WASHINGTON — The Obama administration has called on Congress to support a broad initiative to train and arm “appropriately vetted” moderate elements of the Syrian opposition. In a nod to bipartisanship, the White House tapped Sen. John McCain of Arizona to oversee the vetting process.
Many aspects of the $500 million request have yet to be decided, including the criteria that will be used to determine which rebel groups are worthy of the full backing of the U.S. government and capable of assuming power in the event that the president of Syria is incapacitated.
“President Obama believes that Sen. McCain is exactly the right person to make this determination,” according to a White House spokesperson. “His military bona fides are unimpeachable, not to mention his proven track record of identifying rebellious young mavericks who can use their cunning to lead and unite a nation.”
McCain promised to leave no stone unturned in his appraisal of the Syrian armed opposition. “I’m not about to hand over the keys to the country [Syria] without getting answers to the toughest gotcha questions,” the senator claimed.
“I can look out my window and clearly see Syria spiraling into oblivion if we game this thing wrong,” McCain told reporters. “If we were to empower a hopelessly ill-prepared fringe element on some uninformed gut instinct, not only would Syria continue to sink deeper into a bloody civil war, we’d have tarnished our own nation’s reputation as a model for reasoned action.”
The senior senator claims to be boning up on his knowledge of the various militants, dissidents, and political factions at play on the ground in Syria by reading “all of the local Arabic-language newspapers that have been put in front of [him] over these days.”
McCain’s former running mate, Sarah Palin, personally vouched for the senator’s ability to head up this delicate task.
“He’s got what it takes to lead from day one and to see the vetting process through to completion,” said Palin. “He’s not one to walk away with the job half finished like some people I know.”