Threat hype for Islamic State doesn’t match its capabilities or reach

No specific plot: US President Barack Obama has pledged to 'degrade and destroy' the Islamic State. Photo: AP

No specific plot: US President Barack Obama has pledged to ‘degrade and destroy’ the Islamic State. Photo: AP

by Paul McGeough, The Age

It was quite weird. When the Washington talking heads assembled on Sunday morning for their weekly agenda-setting TV talk show jamboree, the question hardly asked and barely answered was how real or credible was the security threat posed by the so-called Islamic State to the West?

Outlining his case for war last Wednesday, President Barack Obama was obliged to concede the US “[had] not yet detected specific plotting against our homeland”.

But that didn’t stop the Bobbsey Twins of US politics, Republican senators, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John McCain of Arizona.

Graham was demanding Obama dispatch US troops back to Iraq “before we all get killed here at home”. McCain, too, was adamant Obama was not doing enough: “That is simply a very narrow and focused approach to a problem which is metastasizing as we speak. … [IS] is attracting extreme elements from all over the world, much less the Arab world. And what have we done?”

Figures become inflated or conflated to suit the argument de jour;

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