February 16th, 2014
10:58 AM ET
1 year ago

McCain: Still 'viable' options in Syria

(CNN) – Sen. John McCain on Sunday slammed U.S. policy in Syria as an “abysmal failure and a disgraceful one.”

A second round of peace talks wrapped up in Geneva Saturday with little progress toward ending Syria's civil war, and nearly 5,000 people have died in there in the past three weeks, marking the most violent stretch in Syria's almost three-year conflict.

"None of us want boots on the ground, but to not revisit other options, which are viable - I think is the only thing we can do," McCain told CNN's Candy Crowley, appearing on "State of the Union."

"This is shameful," he added, noting gruesome images from the region depicting starvation and torture as well as a mass exodus of refugees fleeing to surrounding countries like Jordan.

The Arizona Republican and member of the Armed Service Committee pointed to President Barack Obama's State of the Union message last month, where he touted the removal and destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile - a process falling further and further behind schedule - as an indication of failed policy in the region.

"If you acknowledge failure, then you examine and re-examine options that were rejected - increasing arming to the Free Syrian Army; perhaps an establishment of a free zone, better arming and equipping," McCain said.

McCain also said that as violence escalates in Syria, stability in the surrounding region is compromised, which will ultimately lead to U.S. involvement as conflict spreads.

"It has turned into a regional conflict. And the weapons flow in from Russia and the training from Iran. All of it has evolved into the situation that we are in today," he said. "Do not believe we are out of options. There are many options if we have the courage to pursue them."

Obama and Jordan's King Abdullah spoke about Syria's distressing humanitarian crisis during a meeting Friday in California, saying the U.S. would seek ways to bring peace.

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

Filed under: John McCain • Syria • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Tampa Tim
    February 16, 2014 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  2. Tampa Tim
    February 16, 2014 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  3. Gurgyl
    February 16, 2014 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  4. don in albuquerque
    February 16, 2014 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  5. Gary
    February 16, 2014 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  6. Peace
    February 16, 2014 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  7. Tampa Tim
    February 16, 2014 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  8. The right wing have lost their damned minds
    February 16, 2014 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  9. rs
    February 16, 2014 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  10. Rick Sanchez
    February 16, 2014 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  11. Thomas
    February 16, 2014 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  12. Tommy G
    February 16, 2014 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |