The Washington Post

McCain won’t delay Dempsey’s nomination as Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Tuesday he would not delay Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey’s nomination to a second term as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff after Dempsey spelled out what he saw as possible U.S. military options for Syria.

McCain said he was disappointed with Dempsey’s answers but would not hold up a Senate vote on his confirmation.

“The president, I think, has the right to choose the team around him, particularly as far as military advisers are concerned,” McCain told reporters outside the Senate. “But this assessment that General Dempsey gave of how to address the challenges in Syria are beyond anything that any rational military thinker that I know would ever contemplate.”

McCain, a former Republican presidential nominee who is one of the Senate’s most influential voices on military issues, has been an outspoken proponent of military aid for the rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

McCain repeatedly questioned Dempsey’s judgment on Syria during the hearing on his renomination on Thursday. He told reporters he would block the nomination until he had more answers from Dempsey on whether the United States should intervene in the conflict.

Dempsey said in a letter released on Monday that U.S. forces could undertake a variety of missions to help Syrian rebels if asked by the White House, from training to establishing no-fly zones or conducting limited attacks on military targets.

However, he warned of the risks of unintended consequences and noted that involvement in Syria would be an act of war that could cost billions of dollars.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments

Sign up for email updates from the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

You have signed up for the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

Thank you for signing up
You'll receive e-mail when new stories are published in this series.
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

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.