign in Iraq, said on Friday that aircraft nearly launched airstrikes 100 times on friendly Iraqi forces because they were indistinguishable from ISIL from the air, Stars and Stripes reported.
The general added that the attacks were averted but could have threatened the operations and undermined the war against the terrorists.
“It has never been more difficult to identify friend from foe than it is right now in Iraq. It is nearly impossible to tell them apart when they dress nearly the same and use the same equipment,” Hesterman told reporters at the Pentagon.
“So imagine if those strikes had been made, even a fraction of them, what we call blue-on-green fratricide. My opinion is the coalition would have unwound some time ago,” he added.
Lt. Gen. John Hesterman
The Obama administration has been under fire for its air campaign strategy against ISIL.
The US military and its allies have been conducting the airstrikes against the terror network since last year. However, ISIL now controls large parts of Iraq and Syria.
After the ISIL terrorists took control of the major Iraqi city of Ramadi last month, they seized hundreds of American-made weapons.
Earlier this week, former CIA official Henry Crumpton said the United States does not intend to win the war against ISIL.
“I don’t think they understand the kind of war they need to fight,” he said. “They’re waging the war they want to fight but not the one that will lead to success.”
The former deputy director of the CIA Counterterrorism Center also noted that President Barack Obama has done a “lousy” strategy against the terror network in Iraq and Syria.
“It’s very safe politically; they want to control everything in Washington,” he said. “You have to have an intelligence presence on the ground.”