Apr 17 2015

Statement By Senators Graham and McCain on General Dempsey Diminishing Possible Fall of Ramadi to ISIL

Contact: Kevin Bishop (864) 250-1417 or Lorcan Connick (202) 224-5972

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) released the following statement today on remarks made by General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, diminishing the possible fall of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province in Iraq, to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL):

“Chairman Dempsey’s statement that Ramadi ‘is not symbolic in any way,’ has ‘not been declared part of the caliphate,’ and is not ‘central to the future of Iraq’ is a gross mischaracterization. Disregarding the strategic importance of Ramadi is a denial of reality and an insult to the families of hundreds of brave young Americans who were killed and wounded during the Surge fighting to free Ramadi from the grip of Al-Qaeda. 150,000 Iraqi men, women, and children, mostly Sunnis, are fleeing ISIL’s murderous advance on Ramadi. General Dempsey does not seem to appreciate that the fall of Ramadi would be seen by Iraqi Sunnis as a failure of the Baghdad government to protect them, and could deal a major blow to political reconciliation efforts that are essential to defeating ISIL. Yet apparently, the current U.S. strategy is to defend an oil refinery in Beiji, but abandon the capital of pivotal Anbar province to ISIL.”

Note: Army statistics alone indicate that 187 Army soldiers were killed and over 700 were wounded in Ramadi between August 2005 and March 2007.