McCain: World has 'dramatically shifted' toward radical Islam

Radical Islam is gaining ground due to the foreign policy choices of President Obama, Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainClimate change is a GOP issue, too It's Joe Biden's 2020 presidential nomination to lose Meghan McCain on Pelosi-Trump feud: 'Put this crap aside' and 'work together for America' MORE (R-Ariz.) said Monday.

“He came to the presidency saying he's going to get out of everywhere. I got to hand it to him, he's done that to a degree,” McCain said on Fox News.

“Look at the world in 2009, and look at the world today. My friends, it is dramatically shifted in favor of the forces of radical Islam, forces of terror, and they are now direct threats to the United States of America.”

ADVERTISEMENT

McCain has become the chief critic in Congress of Obama’s strategy for fighting the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS), and said the 1,500 additional troops deployed to Iraq last week won’t be enough to defeat the group.

“Look, we're not winning there. We are going to have to have more boots on the ground because … the only way you can really identify targets is to have boots on the ground,” he said. “You're going to have to have more trainers in there.”

McCain said Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno and other military leaders have argued the U.S. “may need many thousands more as far as trainers are concerned, special forces.”

“Look, this is a failed policy. It cannot succeed,” said McCain, who is poised to become chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee next year now that Republicans have won the majority.

The Pentagon on Friday announced the addition of 1,500 troops to Iraq to serve in a non-combat role to help train Iraqi forces, essentially doubling the total number of U.S. soldiers in the country to 3,200.

On Sunday, President Obama repeated his vow that U.S. troops would not serve in a combat role, though he did not rule out sending additional forces.

“I've been very clear we're not going to have U.S. combat troops in Iraq again,” he said during an appearance on CBS's "Face the Nation.” “As commander-in-chief, I will not allow the United States to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq.”

McCain said Obama was “parsing words” on whether the soldiers would serve in a combat role and accused the president of treating the air campaign against ISIS forces in Iraq and Syria as "two separate conflicts" for drawing down forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.