February 16th, 2014
10:58 AM ET
9 years 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.

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"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

    It's 11 am, and McCain wants another war. No new news here.

    February 16, 2014 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  2. Tampa Tim

    Republicans do know that getting mired in the Middle East with another long term war will add to our national debt, don't they?

    February 16, 2014 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  3. Gurgyl

    Dump this guy in Syria and come back–they deal with him.

    February 16, 2014 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  4. don in albuquerque

    And the best option is for us to stay the hell out of it. Putin said he can handle it. Let him handle it.

    February 16, 2014 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  5. Gary

    "If you acknowledge failure, then you examine and re-examine options that were rejected "
    Isn't it about time you acknowledge you failed to win the presidential race? You are an irelevent war monger. Thank god we only have to hear you on Sunday mornings.

    February 16, 2014 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  6. Peace

    Oh! dear, does this man drink war in his daily morning cup of tea/coffee? Why all this obsession? What other options is he talking about if not war?

    February 16, 2014 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  7. Tampa Tim

    Every Sunday, we are reminded how lucky we were by not electing McCain.

    February 16, 2014 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  8. The right wing have lost their damned minds

    These folks will not be happy unless they have us in at least 5 more simultaneous wars.

    February 16, 2014 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  9. rs

    Ahh, yes, the "reactive" McCain is back. Too bad, sir that your p[arty bankrupted the nation. We can't afford another war in the Middle East (justified or otherwise).
    Maybe he's trying to get his conservative back with the Arizona State GOP (who recently censured McCain for being too lefty).

    February 16, 2014 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  10. Rick Sanchez

    AIPAC wants the US to take out Syria and Iran at all costs. Considering the enormous pressure and control they have over congress, don't think this issue is going away anytime soon.

    February 16, 2014 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  11. Thomas

    I conflict must be stopped , it's inhuman .

    And those who enable and benefit from the destabilization and conflict should be held accountable at all cost .

    The suffering must stop .

    February 16, 2014 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  12. Tommy G

    Thanks to Obama, tens of thousands of Syrians have been killed, millions are refugees and Al Quada is alive and well in Syria. Why to go Liar of the Year.

    February 16, 2014 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |