September 7th, 2013
06:52 PM ET
1 year ago

McCain raises impeachment - if boots hit ground in Syria

WASHINGTON (CNN) - After endorsing President Barack Obama's plan to launch military strikes against Syria, Sen. John McCain warned the president would face impeachment if he were to put "boots on the ground."

McCain told Phoenix radio host Mike Broomhead on Thursday that the president had "bungled" the entire handling of the Syria crisis and would open himself up to impeachment hearings if he overstepped the limits of the authorization before Congress.


"No one wants American boots on the ground," McCain told the KYFI audience. "Nor will there be American boots on the ground, because there would be an impeachment of the president if they did that."

While McCain said he still supports the current plan to intervene in Syria, the Arizona Republican's statement seems to reflect his contentious Thursday town hall meeting with some Phoenix constituents. At the meeting, McCain, who has favored a more robust American response to the Syria crisis, faced intense criticism.

"We didn't send you to make war for us. We sent you to stop the war," one man said.

Despite his warning to the president, McCain spoke out in favor of the Syria authorization again Saturday, endorsing former Army Gen. David Petraeus' endorsement of the administration's plan in a tweet.

Only one of three Republicans in the Senate Foreign Relations panel to approve the measure, McCain has vocally advocated for a stepped-up American response to alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government. He even refused to pass the White House resolution out of committee until it included provisions to bolster Syrian opposition forces deemed moderate.

McCain's support for action hasn't stopped the Arizonan from blasting his former 2008 presidential rival for inaction.

In an interview on CNN's "The Situation Room" on Tuesday, McCain told Wolf Blitzer the president needed to "explain to the American people" why urgent action in Syria is necessary. The Republican senator also said President Obama made a mistake by consulting Congress instead of immediately launching a bombing campaign against the Syrian government.

"It's common sense you don't warn them and give them plenty of time to disperse," McCain said.


Filed under: John McCain • President Obama • Syria • Uncategorized
soundoff (1,005 Responses)
  1. beavus

    I'll go one better than that Johnnie – if Congress approves the strike while the vast majority of Americans oppose – Everyone in Congress can vacate their seats and ALL their Federal benefits!

    September 7, 2013 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  2. Bill

    The only politician that flip-flops more than McCain.....is Obama!

    September 7, 2013 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  3. DAN

    McCain is over the hill, nothing but a war monger these past several years. His type have been in poitics way too long. He and several other senators and representatives have been in there keeping us at war one place or another for many years now,i t's time they just go away and let peace come to the United States of America. His and Obamas game playing about boots on the ground: these boots have men in them our soldiers.

    September 7, 2013 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  4. mcp123

    So what has the president bungled exactly? He waited for actual evidence of an attack and actual chemical weapons?

    The president already said there would be no boots on the ground... love the armchair quarterbacking by clueless republicans with mental issues.

    September 7, 2013 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  5. REAL

    McCain is an idiot. So you want to try to impeach Obama for something you would impeach any other President for. No President needs Congress approval to go to war but Obama wanted to included both sideds of the table. Idiot republican!

    September 7, 2013 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  6. darknesscrown

    Ok, well, John, if boots hit the ground after the 90 days the President legally can do more-or-less anything he sees fit to do with the military, then yes...I'd say discuss impeachment. But Obama, as you learned in 2008, is probably far ahead of you on this. Just so you know, I actually don't support putting boots on the ground in Syria at all...and if the intelligence community and special forces (who are on the ground there) do their jobs correctly and locate as many stockpiles of these WMD as they can, we should be able to adequately communicate to the Syrians (all of them) that breaking out nerve gas is a tactic that will be severely and overwhelmingly punished. Even the most ruthless mercenaries or government soldiers in Syria don't stand a chance against the business end of an AC-130U...or B-2...or Tomahawk. Sometimes, they just need to be reminded exactly what CAN happen if they break the rules the international community has ALREADY unanimously ratified (including Russia and China). They don't have to agree NOW...they have in the past.

    September 7, 2013 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  7. Blue orange

    McCain is losing credibility because his words show ambiguity and indecisiveness. He knows the truth and won't come clean.

    September 7, 2013 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  8. Joe B

    Isn't it just like McCain to try and draw attention away from his support for the President's whacked out plan by trying to twist it around and make it look as though it's all the President's plan. Really? Could it be that Raytheon Missile Systems Company has a huge facility in Tuscon, AZ., (McCain's district) which just happens to also be their headquarters? Could it also be a coincidence that this is the site where the Tomahawk cruise missile is made, along with many other missiles? Could it also be that the site employes about 11,000 people and a depletion of cruise missiles means money and job stability to McCain's district?

    Naaaaaah!

    September 7, 2013 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  9. Mr. M

    Wow. no one, and I mean no one but the dumbest of the dumb are believing a thing the media or these warmongers are saying anymore.

    Beware a huge false-flag attack to slap the sheeple back into place.

    September 7, 2013 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  10. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    My hypocricy meter just pegged.

    September 7, 2013 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  11. sammy zoso

    Impeachment? Then I guess Bush and Cheney should face a firing squad after what that they put us through. This guy's got a lot of F nerve. Did he win that solitaire game?

    September 7, 2013 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  12. Diane

    John McCain is an absolute idiot!! He is just itching to bomb whomever! He must be getting plenty of money from the weapons manufacturers, AIPAC, and of course Israel. Someone please give Mr. McCain some boots and put him on the gound in Syria to help his buddies, Al Quada, and the rest of the wonderful rebels.

    September 7, 2013 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    It's half-time at the OK-WVa game, so I decided to check the Ticker.
    Sorry I did.
    McCain, you just lost any ounce of respect I had left for you. Your town hall meeting didn't go as you might have
    expected, so you decide to make a total fool out of yourself.
    Threatening impeachment of the President is more lame than you choosing Palin as a running mate.
    You silly, little person, refusing to sign anything that does not include your stupid amendment, ie
    regime change.
    I have news for you. You have milked your "veteran" status long enough. You were not the
    only prisoner of war in Viet Nam. In fact, I wore a bracelet for years commemorating an American
    military prisoner of war, and never took it off until I learned of his survivor/non-survivor status.
    So, put your "I don't need a lecture on veterans" speech to rest; you lost the campaign six years
    ago – get over it!

    September 7, 2013 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  14. checkit

    If you think Assad is a bad guy to have chemical weapons, wait until he's gone and Hezbollah and al-Qaeda split them up.

    September 7, 2013 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  15. Dave

    Actually President Obama has "bungled" the entire handling of everything he has done in office but taking vacations, playing golf, and blowing our money on unwanted programs and projects.

    September 7, 2013 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  16. bear

    I agree that Obama has screwed this up, but every time John McCain opens his mouth he convinces me he would have done even worse. In retrospect, 2008 was a horrible year. We had to choose between 2 morons.

    September 7, 2013 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  17. KBNJ

    McCain's lost it. With Al Qaeda fighting alongside the rebels, how do you keep one of the world's largest stockpiles of chemical weapons OUT of Al Qaeda's hands (and from being used on US) without boots on the ground? Stay OUT of Syria UNLESS we absolutely need to get involved to secure the chemicals.

    September 7, 2013 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  18. Andy

    Can someone impeach senator McCain before we lose more young American lives? Enough is enough. Let the Syrian government handle the situation. After all, majority of Syrian population love Asad. We wouldn't want Syrian government to get involved with our issues. Why should we get involved in their business and risk our lives including financial loses? If use of chemical weapon is so illegal, how come we didn't get involved when Iraq used it against Iran, killing over 100,000 lives?

    September 7, 2013 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  19. Tampa Tim

    There has to be a time when even right wingnuts realize that McCain is not playing with a full deck.

    September 7, 2013 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  20. Jean Sartre

    "It's common sense you don't warn them and give them plenty of time to disperse," McCain said." And this from a man who would have had us in at least 57-different wars, if we had listened to him.

    It has probably never crossed Mr. McCain's mind, that with al Assad's army spread all over the countryside, attempting to hide from the potential bombing by the USA, that they would be an extremely poor fighting force, and much more vulnerable to be taken down, killed and captured by the opposition...

    September 7, 2013 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  21. Mike

    Just GO AWAY Mcain. You are constantly whispering in Obama's ear to intervene every time there is a conflict in the ME, Lybia, Syria, Iran and on and on. Nobody cares what you think. You're a war monger and that's why you weren't elected, thank God. Now we have to hear your opinion about who "bungled" a war that NO AMERICANS WANT. How out off touch can you be?

    September 7, 2013 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  22. J. Alexander

    ..I see these guys in politics are in need of blankets, political cover, the president included. Talk of impeachment to justify his position to appear to be leaning to the right. What kind of country have we become when you can't truly stand up for what you believe in.

    September 7, 2013 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  23. jbson

    McCain wants to "intervene". Obama wants to make it painful to violate the Chemical Warfare Convention. If we're not going to retaliate for violating it, then what's the point of the convention? We might as well leave it, because any other signatory will just engage in chemical warfare while we're prevented from it. And if there's no CWC, then we need to start stockpiling. Preventing this scenario is clearly the President's priority, not McCain-style intervention. (Intervention being stepping in and preventing further hostilities, or forcing the parties to fight it out with small arms.)

    September 7, 2013 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  24. Ron

    If ONLY the head of the serpent is removed with a surgical strike this is one matter. However if one Syrian civilian dies from a unilateral US strike, the US will be vilified by the world's spectators forever. If one US soldier dies, the US voters will vilify Washington, DC. By announcing his intentions, Obama now has every Syrian military stockpile moved into a civilian populated area. This demonstrates very bad military strategy. Obama has put this nation in a precarious position. Walk away from this powder keg. There is no chance of the US winning this situation. Let the UN do its peace keeping job.

    September 7, 2013 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  25. Patrick

    I agree with Senator McCain: if this escalates into a full war with ground troops, then the President of the Untied States should be impeached by Congress.

    Also, their should be some action by the Congress against the Secretary of State and anyone else who pushed for this under the pretext of a "limited strike" that would last "weeks, not months".

    We should not strike, period. But if we do and this gets out-of-hand and causes a massive regional conflict and many more deaths, then our leaders need to be held accountable through legal proceedings in congress and the Justice Department.

    September 7, 2013 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
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