Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainCindy McCain says no one in Republican Party carries 'voice of reason' after husband's death Anti-gun violence organization endorses Kelly's Senate bid McCain's family, McCain Institute to promote #ActsOfCivility in marking first anniversary of senator's death MORE (R-Ariz.) criticized military leaders Sunday for resisting intervention in Syria.

McCain, appearing on ABC's "This Week," accused the Joint Chiefs of Staff of looking for ways to avoid imposing a no-fly zone in Syria. He said Israel proved last week that airstrikes inside Syria can work against the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

"I’m sure they took out assets of Assad’s in Syria, which is exactly what we could do with cruise missiles and with Patriot missiles," McCain said. "So that obviously blows a hole a mile wide in our Joint Chiefs of Staff, who prove again if you don’t want to do something, they can find reasons not to do it."


McCain opposes sending U.S. ground troops to Syria, but has been a strident proponent of providing support to rebels who are hoping to overthrow Assad.

Many of the Syrian rebel groups have been linked to al Qaeda or other terrorist groups, raising concerns about who would replace Assad and whether the U.S. would be arming eventual enemies.

McCain said al Qaeda-linked fighters are only a small part of the Syrian rebel forces.

"These jihadists – there aren’t that many of them. They’re just so good, because they’ve been fighting all over the Middle East for all these years and they are not afraid to die," he said. "But we can still organize a legitimate and non-jihadist group that are already there. 

"They’ve got a great general. They’ve got a fine man who is in charge of the Syrian National Council," said McCain. "Look, we can do this."