McCain: No, I’m Not a “Yes” Vote on Military Action in Syria

Posted: Sep 04, 2013 11:15 AM

Ironically, Senator John McCain -- one of the country’s most hawkish congressional lawmakers -- said Wednesday that he wouldn’t support the president’s Syrian resolution if it’s “doomed to failure in the long run” (via Mediaite):

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McCain said it’s a “tough call” to do either nothing or a limited series of air strikes that fail to fully neutralize Bashar al-Assad’s military capabilities. In either case, he argues, this allows Assad and Co. to inevitably use chemical weapons again if they wish on their own people. He obviously wants to commit more U.S. resources and weapons to the region to preempt this from happening. But the problem, he insists, is that the president has backed himself into an impossible corner. Two years ago he said that the maniacal dictator must go; one year ago he said if Assad uses chemical weapons -- and crosses the much-publicized “red line” -- the United States would act. Now, however, the president is maintaining that he never even issued a red line threat to the Assad regime in the first place. What? This sort of incoherence and blame-shifting on the world stage is making this administration look exceedingly weak and incompetent. And Iran and other hostile nations are watching.

McCain is perhaps one of the only Senators who might oppose the president’s Syrian resolution because it doesn’t go far enough. He wants to arm the opposition. “The Free Syrian Army is viable and strong and moderate, and anybody that tells you anything different isn’t telling you the truth,” he maintains. Perhaps. But are there not factions in the opposition that are clearly hostile to the national security interests of the United States? No doubt this is a complex and convoluted situation. But the president hasn’t really done himself any favors lately -- especially if he can’t even get hawks like McCain to unequivocally back his pro-interventionism policies.

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