U.S. Republican Senator John McCain warned over the weekend that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was making gains and that the United States needed to step up its military offensive against the militant group including sending “boots on the ground.”
“ISIS right now is winning. And we need to go after them, and we need to have more boots on the ground,” McCain said Sunday in an interview with CNN.
When asked to elaborate on the extent of a U.S. ground role, McCain said: “I mean intelligence. I mean forward air controllers. I mean trainers. I mean more air assets. I mean across the board an increase.”
“And if you talk to any of our military experts, those not in the administration, they’ll tell you that’s basically what we need, and it’s fairly obvious what we need,” he added.
The senator also blamed the spread of ISIS on President Barack Obama’s administration decision not to leave any residual troops in Iraq following the U.S. military withdrawal of that Arab country.
“And it’s also obvious when the president did not leave a residual force behind as Ryan Crocker, Bob Gates and Leon Panetta have said we could have, that was the seminal moment that led to the situation we are in today, the largest terrorist organization in history,” he said.
He said the Obama administration lacked a strategy to defeat the militant group in Syria and Iraq.
The outspoken critic of Obama’s Middle East policy also said there was a need to arm the Free Syrian Army ( FSA) , which is waging a war on two fronts in Syria, one against forces loyal to President Bashar Assad, the other ISIS.
“We need to understand that Syria and Iraq are the same. We need to arm the Free Syrian Army. We need a no-fly zone, which many of us have been calling for, for years, and a coherent strategy that can be presented to the Congress, because they’re going to be wanting an authorization for the use of military force,” he said.
The Republicans won control of the U.S. Congress earlier this month, the first for the conservatives in nearly a decade.