An angry Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Thursday said President Barack Obama needs to fire his entire national security team for failing to contain a terrorist uprising that’s threatening to engulf Iraq.
McCain cited several press reports saying the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria now controls Mosul, and looted nearly $500 million from that city. McCain said that makes the ISIS the richest terrorist group in the world, one that is now threatening to take over Baghdad.
McCain said the success of ISIS can be blamed directly on Obama’s decision to withdraw from Iraq, which he said was a political decision, not a strategic one.
“Drastic measures need to be taken. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff [Martin Dempsey] is one who has gone along with this policy for a long time. We need a new chairman,” McCain said on the Senate floor, adding that National Security Advisor Susan Rice also needs to be fired.
“We need a new team that knows what America’s national security interests are, and are more interested in national security than they are in politics,” McCain said. “If I sound angry, it’s because I am angry.”
McCain cited is own comments from 2011, when he predicted that terrorists would again take power once the U.S. left.
“This decision will be viewed as a strategic victory for our enemies in the Middle East,” McCain said in 2011. “It is clear that this decision of a complete pullout of United States troops from Iraq was dictated by politics and not our national security interests.”
On Thursday, McCain said the best way forward would be to seek advice from some of the people who were able to succeed in Iraq, like Gen. David Petraeus.
“It’s time that the president got a new national security team,” he said. “It’s time that he got a group of people together that know what it is to succeed in conflict.”
McCain was followed on the floor by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who said the ISIS is now a military force that will allow Al Qaeda to plan attacks against the United States from Iraq.
“The next 9/11 is in the making as I speak,” Graham said.
In the House, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) accused Obama of “taking a nap” while terrorist overrun Iraq.