September 29th, 2014
12:21 PM ET

McCain: ISIS' Rise Like 'Watching a Train Wreck'

Sen. John McCain slammed President Barack Obama on Monday over his comments that U.S. intelligence underestimated ISIS.

McCain countered Obama's assertions made on CBS' "60 Minutes," saying that ISIS' expansion in Syria and Iraq was tied to the President's decision not to leave a residual U.S. military force in Iraq and his refusal to arm moderate Syrian rebels last year despite urgings from his national security advisers.

"We predicted this and watched it," McCain said on CNN's "New Day." "It was like watching a train wreck and warning every step of the way that this was happening."

In the "60 Minutes" interview that aired Sunday, Obama admitted that a chaotic Syria became "ground zero for jihadists around the world" and that the United States also underestimated the strength of Iraqi security forces.

The Republican senator from Arizona also reserved some criticism for his fellow legislators who went on recess to focus on the November midterm elections without voting on U.S. military action in Syria.

"It's an act of cowardice on the part of Congress," McCain said. "They didn't want to vote before the election."

After adjourning without a vote more than a week earlier, House Speaker John Boehner told ABC News on Sunday that he would be "happy" to call lawmakers back to the House floor for a vote if Obama submits a resolution to Congress.

"I'd bring the Congress back," Boehner said.

Rep. Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, criticized the President for his "political failure" rather than a failure of the intelligence community, saying Obama needs to lead.

"It is incumbent upon the commander in chief to lay out the strategy that he wants," Royce said. "We have given him those tools."

McCain also called on the Obama administration to take on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, renewing calls for a no-fly zone over Syria and saying the United States should "take out his air force" if the Syrian ruler doesn't keep his planes out of the air.

McCain said Obama has the authority to attack al-Assad's regime without congressional authorization and said not doing so would be "immoral."

"They want to train 5,000 Free Syrian Army people in Saudi Arabia and send them back. But are we going to do anything about Bashar al-Assad's air attacks?" McCain said. "Are you going to ask these young people ... to fight against ISIS but not against Assad. It's not only unworkable, it's immoral."

McCain and fellow hawk Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, first advocated for a no-fly zone in Syria in the summer of 2013 when Obama was considering military action against the Syrian regime, which McCain said is responsible for the death of 192,000 Syrians.

McCain agreed with the Obama administration that the United States is at war with ISIS - a statement that only 40% of Americans agree with, according to a CNN/ORC International poll released Monday.

"Of course, we are," McCain said.

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soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. vis8

    Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, in their haste to instill "regime changes" in the Mid East, funded, armed and supported the extremists who now call themselves 'ISIS", to act against Egypt, Libya Syria, etc.. The best friend of ISIS is Barak Husain Obama.... Mr. Obama is just bluffing in making excuses to the American public.

    September 30, 2014 at 9:27 am | Reply
  2. Chagres Girl

    Chris Cuomo is an excellent interviewer whose aim is to uncover the truth. He is diplomatic in his efforts to force his interviewees to support their statements. Go Chris Cuomo!

    September 30, 2014 at 9:05 am | Reply
  3. Chagres Girl

    John McCain is an old has-been who hates President Obama beyond any reason. He is blaming everyone but Congress for inaction. He is a warmonger with a heart full of hate for everyone but white Americans. He pretends to care about Syrian people, but that is a cover for his hatred of Assad and his desire to kill him. He needs to call upon Congress to do their job or shut up. This is demonstrated every time he opens his angry mouth.

    September 30, 2014 at 9:02 am | Reply
    • DantheMan

      Charges Girl,
      Sounds like you are a brainwashed follower of narcessistic liberal dirtbags that dont have their own principals or original ideas rather live by what you think is the common thoughts of people you believe to be the hip crowd.
      Too bad to never developed into an intelligent American citizen. Your not worth listening too. Grow up will ya!

      September 30, 2014 at 11:30 pm | Reply

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