Wednesday, in response to Russia’s air strikes in Syria, with early reports that civilian Syrian rebel are being targeted instead of ISIS, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) gave a speech on the Senate floor.
McCain said, “We now have information that the Russians have now launched air strikes in Syria, ostensibly against ISIS. In reality, it is not clear. In fact, there is information that some of these strikes were at Homs and the latest information is that the Syrian observatory for human rights reports that at least 27 people were killed, and that six children were among the dead. These strikes near the city of Homs is not under control of ISIS—of the Islamic state. So already we are seeing the true intentions of Vladimir Putin, which is to maintain a strong position in Syria, his foothold in the Middle East, and his propping up of Bashar al-Assad, who has killed at least 250,000 of his own citizens through the horrible process of barrel bombing, has driven millions into refugee status, with the full and complete support of Iran and Vladimir Putin.”
“I said to my colleagues over the past six-and-a-half years, President Obama has sounded retreat across the Middle East. In fact, it was one year ago at this time when the president of the United States said our strategy is to degrade and destroy ISIS. A report yesterday, some 28,000 European and some Americans have come into the fight on the side of ISIS. Mosul and Ramadi remain in the hands of ISIS, and of course the continued advances of ISIS in Syria are well known. In short, a year ago after the president made that statement, there is no strategy, there is no success, and in fact we now see the result of this failure, which is a flood of refugees out of Syria and Iraq because they have given up hope of ever returning to their homeland. Our hearts go out to those who are victims and have had to flee their homeland.”
“We see these refugees and it breaks our heart when we see a little baby’s body washed up on the beach. It didn’t have to happen. It didn’t have to happen. Everybody knows that when the president of the United States said we draw a red line on Syria and didn’t do it, it had a profound effect on the Middle East, including Sunni Arab states as well as Shia. Everybody knows that when the president turned down the recommendations of his secretary of defense, his secretary of state, which happened to be Secretary Clinton at the time—to arm the Free Syrian Army and he turned it down. It was another seminal moment. This is a series of decisions or non-decisions which has led to the situation we see today where Vladimir Putin may have inserted Russia in to the Middle East in a way that Russia has not enjoyed since 1973, when Anwar Sadat threw the Russians out of Egypt.”
He continued, “It is tragic, my fellow Americans, that we have reached this point, a Syrian conflict that has killed more than 200,000 people, created the worst refugee crisis in Europe since World War II, spawned a terrorist army of tens of thousands, and now created a platform for a Russian autocrat to join with an Iranian theocracy to prop up a Syrian dictator.”
He added, “This is a very ,very, very sad day for America and the world. The world is watching.”
Watch (Part 2):
Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN