Tags: Iraq | Iraq in Crisis | ISIS/Islamic State | John McCain | john mccain | isis | ramadi

John McCain: Loss of Iraqi City to ISIS Is 'Terribly Significant'

John McCain: Loss of Iraqi City to ISIS Is 'Terribly Significant'
(Alex Wong/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 18 May 2015 10:18 AM

The Islamic State's takeover of the city of Ramadi over the weekend is a "terribly significant" event that will have an impact on the psychology of the people of Iraq, Sen. John McCain said Monday, while continuing to blame the Obama administration for the militant group's rise to power.

"I hate to be repetitious, but the fact is that, thanks to the surge we had it under control, and this is another consequence of the failure of this administration and this president to leave a residual force behind," the Republican senator told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program Monday.

The problem, McCain said, is that when the United States pulled its troops from Iraq, "there was a vacuum," and Nouri al-Maliki, who is now Iraq's vice president after serving as prime minister from 2006-14, "decided to control the armed services. He fired all of his good people and hollowed out the army and then we have this consequence of a collapse."

McCain said the United States will need to start over when it comes to training the Iraqi military, and that there needs to be a "change of attitude" in Iraq that "makes them understand the importance of good leadership and good training."

Texas Republican Rep. William Hurd, who was also on Monday's program, also commented earlier on the show that it is important, while training troops, to make sure the nation's Sunni tribes are involved in the battle.

Further, Hurd, a former undercover CIA officer, said President Barack Obama "needs to take the gloves off when it comes to our men and women in the CIA" in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS).

McCain said he agrees that there needs to be more hand-to-hand combat, such as that used on Saturday, when U.S. Army commandos launched a rare ground attack in Syria, killing ISIS head of oil operations Abu Sayyaf and capturing his wife, Umm Sayyaf, who remains in custody.

"I agree that we need more of it," said McCain, adding that there have been operations going on for "some time," including the raid that took out al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

"I don't want to denigrate the incredible job and coordination amongst our military," said McCain. "You have to give them utmost praise. But to somehow assume that that will turn the tide here against ISIS, I  think, is just not realistic."

And while there have been calls for more boots on the ground, McCain admitted that it's proving difficult to attract countries such as Jordan and Turkey to the fight, because they "view Iran as a greater threat than ISIS."

Watch the video here.

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The Islamic State's takeover of the city of Ramadi over the weekend is a "terribly significant" event that will have an impact on the psychology of the people of Iraq, Sen. John McCain said Monday, while continuing to blame the Obama administration for the militant group's rise to power.
john mccain, isis, ramadi, iraq, troops
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2015-18-18
Monday, 18 May 2015 10:18 AM
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