McCain: 'Bizarre and Insensitive' for Dempsey to Downplay ISIS Advance
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) lambasted the nation's top military commander on "America's Newsroom" this morning.
Speaking at a news conference yesterday, Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was asked about reports that the city of Ramadi, Iraq, is in danger of falling to ISIS.
Dempsey appeared to be downplaying the significance of Ramadi falling into ISIS' hands.
"The city itself is not symbolic in any way. It's not been declared part of the caliphate on one hand or central to the future of Iraq. ... The issue here is not brick and mortar. It's about defeating ISIL. I would much rather that Ramadi not fall but it won't be the end of a campaign should it fall. We gotta get it back," he said.
Dempsey added that protecting the oil-rich city of Baiji, in northern Iraq, is the higher priority right now.
McCain said he has become "numb" to Dempsey's public attempts to defend President Obama's "feckless" policies.
McCain questioned how Dempsey would respond to the families of the U.S. service members who lost their lives in the brutal fight to retake Ramadi during the Iraq War.
He described the victorious effort as a crucial piece of Gen. David Petraeus' successful troop surge in Iraq.
"Now this general says that it really doesn't matter? I wonder what he would say to the families of those Marines and soldiers, those brave Americans who were killed and wounded in the battle for Ramadi. A major city is taken over by the enemy and it doesn't seem to matter?" McCain asked.
He went on to criticize Obama and Dempsey for refusing to send in "forward air controllers" on the ground so the U.S.-led coalition can carry out more airstrikes to stop ISIS' advance.
And he pointed to what would likely happen to civilians in Ramadi if ISIS takes control of the city.
"This may be one of the most bizarre and insensitive statements I have ever heard a military leader make. But he is also the mouthpiece for a failed policy. There is no policy in Iraq and especially in Syria," said McCain.
Watch Martha MacCallum's interview with Sen. McCain above.