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(INTELLIHUB) — Sen. John McCain appeared on CNN Saturday to talk about the U.S. strikes in Syria and the road ahead.
“I think we should stay after ISIS — we can walk and chew gum — we should continue to take Mosul and ISIS and the long struggle we’re going to have with ‘radical Islam’ which is metastasizing as we speak but at the same time we should tell Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin that they’ve got to stop slaughtering their people,” the senior senator from Arizona said. “And that means grounding their airforce.”
The senator said that he would like to put an end to the arming the Free Syrian Army and said that Syria needs to have a “safe zone” for refugees.
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer warned that a “huge conflict” may emerge, which McCain said would be “the repeated slaughter of hundreds of thousands of people.”
“We ought to back the President. This is only the beginning. This is only the first step,” McCain said, who maintains there is a lot more to be done (i.e. like bringing in warplanes and ground troops). “I would say that we need to have some advise and assist people just as right now in Syria we have American troops that are helping those who are taking Raqqa.”
McCain said that President Trump’s decision to strike the Syrian airbase is a “good beginning” and said that the strike “sends an important signal” to the Assad regime.
“I’m glad the President did it but to think that this is the end — one strike — to one airfield — is an inaccurate portrayal of the situation […] I’m hoping for more but let’s see what the reaction is. […] Let’s take it step-by-step but let’s recognize this only as the beginning.”
The senator went on to agree that Assad is guilty of committing war crimes and said that Putin is complicit at a minimum.