September 7th, 2013
06:52 PM ET
9 years 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.

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"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. askdavey

    maybe his defence stock will go up enough to retire if we have another war,

    September 8, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  2. Omama Supporter

    McCain is a big joke. No one gives a hoot what he has to say. If he were so smart he would be President and not a wanna be. Go back to Arizona , you have no business being in Washington.

    September 8, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  3. Donnie the Lion

    Let's keep in mind, if McCain, Romney, or Perry were at the helm, those missle launch buttons would have been pressed weeks ago. If you want at least some level of restraint or consideration, be glad Obama is in charge right now.

    September 8, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  4. rs

    So, let me get this straight Senator:
    First, you support the initiative the President put forward. You spoke to that during the hearing last week.
    Second, you state that you feel the President's initiative does not go far enough or is stringent enough, and that the U.S. needs to do more for Syria.
    Third, now you say "boots on the ground" (which, naturally, follows your call for more strident action) now is the road to impeachment?

    Once again we see Arizona's senior Senator's insanity (or is it the GOP's?) at play. Perhaps, sir, you could introduce a plan of your own instead of playing the children's game of "you're getting warmer, warmer, warmer, pooh, you're getting colder!" guessing games.

    BTW, I recall no such "impeachment" talk when Reagan arbitrarily put "boots on the ground" in Grenada, sir.

    Maybe this is a "you are with us or against us" moment Senator. Please decide.

    September 8, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  5. madelefant

    Can McCain be tested for insanity? He is the most contradictory buffoon in politics.

    September 8, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  6. Lone

    " I hope people who vote are smart enough, or paying sufficient attention, to see that."

    Nope. Whole swathes of this country, though in now way exclusive no it, have been raised to the tune of us versus whatever our emotional fears have narrowed down to as 'them'. Peasants perpetuating peasantry, if only as a state of mind.

    September 8, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  7. francisco medina

    The better option for obama is to secretly support the arab union so they can make the attack.

    Usa drones can bomb syria, and the arabs troops can do the ground job.

    Top secret info that could be des classified in 20 years.


    September 8, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  8. JB

    Unless, of course, both Houses of Congress APPROVE of those boots being on the ground in the event of some form or escalation related to the limited strikes. Go ahead and rattle that Republican saber a little more Senator McCain, though, if it makes you feel good about yourself and panders to your base.

    September 8, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  9. Sathya

    I'd Say the president should start with flying drones over Syria gathering information and evidence that will help with strikes, if congress would votes it's approval for strikes on Syria.

    September 8, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  10. David in Tampa

    Time to turn off the comments against McCain. Nobody agrees with him usual!

    September 8, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  11. are122

    McCain is echoing what was previously said by Joe Biden.

    September 8, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  12. Jetdoctor34

    McCain is playing the dead man's hand.

    Very few will be persuaded by our current leadership's decision of U.S. "strikes" and then fictional promises that the government will keep this conflict in check. The government hasn't kept jack S in check for quite awhile.

    September 8, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  13. oh please

    Damned if he didn't consult with congress, damned if he did.

    September 8, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  14. Humbrrto

    McCain did nothing despite having proof North used money from the arms sales to enrich himself and Bush pardoned them before being found guilty and sentenced .

    September 8, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  15. Gerry Daley

    Hmmm...did he give the same warning to Bush when that idiot knowingly lied us into a long and disastrous war in Iraq? What a total and complete hypocrite.

    September 8, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  16. Bob

    As a political centrist (and veteran) my feelings are: (1) doing nothing would be disastrous - who's Assad going to gas next? (2) boots on the ground would be disastrous (3) the president needs to explain what happens AFTER his attack - who will rule Syria? What if the air attacks don't work? Who will secure Syria's massive chemical weapons stores if the attacks result in Assad's overthrow? Lots of hard questions aren't being answered, in my opinion.

    September 8, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  17. Blake

    Wait, I thought McCain was the one of the main Senator's responsible for the mission creep language added to the Syrian approval so it could get his vote (Supporting Rebels, possibly securing chemical sites)? The President would also have to break law for their to be a successful impeachment process which is debatable given Presidential precedent. In any event I think if Obama doesn't get approval and goes anyways the House is going to start an impeachment and play the "he's a dictator and he's weak" card. A stronger case than it would have been if he hadn't sought approval because there's now a question of whether a President, after consulting Congress can do what he wants anyways as CIC.

    Now I do agree a strike, or at least something diplomatically or economically if that doesn't happen, has to be done in Syria. However, no one save for McCain has come anywhere close to suggesting boots on the ground. The added language to "secure chemical weapon sites" added by the more hawkish Senators is the very troubling part which could leave the door open for boots on the ground. Verdict from me: McCain is using tough language and keywords against boots on the ground and the President to convince people in his district that he's not a super hawk.

    September 8, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  18. ohio

    Let's look at the big picture. The UN has not finalized their discovery of evidence and until they do no action should be taken. If action should be taken it should be with the UN's approval and NATO should respond. That is NATO's job not the job of the U.S.. This is their civil war, not ours. If the US again had a civil war would we accept a strike on our land from another country. Bring our soldiers home secure our borders and rebuild our country from within.

    September 8, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  19. JC

    I see a lot of people saying the Republicans have set up the president. Let me be clear: the president, by shooting off his mouth without having his ducks in a row, has set himself up. There's a couple of things here: First of all, nothing going on in Syria is likely to affect the US whatsoever; unless the rebels win. In which case, the threat to us will become quite substantial. Second of all, there are no good guys; the rebels are strongly suspected of launching a gas attack themselves in May, and I've seen pictures of their rockets. Third, the ones most likely to gain control of the rebel faction are the very people we do not want anywhere near the Syrian chemical weapons. Fourth, no matter what the president says, there is no way to confirm the destruction of Syrian Chemical weapons (how hard is it to hide an artillery shell or a rocket?) without putting the boots of inspectors on the ground to do just that. Nothing has changed since Bush's little war of lies. People must still go and look. Who are we going to trust to do that? Last, consider this: the Russian naval base in Syria is important to them; not just from a sense of pride, but also in a very real, strategic way. Any regime change, or even attack on the Syrians which threatened Russian interests would likely result in certain weapons programs, that have not been delivered to the Syrians, to be delivered. Along with whatever else they seemed to need.

    McCain should just crawl back inside his little waffle maker and shut his trap.

    September 8, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  20. Zwei Stein

    Threatening the President of the United States. In public. Way to go John!

    September 8, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  21. KC

    McCain you lost the election so no shut up unless you have some solutions. McCain should be tested for dementia because he can't remember what he says day to day. My question is why does the press keep interviewing this guy?

    September 8, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  22. Djd135

    McCain has been spending too much time with his good buddy Lindsay graham. They make a good pair of imps that feed off of each others phony stances. The US.literally dodged a bullet when he was not elected. If McCain was elected we would have troops all over the world. I respect his service to our country however I don't know how being a prisoner of war qualifies you as an expert on where and when military action is required. He is a bitter old man.

    September 8, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  23. treblemaker

    It makes no difference what President Obama does-this is just the beginning, folks. Assad is no different from the Shah, Saddam Hussein, or any of our Arab allies who have to resort to dictatorial means to keep the radical extremists at bay and stay in power. Be careful what you wish for-you just might get it.

    The problem in Syria is not a military one. It is a spiritual one pitting one extreme faction of Islam against another. We are a Judeo-Christian nation that is considered the avowed enemy of extreme Islam. We support Israel unconditionally, and this conflict hits too close to their home. Do you really think that our country is going to solve this problem by playing the great policeman? NO!! Our "moral capital" has been exhausted. Any intervention here will make Iraq seem like child's play. Syria has not attacked us, or invaded any of our allies. Unfortunately, they are just self-destructing before our eyes. When a family fights amongst each other, do you want to step into the middle of it to sort things out? I'd rather see our country fortify Israel's right to defend themselves from any possible attack before we ever go into Syria. We were the first nation to recognize Israel; they are our loyal friends. It's time to stand by them first!!

    September 8, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  24. JV

    rc, there is no world problem here, they will eventually run out of things to kill if everyone stays out of it, if you send someone in, they will be killed by both sides by these dogs. Additionally, McCain should have stayed in Hanoi, not sure how he was able to get where he is, but this treasonous idiot should be stripped of the monies he bilked us for and jailed with Obummmma, the worst president in American history, thus far, and it's not over yet. I hope when he is done, and takes us beyond repair, he is placed on the stand for his actions against this Country.

    September 8, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  25. Anonymous

    Best I can read we have radical Muslims fighting and killing radical Muslims in Syria, I don't see the down side. If B0 our peace prize president wants to blow some people up, let him get a suicide belt and parachute into Syria.

    September 8, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
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