When ISIS brutally murders journalists, aid workers, and even their fellow Muslims, they do not try to cover it up. They film it, and ironically they use a tool invented by the U.S. and made possible by U.S. Department of Defense funding– the Internet – to broadcast it to the world.
Conversely, when our military has actionable intelligence about the location of a terrorist leader, it takes great pains to vet that information and make serious calculations about the potential for unintentional collateral damage.
Moving forward, we must ensure that the American people understand how difficult these decisions are. The battlefield our soldiers face today is more complex that ever before. It is densely populated, exposed to public view at all times, and the site of increasingly blurry lines between civilian and combatant. With every passing day, our soldiers are forced into ever more difficult tactical decisions.
We must support our soldiers in their efforts to protect our people and our interests. That also means helping our political and military leaders find new ways to add greater context to their decision-making.