McCain and Graham criticize Barack Obama’s approach to the conflict:
The president clearly wants to move deliberately and consult with allies and Congress as he considers what to do about ISIS. No one disputes that goal. But the threat ISIS poses only grows over time. It cannot be contained. It must be confronted. This requires a comprehensive strategy, presidential leadership and a far greater sense of urgency.
A comprehensive approach would include military actions in Syria:
But ultimately, ISIS is a military force, and it must be confronted militarily. Mr. Obama has begun to take military actions against ISIS in Iraq, but they have been tactical and reactive half-measures. Continuing to confront ISIS in Iraq, but not in Syria, would be fighting with one hand tied behind our back. We need a military plan to defeat ISIS, wherever it is.
The U.S. must support Kurdish peshmerga, Sunni tribes, moderate forces in Syria and effective units of the Iraqi security forces with arms, intelligence and military assistance, but avoid supporting Iranian troops. Supplying more assets, troops, resources and time could involve revising the Authorization for Use of Military Force, and employing an Afghanistan-like approach. They say other presidents successfully changed their tactics in response to the Soviet Union, Balkans and Iraq:
ISIS presents Mr. Obama with a similar challenge, and it has already forced him to begin changing course, albeit grudgingly. He should accept the necessity of further change and adopt a strategy to defeat this threat. If he does, he deserves bipartisan support. If he does not, ISIS will continue to grow into an even graver danger to our allies and to us.
Graham strongly opposes Clinton’s proposal to expand President Obama’s offer of deportation relief to undocumented parents of children brought to the U.S. illegally.
What she’s doing is ensuring a third wave of illegal immigration. I think there’ll be a backlash in this country.
Graham says he will unveil his plans regarding the 2016 elections in June, but then repeats several time that he is running.
[In] Central South Carolina I will make an announcement on June first, you’re all invited to come, spend money when you do, and I will tell you what I’m gonna do about running for President. . . I’m running because of what you see on television, I’m running because I think the world is falling apart.
Graham says he believes that due to the destabilization in the middle east more American soldiers will be killed while protecting the interests of the U.S.
The destabilization of Iraq, continued strife in Syria, Iranian influence in the region and the proliferation of the Islamic State militant group combine to pose a grave threat to Americans. . . More American soldiers will die in Iraq and eventually in Syria to protect our homeland.
Graham says that he does not think the Iraq war was a mistake, but blames Obama for the current difficulties in Iraq due to leaving too soon without a strategy to further help Iraqi development.
At the end of the day I blame President Obama for the mess in Iraq and Syria not President Bush. . . The Iraqi people were making progress on the security front, the economic front and the political front, that is an undeniable fact. Leaving Iraq too soon, not leaving a residual force has resulted in what you see today.
Graham says that Syria remains a threat to the U.S. and if he is elected President he plans to send 10,000 more troops to Iraq. Graham:
Syria is the mostly likely launching pad for an attack on the United States. it’s going to take reengagement by the U.S. military in the region to end ISIS. I think that 10,000 troops will allow us to train the Iraqi army at a faster pace and give them the capability they don’t have. I am sorry it’s going to take reengagement by the American people. There no way to win the war without some of us being over there doing the fighting so they don’t hit us here at home.