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McCain calls for game-changing action, arming of Syrian rebels

May 5, 2013 at 12:54 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, May 5 (UPI) -- Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said Sunday he hopes the Obama administration arms Syrian rebels as tensions escalate in the Middle East.

Israel apparently launched a second airstrike in three days on Syria Sunday, shaking buildings in Damascus and lighting up the sky over nearby Mount Qasioun, which The New York Times said was a strategic stronghold for government forces defending the city.

Both apparently targeted missiles were allegedly bound for Hezbollah forces.

Meanwhile, the Syrian government has been accused of using chemical weapons on its citizens, something President Barack Obama said crossed a red line for his administration.

McCain, in an appearance on Fox News "Sunday," questioned why Obama didn't act after saying Syria crossed a red line.

"The Obama administration should be cognizant of what George Shultz, former secretary of state, once told me when he was in the Marines Corps," McCain said. "His drill instructor said, 'Never point a weapon at someone unless you're ready to pull a trigger.' "

"So, the president of the United States said there [were] clear red lines. Those red lines ... have been crossed and he has failed to act," he added. "First of all, he shouldn't have drawn the red line. Second of all, the red lines were a green light to [Syrian President] Bashar Assad to do anything short of that. Chemical weapons are terrible, but isn't it pretty terrible when you launch Scud missiles against your own people, where you massacre over 70,000 people, drive a million into refugee camps? Those seemed to have been acceptable to this administration, and it's deplorable."

McCain said he hopes the Obama administration is rethinking its decision not to arm Syrian rebels in the country's civil war. He also said he thinks the United States should launch "game-changing" action against Syria.

"And that is no American boots on the ground, establish a safe zone, and to protect it and to supply weapons to the right people in Syria who are fighting for obviously the things we believe in," he said, adding that Patriot missiles can be used to defend circumscribed areas.

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