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. Eric

    If the US attacks Syria, and Syria responds by bombing the US embassy in Lebanon (15 miles from their border), which could certainly be a logical response by Syria to our act of war, then McCain will be the first one to endorse "boots on the ground" and we'll be mired in YET ANOTHER FUTILE WAR IN A REGION WE DON'T UNDERSTAND.

    September 8, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  2. innersixx

    Mccain needs to worry more about getting the superbowl ring back.

    September 8, 2013 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  3. Name Georgez Houston

    I basically agree with John but still Syria need to be hit very hard with an all out air strike to caused a major damage that needed to be done against Assad Government and his entire forces to put an halt to their stupid acts.

    September 8, 2013 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |

    Boots will never hit the ground, the whole idea is to do a Libya. Incapacitate the Syrian defenses and let the rebels win. But the Administration has painted itself into a corner by making up that the Syrians have stockpiles of nerve gas that may end up in the hands of the rebels and everyone would be worse off.

    September 8, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  5. Ruby

    It sounds to me like McCain is now trying to claim the President's decision for his party, as if the Republicans had made the decision to act, and not Obama, and that it should also include supplying the rebels with arms, thus taking sides in the civil war.
    This old fool really needs to retire, he is not fit for the office he holds, and seems to be only interested in putting on a show for his own glory.

    September 8, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  6. Alex

    American people must be naive.
    Your government is supporting terrorists in Syria, supporting same people who are responsible for Sep. 11 terrorism attack, I wonder who was responsible for 911, wake up people.
    Your Country is broke, people losing their homes etc. spending your money to support terrorism, Al-Qaeda and lying on their on people about who used chemical in Syria.

    September 8, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  7. RJ

    The most entertaining part is watching liberals fall all over themselves on this issue. Obama has made a colossal mess of the situation. Neither the country or even his own party support an action against Syria. Obama has no plan to support a regime change in Syria, has ignored the thousands killed in their civil war, yet issued an ultimatum about chemical weapons. If that wasn't bad enough, he lied about making the ultimatum and tried to deflect it to the "world's red line"? Can he really be this indecisive? Personally, I don't think he needs to go before Congress to get approval, however once he said he would, he tied his hands once again! To make matter even worse, the delay has enabled Syria to make preparations along with garnering support from their allies. Our allies? France?? Seriously? Obama could not possibly have performed more badly right? I'm scared to ask that question, because each time I think he surprises us and the situation gets worse.

    September 8, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  8. joeblackbird1

    McCain has that innate quality of stating the obvious.

    September 8, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  9. Tom

    McCain was the one just a few days ago that was criticizing the President for being to tepid and not being "tough enough". He is all over the map. He and his side kick from Carolina who were pushing for much more than the President was asking for are now warning him with impeachment is he puts boots on the ground. Sounds to me like McCain is just trying to be one step ahead of the crowd no matter where the crowd goes. But in reality he is one step behind everyone else.

    September 8, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  10. ignoremyignorance


    You seem to feel like your opinion matters. As if your words have some long-lasting effect on Americans. And as if Obama seriously needs to fear you as a Politician. Here's the thing, you clearly have your own agenda, and frankly your judgement lacks any form of common sense. You lost me the moment you chose Sarah Palin as your running mate. As if she would have EVER been qualified to lead this country pending your untimely breaking of a hip.

    McCain, you are simply an angry man who was tortured as a POW, and I sincerely thank you for what you did as a soldier. But being a POW, doesn't make you a great politician. Being a great person makes you a great politician. And unfortunately, I've seen how you talk down to people, and how you raise your voice when people don't see things your way. This is only the sign of a weak character.

    Rather than threat our President, you should support him, as he is clearly trying to do the right thing, without putting our troops in danger.

    September 8, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  11. Rosa

    McCain has been whining for war in Syria and Iran and everywhere else for year. Now Ge wants to impeach Ovama if troop go to Syria. Have I entered the twighlught zone or has someone body snatched McCain?

    September 8, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  12. Nicole

    So it's fine to bomb them, just not to put our troops on the ground? Ok then.

    September 8, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  13. William York

    Senator McCain just needs to retire. He is no longer relevant on the national and/or international stage. It is time for the folks from Arizona to send someone else to Washington to represent them. You would think the Senator or even his advisors would have figured this out be now! His message on impeachment to the President – what a joke! Obama could have done limited air strikes (he still could) without congressional approval – The President of the United States took the higher road and asked Congress. Senator McMcain do yourself a favor and retire with some dignity – Please! You have served your country well both in and outside of Washington – time to move on and let some new blood represent your good state.

    September 8, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  14. JoeyE

    McCain.. you fool! Mr. President is a CIC (Commander in Chief) means he has power to declare war or not! all military forces obey Mr. President, not you!

    September 8, 2013 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  15. gregladen

    McCain is in the Senate.Someone should let him know that the House does the impeachment thing. If they do it than he gets to play. Now, all he's doing is grandstanding, and doing so embarrassingly. He is playing politics with national security.

    September 8, 2013 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  16. gregladen

    (Not that I want to see boots on the ground either, BTW)

    September 8, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  17. Athur

    WHO THE CRAP CARES ABOUT MCCAINS POLITICAL THEATER TRICK! We ALL watched him get his 455 handed to him in town hall meetings and he's just trying to talk tough now without changing a d4mn3d thing. I just wish somebody had slapped that stupid grin off his face. Why does it matter if it's boots on the ground or missiles in the air? Those missiles cost a million a piece. Wouldn't the money be better spent helping refugees? The rebels are known to both have and use chemical agents and the UN concluded they had done so IN MAY. Why do you think the Obaminator forced the UN to withdraw inspectors so quickly? HE DIDN"T WANT THE MOST RECENT ATTACK INSPECTED!!

    September 8, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  18. Name

    Let him get impeached it needs to happen

    September 8, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  19. Tell the Truth

    NO PROOF that Assad used Sarin
    The UN said back in May that the REBELS has Sarin
    The rebels were losing badly just before the attacks
    The rebels wanted the US to help them
    Assad had nothing to gain by gassing people when he was winning
    The Mujhadeen gassed their own people in the Russia/Afghan war to gain sympathy - it's what they DO!

    Now Obama says – there's no proof but "Common sense" says that Assad did it!!!!!!! The man's a fool.

    At least McCain has LISTENED to the people and backtracked. That's more than O'Bomber has done

    September 8, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  20. Tom

    Further McCain is threatening the President with impeachment if boots hit the ground but is also saying that the President should have gone ahead without congressional approval. The President is Constitutionally sworn to protect our Country and it's people. Impeachment for what, doing his job as directed by the Constitution. He has clearly stated "no boots on the ground".

    September 8, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  21. Steve

    Look who's talking here. War hawk McCain..If McCain was president he'd have boots on the ground. He's only looking for a way to try and impeach O'Bama. What a joke. No wonder nothing gets done in Washington.

    September 8, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  22. Root Solutions

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch....
    China walks away with America's pork industry. In a deal financed by the Wall street banks. Where did they get the money to do "that", I though they were "broke"? And the pork gets moved to the Hong Kong stock exchange. And,... China just got approval to ship their H7N9 chicken here for McNuggets. Is anyone watching the backdoor?

    Obama asked for our drone back. Iran could have been "nice" and given it back. Iran missed a huge opportunity.
    With the UN, we can request all chemical weapons be delivered to the dock. Where they can be shipped away and destroyed. I hope Assad does not also miss a huge opportunity.

    September 8, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  23. Gerald X

    McCain should stop war-mongering and sticking his nose in other countries' business. Spend more time helping Arizona!
    His state has a multitude of problems like immigration, border security, poor public education, a poor health care system, a lack of good-paying jobs and lots of poverty. He seems more interested in propping-up his profile than aiding his constituents.
    Impeachment? He's still mad about losing the 2008 election. And can we all stop saying "boots on the ground"? Those are men and women, flesh and blood human beings with families and friends who put their lives on the line for us. Stop diminishing and objectifying their important job.

    September 8, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  24. charlie

    McCain = War Monger

    September 8, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  25. lazarus00000

    McCain is never considering the true dangers in Syria as the lesson was learned in Iraq, Iran, Afganistan and so on. The true danger is rad-ical Isl-am, but the confusion comes in to question as to Who is Ra-dical Isl-am? The so called moderates in Is-lam are intimidated and readily allow the radicals, the true believers to k-il-l and to-rture in god's name.
    why would America take on the responsibility of opposing the communist led government of Syria in order to support the rad-ical Isla-mic fan-atics?
    Russia and China Created this situation and the UN, not the US lead the way to stop the attrocities that are happening there. McCain, sadly seems to have lost his way. His job is to protect American citizens not allow us to be dragged into a war. This is a no win situation and as usual the politicians think they can solve the problems with pretty talk and cash on hand.

    September 8, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
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