Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is “euphoric” about President Obama’s surprise announcement yesterday that he will seek congressional authorization for a limited strike in the war-torn country, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said today on “Face the Nation.”
When Mr. Obama said the use of chemical weapons in Syria would mark a “red line” that Assad wouldn’t be allowed to cross with impunity, McCain said, “he didn’t say, ‘It’s a red line – and by the way I’m going to have to seek the approval of Congress.’ He said it was a red line, and that the United States of America would act. And that’s a big difference, and that’s one of the reasons why this is so problematic.”
The president’s decision to take his case for direct involvement in Syria’s two-year-old conflict to Congress marked an abrupt turnaround for the White House, which had appeared on the cusp of ordering U.S. forces to launch a missile attack against Syria, in light of evidence that Assad’s regime used chemical weapons against his own people.
One of the loudest critics of the administration’s handling of Syria, McCain said the president should have taken action early on in the two-year-old conflict. But with “unprecedented leaking” about what ships and missiles the United States have positioned in the region, he argued, “a reversal at this point, I think, has serious consequences as far as the steadfastness and purpose of this administration.”
McCain said in order for him to get behind the president’s resolution, “we have to have a plan, it has to be a strategy; it can’t just be, in my view, pinprick cruise missiles.” Still, he warned, “the consequences of the Congress of the United States overriding a decision of the president of the United States of this magnitude are really very, very dangerous.”
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