Transcript: Press briefing remarks by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Syria’s use of chemical weapons on April 25, 2013

Partial transcript of press briefing remarks by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Syria’s use of chemical weapons on April 25, 2013:

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.):
We just received a letter from the President in response to our question about whether Bashar al Assad had used chemical weapons and I will quote from the operative part: “Our intelligence community does assess with varying degrees of confidence that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria, specifically the chemical agent sarin.” It goes on to describe that.

The President of the United States said that if Bashar al Assad used chemical weapons, it would be a “game changer”, that it would cross a “red line”. I think it’s pretty obvious that red line has been crossed.

Now, I hope the administration will consider what we have been recommending now for over two years of this bloodletting and massacre and that is to provide a safe area for the opposition to operate, to establish a no-fly zone, and provide weapons to the people in the resistance who we trust.

Everything that the non-interventionists said would happen in Syria if we intervene has happened. The jihadists are on the ascendancy. There is chemical weapons being used. The massacres continue. The Russians continue to be assisting Bashar al Assad and the Iranians are all in.

It requires the United States help and assistance. It does not mean boots on the ground.

Finally, we have to have operational capability to secure these chemical weapons stocks. We do not want them to fall into the wrong hands, and the wrong hands are a number of participants in the struggle that’s taking place in Syria.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.):
There’s three primary goals I think can be achieved if we act quickly.

Number one, secure the chemical weapons before they fall into the wrong hands. That’s the great threat. That’s the big prize. From my point of view, the international community should be working with the Syrian Opposition Council the day after Assad falls that we secure the weapons and destroy them forever so they can’t be used against us or anyone else.

Secondly, contain this fighting so that the King of Jordan does not fall. 480,000 refugees have flowed into Jordan with no end in sight. The Kingdom of Jordan has been a stabilizing influence in the Mideast. Jordan is under pressure from the effects of Syria.

To me, the third thing is to control the inevitable second war. We’ve let this go so long, and if we had listened to Sen. McCain a couple of years ago, we wouldn’t have this problem. There are up to 6,000 Al Qaeda-type fighters now in Syria. The country is fragmenting along sectarian lines, and chaos is reigning. The day that Assad falls, there will be a…conflict between the majority of Syrians who want to move forward and live in peace and a small element of radical jihadists, and that conflict needs to be planned for and brought to an end.

So the sooner Assad leaves, the better for the world.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.):
Let me point out again the situation in Syria is unacceptable. The President of the United States said that this would be a “red line” if they used chemical weapons. The President of the United States has now told us that they used chemical weapons. Those stocks of chemical weapons, some of which are in disputed areas, must be secured and we must give the opposition the capability to drive out Bashar al Assad once and for all.

And our relations with Russia should be directly related to their assistance to Bashar al Assad, which is significant.

Senator, what is the additional assistance that the United States that was announced…?

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.):
It’s non-lethal. It’s non-lethal. It’s a half-measure. You win wars by having overwhelming force. The situation on the ground today is stalemate with the Iranians and the Russians all in and the United States of America gives them flack jackets. That is not comforting when Scud missiles are hitting you.


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One Comment on “Transcript: Press briefing remarks by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Syria’s use of chemical weapons on April 25, 2013

  1. Pingback: Obama holds back on taking actions against Syria on alleged use of chemical weapons | What The Folly?!

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