McCain: Joint Chiefs Chairman 'Irrelevant' on National Security

Image: McCain: Joint Chiefs Chairman 'Irrelevant' on National Security Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey.

Monday, 02 Jun 2014 08:53 PM

By Greg Richter

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Sen. John McCain has lost respect for Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, and it didn't help that Dempsey backed the deal that freed five Taliban leaders over the weekend.

Appearing on Fox News Channel's "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren" on Monday, McCain continued his criticism of the prisoner swap that also freed U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who had been held captive by the Taliban for almost five years.

When Van Susteren noted that Dempsey was in favor of the deal — "at least publically" — McCain said he wouldn't comment on Dempsey, "because he's become irrelevant to me in the whole scenario of talking about national security."

McCain has a history with Dempsey. He threatened to block the general's re-nomination in 2013 over his handling of the Syrian civil war.

The two sparred
during the nominating hearing, with McCain saying Dempsey was not doing enough to help the rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Turning back to the Bergdahl release, McCain said the five Guantanamo detainees were far to dangerous to release. He said that the inmates held at Guantanamo are constantly reviewed and the five released have previously been determined to be too big a risk to return to the terrorist battlefield.

"These people are hell-bent on killing Americans and destroying America," he said.

McCain, who spent five-and-a-half years as a POW in the notorious "Hanoi Hilton" during the Vietnam War, said he is happy Bergdahl is free, and he'll leave others to judge the circumstances of his capture.

Many of Bergdahl's fellow soldiers say he should be treated as a deserter because he walked away from this post after sending his family emails saying he was ashamed to be an American.

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