Max Boot confirms what many lay people suspected: Even aside from refusing to increase troops on the ground, President Obama is making only a token effort against the Islamic State. Boot explains:

RAND’s Benjamin Lambeth summed up the [2001] Afghan air campaign as follows: “[D]uring the 75 days of bombing between October 7, when Enduring Freedom began, and December 23, when the first phase of the war ended after the collapse of the Taliban, some 6,500 strike sorties were flown by CENTCOM forces altogether, out of which approximately 17,500 munitions were dropped on more than 120 fixes targets, 400 vehicles and artillery pieces, and a profusion of concentrations of Taliban and al Qaeda combatants.”
Now compare with the statistics on the current U.S. aerial bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria. According to Central Command, in the 59 days between August 8, when the campaign started, and October 6, the U.S. has conducted 360 strikes utilizing 955 munitions.
That’s a big difference between dropping 17,500 munitions in Afghanistan and 955 in Iraq/Syria. So rare are U.S. strikes today that Centcom has actually taken to issuing press releases to announce the dropping of two 500-pound bombs.

And what we are dropping is far less effective “because Obama has refused U.S. Special Operations personnel permission to go out into the field alongside indigenous forces to call in airstrikes as they did so effectively alongside the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan.”

It almost seems like the president is not even trying to degrade the Islamic State, let alone destroy it. So if he is not putting in ground troops and not deploying serious air power how is he doing with coalition-building? Not well.

In the latest bit of not-very-smart diplomacy the administration took to publicly excoriating Turkey. It is true our frenemy in Ankara is hedging its bets, unwilling to bolster the Kurds and wary of Bashar al-Assad’s continued, bloody reign, but as the Wall Street Journal editorial board has observed,”Mr. Erdogan has called for ground forces but isn’t willing to go it alone. That would mean taking on the risks of fighting ISIS, as well as the backlash from Iran and Russia for violating Syria’s ‘sovereignty.'” Perhaps if the U.S. would take meaningful action on the ground and in the air, others would follow.

The American people are right to be disturbed about their commander in chief. A CBS poll finds, “Forty percent approve of the job the President is doing on ISIS, but more (51 percent) disapprove. In September, the split was 39 percent approval, 48 percent disapproval. A month ahead of the midterm elections, Republicans hold a large advantage on the issue of terrorism — as they did in September. Fifty-three percent of voters think the Republican Party will do a better job dealing with terrorism, while far fewer – 32 percent – pick the Democrats. . . . 54 percent saying a terror attack on the homeland in the next few months is somewhat or very likely.”

If and when the president gets serious about leading the West to victory over the Islamic State those numbers might change. But until then, our allies and the American people are right to be nervous. The president is simply going through the motions while the Islamic State grows stronger.