John McCain calls for airstrikes on Syria

truther March 6, 2012 1

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) called for airstrikes on Syria, saying that President Barack Obama has been too weak on President Bashar Assad.

Mr. McCain, who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee, is the first United States senator to call for a military attack on President Assad’s regime in Syria.

Mr. McCain predicted that President Bashar Assad’s brutality in dealing with dissidents has resulted in war crimes, and that Syria’s neighbors will likely intervene militarily in the country. Mr. McCain argued that the United States should take the lead in an allied effort against Bashar Assad’s regime. Airstrikes would be the best approach, he added.

“The ultimate goal of air strikes should be to establish and defend safe havens in Syria, especially in the north, in which opposition forces can organize and plan their military activities against Assad,” Mr. McCain said on the floor of the Senate.

This is not the first time that Mr. McCain has called for an armed strategy to deal with the violence perpetrated by Assad in Syria. This time, however, Mr. McCain focused on the idea that the United States should play an integral role in protecting rebels in “cities that are still contested.”

“The safe havens could serve as platforms for the delivery of humanitarian and military assistance—including weapons and ammunition, body armor and other personal protective equipment, tactical intelligence, secure communications equipment, food and water and medical supplies,” Mr. McCain elaborated.

The allied front that the Arizona Senator discussed would have to advance, however, without a U.N. Security Council resolution. Opposition from China and Russia would most likely prevent its passage.

While Mr. McCain has not been this explicit in calling for the United States to involve itself militarily in Syria, he has been hinting at the issue for weeks. In early February, Senator McCain said that the United States should begin to consider arming the Syrian rebels.

Up until now, President Obama has insisted on political solutions to the conflict in Syria. While the administration has been outspoken on the issue, with President Obama declaring in February that the United States cannot be “bystanders” in the conflict, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attending a “Friends of Syria” conference in Tunis last month, there has only been vague talk of “additional measures” if the diplomatic approach fails.

Mr. McCain acknowledged the administration’s reservations about taking military action—namely the fear that providing arms to rebel groups could result in a “bloody and indiscriminate” sectarian civil war, the Huffington Post observed. However serious and legitimate that concern, Mr. McCain countered, “it is only growing worse as the conflict goes on.”

Pressure on Mr. Obama is increasing to take military action on Iran as well. After an icy meeting with AIPAC on Monday, many have criticized Mr. Obama for being weak on Iran. Mr. McCain’s criticism goes even father in developing the criticism, often given by Republicans, that Mr. Obama has taken a weak stance on foreign policy.

“The time has come for a new policy,” Mr. McCain told the Senate. “This will require the United States to suppress enemy air defenses in at least part of the country,” he added.

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One Comment »

  1. a voice in the wilderness March 10, 2012 at 12:48 am - Reply

    Sen. McCain also coauthored the NDAA, what are his intentions? I know, another Obama hatchet man.

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