September 8th, 2012
07:45 PM ET
11 years ago

McCain calls out Obama over Syria, again

(CNN) - Sen. John McCain, a consistent critic of U.S. inaction regarding the civil war in Syria, on Saturday again blasted the Obama administration's handling of the crisis in an interview with CNN.

He was speaking at the Ambrosetti Forum in Italy, an annual conference bringing together political leaders from around the globe.

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McCain did not advocate sending U.S. troops into the battles, but said he supported the U.S. using a model similar to the way the United States handled an uprising in Libya in 2011. "Get them arms and weapons so it is a fair fight," he said.

"First, voice your moral support the way Ronald Reagan did for the people behind the iron curtain," McCain said in an interview with CNN's Nina Dos Santos. "Second get them the weapons so it's a fair fight. Third establish a sanctuary or free zone where they can organize.”

McCain criticized the line in the sand drawn by Obama as giving Syrian President Bashar al-Assad too much leeway.

"This president unbelievably announced that if Bashar (al-)Assad used chemical weapons, he'd have crossed a red line," McCain said. "Isn't he also telling Bashar (al-)Assad he can do anything up to that?"

He has previously called Obama's handling of the situation "shameful."

Among the other Americans attending the forum were Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-South Carolina; Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Connecticut; Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and former Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge, as well as several academics from schools including Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Filed under: 2012 • John McCain • Syria
soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. Donkey Party

    Mr. McCain, what is "shameful", is the way you represent the Navy uniform that I too once wore. You sir, are a national disgrace.

    September 9, 2012 03:07 am at 3:07 am |
  2. Thomas

    We are providing intelligence to those fighting to over throw Bashar (al-)Assad . And if chemical weapons are used , Assad will be dealt with in a very harsh action. The Russians , Chines and Iran are the lossers , for there actions will be rememberd . When Turkey is pulled in , so will the US . Only when that happens will the us have direct military involvement,

    John needs to retie .

    September 9, 2012 03:21 am at 3:21 am |
  3. jack johnson

    So he dose not remember when we gave the Afgan people weapons (Charlie Wilson) to fight the Russians, Once they defeated them they turned our own weapons on us. So be careful who you want to supply with weapons, they may come back and bite you again! The republicans will do anything to start a war. Juat remember if Congress declares a war the prez. stays in!!!!

    September 9, 2012 03:23 am at 3:23 am |
  4. Marry

    Oh, McCain is so much blah, blah, blah! Why did he not ask the question in Iraq of how many have to die??? I trust the President to be on top of this and to do the right thing!
    Obama/Biden 2012!!! Get out the vote despite GOP voter suppression!

    September 9, 2012 04:23 am at 4:23 am |
  5. Bernard obryant

    Syria was a bankrupted company for start it suppose to help it end up hurt our economy. And went into bankrupcy

    September 9, 2012 04:52 am at 4:52 am |
  6. Wayne

    Mc Cain and that GOP love for foreign wars, any time and anywhere.

    September 9, 2012 06:04 am at 6:04 am |
  7. clare

    we have not had peace since ww1 that involved us in 1914. first it was over land and now it's over oil. the only benefiting from these are the rich. we, the citizens, have lost sons, daughters, and children. we have loss property and jobs while this game is played world wide. all of the money wasted on the two parties running for office could have paid most of our debts and created more jobs on the books. McCane, is in the mix. he knows that the old vp made billions off of our dead children. bring them home

    September 9, 2012 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  8. Ron L- Mich

    Sometims I think Senator McCain just LOVES to send American troops into war, What he doesn't seem to get, is while the events in Syria are tragic and unfair America should not get involved at the level he is promoting unless the UN or the Arab League asks us to. The reason we have so many people in Muslim countries that hate America is we are always getting involved in their internal affairs. We need stay informed and if we are asked to help, be prepared to step in and help the rebels and the innocent people being hurt by this conflict.

    September 9, 2012 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  9. clare

    The us has been supporting nations all over trhe world and supplying their needs. especially, Israel. all the banks in the world has trillions invested in futures. these banks and ceo's want to bring down america. i heard that j.p.morgan/has 77 trillion alone. if that is true, give our country some of it, and save our homes by giving jobs and put a stop to foreclosing.

    September 9, 2012 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  10. Yonni

    The names mentioned are old timers who still believe that starting a war is so easy that the president refused to do so. However, fighting a war without strategy to win a war has costing the US tremendous human and financial cost even more our credibility. You cannot wage a war where there is no visible strategy to win a war. It is time to retire for the insane McCain and other bunch of war mongers and leave the leadership position for sane people..

    September 9, 2012 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  11. xJohnPx

    "First, voice your moral support the way Ronald Reagan did for the people behind the iron curtain"
    Reagan had a strong dislike for McCain and would not talk to him. Reagan did not use military force to bring down the iron curtain. The sooner this madman retires the better off our country will be. What is wrong with the people of Arizona for reelecting this idiot..

    September 9, 2012 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  12. Jules

    How about John McCain introduce a spending package in Congress to arm the rebels in Syria. We don't know exactly who they are and it has been rumored that some are Al Quida, but come on, John. Put the money where your mouth is. Introduce a surtax along with it to raise the money to give to the rebels, which of course we know may be weapons that come back at us.

    September 9, 2012 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  13. david mann

    It doesn't matter how President Obama handles the Syrian situation, he will be criticized by the Repugnicants. If he advocated force they would say he's risking American lives needlessly. If he doesn't use force they (Repugnicants) will say he's not strong enough. If you've been paying attention the last 3+ years the Repugnicants haven't said he's done ANYTHING right. Even for extreme right-wing, racist, teaparty Rush/Beck/Palinites, that just doesn't seem reasonable to believe. But then, reason has little to do with those kinds of Dodos.

    September 9, 2012 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  14. Conspiracies R-us

    John, hurry get things ready in the senate, you lead.

    We need a declaration of war against the Syrians, Iranians, Russians, and Chinese; no later than noon.

    You go boy. Be sure to get one for those pesky North Koreans, while you are at it.

    September 9, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  15. ronb

    John, top trying to turn this into a political issue. You know better AND you know we are already sending weapons and support "under the radar". Stop it!

    September 9, 2012 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  16. BrentCutter

    As much as I respect Senator McCain, his comments on "the world is looking for American Leadership" is so not true. As a Canadian we never think that. Those ideas in the USA come from an education system that teach Americans nothing about the world. Example, ask any American about very well known facts about Canada and they have no clue. The world does not and never has asked for American leadership. The world has asked for help but that is very differernt than leadership. Most of the world does not like the USA because of that very errogant idea that they must lead the world. You could take a lesson from Canada, quietly assist, use force when nessessary and then get out queitly, joke about yourself and never pound our chests but help and ask for nothing in return. Canada is always there pushing freedom but always from the side lines never in the front. That is what the world wants the USA to do not the hammer and fist "we are the best and know all and must lead the world " approach. You can begin by teaching world history and geography in your schools. No one wants the USA to take a leadership role in any international issue, we just want your help. Very different things in deed.

    September 9, 2012 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  17. Kerry

    Good McCain isn't running the country.

    September 9, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  18. Common sense grandma

    Thank goodness for Sarah Palin. She was the major force keeping this man from winning the 2008 election and I shudder to think where we would be now with that pair in office. Is there anyone this man does NOT want to wage war against? And I fear Romney would be the same, all on an effort to please the extreme right-wing that seem to control the GOP

    September 9, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  19. John

    This Is all the Republican want to do Is get America In everything that going on around the world. This Is why America Dept Is so high Now fighting two wars that we didn't have money to pay for. And If we give them weapon to fight with ,than they may fall In the wrong hand and be use on Us. Every time something happen In the world John McCain think America has to be In It. America Is not the world Police and we don't have the money either. It pretty bad that the Republican want to take money from the Middle Class,the Poor and the OLD. But they have no problem give money that could be use here In America to any other Country.

    September 9, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
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