- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The U.S. fight against the Islamic State terror group in Iraq and Syria is becoming “another slow, grinding failure,” akin to the Vietnam War, Sen. John McCain warned Tuesday. 

In a letter to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, the Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman compared the White House’s current strategy in the Middle East to the “failed policy of gradual escalation,” in the Vietnam War. 

“My conversations with military commanders both on the ground and in the Pentagon have led me to the disturbing, yet unavoidable conclusion that they have been reduced from considering what it will take to win to what they will be allowed to do by this administration,” he wrote, Military Times reported.

“And it will be the men and women serving in our military and our national security that will pay the price. This is unacceptable.”

Mr. McCain, a former Naval pilot who survived over five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, demanded answers from the Pentagon on a host of issues related to the ongoing fight, including a total of U.S. personnel in the region and whether military leaders plan for similar deployments to Africa, where the Islamic State is expanding its influence. 

Currently, fewer than 4,000 American ground troops are deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq, but lawmakers have expressed concerns with how those totals are calculated and whether some troops traveling into the region for short periods are counted.

• Kellan Howell can be reached at khowell@washingtontimes.com.

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