GOP Sen. John McCain had some harsh words for President Barack Obama’s strikes against the Islamic State (IS) in an interview with The Daily Beast.
On August 8, the U.S. dropped two 500-pound smart bombs onto IS envoys that were approaching Erbil, Iraq, the capital city of Kurdistan where many U.S. diplomatic and military personnel are located.
McCain felt that these strikes were not enough.
“This is a pinprick,” McCain told The Daily Beast. “It’s almost worse than nothing because I fear the president is threatening and then he won’t follow through.”
“It’s the weakest possible response and we cannot allow them to take Erbil. What [the administration has] done so far is almost meaningless.”
McCain noted that Obama had to launch these strikes given that IS was close enough to Erbil for its Howitzer artillery cannons to reach the city. The Howitzers were U.S. weapons that IS stole from areas in Iraq it conquered, as well as tanks, Humvees and MRAPs, which are advanced armored vehicles.
McCain thought that more strikes were needed against IS in Iraq and Syria.
“We are allowing them to freely move back and forth,” McCain said. “The targets are easily identifiable. You are not going to begin to address the ISIS problem until you take out their enclaves in Syria.”
While the Arizona senator did praise Obama’s humanitarian aid to feed the Yazdi minority, McCain blamed Obama for the IS’s rise in Iraq, saying it was part of Obama’s campaign promise to leave Iraq and decrease America’s role in the world.
“We are paying the price for inaction and we are paying the price for withdrawal,” McCain told The Daily Beast.