Sen. John McCain on Tuesday joined a growing chorus of Republican lawmakers saying that the Islamic State group (ISIS) must be completely wiped out rather than merely contained.
"Kill 'em," the U.S. senator from Arizona told Fox News Channel's Greta Van Susteren
when she asked how the United States should deal with the terrorist group that has threatened to attack America.
"They've got to be destroyed, and you've got to have a goal ... and we have to have a strategy to fit that goal and policies that will implement it. We have none of the above," McCain said.
The Islamic State group released a video Tuesday claiming to show the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff
. The video came two weeks after journalist James Foley was beheaded by the same group.
McCain was critical of President Barack Obama, who said last week that he had no strategy for dealing with the Islamic State group in Syria. The United States is currently hitting the group with limited airstrikes in Iraq.
ISIS controls large portions of Iraq and Syria, and McCain said the United States must go after it in both places, "and you can't do it with half-measures."
McCain has long pushed for the United States to arm the Free Syrian Army, which he describes as "moderate" forces fighting the regime of President Bashar Assad.
The United States needs to use the full force of its air power, he said, as well as ground support.
Obama is trying to stick to his campaign promises to avoid war, McCain said, but noted that former Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush all changed strategies when needed.
Though Obama has said he hasn't yet developed a strategy, there are "all kinds of plans out there" in the Pentagon, CIA, and the State Department, McCain said. "It's up to the president to decide to pull the trigger, and obviously, he's not ready to do that."
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