WASHINGTON -- The U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State last month dropped the most bombs in its 16-month campaign in Iraq and Syria, according to new Air Force data.
The 3,271 munitions used in November were almost double the 1,683 in June, the low point of this year. They bring to almost 32,000 the weapons -- most of them precision-guided -- dropped by fighters, B-1B bombers and drones in almost 11,000 combat sorties since August 2014, according to statistics compiled by U.S. Air Forces Central Command.
President Barack Obama has defended his strategy for fighting Islamic State against criticism from Republicans in Congress and in the presidential campaign who say he's not being aggressive enough in the fight. Demands for a change in strategy increased after the terrorist attacks in Paris last month and the shooting rampage that killed 14 people in California on Wednesday, which is being treated by the FBI as a terrorism case.
While Persian Gulf states in the led coalition have flown relatively few airstrikes, Britain has expanded its bombing beyond Iraq into Syria, and France has sent its nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, into the eastern Mediterranean as a launch pad for airstrikes into Syria. U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter also has announced creation of a U.S. "expeditionary targeting force" that can conduct special operations in Iraq and Syria.
No U.S. official has suggested that airstrikes or special operations alone would destroy Islamic State in Iraq and Syria without capable indigenous forces to attack and hold cities such as Sinjar, and eventually Ramadi and Mosul.
The battle against Islamic State isn't succeeding and more needs to be done to address the threat, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said Sunday on ABC's "This Week."
"We're not winning but it's too soon to say that we are doing everything we need to do," she said. "We have to fight them in the air. We have to fight them on ground and we have to fight on the Internet. And we have to do everything we can with our friends and partners around the world to protect ourselves."