McCain says U.S. should consider use of military action against Syria’s regime

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) Sunday called on the United States to consider military action in Syria, where president Bashir al-Assad’s regime has used violence against anti-government protesters seeking democratic reforms.

“Now that military operations in Libya are ending, there will be renewed focus on what practical military options might be considered to protect civilian lives in Syria,” said McCain, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Jordan.

“The Assad regime has spilled too much blood to stay in power. Its days are numbered, but it will use those days to murder more of its own people,” he said. “In this way, there is no moral distinction whatsoever between the case of Syria and that of Libya.  The question is, what can be done about it?”

{mosads}“The Assad regime should not assume that it can get away with mass murder,” he added. “Qaddafi made that mistake, and it cost him everything.”

In Libya, the U.S. joined a NATO-backed air campaign to oust leader Moammar Gadhafi from power. That operation ended Thursday with Gadhafi’s capture and death at the hands of forces allied with the new Libyan transitional government.

President Obama in the face of strong congressional opposition defended the operation on humanitarian grounds saying that Western intervention was needed to prevent Gadhafi from targeting and killing Libyan civilians.

McCain, the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, often disagreed with the president’s strategy in Libya, but was nonetheless a strong supporter of U.S. involvement in NATO’s campaign against Gadhafi.

Speaking Sunday, McCain said that in Syria, there were “growing calls among the opposition for some kind of foreign military intervention.”

McCain’s statements represent a shift for the senator. In April, he had downplayed comparisons between the then ongoing-Libyan NATO campaign and the possibility of action in Syria.

“I don’t see a scenario right now or anytime in the near future where the injection of U.S. or NATO military action would in any way beneficially help the situation, I’m sorry to say,” McCain had said regarding Syria.

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