John McCain and Lindsey Graham on Syria: ‘Now is the time for decisive actions’
In response to the reports of use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime in Syria, Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) released the following statement Sunday:
“Recent reports and information from Syria lend additional credibility to what has been clear since last week: Assad and his forces have once again used chemical weapons against civilians in Syria and are, in fact, escalating their use. Their recent massacre of hundreds of men, women, and children around Damascus clearly constitutes the commission of a war crime, and it is the responsibility of civilized nations everywhere to ensure that those responsible are held accountable.
“Now is the time for decisive actions. The United States must rally our friends and allies to take limited military actions in Syria that can change the balance of power on the ground and create conditions for a negotiated end to the conflict and an end to Assad’s rule. Using stand-off weapons, without boots on the ground, and at minimal risk to our men and women in uniform, we can significantly degrade Assad’s air power and ballistic missile capabilities and help to establish and defend safe areas on the ground. In addition, we must begin a large-scale effort to train and equip moderate, vetted elements of the Syrian opposition with the game-changing weapons they need to shift the military balance against Assad’s forces.
“The United States has sat on the sidelines for too long as the conflict in Syria has taken the lives of more than 100,000 Syrians and turned millions more into refugees, including 1 million children. The conflict is now becoming a regional one that directly threatens some of America’s closest friends and allies in the Middle East. And with each passing day, we run the growing risk that Syria’s vast caches of chemical weapons could be transferred to, or acquired by, forces that could pose a threat to the United States and our friends and allies.
“It is not in our national security interest for this conflict to grind on, as some suggest. To the contrary, as we have clearly seen, the longer the conflict in Syria goes on, the worse and worse it gets and the more it spreads throughout the region. Instead, we must work to end this conflict as soon as possible by taking decisive steps that can shift the balance of power on the battlefield against Assad and his forces. Anything short of such actions now would only allow the conflict in Syria to continue, with all of its worsening consequences, and would be a further sign of U.S. indecision and weakness. This will only add to the deterioration of the region.”