Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) released a blistering statement Thursday, stating the U.S. had lost its credibility in the Middle East and failed to take action in Syria despite unconfirmed reports that the Syrian government employed chemical weapons against its citizens.
Credible reports coming out of Syria suggest that Assad and his forces have escalated their use of chemical weapons. This most recent massacre of innocent men, women, and children should shock our collective conscience – that is, whatever conscience remains after more than 100,000 Syrians have been slaughtered while the United States has largely remained on the sidelines.
Last week marked the two-year anniversary of President Obama's call for Assad to leave power. It has been a year since the President said that the use of chemical weapons in Syria would constitute the crossing of a red line. But, because these threats have not been backed up by any real consequences, they have rung hollow. As a result, the killing goes on, Assad remains in power, and his use of chemical weapons against Syrian civilians apparently continues. It is long past time for the United States and our friends and allies to respond to Assad's continuing mass atrocities in Syria with decisive actions, including limited military strikes to degrade Assad's air power and ballistic missile capabilities.
American credibility in the Middle East has never been lower. Red lines on Syria have been threatened with no action taken. Threats to cut off assistance to Egypt have been made and then reneged. Our friends and enemies alike, both in the Middle East and across the world are questioning whether America has the will and the capacity to do what it says. This dangerous development impacts the national security interests of the United States and our closest allies, and if we continue to sit by passively while Assad continues to use chemical weapons against his own people, we only provide encouragement to other brutal governments in their use of harsh measures against their own people. It is time for the United States to come to the assistance of the Syrian people.