The PJ Tatler

McCain on Obama's ISIS Strategy: 'This Gradual Escalation Reminds Me of the Vietnam Conflict'

Onetime Vietnam War POW Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said President Obama’s “gradual escalation” of the war in Iraq reminds him of Vietnam.

“We need to have a strategy. There is not a strategy,” McCain told Fox this morning. “And frankly, this graduation escalation that we’re going through — remember, the president, for years, has said ‘tell everybody what we’re not going to do rather than what we’re going to do.'”

“And as this gradual escalation reminds me of the Vietnam conflict, we have to have a strategy. The Congress and American people need to know that,” he continued. “But it puts us in a difficult situation. Are we going to abandon this effort to defeat ISIS?”

McCain is poised to take the helm of the Senate Armed Services Committee in January as the new GOP majority moves in.

“We’re going to have hearings, and we’re going to have the secretary of Defense up and chairman of the Joint Chiefs and others explain to us what — how we’re going to achieve the president’s stated goal of degrading and ultimately defeating ISIS. Right now, they are not doing that,” he said.

The senator said Obama is leaning on “sort of incremental victories along the way.”

“We’re still fighting over Kobani, using the full weight of American air power,” he said. “Fact is we’re not using the full weight of American air power.”

“You can’t just defeat an enemy just by bombing them from the air. You have to have a ground component, but you also have to have forward air controllers who are identifying these targets, particularly when the combatants are in such close proximity to each other.”

McCain said he’d also add to the strategy weapons to the Kurds, a no-fly zone in Syria, and no separation of Syria and Iraq in planning. “They’re all ISIS,” he noted.

“Look, the reason why we’re separating Syria and Iraq is because of this incredibly misguided idea that if we get a nuclear agreement with Iran, which will be totally flawed, then therefore, the Iranians will cooperate with us,” he said. “So what’s happening is we’re bombing ISIS. Meanwhile, Bashar Assad is barrel-bombing the Free Syrian Army. That’s immoral.”

“We’ve got 3.5 million refugees and 200,000 dead, 150,000 in Bashar Assad’s prisons. I mean, this idea that somehow, the — having some kind of working relationship with Iran, who fund Hamas, who have brought Hezbollah into the fight, who have orchestrated terrorist attacks all over, including the latest destabilization of Yemen, is so delusional that it’s hard to imagine.”