No one wants civilian deaths. How many civilian deaths in the US will result from this decision?
“U.S. has mapped ISIS hiding spots, but won’t launch strikes for fear of civilian deaths,” by Guy Taylor, Washington Times, December 14, 2015:
In a secret project tied to the overall U.S. campaign against the Islamic State, intelligence officials have spent months mapping out known physical locations of media safe houses where the extremist group’s operatives are compiling, editing and curating raw video and print materials into finished digital propaganda products for dissemination across the Internet.
Most of the locations are embedded in heavily residential areas in Syria, Iraq and Libya and are not being targeted by U.S. airstrikes because of Obama administration concerns about civilian casualties, according to sources who spoke to The Washington Times only on the condition of anonymity.
The White House also has been pressing the intelligence community to continue studying the facilities for a deeper understanding of how the Islamic State and its media enterprises operate, the sources said.
While the White House, CIA and Pentagon declined to comment on the clandestine mapping project, its existence was revealed amid mounting debate over whether the administration’s strategy is robust enough for countering the professionalized blitz of digital propaganda that the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS and ISIL, is using to recruit fighters and radicalize supporters around the world.
The administration is engaged publicly in a dual-track approach that involves an interagency push to spread carefully crafted messaging online and through local partners in various corners of the world to counter the Islamic State, while ramping up pressure on American social media companies to block extremist content and links from their online platforms.
But critics, including a growing number of lawmakers on Capitol Hill and some current and former officials directly involved in the project, say the administration’s effort is badly mismanaged and underfunded, allowing the Islamic State to maintain a physical footprint of media production houses upon which creation of the terrorist group’s most influential products depends.
The propaganda operation’s vastness and sophistication are considered unprecedented in Islamic terrorism. Although its penetration across the Internet relies on a seemingly endless spray of links posted by the Islamic State on social media sites, it is the core media products that such links lead back to that analysts describe as most worrisome.
Twelve issues of the group’s official propaganda magazine Dabiq are now online in several languages, including Arabic, English, Russian, French and Turkish. The shiny content, organizational integrity and layout are more thorough and professional than those of many American newsmagazines….