... Erick Erickson, a prominent voice in Republican media, responded with a message that was fairly common on the American right.But it isn't just the American right pretending that the president is singing "Kumbaya" and playing golf while ISIS runs rampant. It's also the mainstream media, which doesn't want to fact-check this characterization of what Obama is doing because the liberal-conservative conflict narrative is such a great news peg.
“Dear President Obama, today France is leading from the front to contain what you couldn’t contain leading from behind.”... National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar insisted this morning ... that the president has a “deep seated aversion to using military force,” adding, “If not after Paris, when?”
What’s puzzling about this is the degree to which the criticisms ignore current events. According to statistics from the Pentagon, since President Obama launched a military offensive against ISIS targets 15 months ago -- his “deep seated aversion to using military force” notwithstanding -- the United States military has carried out 6,353 airstrikes. Every other country on the planet combined has carried out 1,772.
... If we narrow the focus to Syria specifically, as of late last week, France had carried out four airstrikes. The United States, acting on orders from President Obama, had carried out 2,658.
The American right isn’t questioning the efficacy of American airstrikes; conservatives are questioning the American airstrikes’ existence.
And so today we had CNN's Jim Acosta asking the president a press-conference question that concluded this way:
... I think a lot of Americans have this frustration that they see that the United States has the greatest military in the world, it has the backing of nearly every other country in the world when it comes to taking on ISIS. I guess the question is -- and if you’ll forgive the language -- is why can’t we take out these bastards?”The obvious answer is: Because real life is not a freaking Michael Bay movie, you idiot. Armed conflicts don't get wrapped up in a two-hour running time.
I want someone to poll Americans on this question. Ask them: How many air strikes do you think the U.S. has conducted against ISIS in the past fifteen months? I bet at least a third of respondents would say "none." I bet the median answer would be in the low double digits.
And how would they know otherwise? Does the typical mainstream media outlet inform them?