John McCain praised President Donald Trump’s strike on a Syrian airfield after the Assad regime allegedly used chemical weapons on innocent civilians, but the man who never saw a war he didn’t like still found a way to fault Trump despite the praise.
How? In McCain’s world, while Trump made the appropriate response to the use of chemical weapons, he’s responsible for the fact that they were used in the first place.
On CBS’ “Face the Nation” this morning, he argued that “I think it [the Trump administration] probably was partially to blame. And Secretary [Rex] Tillerson basically saying the same thing after kind of contradicting himself and then saying the same thing argues vigorously for a plan and a strategy. As I said, again, taking this action I support and was important.”
According to Politico, McCain said the Trump administration needs to have a more concrete strategy in dealing with Syria and shouldn’t treat Thursday’s U.S. missile strikes as a “one-time deal.” He emphasized that just going after chemical weapons ignores how large a problem Syria has become.
The U.S. launched 59 Tomahawk missiles at the Shayrat air base near Homs in retaliation for the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad reportedly using chemical weapons against his own people in the town of Khan Sheikhoun. The chemical attack claimed at least 80 lives.
McCain also rejected a statement by Tillerson that the U.S. needs to prioritize defeating the Islamic State in Syria before trying to stabilize the country. McCain said the U.S must also be concerned about other reported war crimes by the Assad regime, such as using barrel bombs and starving thousands of prisoners.
“So there’s a lot of war crimes that are taking place. And another aspect of this that I do not agree with the secretary is that you have to just concentrate on ISIS,” McCain said. “We can walk and chew gum.”
The death estimates in the Syrian civil war top 400,000, and yet we’re supposed to believe that this chemical attack that killed at least eighty wouldn’t have happened in absence of Trump? That sounds naive, at best.
Plus, McCain couldn’t be any more wrong that the Assad regime is something to be tackled before ISIS (if it is to be tackled at all – most Trump supporters don’t want U.S. involvement in Syria). Next to the Syrian government, ISIS controls the largest amount of territory in Syria. Who in their right mind would want to fight ISIS’ greatest foe in the region before ISIS themselves?
John McCain, apparently.
[Note: This post was authored by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]