McCain: Fire the joint chiefs chairman, too
June 13th, 2014
07:06 PM ET
5 months ago

McCain: Fire the joint chiefs chairman, too

(CNN) – Sen. John McCain added Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey to his list of people the President should fire over the deteriorating situation in Iraq.

In an interview Friday on CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer,” the Arizona Republican also called for the United States to conduct airstrikes in Iraq to stop advances by the militant group the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.

Asked whom he thinks should be fired, McCain said: “Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, number one.”

McCain faulted the Obama administration for failing to make a status of forces agreement with Iraq that would have left residual forces in the country to help maintain stability. He’s also accused the administration of being weak on foreign policy, particularly when it comes to Syria.

When Blitzer noted that the decision not to conduct airstrikes in Syria was made by the President, not Dempsey, McCain argued that Dempsey is a key adviser to the President.

“The chairman of the joint chiefs of staff has done nothing but invent ways for us not to be engaged,” McCain said, referring to Iraq. “I've watched him and observed him for years, and I do not believe that he's doing the job that should be done for the American people.”

McCain said “we should be doing airstrikes now” in Iraq, an option that the President has not ruled out. However, Obama said Friday that the United States is not going to get involved in Iraq militarily again without assurances that the government there is working toward a political solution.

McCain, the 2008 GOP presidential nominee who’s long been a critic of Obama’s foreign policy, reiterated that the President should fire his national security team, including National Security Adviser Susan Rice.

While he said he doesn’t have “a lot of confidence” in Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, McCain said the two former senators were not in the Obama administration when “some of these most crucial decisions were taken” with regard to Iraq and Syria, so he didn’t call for their resignations.

McCain also pushed for the administration to bring back Gen. David Petraeus, who served as the commander of the coalition forces in Iraq, saying he should be dispatched “on the next plane to Baghdad.”

“He has influence with those people. He knows them all,” McCain continued.

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Filed under: Iraq • John McCain • TV-The Situation Room
soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. rosethornne

    There is someone in Arizona who should be fired.

    June 14, 2014 03:09 am at 3:09 am |
  2. Sean

    If you want to see someone who should be fired, McLame, look in a mirror. EVERYTHING you've said about Iraq in the last 11 years has been wrong, wrong, WRONG. It was the idiotic judgment of people like you who got us into this mess in the first place, costing us over 4000 American lives and trillions of dollars for absolutely nothing. Why should anyone still listen to you? Do the country a favor and shut up.

    June 14, 2014 04:37 am at 4:37 am |
  3. Bryce

    This is a conflict that is centuriries in the making made worse by the blundering of disbanding the Iraqi aemy & installing al maliki...let it go!

    June 14, 2014 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  4. Bryce

    Make that ARMEY

    June 14, 2014 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  5. Bryce

    Obama critics gnash their teeth at the exchange of bergdahl for 5 taliban 'terrorist'& yet had no problem paying thousands of Iraqi insurgents who targeted our troops &are now retaking the country...go figure.

    June 14, 2014 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  6. Michael MN

    Yea I remember him in Iraq wearing a flak vest with 500 arned troops and apache helecopters over head telling us how safe it was

    Going in was our first mistake – enough americans have died for nothing

    June 14, 2014 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  7. Weeder

    John McCain is shooting from the hip again. Send our young men and women to save cowards that run under fire? His opinion on exchanging war prisoners is in my opinion foolish and self serving. Iran needs to nip this invasion on Iraqi soil and in fact demonstrate that their forces and existence are even more important than that of Israel. Israel should get involved with air support and do something besides harp.

    June 14, 2014 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  8. chilidog99

    Who woke Gramps up?

    June 14, 2014 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  9. Name

    McCain, you're inept. These people have been warring for over 2000 years . If life continues on this planet they will war another 2000 years. Our involvement serves no purpose, none. Sir. Take yourself out of public office and enjoy your golden years. Your rhetoric and train of thought is outdated in the 21st century.

    June 14, 2014 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  10. jim shoeu

    I can not understand why if not for oil we put so much hard earned american money time life and recorces into a regant of the world that will never be at peace.moniter them and our borders and infrostructure As we can not aford to police the world

    June 14, 2014 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  11. Tony in Maine

    It would be best if John McCain resigned his seat in the Senate and moved into an assisted living facility. He is clearly non compos entis and may actually do serious harm to other human beings.

    June 14, 2014 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  12. anonymous

    John, why do you not fire yourself and retire? You are too old to be making wise decisions about anything. Go home and see a therapist about your warmongering.

    June 14, 2014 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  13. JjkName

    When will this sad buffoon find the decency to leave the stage and stop running in front of TV cameras every day. His solution is always the same. More Military Intervention! And of course condemn the President, even when he does what McCain demands like this most example Sergeant Bergsahl's release exchange for 5 Taliban officials. Earlier in the year he was saying the US should do this exact deal and now denies that is what he meant. What a hypocrite. Then there was Libya with McCain demanding Obama use military strikes against Qaddafi until he actually did that and then he was against it. I used to think this guy was a patriot but now he is just another pathetic politician addicted to media attention

    June 14, 2014 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  14. len

    Why Petraeus, he was in charge of the CIA during the raid in Libya. It was his responsibility to protect Ambassador Stevens...he did not do a very good job. And we never guestioned him Senator McCain.
    And Iraq did not want to sign the security agreement, including when President Bush was still in office. They wanted us out.
    We should start the draft again so everyone will have their skin in the game.

    June 14, 2014 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  15. What's in that Tea Again?

    Wait....Didn't this Grumpy old man lose the 2008 Election? He's telling who to fire who?

    June 14, 2014 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  16. Mike Jones

    John Mccain should sit his old ass down somewhere. They got us into this mess.

    June 14, 2014 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  17. just asking

    after 5.5 years of the obama disaster, he needs to be fired, not just his incompetent underlings. this country, and the world, has paid and continues to pay, a huge cost for his total incompetence. he claimed to be a uniting leader but he lied to us and the world. he is an incompetent, divisive non-leader that thinks everything about america is wrong and needs to be 'fixed'.

    June 14, 2014 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  18. pepe

    Why is he so war hungry? Let them sort it out, we went there once. We helped them, trained them and yet they still cant defend themselves? Why should American boys be doing what Iraqi boys are afraid to do?

    June 14, 2014 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  19. John

    McCain needs to quit politics form his own mercenary force and fight every war he can find since his only solution is boots on the ground. Just not my son or my tax dollars.

    June 14, 2014 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  20. Don Schellberg

    I wonder if Senator McCain is aware of the fact that the very people who he wants to bomb were the ones that he supported in the Syrian Civil War?

    June 14, 2014 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  21. James

    There is no benifit to the American people for us to get involved in Iraq. Thank goodness you didn't become President McCain or we would've been involved in Iran and Syria as well.

    June 14, 2014 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  22. Name

    If McCain were President the US would not only still be fighting a war in Iraq but in Syria and Libya as well. The economy would significantly weaker and the unemployment higher. He is loud but not a states person or strong on developing policy. He also comforts our enemies with his unrelenting criticism of Barack Obama. In the end still a sore loser.

    June 14, 2014 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  23. Name

    Why not you Mr McCain?

    June 14, 2014 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
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