The Washington Post

McCain: ‘It is time’ to assist Syrian people

FILE - In this March 28, 2012 file photo, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. listens during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. McCain said in an interview posted online Friday that "foreign money" was helping fellow Republican Mitt Romney's presidential hopes and singled out one of his ally's most generous supporters. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File) Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz. ) (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

Citing reports that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has escalated chemical attacks on Syrian citizens, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) called for more direct aid for Syrians by way of military action.

"It is long past time for the United States and our friends and allies to respond to Assad's continuing mass atrocities in Syria with decisive actions, including limited military strikes to degrade Assad's air power and ballistic missile capabilities," he said in a statement released Thursday.

In his remarks, McCain said it has been two years since President Obama's first call for Assad to step down from office and one year since Obama acknowledged Assad's use of chemical weapons, actions that "constitute the crossing of a red line."

Though the Obama administration has supplied Syrian rebels with arms, McCain maintained that Obama's appeals to Assad have "not been backed up by any real consequences" and have "rung hollow."

"As a result, the killing goes on," he said in his statement. "Assad remains in power, and his use of chemical weapons against Syrian civilians apparently continues."

McCain spoke Thursday morning on CNN's "New Day,"  calling the attacks "horrific" and "outrageous."

"This gives a blank check to other brutal dictators around the world if they want to use chemical weapons and weapons of mass destruction as well," he said.

When prompted for specific actions, McCain said his plan could be done very easily with "no boots on the ground" and "would not put a single life at risk."

"In a matter of a couple of days using standoff weapons, we could take out their runways, take out the 40 or 50 aircraft that they're using which is dominating the battlefields and the towns and the cities," he said. "We can supply the right kind of weapons to the rebels, establish a no-fly zone by moving Patriot missiles up to the border."

He elaborated on U.S. influence, remarking that the president of the United States could "no longer be taken seriously in the region." On Sunday, McCain made similar remarks about Egypt on CNN's "State of the Union with Candy Crowley," saying that the United States has "no credibility" in the country.

"Isn't it time?" he asked CNN's Kate Bolduan. "When does the United States, with very little cost, stand up for these people and stop this horrific — you can't look at those pictures without being deeply moved. Are we just going to let that go on?"

Ruth Tam is a writer based in Washington, D.C., where she web produces for The Kojo Nnamdi Show.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Show Comments
Republicans debated Saturday night. The South Carolina GOP primary and the Nevada Democratic caucuses are next on Feb. 20. Get caught up on the race.
The Post's Dan Balz says...
Rarely has the division between Trump and party elites been more apparent. Trump trashed one of the most revered families in Republican politics and made a bet that standing his ground is better than backing down. Drawing boos from the audience, Trump did not flinch. But whether he will be punished or rewarded by voters was the unanswerable question.
GOP candidates react to Justice Scalia's death
I don't know how he knows what I said on Univision because he doesn't speak Spanish.
Sen. Marco Rubio, attacking Sen. Ted Cruz in Saturday night's very heated GOP debate in South Carolina. Soon after, Cruz went on a tirade in Spanish.
The Fix asks The State's political reporter where the most important region of the state is.
The State's Andy Shain says he could talk about Charleston, which represents a little bit of everything the state has to offer from evangelicals to libertarians, and where Ted Cruz is raising more money than anywhere else. In a twist, Marco Rubio is drawing strong financial support from more socially conservative Upstate. That said, Donald Trump is bursting all the conventional wisdom in the state. So maybe the better answer to this question is, "Wherever Trump is."
Past South Carolina GOP primary winners
South Carolina polling averages
Donald Trump leads in the first state in the South to vote, where he faces rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
South Carolina polling averages
The S.C. Democratic primary is Feb. 27. Clinton has a significant lead in the state, whose primary falls one week after the party's Nevada caucuses.
62% 33%
The complicated upcoming voting schedule
Feb. 20

Democrats caucus in Nevada; Republicans hold a primary in South Carolina.

Feb. 23

Republicans caucus in Nevada.

Feb. 27

Democrats hold a primary in South Carolina.

Upcoming debates
Feb 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

March 3: GOP debate

on Fox News, in Detroit, Mich.

March 6: Democratic debate

on CNN, in Flint, Mich.

Campaign 2016
Where the race stands
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Close video player
Now Playing

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.