U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) blasted President Barack Obama on Friday, amid an increasingly tenuous situation developing in Iraq.
McCain, who has been perhaps the most frequent congressional critics of the Obama administration’s foreign policy, said on “Morning Joe” Friday that new developments in Iraq represent “one of the most serious threats to American security in recent history.”
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), a group so extreme it was expelled from al-Qaida’s global network earlier this year, has made major advances this week. It has seized control of the key Iraqi cities of Mosul and Tikrit, and it has gained facilities in the oil-refining town of Baiji.
McCain placed the blame for the recent turn at the feet of the Obama administration, which pulled U.S. forces out of Iraq by the end of 2011.
“We had it won,” McCain said. “Gen. [David] Petraeus had the conflict won, thanks to the surge. If we had left a residual force behind, we would not be facing the crisis we are today. Those are fundamental facts. … The fact is, we had the conflict won. We had a stable government. … But the president wanted out, and now, we are paying a very heavy price. And I predicted it in 2011.”
Obama hinted Thursday that the U.S. would take action militarily, but he did not specify what steps those might be. McCain also didn’t have a specific answer — he said there are “no good options.” Limited airstrikes, he said, also wouldn’t solve the problem.
McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) argued on Thursday that Obama should fire his entire national security team and replace it with “leaders like General David Petraeus, General Jack Keane, General James Mattis, and Ambassador Ryan Crocker.”
Here’s the clip of McCain on “Morning Joe,” via the Washington Free Beacon:
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