McCain slams Obama handling of Syrian crisis as ‘shameful’

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Sunday strongly condemned the Obama administration’s performance on the Syrian crisis and called for efforts to arm rebels battling President Bashar al-Assad to hasten his departure.

“My question to the Secretary of State and the President of the United States is, how many more have to die before we take action to help these people with other nations, and I don’t mean American boots on the ground. It is shameful, the total lack of leadership that the United States has displayed for the last 14 months,” McCain said on CBS.

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“We should get arms to them so that we can balance the forces. It is not a fair fight. Russian arms are pouring, Iranians are on the ground and people are being massacred, tortured, raped and murdered as a matter of policy by Bashar al-Assad,” said McCain, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, speaking on the program “Face the Nation.”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Sunday that the Syrian opposition is getting more effective and said the Assad government's days are numbered.

“So the future, to me, should be abundantly clear to those who support the Assad regime: The days are numbered; and the sooner there can be an end to the violence and a beginning of a political transition process, not only will fewer people die, but there’s a chance to save the Syrian state from a catastrophic assault that would be very dangerous not only to Syria but to the region,” she said in Japan.

Clinton also said the acknowledgement by United Nations envoy Kofi Annan that efforts to find a peaceful solution to the crisis are failing should be a “wakeup call.”

McCain said of al-Assad that “I believe that his days are numbered, but those days could be very large in numbers,” and used the interview to call for a more muscular U.S. position.