The Obama administration has failed in its support of both Iraq and Afghanistan, allowing al-Qaida's terrorist network to flourish, says Sen. John McCain, of Arizona.
"The United States made a half-hearted attempt to keep troops [in Iraq], which was doomed to failure," McCain told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
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"The United States' presence was removed, [there was] increased Iranian influence, [and] the situation began to deteriorate because Prime Minister Maliki went back to very antagonistic behavior towards the Sunni and Anbar areas," McCain said Tuesday.
"The situation deteriorated to the point where it is today, where now in the streets of Fallujah and Ramadi, we have al-Qaida driving up and down the streets with black flags."
McCain pointed out that during the second battle of Fallujah involving U.S. troops, 96 Marines and Army soldiers were killed and more than 600 wounded.
"[It was] probably the bloodiest encounter of the entire time we were in Iraq, and it's all now gone down the drain because of the failure of American leadership," he said.
"[It is] also the failure of Maliki to reconcile with Sunni rather than continue to persecute them."
McCain says the perception the Obama administration paints of Iraq is "shameful," with its claim that "al-Qaida's on the run."
"Oh, yeah. Well, they're on the run, all right. They're on the run all over the Middle East, and so, the American people have been very badly deceived," he said.
"First thing, I would demand that Maliki reach out to the Sunni, particularly in Anbar province, and have a reconciliation and put a bunch of these young men that are Sunnis back on the payroll.
"Then I would be giving them the military equipment that they need, such as helicopters and some Hellfire missiles and stuff. But this isn't just hardware that Maliki needs. He's got to be a leader of the entire country, not just the Shias."
McCain said the U.S. pullout from Afghanistan is another policy failure.
"You have to look at all of this in the context of the perception throughout the Middle East. The United States is weak and the United States is declining," he said.
"Have no doubt . . . that these are really bad times if you are a fan of the United States of America."
McCain called the Obama administration's push to get unemployment benefits extended a calculated "diversion" from the problems surrounding the Affordable Care Act.
"Anything but Obamacare. As you know, that's why [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid had it as a first agenda item when we came back," McCain said.
"We think this whole issue of unemployment insurance, it needs to be reformed. We also think that there comes a time where you have to bring some of this to an end. And . . . can't we cut spending someplace else and pay for this? Do we have to add another $6 billion to the debt?"
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