McCain: US Should Have Kept Residual Forces in Iraq

Image: McCain: US Should Have Kept Residual Forces in Iraq

Sunday, 12 Jan 2014 11:07 AM

By Amy Woods

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U.S. Sen. John McCain suggested Sunday sending Gen. David Petraeus, former commander of allied forces in Afghanistan, and Ryan Crocker, former ambassador to Iraq, back to the Mideast to help quell the violence spreading throughout the region.

"[Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-] Maliki trusts them," McCain said on CNN's "State of the Union."

"It's not just Iraq," he said. "When you look at Iraq/Syria, you are seeing an al-Qaida enclave there, and that is very dangerous to American national security."

The recent al-Qaida insurgence in Iraq has the country slipping toward a civil war less than three years after the withdrawal of U.S. troops.

"Now we see Fallujah vehicles driving down the main street with al-Qaida flags," McCain said. "It's very distressing to those veterans who fought so hard. This president wanted out. We got out. It would never say the number of troops that they wanted to have there, so Maliki decided to go his own way, and we're now seeing dramatically increased Iranian influence there in Iraq.

"We could have kept a residual force there, and anybody who tells you we couldn't is not telling the truth," he added.

During the interview, the Republican slammed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for refusing to consider amendments to the unemployment-insurance bill.

"If we could have open debate in the United States Senate and amendments, then maybe we could make it better in the long run," McCain said. "Instead, it's being rammed through, cut off debate, no amendments, and that's not the way the Senate should function."

McCain addressed the Chris Christie bridge scandal on the talk show and said the New Jersey governor and likely presidential candidate will survive "as long as another shoe doesn't drop."

"I don't think he could have handled it any better than he has so far," McCain said of Christie's lengthy press conference last week in response to revelations about a politically motivated traffic jam planned by the governor's staff.

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