Sen. John McCainJohn McCainMcCain proposes 0B defense budget for 2018 The Obama presidency that never was Week ahead: Comey under fire; Lawmakers look for Russia response MORE (R-Ariz.) delivered a stinging indictment of the Obama administration's Syria policy in an impassioned floor speech on Wednesday.
McCain, a longtime proponent of arming the Syrian rebels, displayed graphic photos of some of the 11,000 political prisoners believed to have been executed by the Assad regime since the uprising began almost three year ago. He accused the president of betraying his own promise to work to prevent mass atrocities during speeches at the U.S. Holocaust Museum and the United Nations National Assembly.
“Where is President Obama who has said he refuses to accept that brutal tyrants can slaughter their people with impunity while the most powerful nation in the history of the world looks on and stands by?” McCain said. “Where is the recognition that ‘the cold logic of mass graves’ is right there – right there in front of us, in Syria today?”
McCain went on to say that the administration was showing “bad faith” with its repeated claims that it is playing a central role in trying to end the conflict. The administration has committed $1.7 billion in humanitarian assistance – more than any other nation – and Secretary of State John Kerry brokered the ongoing peace talks with the U.N. and his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov.
“Our government is doing what we have sadly done too often in the past. We are averting our eyes,” McCain said. “We try to comfort our guilty consciences by telling ourselves that we are not doing nothing, but it is a claim made in bad faith, for everyone concedes that nothing we are doing is equal to the horrors we face.”
The speech comes just a day after Obama himself acknowledged that a second round of talks between the Assad regime and the opposition are “far from achieving” a positive outcome.
“The state of Syria itself is crumbling,” Obama said at a joint press conference with French President Francois Hollande. “That is bad for Syria. It is bad for the region. It is bad for global national security, because what we know is, is that there are extremists who have moved into the vacuum in certain portions of Syria in a way that could threaten us over the long term.”
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