McCain renews call for U.S. action in Syria, calling Obama strategy 'shameful'
July 22nd, 2012
11:02 AM ET
10 years ago

McCain renews call for U.S. action in Syria, calling Obama strategy 'shameful'

(CNN) – The escalation of violence in Syria can be directly tracked to the United States' unwillingness to get involved in the country, Sen. John McCain asserted Sunday.

"Because of our failure to assist, because of our failure to lead other willing nations in the region like Turkey and Saudi Arabia and Qatar and others, the situation has now deteriorated to a situation which is really, really very dangerous," McCain said on CNN's "State of the Union."

The Arizona Republican's comments came as fierce clashes erupted on Sunday between forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and rebels in Aleppo, Syria's most populated city.

Opposition activists said an entire building collapsed in the city after being targeted by a tank belonging to al-Assad's regime. The latest violence comes after 16 months of bloodshed that began in March 2011, when a fierce government crackdown against protesters morphed into a nationwide uprising against the regime.

McCain, the highest-ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Sunday that the situation in Syria could be remedied but that it would be unnecessarily difficult given the lack of action by President Barack Obama's administration.

"It is retrievable, but it is far, far more difficult and complicated than if we had weighed in a long time ago," he told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.

McCain said Obama and his administration have "relied on the goodwill of Russia" in their dealings with Syria, calling that approach "shameful."

"We keep pushing the reset button that Russia and China - and now we are bound by the decisions of the U.N. Security Council which are dictated by Russia and China," he said. "We need to get arms and equipment to them and establish a buffer zone."


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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 (172 Responses)
  1. w l jones

    The Marine need a few good men old as well young. Said enough

    July 23, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  2. Observer

    As much as I appreciated Senator McCain calling out Bachmann's absurd conspiracy theories, it does not excuse his irresponsible position here.

    The neocon agenda from McCain, Cheney, Romney, etc. is unsustainable to expand policing foreign civil conflicts. The Syrian people are handling the direction of their own country.

    America needs to focus more of our resources on important issues here at home.

    July 23, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  3. rosaadriana

    I bet if Obama did get involved in Syria you would say his policy was shameful. It doesn't matter what he does you are going to complain so I don't think he should bother listening to you.

    July 23, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  4. samuel

    We have spent too much money and blood on others ! But refuses to hire teacher, Firement, police....
    or rebuild this country ! I am just happy we did not elect this guy !

    July 23, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  5. tellin it like it is

    ok, so arabs are killing arabs. sorry, not our problem. let all the arab countries deal with it if they don't like it. besides, it is a needed break from them attacking us and the israelis. every time we try to hep these people we get bit in the backside and end up regretting it. so no money, no troops. let saudi arabia, Kuwait and the UAE hire a 100,000 mercenaries. they can afford it.

    July 23, 2012 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  6. Big_D

    We would be at war with Iran if McCain was running the show. He is a chicken-hawk fool.

    July 23, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  7. Joi Gibson

    All this man thinks about is war. We are NOT the world's police. We need to stay out of the Middle East. And if McCain thinks we need to be there militarily, then where is that money coming from – are we not broke, do we not have money to repair our own crumbling infrastructure; it is okay to borrow money for war but not to improve our country. That makes no sense whatsoever. Again, our military is not some abstract entity, the military consists of real people, whom I think have probably had quite enough of fighting wars overseas that does nothing to benefit the USA.


    July 23, 2012 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  8. Carlin123

    What is "Shameful" is asking young American men and women to die in yet ANOTHER unnecessary conflict.
    If you want to go over there and start fighting Mr. McCain be my guest.

    July 23, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  9. Rogue351

    The GOP is always looking for another war to get the USA involved in. Why ? Because they make huge amounts of money from goverment contracts. NO MORE WAR ! We are not, and do not need to be the world police.

    NO MORE WAR !!

    July 23, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  10. Mike - Dayton, OH

    Or, if you're not a crazy neo-con ... you might look at the situation and see that Russia and China are more isolated on this issue than ever and because we have actually shown prudent restraint and exhausted all avenues for a brokered peace, that we are more free than ever to pursue a stepped up end-game approach now. Our restrained involvement – which, by the way, has included a massive sanctions regime, has also forced the regional players to assume the responsibility and expense that they should be shouldering anyway like the gulf states and Turkey – who are the ones actually on-the-hook for arming the rebels (whose ideology we're still not convinced about). It's unfortunate that more innocents have had to die in the interim, but McCain is deranged if he thinks this was going to end in any way other than full civil war. Just as in Libya, the slower ground-game approach allowed the various rebel factions to coalesce and actually bought time to formulate an opposition leadership of sorts with a framework for post-dictator governance. The same might apply in Syria if we can help contain the conflict within Syrian borders. There is also likely plenty that we are doing in back-channels as well, allowing McCain to crow about our explicit policies with the knowledge that we are doing some important orchestration behind the scenes. Obama's approach thus far has been exemplary – we retain maximum flexibility to act as we choose to assist a strengthening opposition against a weakened Assad without having expended any political leverage or blood/treasure – isn't that where we always want to be?

    July 23, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  11. malcolm Spence

    Sorry Senator, we cannot afford another war.

    July 23, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  12. RichieP

    The republicans have no shame. They were calling for Obama's impeachment when he sent troops into Libya and WON without spilling a single drop of American blood. Now they return to their constant war mongering as soon as Obama does with Syria what they say he should have done in Libya.

    July 23, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  13. lolo

    This old geezer loves war. Is he holding revenge because he was a pow? The republicans are a trip. They love war, but make sure that they children do not serve. What part do they not understand. Our troops are overworked and you cannot butt into every countries affairs. Please go and live in your eight homes.

    July 23, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  14. RPrentice there *any* conflict or civil war John McCain doesn't want to send in the American military? We can't police the entire world! I'm relieved this war monger wasn't elected commander-in-chief!

    July 23, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  15. John

    Just what our country needs to do right?....get into another country's civil war. Who is kidding who? The Republican military industrialists of our country love the money that will come rolling in from producing war materials for the expense of young men and women's lives. It's time we all got sick and tired of this garbage.

    July 23, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  16. Squigman

    Suit up John. Help out your country and get in the fray. Don't stand there, telling all who'll listen (2-to-3 people at the most), what all should do. Be a leader. Put your best game face on and get in the game. After all, it is just a game to you. You're protected. Only the youth of the nation are sent to fight the battles for the aged. And if you're for sanctions, wouldn't that fly in the face of free trade? Make up your (apparently feeble mind), what you want.

    July 23, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  17. RPrentice there *any* conflict or civil war John McCain doesn't want to send in the American military? We can't police the entire world. I'm relieved this war hawk wasn't elected commander-in-chief!

    July 23, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  18. harvey 60

    Just shut up, McCain. You gave weapons to Iran in the 1980s when they were at war with Iraq. How'd that work out? Give the rebels weapons and the jihadis will turn them on Israel. Then you'll be yelling about that. There's a reason you lost the election 4 years ago, and it's not all spelled Palin.

    July 23, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  19. Ken

    McCain has not seen a conflict yet that he thinks can't be resolved by U.S. force. This guy always shoot from the hip, then the lip.

    July 23, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  20. Donkey Party

    McCain is a dishonor and disgrace to our country. He asserts that it is our fault for the violence in Syria. Does this stupid old man not realize that Syria is allied with Iran? Does he not realize that we are not held in high regard by the Syrians? Does he not realize it could cost more US soldiers lives to intercede? Does he not realize that we're broke (Boehner's words)???

    July 23, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  21. 13directors

    Jeez, McCain, your party doesn't want to pay for these wars. Why go and get involved in another one?

    July 23, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  22. GFYJMC

    It's shameful to think we can intervene in every country's problems all over the world and pay our bills. Let's quit going to war.

    July 23, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
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