Rep. Brad Sherman (D., Calif.) said the Obama administration’s bombing campaign against the Islamic State is “not a serious” one during an interview with Fox Business on Thursday.
“We say we're bombing ISIS, but only when we think there is a zero percent chance of a single civilian casualty. If you run a bombing campaign that way, it's not a serious bombing campaign,” Sherman said.
Fox Business host Stuart Varney asked Sherman about President Obama's Wednesday statement that ISIS is not an existential threat. Sherman defended the president’s choice of words, arguing that ISIS would only be a true existential threat if they were in the process of invading the United States and planting ISIS flags on U.S. soil.
Varney then asked Sherman if he believed President Obama's statement that defeating ISIS was his “number one priority,” even though the president has placed serious restrictions on the anti-ISIS campaign, which include rules of engagement that block 75 percent of airstrikes on the group.
Sherman explained that it may be the number one priority for national security specifically.
“I would say that is our number one policy in the Middle East, maybe our number one policy for national security,” he said. “I'm not in a position to say whether increasing wages nationwide is more important than taking Raqqa. They're kind of two separate categories. But, what we ought to be doing is changing our rules of engagement for dealing with ISIS because while we say we're arming the right rebels in Syria, we insist that they swear that they will not fight against Assad, so for that reason we have only dozens of fighters on the front line that have been armed by the United States.”
Sherman finished by stating that the bombing campaign against ISIS is not serious because it set unrealistic standards for avoiding civilian casualties.
Sherman's criticism comes in the wake of the Brussels terrorist attacks claimed by ISIS on Tuesday, which left more than 30 people dead. This statement comes only hours after suspected Paris bomber Salah Abdeslam demanded extradition to France. Abdeslam is no longer cooperating with Belgian authorities because he wants to “explain himself in France.”