John McCain: White House Iraq response ‘tragic’
By: Lucy McCalmont
January 7, 2014 10:33 AM EST
Republican Sen. John McCain criticized the Obama administration who he said “blew the whole thing” on Iraq, following news that al-Qaeda has retaken control in parts of Fallujah and Ramadi.
The Arizona senator said Tuesday that the administration “blew the whole thing and it’s really tragic,” during Fox News’s “America’s Newsroom.”
McCain repeatedly criticized President Barack Obama for not leaving a residual force in Iraq, saying it led to instability in the region. He noted that he, along with Sen. Lindsey Graham and former Sen. Joe Lieberman wanted some American presence left in the country.
“But this administration wanted everybody out. They got everybody out and we predicted that without that residual force, not for fighting but to assist the Iraqi military and have a beneficial effect on [Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-]Maliki, that this whole thing would unravel. It has,” McCain said.
He said that as predicted, “things would go to hell in a hand basket in Iraq and it certainly has.”
McCain also slammed former Senate colleague and former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Secretary of State John Kerry, for saying it was a “fight that belongs to the Iraqis.”
“It’s really offensive to hear him say that because these Iraqis, many of them, were supporters of ours, that basically are being slaughtered now and the fact is it was a total mishandling— a gross mishandling of Iraq,” McCain said.
McCain said there is still some support the U.S. can provide to Iraq including sending high-level people to give advice to Maliki as well as equipment that he can use.