McCain Opposes Limited Senate Syria Resolution

Senator John McCain said today that he opposes the limited use of force authorized that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will consider today:

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., on Wednesday told NBC News that he doesn’t support Senate language authorizing President Obama’s desired military intervention in Syria because it is too limited.

“In its current form, I do not” support the new draft of the resolution, McCain said. That draft was released late Tuesday; it prohibits combat operations on the ground and limits Obama to a 90-day window in which he could use use force against the Syrian regime.

McCain said the resolution doesn’t mention his top policy priorities in Syria.

“There’s no reference to changing the momentum on the battlefield, there’s no reference to arming the Free Syrian Army,” he said, referencing a Syrian rebel group with which he’s worked.

Losing support from McCain would be a blow to the White House — the administration had worked hard to woo him and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. Both fall on the hawkish side of the Republican Party spectrum, favoring stronger intervention in Syria than just limited strikes.

It’s possible that this is just McCain posturing in the run-up to today’s Committee hearing and that he’ll end up supporting whatever the Committee sends to the Senate floor. One problem it raises, though, is the potential that McCain and others in the Senate may try to force changes to the resolution that give the President broader authority in a way that damages the chances it will pass in the House.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. wr says:

    Perhaps Reid should introduce a motion stating that everyone is paying attention to John McCain and he really is important….

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    I think that Sen. McCain is sincere but wrong. As I read it he believes that regardless of what the president says now the exigencies of war will impel him to go for regime change, probably including “boots on the ground”.

  3. grumpy realist says:

    So we have McCain being a pompous pontificator, as usual. Dr. Strangelove, here we come.

  4. rudderpedals says:

    Since I don’t view this as an Obama thing but rather an America thing, I think if there’s going to be limits then temporal and geographic limits are as far as legislation should go because of what Andy said in the other thread about contingencies. It’s not possible to cover them all.

  5. Moosebreath says:

    @grumpy realist:

    I think it’s perpetually interesting that a party which asserts the primacy of character in determining who our leaders should be has managed in successive elections to unite behind persons who character is poor at best.

    In 2008, the Republicans nominated McCain, a man who never met an international situation which he did not want to make more bellicose, as well as a man whose political positions seem to be best explained by opposition to whomever pissed him off last.

    Then in 2012, the Republicans nominated Romney, a man whose flip-flops were so unsubtle and so pervasive as to suggest he has no core beliefs other than that he should be in charge.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    McCain would vote to invade my grandmother’s grave if the Army had a “Gravedigger’s Medal”.

  7. cleverboots says:

    The idiot will only be content with a full blown war.
    Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Syria instead of Iran.