Smoke rises after an U.S.-led air strike in the Syrian town of Kobani on Oct. 8, 2014.
Reuters

What ‘doing something about ISIS’ looks like

There’s no shortage of far-right politicians saying strange things online, but this story out of Maine struck me as interesting for reasons just below the surface.
A Republican lawmaker in Maine apologized on Monday for a Facebook post suggesting that President Obama has family ties to the Islamic State.
 
Earlier in March, State Sen. Michael Willette shared a post from Conservative News Daily, which included a photo of Obama and the caption, “Why haven’t I done anything about ISIS? Because I’ll deal with them at the family reunion,” according to a screenshot captured by the Portland Press Herald.
The GOP state lawmaker eventually deleted the post and told local media it was “an error in judgment.”
 
Of course,  the racially charged element is obviously offensive. To argue that the president and ISIS terrorists are relatives is idiotic on a variety of levels.
 
But there were two lines in the piece Willette promoted, and we shouldn’t brush past that other part too quickly.
 
An astounding number of Republican lawmakers and politicians, from state legislatures to the congressional leadership, have argued repeatedly in recent months that President Obama hasn’t “done anything about ISIS.” Given the scope of the military offensive launched by the Obama administration, the rhetoric seems oddly delusional.
 
But let’s be more specific. Just yesterday, the public learned the latest details on the mission, and as of 11 p.m. eastern on March 8 (Sunday night), U.S. and coalition have conducted a total of 2,753 airstrikes against ISIS targets. That includes 1,529 airstrikes in Iraq and another 1,224 in Syria.
 
Of that total, the United States military, on Obama’s orders, has launched 2,213 airstrikes, which translates to more than 80% of the overall total. The tally includes 1,081 airstrikes in Iraq and another 1,132 in Syria.
 
What’s more, the Obama administration has successfully assembled a coalition that now includes Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Jordan, The Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and the United Kingdom – all of which have launched military strikes on ISIS targets in Iraq, Syria, or both.
 
As of yesterday, there are also 2,840 U.S. military personnel deployed in theater.
 
All of this as part of a military offensive the president launched last August, and which Congress has shown little interest in authorizing.
 
Every Republican – and there are far too many – saying Obama is doing “nothing” about ISIS is completely and demonstrably wrong. The federal policymakers who are actually doing “nothing” about ISIS are members of Congress.
 

Foreign Policy, Iraq, ISIS, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and Syria

What 'doing something about ISIS' looks like