John McCain Accidentally Takes Photo With Syrian Kidnapper

by
Owen Poindexter
Senator John McCain, on a trip to Syria to meet with leaders of the resistance movement, crossed paths with Mohammad Nour, a leader of Northern Storm, a group of Syrian rebels believed to have kidnapped 11 Lebanese Shi'ite pilgrims a year ago, according to a Lebanese newspaper.
mccain, syria, photo, john mccain, syrian rebels
Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) greets Syrian Emergency Task Force Executive Director Mouaz Moustaha (second from right) on his trip to Syria. PHOTO: Reuters. The photo of McCain with a man associated with a group that kidnapped 11 people can be found here.
 
Senator John McCain, on a trip to Syria to meet with leaders of the resistance movement, crossed paths with Mohammad Nour, a leader of Northern Storm, a group of Syrian rebels believed to have kidnapped 11 Lebanese Shi'ite pilgrims a year ago, according to a Lebanese newspaper. The photo is poorly timed for McCain, the Senate's most vocal advocate for arming Syrian rebels to aid in their civil war against the Assad regime. Earlier this week, McCain brushed off the possibility that weapons would fall into the wrong hands:

"We can identify who these people are. We can help the right people," McCain told Anderson Cooper on CNN.
 

To be fair: McCain can't control who he takes photos with all of the time, and he had no intention of meeting with Mohammad Nour. A spokesman for McCain said that the incident was regrettable, but not something that could have been avoided easily, and in no way reflects any actual feelings of Senator McCain:

"A number of the Syrians who greeted Senator McCain upon his arrival in Syria asked to take pictures with him, and as always, the senator complied. If the individual photographed with Senator McCain is in fact Mohammad Nour, that is regrettable," spokesman Brian Rogers said.

"But it would be ludicrous to suggest that the senator in any way condones the kidnapping of Lebanese Shia pilgrims or has any communication with those responsible. Senator McCain condemns such heinous actions in the strongest possible terms."

While McCain is far more hawkish than most Americans, myself included, and this photo underscores the difficulty in getting weapons to "the right people" and only the right people, I'll say this for the guy: he is occasionally kind of bad ass. While I'm sure he had a massive security detail for his trip, it's not necessarily easy or safe to fly in and meet with the leaders of a resistance movement at the peak of a civil war.

As for the civil war itself, here's the problem: what's best for Syrian rebels and citizens would probably be American boots on the ground. Troops could secure the "border" of where the rebels have established themselves and gradually push that border forward. It seems like a humane an doable option, given that we have the most powerful military in the world at our disposal. It's never that easy, however. The Iraq War raged on for eight years after Bush declared Mission Accomplished. The Afghanistan War is still going. It's slowly ending, but it will be around thirteen years old by the time it does. Obama has been quite hawkish, especially for a Democrat, but he knows well that ground wars are always much more than you bargained for. Same goes for arming the Syrian rebels, the main difference being that Americans would be out of the way once the consequences of that action took effect.

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