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At Mesa town hall, McCain repeats warnings about the need to act on ISIS

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Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014

By Kayla Wall


CHASE GOLIGHTLY/CRONKITE NEWS: Arizona’s senior Sen. John McCain was back in the Valley today, with big concerns on the future of our state’s military families and the growing threat of ISIS overseas.

McCain’s warnings come as the fight has intensified over the Syrian border, and Secretary of State John Kerry made an urgent plea to Turkish leaders to join an international coalition against ISIS. President Obama was briefed this afternoon, and there are continuing debates about the role of the U.S. in Syrian air strikes, and what could possibly come next.

REAR ADM. JOHN KIRBY/PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: The commander-in-chief has been pretty clear, there’s not going to be a return of ground troops, U.S. ground troops, in a combat role in this fight. What we do believe, and what we have said, is that you do need competent ground forces. Those ground forces are best when they’re indigenous ground forces.

CHASE GOLIGHTLY/CRONKITE NEWS: McCain voiced his concerns during a town hall meeting at an ammunitions manufacturing plant in Mesa today. Cronkite News reporter Kayla Wall was there.

KAYLA WALL/CRONKITE NEWS: Employees at the Nammo Talley ammunitions plant in Mesa welcomed Sen. John McCain around noon, and were met by his strong military message on ISIS.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN/ARIZONA: What could be, over time, and likely to be a direct threat to the United States of America.

KAYLA WALL/CRONKITE NEWS: McCain has been a longtime advocate for intervention in Syria, and he says the time to act is now.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN/ARIZONA: Not only are we not degrading and defeating ISIS, ISIS is still on the move and has taken several towns, and if they take this town called Kobani, there’s going to be the massacre of thousands of people. Bombing can be very effective, but we need to have people on the ground to identify the targets.

KAYLA WALL/CRONKITE NEWS: McCain compares the current U.S. tactics being used on ISIS to the those used in the Vietnam War.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN/ARIZONA: Which was a gradual, graduated escalation, which ended up in defeat.

KAYLA WALL/CRONKITE NEWS: That’s why McCain is on his own mission to find U.S. support before it’s too late.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN/ARIZONA: If Americans don’t want to defeat ISIS that’s a matter of American opinion. But when the president of the United States says we want to degrade and defeat ISIS, and then we don’t do it, and we don’t succeed, then obviously they become stronger.