Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), an early and vocal advocate of U.S. intervention in Syria, is warning of “mass slaughter” in Kobani, a Syrian town on the border with Turkey where fighting raged on Monday.
Islamic State fighters are battling Kurdish defenders for control of Kobani. “And if it falls, there is going to be a mass slaughter,” McCain told Fox News’s Neil Cavuto on Monday. And there will be no better indication of the ineffectiveness and fecklessness of this air campaign we’re now seeing, where you warn the enemy weeks ahead of time.
“You know those pictures of those buildings you see being blown up with such accuracy? Most of them were empty. Any military guy will tell you is, you strike first and then tell the enemy about it, not give them a week’s warning.”
McCain says it’s important to strike the enemy hard and fast, to do that, “you may have to have American Special Forces on the ground.” President Obama has ruled out a ground offensive, but McCain said, “Eventually, he will have to do it. It’s just a matter of time.”
“[W]hen you go in incrementally, with incremental increases, my friend, we saw that movie in Vietnam, where we incrementally increased. And that doesn`t work. You have got to strike hard. And you have got to strike fast, and you have to do what is necessary in order to win.
This is a threat to the United States of America. And I’m — I am very, very disillusioned, particularly when we`re going to train 5,000 young Syrians, send them back in to be bombed by Bashar al-Assad. That’s immoral. That’s immoral to do that. You have to give them a no-fly zone — a no-fly zone in which to operate.
According to the Associated Press: Capturing Kobani would give the Islamic State group, which already rules a huge stretch of territory spanning the Syria-Iraq border, a direct link between its positions in the Syrian province of Aleppo and its stronghold of Raqqa, to the east. It would also crush a lingering pocket of resistance and give the group full control of a large stretch of the Turkish-Syrian border.”
The AP also reported that Syria’s Kurds have been lobbying for greater support from the international community to help them in their fight against the Islamic State militants. While the U.S.-led coalition has carried out some airstrikes against militant positions around Kobani, those strikes have failed to blunt the extremists’ advance.
At the State Department Monday, a reporter asked why the United States hasn’t done more to stop ISIS fighters from closing in on Kobani.
“It’s an ongoing effort,” spokeswoman Jen Psaki replied. “I would refer you to DOD for more about their military strategy, but obviously this is something where we’ve long said from the beginning that this would take some time. We’re working closely to do everything we can to help push back ISIL in this part of the country, but again, I don’t have any other military updates from here.”