Arizona Republican Senator John McCain excoriated the White House’s Iraq policy on the Senate floor Thursday, urging President Obama to fire his entire national security staff after the U.S. was caught flat-footed by a surging terrorist campaign in that country.
“If I sound angry, it’s because I am angry,” a fuming McCain began after he finished describing the capture of vast quantities of weapons and money by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), an ultra-violent Sunni terrorist group.
The senator ran through a series of statements from current and former Obama administration officials assuring the public that Iraq was safe and stable after the 2011 U.S. withdrawal. “You know, sometimes we’re going to hold people responsible for their policies, as well as their words,” he said, rapping his finger on the lectern.
“What needs to be done now?” McCain asked. “Well, every hour the options become fewer and fewer, as ISIS — the most radical Islamist terrorist group alive — sweeps across Iraq, and now according to the latest reports are even threatening Baghdad.”
“The first thing I think we need to do is call together the people that succeeded in Iraq, those that have been retired,” the senator continued. “And get together that group and place them in responsibility positions so that they can develop a policy to reverse this tide of radical Islamic extremism, which directly threatens the security of the United States of America.”
“And it’s time that the president got a new national security team,” McCain declared. “It’s time that he got a group of people together that know what it is to succeed in conflict!”
McCain ticked off a group of generals and military strategists that should be brought together to formulate a new U.S. strategy to staunch the bleeding in Iraq.
“There is a group of people, along with myself and the senator from South Carolina [Lindsay Graham], that predicted every single one of these events because of an American lack of reliability and American weakness,” he explained, “and the President of the United States declaring that conflicts are at an end when they are not.”
“Drastic measures need to be taken,” McCain asserted. “The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is someone who has gone along with this policy for a long time. We need a new chairman. We need a new national security advisor.”
“We need a new team!” the senator continued. “We need a new team that knows what America’s national security interests are, and are more interested in national security than they are in politics.”
Over the last two years McCain has been a vocal advocate for providing advanced weaponry to the Syrian rebels — some of which would undoubtedly have found its way into the hands of ISIS fighters now terrorizing large swathes of both Iraq and Syria.