McCain: ‘There is no strategy’ to defeat ISIS

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainKelly holds double-digit lead over McSally in Arizona: poll Montana barrels toward blockbuster Senate fight How Obama just endorsed Trump MORE (R-Ariz.) on Sunday said the Obama administration needs a more defined strategy to take on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and suggested more American troops are needed to defeat the terror group.


“We need to have a strategy,” he said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “There is no strategy, and anybody that says that there is, I’d like to hear what it is, because it certainly isn’t apparent now, and right now.”

McCain and other Republicans, such as Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), have proposed sending U.S. troops to the region to improve the training of local forces or to help direct airstrikes against ISIS. On Sunday, McCain suggested "a number of thousands" of Americans could do the job.

McCain, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Obama should pursue an aggressive strategy against ISIS similar to the surge of troops President George W. Bush supported during the Iraq War.

“We had it won, the surge had succeeded,” he said. “George W. Bush at least at the guts to reverse and sponsor the surge, which we eventually then succeeded. I wish, I pray, that Barack Obama would do the same thing.”

Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), meanwhile, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said “we have tied our own hands in a variety of ways” because of the lack of Americans in the region.

“I'd prefer not to have American ground troops,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.” “Some of our military folks believe, however, if we'd had some advisers on the ground we could have called in effective airstrikes that it would have at least made the battle for Ramadi more competitive.”

He said Sunday that ISIS has “a lot of momentum on their side,” both in terms of the territory they’re capturing and the way their ideology is spreading in the region.

“As their caliphate area grows in Iraq and Syria, their ideology, their approach, their brand, if you will, is growing,” he said.

--This report was updated at 11:29 a.m.