Tate Zeigler (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864-250-1417)
Washington – U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) today released the following statement on President Obama’s remarks on Syria at his press conference this morning:
“In explaining his Syria policy today, President Obama was forced to defend the indefensible. It is true that the Administration has not done ‘nothing’ in Syria. But it is also impossible to escape the reality that nothing it has done has been sufficient to end this conflict. As a result, our national security interests and the safety of our friends and allies in the region are in growing danger.
“The uncertainty and ambiguity of our policy towards Syria has contributed to our current crisis. By drawing a ‘red line’ on chemical weapons, the President actually gave Assad a green light to use every other weapon in his arsenal with impunity. Tens of thousands of Syrian civilians have been killed indiscriminately with artillery, helicopter gunships, fighter jets, and SCUD missiles. Now Assad has crossed the President’s red line. The credibility of the United States is on the line, not just with Syria, but with Iran, North Korea, and all of our enemies and friends who are watching closely to see whether the President backs up his words with action. Unfortunately, the red line has been blurred with each passing day. It will not be long before Assad takes this delay as an invitation to use chemical weapons again on an even larger scale. Both the humanitarian and strategic consequences that will result from such an act are horrific: It will further destabilize Syria, which is at great risk of becoming a failed state and a safe haven for Al Qaeda.
“Rather than continue with this reactive approach, and outsource the initiative for U.S. policy to Assad, the President needs to lead. He needs to articulate exactly what outcome in Syria would best serve America’s national security interests, what strategy is required to achieve that goal, and what means we need to employ together with our friends and allies to achieve success. There are many options at our disposal, including military options short of boots on the ground in Syria, that can make a positive impact on this crisis, which is destabilizing the region. The President must act now or risk squandering U.S. credibility in Syria and around the world.”