Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) today called “the total lack of leadership that the United States has displayed for the last 14 months” through the massacres in Syria “shameful.”
“The fact is, the United States has played no leadership role. Now 14,000 people have been massacred by Bashar al-Assad, the United States of America, its performance so far has been shameful and disgraceful,” McCain said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
“Kofi Annan just announced today that his plan has utterly failed. And what do we need to do? We need to show first leadership. The president of the United States should be speaking out for the people of Syria.”
McCain advocated getting arms to the rebels to give them a fair chance versus the Russian arms flowing into Assad’s regime and Iranian fighters on the ground in support of the dictator.
“We need to establish a sanctuary so that they can organize, they can resist, and the can prevail. I believe that some day he, Bashar al-Assad will go, my question is to the secretary of state and the president of the United States is, how many more have to die before we take action to help these people with other nations?” the senator said. “And I don’t mean American boots on the ground.”
Members of the Senate on the right and left have tried for months to push resolutions advocating more concrete support of anti-regime forces. McCain’s April resolution condemning mass atrocities in Syria calls for the establishment of safe havens while taking steps to ensure that support for the Syrian opposition does not benefit any individuals with terrorist alliances.
McCain said the Syrian resistance “have not been taken over by extremists or al Qaeda, but they could be if this conflict drags on for months and even years.”
He panned the numerous times Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said Assad’s days are numbered while the dictator’s slaughter continues unabated.
“I know these people, these leaders in these other countries, they are crying out for American leadership,” McCain said. “And by the way, when was the last time the president of the United States stood up and said, we are with these people? They are fighting for the same things that we believe in and stand for.”