McCain calls for resignation of entire White House national security team over Iraq

posted at 1:31 pm on June 12, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

As an al-Qaeda-linked terrorist army sweeps across Syria into the heart of Iraq and the US dithers on whether to intervene, John McCain launched a broadside against the Obama administration from the Senate floor earlier today. McCain demanded the immediate resignation of the entire White House national security team, advising Barack Obama that he has been “ill served” by their advice and their decisions. McCain urged that anyone who declared the withdrawal from Iraq a success should be canned, which would include Obama himself, although McCain stopped short of that demand:

McCain blames Obama and his national security team for the rout by withdrawing U.S. combat troops from Iraq and calling back the generals he called the successful architects of security in the war-ravaged country.

McCain specifically called for the resignation of Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“The first thing is get rid of this national security team, which has been a total failure,” he said told reporters ahead of a classified Senate Armed Services briefing on the security situation in Iraq. “[They] called back in people who succeeded in Iraq like General Petraeus, General Mattis, many of the other leaders —General Keane, who’s the architect of the surge. …

“Get rid of his entire national security team, the same ones who said we’re safely out of Iraq,” he added.

McCain isn’t alone in condemning the Obama administration for its pretense of victory in Iraq. General James Dubik, who commanded forces in Iraq in 2007-8, accused the US of allowing a power vacuum to develop in Iraq with our disengagement, which only “pretended” that the war in Iraq was over in 2011:

The war in Iraq was not over when the United States withdrew from Iraq in 2011. We just pretended that it was. Like it or not, our departure left a diplomatic and security vacuum that contributed to the crisis unfolding there. The government of Iraq floundered in that vacuum, promulgating the wrong domestic policies and allowing the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) to backslide to pre-2007 performance levels. The net result has been that Al-Qaeda in Iraq has not only reconstituted but expanded, drawing in many of those disenfranchised and disillusioned by Iraq’s domestic policies. Worse, it has morphed into the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), whose stated ambition is to create a new Islamic state, absorbing parts of Syria and Iraq. As the past few days have amply demonstrated, ISIS is already more than capable of taking territory and governing.

In much of eastern Syria, ISIS serves as the de facto government. Is it advancing rapidly into northern, central and western Iraq. This week it seized Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city; most of Baiji, home of one of the largest oil facilities in Iraq; and Tikrit. Now it is moving south toward Samarra and Baqubah, en route to Baghdad. It is already entrenched in Fallujah and Ramadi as well as in most of Iraq’s western desert. Its terror campaigns are destabilizing Baghdad and threatening Salahuddin, Tamin and Diyala provinces — the territory between Mosul and Baghdad that it wants to seize next.

While we have been debating whether ISIS fits our definition of a threat, the on-the-ground realities have been passing us by. If ISIS achieves its goal, Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Iran will have a radical, fundamentalist Islamic state on their borders. Iraq will be split in two, Israel threatened and the security of the United States and the rest of the West put at significantly greater risk. The question isn’t whether ISIS is part of al-Qaeda. Rather, the question for the United States and its allies is: Do we keep pretending that the war is over or acknowledge that events in Iraq are rapidly moving in a direction at odds with our security interests? What’s our plan? …

Halting the offensive is Iraq’s nearest-term objective. What is needed is a coordinated air and ground action consisting of both a heavy dose of precisely applied firepower and a sufficiently executed ground defensive. The Iraqis are incapable of such action alone. The firepower will have to be delivered by United States and allied aircraft augmented by Iraqi assets. The Iraqis will also need a small group of advisers to target air support correctly and to help identify or create capable, well-led units that are properly employed and backed by sufficient sustainment capacity. The advisory and support effort must be substantial enough to help the Iraqis conduct an initial defense and then plan and prepare a series of counter-offensive campaigns to regain lost areas. This will be a multi-year effort, but it cannot become a second surge.

In other words, we need to re-engage militarily, and in a significant way — not just with a few drone strikes. Dubik considers the re-introduction of a large American and/or coalition ground force to be impractical, and that’s certainly true in the near term logistically, and in the longer term politically. But Dubik lays out the threat accurately, and that requires some sort of response from the Obama administration.

However, the current national-security team still seems incapable of grasping the threat. That makes McCain’s suggestion all the more valid. We need a national security team that understands that wars end when all sides stop fighting, and not merely when we leave. And that’s a lesson that has even more application in Afghanistan than in Iraq, and the Taliban 5 swap proves that this national security team still hasn’t figured it out.


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Comment pages: 1 2 3

Where was this fight in ’08, Junior?

formwiz on June 12, 2014 at 5:39 PM

As of December 2011:

jim56 on June 12, 2014 at 4:56 PM

You quoted a poll from December 2011 using present tense verbs? That’s strange. Why did you do that?

Can you also tell me the percentage of the US that supports using ground troops to stop Hitler?

blink on June 12, 2014 at 5:43 PM

You’re right. I put two thoughts together and bungled it.

jim56 on June 12, 2014 at 5:46 PM

McCain calls for resignation of entire White House national security team over Iraq

I agree, but I’d reach a little higher…

Dr. ZhivBlago on June 12, 2014 at 6:10 PM

This might be taken seriously if it came from someone serious. But everyone knows that “bomb them” is always McCain’s approach to situations. As horrible as Obama is, if McCain had won we’d have invaded and occupied at least a dozen countries in the last 5 years and would likely have had to re-implement the draft for more manpower.

AngusMc on June 12, 2014 at 6:48 PM

Funny! I put two quotes together and didn’t bungle it. Liar, Coward, Cheat.

Bmore on June 12, 2014 at 7:02 PM

For a git like you to disparage any contribution is a slap in the face to all of them, and were you capable of it, you would be ashamed of yourself.

F X Muldoon on June 12, 2014 at 3:41 PM

Well, using the civilian comparisons jim likes, he probably also doesn’t think secretarial or maintenance staff at a factory deserves benefits like vacation pay or health insurance because they’re not real workers like the people on the factory floor.

malclave on June 12, 2014 at 7:05 PM

Obama, in 2012:

“The war in Iraq is over, the war in Afghanistan is winding down, al Qaeda has been decimated, Osama bin Laden is dead.”

Hey, 1 out of 4 is pretty good, huh?
Considering who said it.

itsnotaboutme on June 12, 2014 at 7:43 PM

We’ve lost so many good men and women on this. I hope Zero rots in hell for turning his back on them.

V7_Sport on June 12, 2014 at 8:07 PM

The Associated Press @AP · 4h

VIDEO: Iraqi Defense Ministry releases video that it says shows gun camera footage of airstrikes on militants: http://apne.ws/1ks9gUu

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMA_4MTAqQQ

canopfor on June 12, 2014 at 8:12 PM

canopfor on June 12, 2014 at 8:12 PM

canopfor on June 12, 2014 at 8:14 PM

Iraq violence
22m
Lockheed Martin official confirms all employees are being evacuated from Iraq due to concerns for their safety with escalating violence – @TheRyanParker

canopfor on June 12, 2014 at 8:00 PM

The Associated Press @AP · 38m

RAW VIDEO: Iraq militants seize former U.S. base in Tikrit: http://apne.ws/1hSbi5H

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahh_whXhKcU

canopfor on June 12, 2014 at 8:10 PM

canopfor on June 12, 2014 at 8:15 PM

The Republican Majority Leader loses his primary election and suddenly McQueeg starts to attack Democrats instead of Republicans.

Funny that!

RJL on June 12, 2014 at 9:56 PM

The Republican Majority Leader loses his primary election and suddenly McQueeg starts to attack Democrats instead of Republicans.

Funny that!

RJL on June 12, 2014 at 9:56 PM

Lynyrd Skynrd had a song about it.

…..it’s called “Smell that Smell”.

itsspideyman on June 13, 2014 at 12:16 AM

Funny that!

RJL on June 12, 2014 at 9:56 PM

And yet your enemy is still the Republican Party rather than the people to blame. Funny that. It would almost seem as if you are really on the side of the commies.

petunia on June 13, 2014 at 2:11 AM

“Could all this have been avoided? Absolutely yes!”

Yeah, it’s called not invading iraq.

Is anyone surprised the american-trained iraqi army deserted?

If you accept that, then what was the solution here? Keep american troops in iraq indefinitely?

Or maybe keep troops in Iraq until the situation is stable? Well we’ve been at that for over 10 years now.

triple on June 13, 2014 at 4:47 AM

McCain?……..BWWWWWHHHHHHHAAAABWWBBBBBWHHHAAAAAAAAAA.

Complete waste of a Senate seat, and 2008 nominee who folded like a house of cards.

PappyD61 on June 13, 2014 at 7:19 AM

They might fire the whole team but they would retain the Muslim advisers.

BL@KBIRD on June 13, 2014 at 11:10 AM

McCain it’s not the team it’s the Leader.

oldandtired on June 13, 2014 at 2:58 PM

And yet your enemy is still the Republican Party rather than the people to blame. Funny that. It would almost seem as if you are really on the side of the commies.

petunia on June 13, 2014 at 2:11 AM

Wrong! The problem I have with the Republican Party is that they refuse to fight the Democrats or “commies” in any meaningful way.

RJL on June 13, 2014 at 10:35 PM

Where was this fight in ’08, Junior?
formwiz on June 12, 2014 at 5:39 PM

Deference. He did not want to appear racist. No one knew how to handle the false prophet, they still don’t.

FireBlogger on June 14, 2014 at 10:22 AM

Yeah, McCain, it would be easier to take this if you had spent a few hours trying to advance Republican fortunes at the right time. Potentially, you could have prevented this if you understood how to run as a conservative people wanted to vote for.

Nothing wrong in what you say here, but … you had the chance.

virgo on June 16, 2014 at 1:44 AM

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