Senate defense hawks slammed President Obama on Monday after he called for patience in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) suggested the administration’s strategy to defeat the terrorist group is mired in “self-delusion.”
“President Obama’s comments today reveal the disturbing degree of self-delusion that characterizes the Administration’s campaign,” McCain, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement. “None of the so-called progress that the President cited suggests that we are on a path to success, and when you are not winning in warfare, you are losing.”
His remarks come after Obama was briefed by top defense officials, including Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey. Obama spoke at the Pentagon, providing an update on the U.S. and global campaign to defeat the terrorist organization.
“This will not be quick. This is a long-term campaign. ISIL is opportunistic, and it is nimble,” the president said. “Our mission to destroy ISIL and to keep our country safe will be difficult; it will take time. There will be setbacks as well as progress.”
Obama said the United States and its partners have hit ISIS, or ISIL, with 5,000 airstrikes and killed thousands of the group’s members.
But McCain suggested that the administration’s current efforts won’t be enough to defeat the terrorist organization, and pressed for military leaders to be “candid” with Obama.