Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said in his Senate testimony Thursday that he and Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey supported arming Syria’s rebels, but President Obama rejected the idea.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former CIA Director David Petraeus proposed arming the opposition as well.
When Panetta said this, Seantor John McCain (R-AZ) responded: “What this means is that the president overruled the senior leaders of his national security team, who were in unanimous agreement that America needs to take greater action to change the military balance of power in Syria.”
McCain has been pushing to arm the rebels for some time.
After questioning Panetta, the veteran Senator issued this statement: “The crisis in Syria represents a graphic failure of American leadership. I urge the president to heed the advice of his former and current national security leaders.”