Ex-CIA chief likens U.S. airstrikes on ISIS to ‘casual sex’

'The reliance on air power has all of the attraction of casual sex,' retired Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden told a U.S. news outlet

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While U.S. President Barack Obama rolled out a new strategy for fighting and defeating Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants, a former general and security director criticized the commander-in-chief’s plans with an surprising comparison.

“The reliance on air power has all of the attraction of casual sex,” retired Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden told U.S. News & World Report in an article published on Thursday.

“It seems to offer gratification but with very little commitment. We need to be wary of a strategy that puts emphasis on air power and air power alone,” added Hayden, who served as a director of both the CIA and NSA.

In response, State Department spokesman Marie Harf said on Friday that Hayden “all joking aside, knows very well the counter-terrorism tools that we have at our disposal from when he was CIA director — some of which we obviously don't utilize any more.”

Limited enthusiasm

Explaining his analogy further, Hayden said on CNN that “our allies and our enemies view that [the airstrikes] as our limiting our commitment to this enterprise… they’re reporting today limited enthusiasm on the part of our allies to take up the role we said we would refuse to do.”

While a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Friday that Americans support Obama's campaign of airstrikes against ISIS militants, most low appetite for a long campaign against the group.

Weary after years of ground war in Iraq and Afghanistan, Americans look favorably on airstrikes because they are less risky, an Ipsos pollster said.

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