(CNN) – An ardent critic of the Obama administration's foreign policy, Sen. Lindsey Graham labeled the President as "stubborn-headed,” “delusional" and "detached" over his decision on a U.S. reaction to the unfolding violence in Iraq.
"The stubborn-headed president we have, who thinks he knows better than everybody else, who withdrew troops and exposed this country to the inevitable, needs to change his policies quickly. If he does, we can still save this," Graham told guest hosts Dana Bash and Gloria Borger.
“Stubborn-headed, delusional, detached president,” he said.
“Get into the game, Mr. President. You can - leaders are judged not by the fact that they never make a mistake, but how they adjust to their mistakes. Bush made plenty of mistakes. I have made plenty of mistakes. Obama has made plenty of mistakes. But we have an opportunity - and time is running out - to turn this around. Get involved with airpower. Stop the march toward Baghdad. Deal with Syria. But get a new government in place as quickly as you can that will bring the Iraqis back together for a counteroffensive.”
Obama said Friday that he "will not be sending U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq," but that he would be reviewing a range of other options in coming days.
Graham's comments come a day after Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush into the Persian Gulf.
The Pentagon said the move will give Obama "additional flexibility" in efforts against the militants - the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, an al Qaeda splinter group known as ISIS, that has seized a large swath of land in the north of the country and threatens to advance on the capital.
Graham predicted that the White House would ultimately use airstrikes in the conflict and said he's shocked that fellow lawmakers are not calling on the President to get congressional approval first.
"It's stunning to me that nobody in Congress is saying, you have got to come to us first. Everybody in Congress is scared to death of what's going to happen in Iraq. They won't come out and admit it. But nobody is saying, Mr. President, don't use airpower,"
Graham added that the United States should keep its eye on Iran as the crisis unfolds in the region. The Republican senator argued that the rapid advance of ISIS in Iraq would lead to an even more destabilized region, and leave space for neighboring powers to move in.
"We should have discussion with Iran to make sure they don’t use this as an opportunity to seize control of parts of Iraq," he said. "If Baghdad falls and the central government collapses in Iraq, the Iranians are the biggest winner, we're the biggest loser."
Graham also called for Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a Shiite, to resign.
"He's incapable of bringing the Sunnis back into the fold."
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