The rise of an al Qaeda-inspired insurgency movement currently seizing control of Syria and northern parts of Iraq, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., argued Sunday on “Face the Nation,” was preventable at the hands of the United States.
Thanks to the 2007 surge into Iraq that effectively allayed the last great bout of sectarian violence there, “we did have this situation stabilized,” McCain said. “We could have left a residual force behind, which would have stabilized the situation.
“This is not like a hurricane or an earthquake; this didn’t have to happen,” he went on, referring to the meteoric climb of fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) extremist group. “This is a failure of the United States policy. And by the way, there still is none that I can discern – either a policy or strategy – to handle this situation.”
McCain said that before turning focus to replacing Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the U.S. must join Iraq’s government in performing airstrikes against the militants, who have most recently set their sites on capturing the country’s largest oil refinery. He also reiterated his case that that President Obama should authorize more assistance to the Syrian rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, because they’re “right now getting very badly beaten.”
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