Retired U.S. Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden made headlines after he compared President Obama's plan to implement air strikes against ISIS militants in Syria to "casual sex" in an interview with U.S. News & World Report on Thursday.
Hayden, who also served as director of both the CIA and the National Security Agency, explained the dangers of relying on air power to meet military objectives in the Middle East and dealing with the crisis sparked by the Islamic State (ISIL).
"The reliance on air power has all of the attraction of casual sex: It seems to offer gratification but with little commitment," Gen. Hayden told journalists. "We need to be wary of a strategy that puts emphasis on air power and air power alone."
It was certainly an interesting choice of words to describe a military strategy, which the president laid out in a primetime speech on Wednesday evening, announcing a four-part strategy to "destroy" the "cancer" which calls itself the Islamic State, Business Insider reported.
Hayden later explained himself further on CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper," saying that although he believed airstrikes were the right way to deal with the ISIS, he also warned that completely ruling out ground troops would send the wrong message that U.S. is not totally committed to dealing with the crisis, Ottawa Citizen reported.
"The use of air power was very gratifying, but the president limited his commitment," Hayden told Tapper. "He said an awful lot about the things we will not do, including American ground forces."
Meanwhile, the estimate of the number of ISIL fighters is reportedly higher than U.S. intellgience's recent estimate of 10,000. The group can "muster between 20,000 and 31,500 fighters across Iraq and Syria," a CIA spokesman told CNN.
"This new total reflects an increase in members because of stronger recruitment since June following battlefield successes and the declaration of a caliphate, greater battlefield activity and additional intelligence," the spokesman said.
"The 20,000 to 31,500 estimate doesn't necessarily change ... our estimate or (U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's) belief that this is going to be a long-term struggle," Rear Adm. John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman, added later.