Graham: Obama perpetuating ‘military fraud’ in ISIS fight

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamCNN anchor hits Trump: He didn't go to Vietnam 'until he was in his 70s' with 'Secret Service protection' Trump reignites criticism of McCain months after senator's death Graham defends McCain amid Trump attacks: 'Nothing about his service will ever be changed' MORE (R-S.C.) on Wednesday blasted President Obama’s policy to fight terrorists in Iraq and Syria, saying the commander in chief is perpetuating a “military fraud.”

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“The president… still hasn’t come to grips with a strategy that will protect this nation and doesn’t understand his mistakes he’s been making for the last three or four years,” Graham said from the Senate floor. “He is not self-correcting. He is perpetuating what I think is a military fraud, and the longer it takes to destroy ISIL, the more exposed we are here.”

Graham, who spoke with Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainCNN anchor hits Trump: He didn't go to Vietnam 'until he was in his 70s' with 'Secret Service protection' Trump reignites criticism of McCain months after senator's death Graham defends McCain amid Trump attacks: 'Nothing about his service will ever be changed' MORE (R-Ariz.), said Obama’s strategy to tackle the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) – also known as ISIL – is doomed.

The Republican duo blamed the current fight against ISIS on a series of bad foreign policy choices by Obama, including the removal of U.S. troops in Iraq in 2011 and his rejection of a no-fly zone in Syria to help combat Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in 2013.

“The president ignored the advice of not only Senator McCain and myself, but his entire national security team,” Graham said.

They suggested that ISIS must be destroyed or it will carry out attacks against the United States.

“Here’s our choice: Face the enemy that it is, degrade and destroy that will work, or accept the fact that they’re coming here,” Graham said.

The administration sent lawmakers an Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) for the fight against ISIS earlier this month. But Graham said the proposal doesn’t go far enough to protect U.S.-trained troops against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“We’ve asked the question, under the Authorization for the Use of Military Force that’s being sent over from the White House, could we stop an air attack by Assad’s forces so they will not kill the people we trained?” Graham said. “And he said ‘no.’ So you’re training people to go into Syria… that will be slaughtered by Assad and we don’t have the ability under this authorization to protect the people we train.”

The president has faced a string of criticism for his counterterrorism strategy. Most recently, Republicans pounced last week on what they perceived as an unwillingness to talk about Islamic terrorism during the administration’s three-day summit to counter violent extremism.

“The president of the United States refuses to refer to this as radical Islam, and why that is, is hard to understand,” McCain said Wednesday. “We respect the religion, and we respect the people, but we don’t respect radical Islam, and we’ve got to recognize it for what it is.”