The late senator from Arizona leaves behind a legacy as one of the Senate’s last prominent proponents of US interventionism.
Sen. John McCain walks with Abdul Hafiz Ghoqa (L), spokesman of the Libyan National Transitional Council, during a tour of rebel headquarters in Benghazi, Libya, April 22, 2011.
When President Donald Trump added Iraq to his travel ban list targeting several Muslim-majority countries last year, Gen. Talib Kinani, the head of Iraq’s counterterrorism service, made a cold call to the office of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
“Within minutes, the senator agreed to see us, surprising even our seasoned lobbyist,” said Fareed Yasseen, Iraq’s ambassador to the United States. “Then ensued one of the most heartwarming and genuine meetings I have attended in my almost two years as Iraq’s ambassador to Washington.”
Trump, frequently at loggerheads with the senator, who died of brain cancer last month, eventually removed Iraq from the list.
Many interpreted McCain’s Sept. 1 funeral as a bipartisan rebuke of Trump. But this meant pitting McCain’s ardor for the long US history of foreign military intervention against Trump’s “America First” agenda.
“It seems to me when we look at the enormous outpouring of sorrow and regret that his passing triggered, in some sense it was a posthumous celebration of American exceptionalism,” Andrew Bacevich, an international relations historian at Boston University, told Al-Monitor. “McCain was an ideologue and the essence of his ideology in that regard was his belief in American exceptionalism.”
Former President George W. Bush made the same connection in his eulogy Sept. 1.
“It’s this combination of courage and decency that makes the American military something new in history, an unrivaled power for good,” Bush said.
Ironically, McCain, who had fervently championed Bush’s 2003 invasion of Iraq on the false evidence that Saddam Hussein had an active program for weapons of mass destruction, eventually called the war “a very serious” mistake in a memoir published earlier this year. In the book, McCain wrote, “I have to accept my share of the blame.”
Nevertheless, McCain still remains beloved by many Iraqis precisely because he advocated Saddam’s removal from power. Zuhair Humadi, an Iraqi-American and former secretary-general of Iraq’s Council of Ministers, even went so far as to set up a McCain for President committee in Baghdad during the senator’s failed 2008 presidential campaign.
The Iraqi Kurds are also mourning a longtime champion.
“He stood by us when the Peshmerga needed weapons [against the Islamic State] and he spoke out against the escalation of tensions between Kurdistan and the federal government of Iraq after [the] Kurdistan independence referendum in 2017,” the Kurdistan Regional Government’s representative to Washington, Sami Abdul Rahman, said in a statement.
But 17 years of prolonged US wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria have deprived the American public of its appetite for extensive US military adventures overseas. While a Pew Research Center survey said 72% Americans supported Bush’s invasion of Iraq in 2003, a Real Clear Politics poll last year found that 50% of Americans are “weary” of US military intervention.
“To the extent that today there appears to be not much of a popular appetite for further intervention abroad, I think that what we really see is a tradition that is almost certain to manifest when the circumstances are a little bit different than they are today and when the memories of Iraq and Afghanistan begin to fade,” said Bacevich.
Indeed, many of McCain’s interventionist colleagues are clamoring for the United States to do more in Syria as President Bashar al-Assad, bolstered by his Iranian and Russian patrons, threatens a bloody offensive to retake the last rebel stronghold in the province of Idlib.
“Trump should not repeat the mistakes of [President Barack Obama] by leaving Syria,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., McCain’s closest friend in Congress, told Al-Monitor. “The Middle East has been turned upside down. The Iranian regime was enriched badly by the nuclear deal. When we left Iraq, we paid a price. [McCain] told Bush you don’t have enough troops, he was right. He told Obama if you withdraw the troops at the same time you introduce them into Afghanistan, it won’t work. He was telling Trump you should engage Iran in Syria, or you’ll regret it.”
Trump argued for less military intervention in the 2016 campaign as part of his “America First” approach, frequently lambasting his opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for her vote in favor of the Iraq war when she represented New York in the Senate. But Trump’s “America First” impulse is often at odds with his policy of advancing a tougher US posture on Iran, a posture McCain fiercely believed in.
McCain infamously chanted “bomb, bomb, bomb” Iran in 2007 during his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination; this reiterated a parody that emerged during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis of a song the Beach Boys had made famous. He also maintained that Iranwas the “real problem” in the region, pointing to its support for Shiite proxies throughout the Middle East, including Assad.
In 2013 McCain crossed into Syria and took a photo with a group of Sunni rebels as part of a bid to convince the Obama administration to provide weapons and support to the Syrian opposition, which it eventually did. But the trip caused an international uproar when family members of kidnapped Lebanese Shiite pilgrims accused two of the rebels of being involved in their abduction.
Prior to that, McCain visited Libyan forces fighting dictator Col. Moammar Gadhafi, urging the United States to do more to support the rebels after the United States and its NATO allies instated a no-fly zone over the war-torn country.
“I would say [McCain] has a great responsibility for the adverse results in Libya and Syria even more than he does Iraq,” Ted Carpenter, a senior fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute, told Al-Monitor. “He had consistently been one of the most enthusiastic lobbyists about US support for rebel forces in Syria despite growing evidence about the extremist nature of many of the rebels.”
Even now, as Assad moves to crush the last of Syria’s Islamist and non-Islamist opposition alike, Graham said it’s not too late for Trump to act in Syria. However, he added that right now Trump “has no plan other than we shouldn’t go into Idlib.”
And yet Graham — and McCain, posthumously — may get their wish.
The Washington Post reported Thursday that Trump has agreed to keep some 2,000 troops in Syria indefinitely to counter Iran despite previously pushing for their withdrawal by the end of the year — a withdrawal vociferously opposed by McCain.
At the same time, Russia has threatened to attack al-Tanf, a strategic base with US troops situated near the Syrian, Iraqi and Jordanian borders. In turn, US forces stationed at the garrison began military drills Friday.
Rabbi Shlomo Tawil, co-director of the Chabad House in Rosario, Argentina. Photo: Facebook.
JNS.org – Rabbi Shlomo Tawil, director of Chabad-Lubavitch in Rosario, Argentina, was recovering at home after being assaulted by three youths on Sunday night during the holiday of Shavuot.
According to neighbors who came to the rabbi’s aid, the attackers shouted antisemitic insults at the rabbi, and began hitting him in the head and abdomen, reported Chabad.org.They then threw him to the floor, kicked him and trampled his hat before fleeing.
A Palestinian man inspects the site of an Israeli air strike in the southern Gaza Strip, June 14, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Ibraheem Abu Mustafa.
Thousands of Palestinians rioted on the Israel-Gaza Strip border on Friday, hurling rocks, firebombs and explosive devices at IDF troops.
Also on Friday, numerous blazes were ignited in southern Israel by incendiary balloons sent over the border from Hamas-ruled Gaza.
Early Friday morning, the Israeli Air Force struck several Hamas targets in Gaza, in response to a rocket attack the previous night in which a religious school in Sderot was damaged.
On May 31, the cry went out from Times Square, New York City, to annihilate Israel and extend the terror war against the Jewish state to America.
As they did in Beirut, Berlin, London, Tehran, and Dearborn, Michigan, Israel-haters gathered at Times Square to call for Israel’s dissolution on the day the Iranian regime has determined to be “Al Quds Day,” that is, Jerusalem Day.
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) posted a video of the event. In it, a series of speakers called over and over again for Israel’s annihilation, voiced support for terrorists and terrorism and called for the war against Israel to come to New York.
Nate Chase from the World Workers’ Party led the crowd in chanting, “We don’t want not two state! We want ’48!”
Leftists have never been as humorless, unfunny and touchy as they are now. And they’ve never poured as much time and money into late night comedy, Netflix comedy specials and assorted people angrily shouting things about Trump and their confused sexual identities into a microphone, as they are now.
Comedy, as supported by billion-dollar media corporations based in blue states that would legalize killing babies and heroin before they would permit gun ownership, has returned to its roots in Greek political life. Except the ancient Greeks thought that people insulting each other’s politics was funny and the modern Proggies think that the insults should be one-sided and delivered in an echo chamber.
The UCLA Daily Bruin and its editorial staff have made a mockery of the concept of a free press, opening their pages to terrorist political organizations and closing them to the opponents of terrorist propaganda and Jew hatred. The Bruin’s allegiance to the destroy-Israel left and failure to observe the core principles of journalism in a democracy was glaringly obvious in its coverage of a recent student government ruling.
The resolution passed on Tuesday, May 21, by the UCLA Undergraduate Students Association asserted that—contrary to all evidence and a long history of spreading the genocidal lies of Hamas terrorists, and harassing Jewish students and their invited speakers— the group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) is not anti-Semitic.
The long-running dispute revolves — most recently — around an effort by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Muslims, a cross-party formation of around two-dozen MPs in the British Parliament, to institutionalize the definition of Islamophobia in racial rather than religious terms.
The proposed definition has been opposed by many Britons, including British Muslims, who warn that it would effectively shield Islam from scrutiny and valid criticism.
The New York Times claimed that President Donald Trump does not care about his re-election campaign or about the policies he would seek to enact during a second term.
“In a recent overarching state-of-the-race briefing in Florida with Brad Parscale, his campaign manager, Mr. Trump was consistently distracted and wanted to discuss other things,
The New York Times got quite a scoop when, in an interview with its Jerusalem bureau chief David Halbfinger, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said that he favored Israel’s annexation of the West Bank. That was the lede of Halbfinger’s article, as well as in the headline. And that was also the way the story was played in virtually every one of the many publications that picked up on the story.
Every movement has a mission statement. “Make America Great Again” is the conservative one. (It’s the “Again” part that makes it conservative.) The enemies of making America great have one too.
If the radicals had red hats, they would say, “They’re Out To Get You.”
TOTGY has been the leftist motto since before Marx learned to shave and then decided to stop doing it. The arc of history may bend toward many places, but the black rainbow serviced by a snarling leprechaun with a PhD and a cocaine problem always begins and ends in the same paranoid place.
In certain circumstances, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said last week, Washington would recognize the annexation of Palestinian territories by Israel.
As expected, Friedman’s comments led to fierce criticism. The Palestinians already call him the “settler spokesman.”
But in fact, instead of blaming the settlers, the Palestinians can only blame themselves. And given that we are in the era of “narratives,” namely, lies that pretend to be history, we should pay attention to the facts.