McCain on Syria: Senator John McCain, one of Obama’s sharpest critics of the administration's recent handling of Syria, said on “Face the Nation” Sunday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is “euphoric” that President Obama is seeking the approval of Congress before any military strike is carried out. CBS News carried the Sept.1 story and video.
Obama said in a Rose garden address on Saturday that he will formally seek approval for a limited military foray into Syria. Obama argued for punishment against the Syrian regime that launched the Aug. 21 sarin nerve gas attack on its own citizens, killing more than 1,400, saying Assad is “a menace that must be confronted.”
In recent days, the president has alluded to his desire for congressional backing, but also made it clear that he does not require Congress to sanction an attack. His address to the nation Saturday backs down on the "ready to go" ultimatum, a move in which Senator McCain criticized.
“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.”
McCain also condemned the well-publicized military moves as to what ships the U.S. was sending into the Red Sea and when, calling this information an “unprecedented leaking.”
McCain called Obama’s plan insufficient, and doubts that the President will have the approval of Congress, a development that will make “Bashar and his people… euphoric. The Iranians are happy,” McCain said.
“We have to have a plan, it has to be a strategy; it can't just be, in my view, pinprick cruise missiles,” McCain said. Still, the Arizona Republican warned that “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.”