The shocking imagery of American photojournalist James Foley being beheaded by an ISIS terrorist has stunned the world and focused our resolve, but Pentagon sources now say it was an avoidable murder, if only the Obama administration had acted sooner.
Pentagon sources said Foley and the others might well have been rescued but Obama, concerned about the ramifications of US troops being killed or captured in Syria, took too long to authorise the mission.
Anthony Shaffer, a former lieutenant-colonel in US military intelligence who worked on covert operations, said: “I’m told it was almost a 30-day delay from when they said they wanted to go to when he finally gave the green light. They were ready to go in June to grab the guy [Foley] and they weren’t permitted.”
Another US defence source said: “The White House constantly goes back and forth on these things. These people are a bunch of academics who endlessly analyse stuff and ordering up another deep-thinking paper but can't decide what to order for lunch.”
There is no way in knowing if the mission would have been successful and if Foley could have been rescued unscathed, but the tone of the comments from the Pentagon seem to intimate a frustration and anger with Obama's indecision.