The staggering cost of a largely failed fight against ISIS

Republican Sen. John McCain has criticized the campaign against Islamic State as too weak, noting that 75 percent of airstrike missions return without firing a weapon. Speaking on CBS’s “Face The Nation” in late May, McCain said, “We need more troops on the ground. We need forward air controllers. But just referring to airstrikes, do you know that 75 percent of those combat missions return to base without having fired a weapon? It’s because we don’t have somebody on the ground who can identify … a moving target. … We found in Vietnam that if you don’t have the right strategy, airpower is minimal in its effect.”

In Syria, a $500 million program to train and equip rebels against Islamic State is stagnant. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter admitted the program has only produced 60 Syrian trainees, attributing it to a strict vetting process. Originally, U.S. officials hoped to ready 5,400 rebels per year, The Associated Press reports.

Just what do these numbers mean to the average American? Well…