McCain: “This is incremental-ism at its best or worst

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The White House announced Wednesday that President Obama has approved sending up to 450 additional U.S. troops to Iraq, in a bid to boost local forces fighting the Islamic State’s advances.

The troops will be sent to help train, advise and assist Iraqi security forces, at a base in eastern Anbar province.

“The President made this decision after a request from Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi and upon the recommendation” of top U.S. military officials, the White House said in a statement.

The decision comes after recent ISIS gains, most significantly the takeover of the Anbar capital of Ramadi. Obama came under criticism earlier this week for saying his administration still did not have a “complete” strategy for ramping up training of Iraqi troops.

While the decision to send more trainers won praise in some corners — House Speaker John Boehner called it a step in the right direction — the administration continues to face accusations that its strategy in the region is rudderless.

Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the Republican chairman of the Armed Services Committee, was dismissive of Wednesday’s decision. “This is incremental-ism at its best or worst, depending on how you describe it,” McCain said.

Even Obama’s former military intelligence chief, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, said in Capitol Hill testimony Wednesday that there’s “no clear U.S. policy” in Iraq and Syria.

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