WDEL Blog: Allan Loudell

Senator John McCain's photo with Syrian rebels comes back to bite him

Arizona's Senator John McCain - who, I'm afraid, has never seen a war in which he didn't want the U.S. intervene - slipped into Syria to meet some of rebels trying to topple the Assad government.

McCain is pushing ferociously for the Obama Administration to intervene decisively on the side of the rebels, no matter that many appear to be Islamists.

McCain posed for photos with the rebels. At least one of those photos has come back to bite him: Lebanese media report two of those Syrian rebels kidnapped Lebanese Shi'ites.

McCain's office denies it. (But, a McCain spokesman said if the men in the photo proved to be Mohamed Nour and/or Abu Ibrahim, that would obviously be "regrettable".)

We may never know the ultimate truth of the story, but either way, McCain actually underscored the perils of taking a "side" in this conflict and may have inadvertently made the case AGAINST decisive U.S. intervention.

From The DAILY STAR of Beirut...


Posted at 7:14am on May 30, 2013 by Allan Loudell

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Comments on this post:

Thu, May 30, 2013 7:37am
I really don't understand why McCain or any others want us involved in yet another war with vague (at best) expectations of success. This is a lose/lose war... a brutal dictator vs. radical Islamists (not freedom-fighters). The freedom-fighters have been taken over by Al-Qaeda and other like-minded groups. McCain also wants to impose a no-fly zone (ala Libya)... The problem with that is Assad has received some recent deliveries from Russia that will guarantee US planes going down...

Thu, May 30, 2013 9:02am
Below is an op-ed article outlining the mess Syria has become and why it doesn't make any sense to back the rebels...maybe the rebels of 2 years ago...but not the ones currently in control.
"[Obama] is responsible for the fact that Syria has reached this level of confusion and loss. Were it not for his hesitancy, his weak approach, his lack of determination and his eagerness to [gain] popularity on Twitter... the Russian 'Snow Emperor' Vladimir Putin wouldn't have dreamt of attaining the role [he has attained], with the Western world ready to charge him with the task of solving the Syrian problem. [Were it not for Obama's weakness,] Bashar Al-Assad would not have said in a recent interview with the Argentinean paper [Clarin] that he felt he was beginning to overcome the intense pressures that have been exerted upon him. [Moreover,] Iran's arrogance and contempt wouldn't have grown to the point of making a public announcement that the war in Syria is its own war and [to the point of] ordering its [operations] officer in Lebanon, Hassan Nasrallah, to declare war and launch resistance [actions] not on the Israeli border but against the Syrians in Al-Qusair, which has been besieged by Assad's shabiha[5] and by Nasrallah's fighters for a while, right in front of Obama!
"The U.S. is currently living under one of the weakest leaders in its [history]... while Russia has a firm and determined leader. This becomes even sadder when you realize that the U.S. is believed to be supporting the Syrian rebels while Russia [is considered] a supporter of the [Syrian] regime. In this situation, the alliance [between the U.S. and the rebels] is a liability more than an asset...
"The most acute [aspect of] the problem is that Obama is laying down the systematic groundwork for the development of extremism and sectarian violence that will make us miss the Al-Qaeda of George W. Bush's era, while deluding himself that he eliminated Al-Qaeda when he killed Osama bin Laden!"


Thu, May 30, 2013 10:49am

Interesting that McCain wants the U.S. to support the same type of Islamist terrorists as the 9/11 team.

If anything, the U.S. should take sides with Assad to prevent the terrorists from gaining a foothold in Syria.

Thu, May 30, 2013 10:57am
The Conflict in Syria is a matter for the UN. We have more pressing matters at our front door. Economy, infrastucture, political gridlock.

Mike from Delaware
Thu, May 30, 2013 3:17pm
Bmak: Well said.

Thu, May 30, 2013 7:04pm
I've come to the conclusion that no matter whether we intervene or not, the thugs will take over either way just as they have in Iraq and Egypt. It was much easier to defeat the big Hitler in 1945 than it is to go to all these countries to fight these little Hitlers.

I guess you could say there are just too many Hitlers.

Thu, May 30, 2013 8:19pm
Easy to defeat Hitler? Took all the major powers (except Germany) six years, billions of dollars, tens of millions of troops, millions of lives - and he was nuts and fighting a war on two fronts.

Fri, May 31, 2013 3:36am
billsmith: No, Hitler wasn't easier to defeat, but there was only one of him whereas today there are many Hitlers on many fronts, making it impossible to focus on a single target.

Fri, May 31, 2013 6:52am
Hitler, Mussolini, Tojo, Franco, Salazar, Peron.... Never a shortage of dictators. What's changed is it has become politically acceptable for the US to intervene - either to support a dictator who plays ball with US or corporate interests or to overthrow one who does not. In any case, the US has discarded the foreign policy principle of MYOB.

Fri, May 31, 2013 8:16am
Just repeating the popular consensus above. Getting into Libya was smart; not getting into Syria was smart. Truly we are living under the greatest president in our lifetimes...

Fri, May 31, 2013 12:27pm
Truly you need to stop drinking the Flavor Aid:

How was Libya a wise move? Islamists have taken control of that country...

And how is jumping into Syria late going to be a wise move?

(I really doubt we will stay out of this latest war)

If our military gets involved in Syria we are effectively going to war against Russia and Iran...and for what? To support Al-Qaida rebels fighting the Russian/Iranian-backed dictator?

And, what happens if Syria decides to use the Russian missiles they recently received to attack our supposed ally Israel? What a mess this president has made!

Fri, May 31, 2013 4:03pm
Kavips Logic
Obama is the greatest president in our lifetime.
Great presidents make smart moves
Obama got into Libya.
Therefore getting into Libya was a smart move.

Then sings Kavips, Obama, Barack to thee
How great thou art. How great thou art.

Sat, Jun 1, 2013 3:07am
kavips: We're living under the greatest tyrannical dictatorship in our lifetimes, thanks to that anti-American hack for the U.N. that you call a president.

Mike from Delaware
Sat, Jun 1, 2013 8:28am
Kavips: You are seeing a special moment here at Allan's blog, where all of us are in agreement, that you are in correct in your view that Obama is the greatest Prez in our lifetimes. Billsmith's parody of the beautiful hymn "How Great Thou Art" said it well.

Sorry, we'll just have to agree to disagree on this one.

I do support your right to voice your opinion, even though I don't agree.

Sat, Jun 1, 2013 8:28am
"We're living under the greatest tyrannical dictatorship..."

That would be Lincoln.

"... in our lifetimes."

That would be Dubya.

Mike from Delaware
Sat, Jun 1, 2013 9:21am
Billsmith: I agree with you, as Lincoln didn't always follow constitutional boundaries [if I remember some of the stuff Bill O'Reilly wrote in his Killing Lincoln book]. Of course Lincoln was able to hold the nation intact so he's now remembered as one of our greatest Presidents even though yes he didn't always follow the Constitution. You probably know more specifically the things he did that crossed the line.

I also agree that during our lifetimes, yes Bush Jr definitely.

Sat, Jun 1, 2013 11:23am
lol. Glad I could be a part in the historical forming of a consensus...

Still, just wanted to get it out there for the record so someday you will all have to admit I was right...

Simply put, you are looking at our current leader too myopically. Look above at the remarks. You are seeing Libya and Syria as opposed all the great things Obama has accomplished (listed on another past thread). It was appropriate that Lincoln's name was brought up. We consider him our greatest president, probably more than we do George Washington. Yet Lincoln was scared he was not going to be re-elected. He was hated, vilified, lampooned, and certainly disrespected. He barely squeaked through. He also just barely got the Emancipation Proclamation passed. But today, we understood what he did was rather monumental and he holds a special place in our history. We've forgotten the little quibbles that once seemed so important.

One day, Obama will be near the top with Lincoln. It's funny because everything mentioned about Obama, was also said about Lincoln, about Washington, about Jefferson, about Roosevelt... Yet a president in his term who was hailed as a perfect executive, Millard Fillmore, we hear nothing of today. One has to look beyond current opinion. When one does one sees Obama as the best president in our lifetimes...

Anyways. on to Syria. McCain is the only one pushing us into Syria, (even if it is only 200 yards). Kind of hard to blame Obama for that one. In this case, is McCain on the right side of history, saying we should jump in and fight with the rebels? Let's just remember who HE choose for his Vice President before you choose to answer that question...

Sat, Jun 1, 2013 12:47pm
Now here's something I'll disagree with all of you on. While I don't consider G.W. Bush to be the greatest president of our lifetimes (that would be Reagan), I do believe the nation owes him a debt of gratitude for keeping America relatively safe after 9/11/01. Once Bush started going after Al-Quaida, you didn't see any Boston Marathons or shoe bombers Benghazis or any of the other stuff going on under the current dictatorship. In fact, more terrorism happened under Bill Clinton (remember Oklahoma City, Langley, the first World Trade Center incident, Khobar Towers, the embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the USS Cole).
In fact, the Clinton administration committed some of the terrorism itself when their gunslinger Janet Reno went into Waco and killed innocent children and then went to Florida a few years later and kidnapped Elian Gonzalez and sent him back to that Commie-thug Castro who should have been executed back in 1958 but still breathes air today. It sure appears to me that the entire blame for 9/11 can be laid at Clinton's doorstep as he sent terrorists the message that they could get away with it. Well, they sure got a big surprise when Bush came back at 'em with guns a'blazin, didn't they?

And if the current situation with terrorism isn't bad enough, the Obama administration itself has launched fear and intimidation terrorism on American citizens through the IRS and the Iranian general Eric Holder.

All one needs to do is a little research to discover that the Bush years were some of America's best. Yeah, he sold us out to the Democrats on domestic policy and went along with bank bailouts, etc. but at least we were starting to feel relatively safe again. That's now all changed. So, if facts don't get into your way, perhaps you can look at GWB in a more positive light, especially in contrast to both his predecessor and his successor.

Sat, Jun 1, 2013 5:33pm
Mr. Pizza. you have a selective memory and a way of parsing the facts. You are counting all the terror deaths of the Clinton era, and totally ignoring the 4400 who breathed their last on 9/11. You are also ignoring the difference between the two; one we knew about and did nothing; the others we were surprised and retaliated killing far more than we killed. Three, you are selectively ignoring that US service men are US citizens too. In the first 5 years more servicemen died under Bush, than died the entire 8 years of Clinton. And Clinton's American Forces fought a war too, one that was handled so successfully, we never discuss the Balkans anymore... A record so good, no Republican can match. You also seem to ignore the threat to Americana abroad.. The video'd beheading. The IED's...

Here is a list....

2002 - June 14, Karachi, Pakistan: bomb explodes outside American consulate in Karachi, Pakistan, killing 12. Linked to al-Qaeda.

2003 - May 12, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: suicide bombers kill 34, including 8 Americans, at housing compounds for Westerners. Al-Qaeda suspected.

2004 - May 2931, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: terrorists attack the offices of a Saudi oil company in Khobar, Saudi Arabia, take foreign oil workers hostage in a nearby residential compound, leaving 22 people dead including 1 American.

June 1119, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: terrorists kidnap and execute Paul Johnson Jr., an American, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. 2 other Americans and BBC cameraman killed by gun attacks.

Dec. 6, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: terrorists storm the U.S. consulate, killing 5 consulate employees. 4 terrorists were killed by Saudi security.

2005 - Nov. 9, Amman, Jordan: suicide bombers hit 3 American hotels, Radisson, Grand Hyatt, and Days Inn, in Amman, Jordan, killing 57. Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility.

2006 - Sept. 13, Damascus, Syria: an attack by four gunman on the American embassy is foiled.

2007 - Jan. 12, Athens, Greece: the U.S. embassy is fired on by an anti-tank missile causing damage but no injuries.

Dec. 11, Algeria: more than 60 people are killed, including 11 United Nations staff members, when Al Qaeda terrorists detonate two car bombs near Algeria's Constitutional Council and the United Nations offices.

2008 - May 26, Iraq: a suicide bomber on a motorcycle kills six U.S. soldiers and wounds 18 others in Tarmiya.

June 24, Iraq: a suicide bomber kills at least 20 people, including three U.S. Marines, at a meeting between sheiks and Americans in Karmah, a town west of Baghdad.

June 12, Afghanistan: four American servicemen are killed when a roadside bomb explodes near a U.S. military vehicle in Farah Province.

July 13, Afghanistan: nine U.S.soldiers and at least 15 NATO troops die when Taliban militants boldly attack an American base in Kunar Province, which borders Pakistan. It's the most deadly against U.S. troops in three years.

Aug. 18 and 19, Afghanistan: as many as 15 suicide bombers backed by about 30 militants attack a U.S. military base, Camp Salerno, in Bamiyan. Fighting between U.S. troops and members of the Taliban rages overnight. No U.S. troops are killed.

Sept. 16, Yemen: a car bomb and a rocket strike the U.S. embassy in Yemen as staff arrived to work, killing 16 people, including 4 civilians. At least 25 suspected al-Qaeda militants are arrested for the attack.

Nov. 26, India: in a series of attacks on several of Mumbai's landmarks and commercial hubs that are popular with Americans and other foreign tourists, including at least two five-star hotels, a hospital, a train station, and a cinema. About 300 people are wounded and nearly 190 people die, including at least 5 Americans

As I said... you have a selective memory. Thank goodness the incompetent Republicans are out of power, and hopefully for at least two years after 2014 when they are only window dressing, Congress can finally do its real job.

Sun, Jun 2, 2013 11:01am
kavips: I didn't exclude the people who died on 9/11/01. If you go back to my post, you'll see where I explicitly stated that the responsibility for 9/11 can be laid at Bill Clinton's doorstep.

Sun, Jun 2, 2013 11:07am
kavips: I should also add that none of the incidents you listed happened with in U.S. borders. Oklahoma City, Waco, Elian Gonzalez, and the Boston Marathon did.

Sun, Jun 2, 2013 11:12am
Oh, and don't forget the IRS.

Sun, Jun 2, 2013 1:03pm
Ah shucks, I forgot to mention Ruby Ridge!

Sun, Jun 2, 2013 6:54pm
Yes you did forget Ruby Ridge. How could you? Based on your trajectory of blaming previous presidents for 9/11 ...since Ruby Ridge occurred under HW Bush, that means is was Ronald Reagan, the worst president in our lifetimes :) who was responsible... So by your own logic Ronald Reagan then is totally responsible for Ruby Ridge, .. (Now watch him switch up his story line and say that his rule is selective and only applies when he wants it to terror in Republican terms.. lol.) . So to carry on with Mr. Pizza's weird interpretation of historical influence, that means the bombings in Nairobi, and Tanzania, in Riyad, and of the US Cole were all the first George Bush's fault... Subsequently then that would also saddle the former Republican president with Oklahoma City, Waco, Elian Gonzalez,...

But somehow by now, I think all of us can see that to not blame anyone 9 months into their own administration, who CHOOSES TO IGNORE WARNINGS FROM HIS OWN INTELLIGENCE SERVICES AND does absolutely nothing but say..."ahhh..forget about it.." is delusional...

So obviously the opinions of Mr. Pizza are based on illusion, and for that reason, it doesn't make the slightest bit of difference if Americans are terrorized on their own soil, on American property elsewhere... even if it was a previous president's fault... :)

Americans are American whereever they die.....

Sun, Jun 2, 2013 9:28pm
Was Ruby Ridge really that long ago?

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 12:17pm
kavips: speaking of selective memory...you may want to look into the real numbers of our service people who have died in the past 5 years (especially SEALS and other special forces teams)overseas under this president vs the numbers who died when GW Bush was president during actual wartime.

I thought that "O" was supposed to end all war, close Gitmo and give us a roaring economy...now had he accomplished those feats maybe he could make the list of great presidents.

I wasn't the biggest fan of GW...but I sure do miss him now. Heck, I even miss having a "blue dog" president like Billy Clinton, but the one I REALLY miss is the best president in my lifetime...Ronald Wilson Reagan.

Mon, Jun 3, 2013 9:55pm
Amen EarlGrey. I second that emotion!

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