President Obama must have grown tired of unrelenting criticism about his “failed” plans to combat ISIS. From former President Jimmy Carter to less Obama-friendly voices like John McCain, critics have been lining up to tell the administration that its strategy is unhinged, incomplete, inept and toothless. (Only the unlikely Obama ally Rand Paul has blamed someone other than Obama for the escalation of the ISIS threat — Paul blamed his fellow Republicans.)
The administration is now trying to change public perception in a hurry. And it’s using a very simple tactic by releasing and framing data — specifically that the U.S.-led coalition has killed 10,000 ISIS fighters in the last nine months. The figure stuns many Americans who’ve been told the coalition’s progress against ISIS has been elusive. But at the same time, the information suddenly makes it more clear that the U.S. is actively at war — something the administration was content not to emphasize until recently.