McCain says there’s a vacuum of American leadership in Iraq, calls airstrikes against militants ‘ineffective’


Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz) said the U.S. approach to the problem of Islamist fighters in Iraq is "very narrow." (Susan Walsh/Associated Press)

Sen. John McCain (R) dismissed President Obama’s handling of Islamic State fighters on Sunday, saying on CNN’s “State of the Union” that the limited airstrikes in Iraq since Friday don’t go far enough.

“It’s clearly very, very ineffective, to say the least,” McCain said. “That’s not a strategy, that’s not a policy. That is simply a very narrow and focused approach to a problem that is metastasizing as we speak.”

McCain said the United States should also target the Islamic State in Syria, provide training to Kurdish forces, and send equipment to Irbil, the regional capital of the Iraqi region of Kurdistan, currently threatened by Islamic State forces.

“This is an Iraqi problem, but it’s a United States problem,” he said, adding that there is a “vacuum of American leadership in Iraq.”

Hunter Schwarz covers the intersection of politics and pop culture for the Washington Post

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