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Iran Press TV

McCain rips ISIL war: Another Vietnam looms

Iran Press TV

Wed Apr 6, 2016 12:58PM

Senator John McCain has warned that the US military campaign against the Daesh terrorist group risks becoming "another slow, grinding failure" like the Vietnam War.

In a letter to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter on Tuesday, McCain invoked his own involvement in the Vietnam War as a military pilot to rebuke the current strategy in the Middle East.

"As a young military officer, I bore witness to the failed policy of gradual escalation that ultimately led to our nation's defeat in the Vietnam War," the Arizona Republican wrote.

"Now as chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I fear this administration's grudging incrementalism in the war against ISIL risks another slow, grinding failure for our nation," he added.

McCain, a frequent critic of the White House, said he feared military commanders were not making recommendations to the civilian leadership based on facts on the ground.

"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.

The Pentagon has recently announced plans for deploying additional US combat troops in Iraq to accelerate military operations against Daesh terrorists.

The Pentagon has acknowledged that the US force level in the country has already exceeded the authorized level of 3,870 approved by President Barack Obama.

Officials have quietly said that the actual number is closer to 5,000 when accounting for troops considered to be on "temporary" deployment.

Meanwhile, military officials said last week that the US was considering a new plan to "greatly increase" the number of special forces deployed in Syria. The military also said that it had resumed training new groups of militants to fight Daesh in Syria.

In his letter, McCain demanded answers to a slew of questions, including military strategies in Daesh strongholds of Mosul in Iraq, and Raqqah in Syria, as well as the exact number of military and civilian personnel deployed in those countries.

President Obama said Tuesday that he was looking for ways to ramp up the fight against Daesh militants in Iraq and Syria ahead of a meeting with top US military brass at the White House.

"We continue to take on their leadership, their financial networks, their infrastructure," Obama said before conferring with combatant commanders and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

At a news conference after the session, Obama said defeating the Daesh terrorist organization was his "top priority."

"One of my main messages today is that destroying ISIL continues to be my top priority and so we can no longer tolerate the kinds of positioning that is enabled by them having headquarters in Raqqah and in Mosul," the president said. "We are going to squeeze them and we will defeat them."

Last December, the US announced it was deploying a new force of special operations troops in Iraq to conduct raids against Daesh militants. The announcement followed another one in October, which said dozens of US special forces would be sent to Syria - the first US ground deployment there.

In addition to the gradual escalation of ground presence, the US military has in recent weeks stepped up airstrikes purportedly targeting Daesh leadership, command and control structure, and financing.

Daesh terrorists, who were among the militants initially trained by the CIA in Jordan in 2012 to destabilize the Syrian government, now control large parts of Iraq and Syria. They are engaged in crimes against humanity in the areas under their control.

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