McCain, Burr blast Obama ISIS plan while in Cary for Tillis

Posted October 15, 2014 10:46 p.m. EDT
Updated October 16, 2014 11:48 a.m. EDT

— During a campaign stop in Cary for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis on Wednesday, Republican U.S. Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Richard Burr of North Carolina did not mince words regarding their thoughts on the current administration's handling of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.

McCain said President Barack Obama should take a page out of the U.S. military strategy against al-Qaeda in Iraq.

"We warned him and we told him – and so did every military leader – if you pull everybody out, things will go to hell, and they have," he said.

ISIS militants have used force to claim territory in Syria and Iraq to establish a caliphate – or a society run by strict Sharia law.

While the United States is leading an international effort to eradicate the group, Burr said the current strategy comes too late.

"For over a year and a half, I've called on the (Obama) administration to start an air campaign in Syria," he said. "I think, had we done that, we might not be battling ISIS in Iraq to the degree we are today."

At this point, McCain believes airstrikes will not be enough.

"The president is going to have to put boots on the ground in the form of forward air controllers and special forces people because the Iraqis can't fight," he said.