McCain: vote against Syria strike would be ‘catastrophic’

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U.S. Republican Senator John McCain, President Barack Obama’s presidency opponent in 2008, said a vote against a military strike on Syria would be ‘catastrophic.’

“If the Congress were to reject a resolution like this after the president of the United States has already committed to action, the consequences would be catastrophic,” McCain said.

McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham met with Obama on Monday for talks on Syria.

After the meeting, McCain said was encouraged, but that the administration has long way to go to get resolution passed in Congress.

The president announced over the weekend that he’ll seek approval for military strikes against the Assad regime to respond to an attack in the Damascus suburbs last month that the U.S. says included sarin gas and killed at least 1,429 civilians.

That decision sets the stage for the biggest foreign policy vote in Congress since the Iraq war. A vote could come once lawmakers return from summer break, which is scheduled to end Sept. 9.

Before then, Obama must sell the idea to a nation scarred by more than a decade of war.

McCain and Graham have argued that Obama must oust President Bashar Assad from power and seek to change the course of a civil war that has killed more than 100,000, AP reported.

And both have threatened to vote against Obama’s authorization if the military plan doesn’t seek to shift the momentum of the civil war toward the rebels trying to oust Assad from power, according to AP.

McCain and Graham represent the most aggressive faction in Congress. They have called on Obama to launch comprehensive military strikes with an aim of destroying Assad’s air power, his military command and control, Syria’s ballistic missiles and other military targets while giving opposition forces more arms and training.

But some Republican and Democratic lawmakers don’t want to see military action at all.

(With AP and Reuters)

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