McCain Slams Marine Commandant Nominee on Iraq and Arming Recruiters | Military.com
Marine Corps. Lt. Gen. Robert Neller listens at the Pentagon as Defense Secretary Ash Carter recommends naming Neller as Marine Corps Commandant, Wednesday, July 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Military.com Jul 23, 2015 | by Richard Sisk
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., slammed the views of the nominee to be the next Marine commandant, Lt. Gen. Robert Neller, on arming recruiters and putting JTACs forward in Iraq.
McCain ended the Senate Armed Services Committee nomination hearing by ripping into Neller, who testified that he had reservations about arming recruiters in response to the Chattanooga shootings earlier this month in which four Marines and a sailor were killed.
“You know what happened in that recruiting station,” McCain told Neller. “The guy walked up to the door and shot four Marines. That was in the media. I’m sure, no matter what job you’re holding, you knew that, didn’t you? Then shouldn’t we have been able to have those Marines defend themselves?”
“Yes, they should’ve been able to defend themselves,” said Neller, who appeared taken aback by McCain’s angry outburst. Earlier, Neller said “I think we need to take a look at it” when asked about arming recruiters, but stressed that “we need to stay connected to the American people.”
Last Friday, McCain and Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Tex., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, issued a joint statement saying they were crafting legislation to allow the arming of recruiters and also giving post commanders the authority to allow the carrying of personal weapons on base.
McCain also went after Neller on Iraq, interrupting Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who was grilling Neller with a series of rapid-fire questions on Iraq, Syria, Iran and whether ISIS was targeting Americans in the U.S. “I’m not aware that they’ve specifically targeted American individuals,” Neller said.
“General, you’re not answering the senator’s questions,” said McCain, who went on to engage Neller on Iraq and the use of U.S. Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs) on the front lines in Iraq to guide airstrikes.
McCain accused Neller of trying to give a “scholastic answer” on JTACs and said “you know full…..MORE!!!!!!!!!!!!