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McCain blames Obama on Memorial Day for ISIS hold over Iraqi cities

Sen. John McCain said Monday the loss by Iraqi troops of Ramadi and Fallujah is a direct result of President Obama pulling out U.S. troops.  (Capitol Media Services photo by Howard Fischer)

Sen. John McCain said Monday the loss by Iraqi troops of Ramadi and Fallujah is a direct result of President Obama pulling out U.S. troops. (Capitol Media Services photo by Howard Fischer)

Sen. John McCain said it’s President Obama’s fault that ISIS has taken control of Iraqi cities where American troops being mourned on Memorial Day had previously died defending.

McCain insisted that the war for Iraq was won after the 2007 troop surge.

“And yet the president, in one of the worst decisions of history, pulled all of the troops out,”‘ McCain said.

In a sometimes testy exchange with reporters following Memorial Day ceremonies at the National Cemetery here, McCain brushed aside questions of whether it is possible to win a war in Iraq with a government there that has sometimes proven dysfunctional.

“I think you may have some trouble understanding me,” the senator said.

“I’ll repeat to you one more time: In 2011 Iraq was stable,” he continued. “It was over. Al Qaeda was defeated.”

And absent that decision to pull out U.S. troops, he insisted, the war would have stayed won and the sacrifices would not have been in vain.

“On this Memorial Day, there are families here that lost their family members in Ramadi and Fallujah where the black flag of ISIS flies today,” he said. “That’s a shameful chapter in American history.”

The correct course, said McCain, would have been to leave troops behind.

“And now, because the president insisted on removing all the troops and saying we are leaving behind a stable, democratic Iraq, a lot of other really dumb statements, we’re now in the situation we’re in today,” he said.

The senator also sniffed at a question about whether the United States should be willing to send soldiers back into Iraq after that nation’s own troops fled Ramadi earlier this month, leaving their weapons behind.

“I guess some people are hard of hearing here today,” he said.

“I will tell you one more time because I haven’t got the time to keep repeating the same thing over and over again,” McCain continued. “We had the conflict won.”

He even said the hasty Iraqi withdrawal can be linked directly to Obama’s decision to pull out U.S. troops.

“Once we removed everybody from Iraq, the (Prime Minister Nouri) al-Maliki hollowed out the Army and destroyed the fighting capability of the Army,” McCain said.

“It didn’t have to happen because I’ll repeat to you one more time: We had it won, thanks to the surge,” the senator continued. “And because the president pulled out all the troops, that’s why we’re in the position we’re in today.”

And what of American will to send troops back into harm’s way?

“They do not have the appetite to send many, like the 82nd Airborne (Division),” McCain conceded. But he said a recent poll found 73 percent willing to send U.S. soldiers to Iraq in support roles including intelligence and forward air control to help target where missiles should be launched.

The senator also said that what happens with ISIS in the Middle East directly affects American security.

“Thousands of young men and a few young women are coming in to Iraq and Syria from all over Europe, some from the United States of America,” he said.

“And they want to destroy America,” McCain said. “According to the FBI, they pose a direct threat to the United States of America.”


  1. Blair Houghton

    Here, let me Google that for you, Senator.

    From Wikipedia: “The Bush Administration later sought an agreement with the Iraqi government, and in 2008 George W. Bush signed the U.S.–Iraq Status of Forces Agreement. It included a deadline of 31 December 2011, before which “all the United States Forces shall withdraw from all Iraqi territory”.[11][12][13] The last U.S. troops left Iraq on 18 December 2011, in accordance with this agreement.[1][11][12]”

    Obama followed a handover agreement Bush had made with Iraq. If Obama had tried to keep troops in Iraq, America would basically be attacking Iraq again.

    Obama didn’t create ISIS. Bush did. Bush radicalized Iraqis by attacking their country over lies in 2003. He drove radical Iraqis into Syria. Those Iraqis fomented the Syrian civil war and that war trained those Iraqis in military action and further radicalized them. They found new sources of funding and have returned to Iraq with a clear mission to create an Islamic nation out of whatever territory they can subjugate.

    Bush created ISIS. McCain supported Bush fully in his lies, which convinced Congress to vote for war in Iraq. McCain is trying to deflect his own culpability for creating ISIS.

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