The findings undercut the idea that NATO could effectively carry out a more complicated campaign in Syria without relying disproportionately on the United States military.
"The report was silent on the controversies that have followed the campaign. These included questions surrounding at least scores of civilian deaths caused by NATO action, which have been documented by independent researchers and the United Nations alike, and accusations by survivors and human rights organizations that alliance naval vessels did not assist boats in distress carrying migrants who later perished at sea.
Fred Abrahams, a special adviser for Human Rights Watch, said the report was consistent with the alliance’s refusal to acknowledge clear mistakes, and revealed a “willful decision not to look at civilian casualties.”
“It’s not lessons learned, it’s lessons lost,” he said by telephone from New York. “There is no reason whatsoever, in an otherwise effective campaign, not to look back and explore the areas where things went wrong.”
The report also passed over a number of tactical details without examining the rationale for them or their potential risks and consequences. It noted, for example, that the alliance itself did not have what it called “boots on ground” but did not disclose that forward air control teams — troops on the ground to help guide planes to intended targets — were used later in the conflict by member nations, or that the anti-Qaddafi forces were providing targeting recommendations to NATO via informal means, sometimes even by way of Twitter or e-mail."