President Barack Obama's decision to withdraw American troops from Iraq is the cause of this week's rapid destabilization of the country, and the president's national security team should take responsibility for it and resign, said Sen. John McCain.
The Arizona Republican made the comments after a violent al-Qaida-inspired group advanced this week to take over two Sunni-dominated cities, while thousands of Iraqi security forces deserted the situation. The group is vowing to capture Baghdad.
"The first thing is get rid of this national security team, which has been a total failure," McCain told reporters before attending a classified Senate Armed Services Committee briefing on the Iraqi security situation, according to The Hill.
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"[They] called back in people who succeeded in Iraq like General Petraeus, General Mattis, many of the other leaders —General Keane, who's the architect of the surge."
McCain blamed the Obama administration for wiping out the sacrifices made by the 4,486 American soldiers who lost their lives in the Iraq conflict.
He also specifically called for the resignation of Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and described the situation as "the greatest threat since the Cold War," and a "colossal failure of American security policy."
The Obama administration announced in October 2011 that it would withdraw all U.S. combat troops in Iraq, and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough justified the decision saying that Iraq was secure, stable, and self-reliant, the Hill reported. Since that time, violence in the country has steadily escalated.
McCain was opposed to the decision at the time and said it would mark a "harmful and sad setback for the United States in the world." He believes air strikes should now be considered to slow the advance of the insurgents, the Hill reported.
Obama on Thursday acknowledged that the United States will need to help Iraq
counter the insurgency but stopped short of outlining specific action.
"We do have a stake in making sure that these jihadists are not getting a permanent foothold in either Iraq or Syria, for that matter," Obama said during an Oval Office meeting with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
In the last year, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and other Iraqi leaders have repeatedly asked the Obama administration for additional support due to the escalating violence but the administration did not take forward any action.
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