- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 9, 2014

GOP Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina say that the Obama administration moved too hastily out of Iraq and are calling on the White House and Congress to do more to make sure that al Qaeda-linked extremists do not get a foothold in the Middle Eastern nation.

Mr. McCain and Mr. Graham have been hammering home the message that the president must to do more to beef up its support for the Iraqi military to respond to the rising threat posed by al Qaeda in the region.

“The United States has to be more involved,” Mr. McCain said on MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown.” “They want us to lead and we are not doing that, and that does not mean invading. It does not mean putting Americans in combat. I understand American public opinion [against more military action] is justified, but we have to lead more and that is really something that is very badly missing.”

Mr. Graham, speaking on the Kevin Cohen radio show in South Carolina, said that the Obama administration’s approach to foreign policy in the Middle East has been a failure.

He said the United States can support the government under Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki by supplying the Iraqi military with Apache helicopters and hellfire missiles.

“You provide capacity to the Iraqi army that allow them to take the fight to al Qaeda and win,” Mr. Graham said.

Iraq’s ambassador to Washington delivered a similar message during an exclusive interview this week with The Washington Times, saying the Obama administration must come to grips with the consequences of failing to more aggressively combat the surging al Qaeda threat inside his country.

“The administration has to have a better understanding of any adverse impact of any delay in provision of support to Iraq,” Ambassador Lukman Faily told The Washington Times in an interview Wednesday. “It cannot afford a whole town or province of Iraq falling to al Qaeda and becoming a safe haven. It’s against the U.S. strategic interest. It’s against the U.S. national security to do that.”