As al-Qaeda-inspired militants keep advancing toward Baghdad, Sen. John McCain (R.-Ariz.) criticized President Barack Obama for abandoning Iraq when the United States "had [the conflict] won."
McCain blasted the Obama administration on MSNBC's Morning Joe on Friday (watch above), expressing concerns over the situation in Iraq. The militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have seized control of several cities, including Mosul and Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, in a surprise offensive that caught Iraqi forces off-guard. They have vowed to march on to Baghdad, the nation's capital.
"We had it won," McCain said in the interview, referring to the U.S. troop surge in 2007. "Gen. [David] Petraeus had the conflict won, thanks to the surge. And if we had left a residual force behind, we would not be facing the crisis we are today. Those are facts. Those are fundamental facts."
McCain added that all the U.S. had to do was leave a residual force behind, as the country has done in Bosnia, Korea, Germany and Japan; after the surge, he said, there was a stable government in Baghdad and the country was pacified.
"But President [Obama] wanted out, and now, we are paying a very heavy price,""But President [Obama] wanted out, and now, we are paying a very heavy price," he said, adding that he predicted in 2011 leaving Iraq was a mistake. "You can go back and look at the quotes."
The former GOP presidential nominee failed to mention, however, that it was the Bush administration that had signed a bilateral agreement with the Iraqi government to withdraw all American troops by the end of 2011. After Obama won in 2008, he agreed to respect Bush's plan, fulfilling the promise he made as a candidate to bring the troops in Iraq back home. At the time, Obama also agreed with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to leave only a contingent of fewer than 200 Marines to protect the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.
On Thursday, McCain criticized Obama's advisors, saying his entire national security team "ought to be replaced."
"It’s a colossal failure of American security policy," he said.
And if you need a refresher on McCain's past quotes about Iraq:
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