Donald Trump immediately blamed President Obama for the Syrian chemical weapons attack the other day and some Republicans, like Sen. Tom Cotton, who can’t find Tehran if you spot him a map and a flashlight, agreed.
John McCain, on the other hand, while calling the strike “an excellent first step” told John Dickerson on CBS’s “Face The Nation” refused to absolve the Trump administration from blame for the attack.
Asked by Dickerson if the administration’s original position that removal of Assad was not a priority “encouraged this behavior,” McCain’s answer was, “I think it probably was partially to blame.”
Speaking of Tillerson’s expressed opinion that the “longer-term status of President Assad will be decided by the Syrian people,” McCain reiterated his call for a strategy and a plan:
“And Secretary 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.”
McCain also rejected the idea that a one-off on a Syrian airfield was in any way meaningful. He also said we should have “cratered” the airfield.
This is an omission Donald Trump explained via Twitter yesterday:
The reason you don't generally hit runways is that they are easy and inexpensive to quickly fix (fill in and top)!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 8, 2017
McCain’s answer to this was, “Yeah, and we can crater them again too.”
“Just a one-time deal is not going to be productive. And saying, ‘We are only going after chemical weapons areas,’ ignores the enormity of the problem.”
“A very small percentage of the people who have been slaughtered in Syria have been slaughtered by chemical weapons. It’s been done by barrel bombs and indiscriminate killing and all the other war crimes that have been committed.”
The Arizona Republican pointed out, in contradiction to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s claim that ISIS must be our priority, that ISIS cannot be separated from Assad’s actions.
America, McCain said, can take care of both problems at the same time. “We can walk and chew gum.”
According to McCain, “we need a strategy,” which means, of course, that we – that is Donald Trump – doesn’t have one.
Trump did not have a strategy before, and from conflicting statements made by Trump officials even after the attack, he doesn’t have one now.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.