If Saturday Night Live or the Onion were doing a John McCain skit, I doubt they could come up with something more ludicrous than the real Maverick being interviewed on Charlie Rose. Senator McCain was grousing about what he asserts is the Obama administration’s shifting position on arming the jihadist-rife “rebels” in Syria. As the Washington Free Beacon reports:
McCain has pushed for establishing a safe zone and supplying rebel forces with necessary weaponry. He was especially frustrated with Gen. James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, and Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, two administration officials who once favored arming rebels but said they were skeptical because of growing Islamist influence. “Well, doesn’t that mean it was a terrible tragic failure that we didn’t act then and get these weapons to the right people then?” McCain asked. “And of course it’s damned foolishness. Of course we can get the weapons to the right people. Of course if we set up a Benghazi in Syria, we can get them to the right people.”
Where to begin? Maybe with Senator McCain’s own history of choosing “the right people.” In late 2009, McCain was championing increased U.S. aid for the Qaddafi regime in Libya, which was said to be an important U.S. counterterrorism ally because of the intel Qaddafi was providing about Libyan jihadists. Droves of these jihadists trekked to Iraq — often from Benghazi, the hub of Islamic supremacism in Libya – to participate in the terrorist war against U.S. troops. Less than a year and a half later, though, Qaddafi was no longer “the right people.” McCain began railing that the Libyan regime we had, at his urging, been supporting now needed to be overthown, and that to accomplish this we should be arming the new “right people” — the “rebels” based in Benghazi. No secret was made in Benghazi of the anti-Qaddafi forces’ jihadist backbone: Al-Qaeda figures were rebel leaders and the terror network’s tell-tale black flag was flown all over the place “in broad daylight on the main boulevards,” as John Rosenthal puts it in his excellent new book, The Jihadist Plot: The Untold Story of Al-Qaeda and the Libyan Rebellion. These are the forces that McCain memorably called, “my heroes.”
Thanks to the unauthorized U.S./NATO war that McCain demanded and Obama obligingly instigated against an erstwhile U.S. ally, jihadists in Libya and across North Africa have been able to raid Qaddafi’s arsenals and arm themselves. Moreover, to demonstrate their gratitude for American and Western assistance in their jihad, the “rebels” of Benghazi attempted to bomb the State Department’s mysterious “special mission compound” (“SMC” — commonly but inaccurately called “the consulate”) in April 2012; then bombed the motorcade of the U.N.’s special envoy to Libya; then bombed the Red Cross (anything brandishing a cross is fair game in Benghazi); then attacked the British ambassador’s convoy (like us, the Brits were foolish to have a facility in Benghazi, but after this attack, they had the good sense to leave); then, in June 2012, detonated a Boston Marathon–style improvised explosive device at the State Department SMC; and finally, on September 11, launched a coordinated terrorist attack on the SMC, killing U.S. ambassador Chistopher Stevens and three other Americans — Sean Smith, Ty Woods and Glen Doherty.
By the way, the fliperoo on Qaddafi was not Senator McCain’s only outbreak of Spring Fever. In early 2011, the Mav told Der Spiegel that the Muslim Brotherhood must “be excluded from any transition government in Egypt.” Why? McCain explained that the Brotherhood is “a radical group that, first of all, supports sharia law; that in itself is anti-democratic — at least as far as women are concerned. [Also,] they have been involved with other terrorist organizations.” But within a few weeks, McCain trouped over to Cairo and was cooing, as the Wall Street Journal put it, about “warming relations” with the Muslim Brotherhood, which he now regarded as “a strong potential partner for the future of U.S. relations with Egypt.” McCain has since pushed his clueless Republican colleagues to support Obama’s arming of the Muslim Brotherhood-led government in Cairo . . . while that government has pushed through a sharia constitution (which may just be anti-democratic, at least as far as women are concerned), releases jihadist mass-murderers from jail, and presides over a pogrom against Christians.
When it comes to Islamic countries, McCain has a considerable history of utter confusion about who the “right people” are, of choosing the wrong people, and of pretending the wrong people are the right people after our government has damned foolishly followed his advice. Do Republicans really want to keep taking their cues from a guy who wants to “set up a Benghazi in Syria”?