As usual, McCain and Graham want to fight on two sides of a civil war at the same time. They said this in a recent statement:
“Our strategy cannot presume to separate the fight against [ISIS] from the Syrian people’s fight against the Assad regime. They are inextricably connected.”
McCain and Graham’s assumption that the two fights can’t be separated is proven wrong by the fact that they have been kept separate for years and need to be kept separate if the anti-ISIS campaign is to continue as it has. If the U.S. followed their recommendations, it would mean exposing U.S. forces to much greater risks from Syrian and Russian air defenses as they try to ground Syria’s air force, and that would necessarily limit what the U.S. could do in its fight against ISIS. American forces will also be exposed to greater danger as they try to create safe zones inside Syria, and they would be exposed to attacks from both jihadists and regime forces if McCain and Graham had their way. The danger of accidental or deliberate clashes with Russian and Iranian forces would also increase significantly with all of the risks of escalation such clashes would entail. The more success the U.S. has against the regime and its allies, the more jihadist groups in the country benefit and the longer the conflict will drag on.
The larger, unanswered question that their remarks raises is a simple one: what does either one of these fights have to do with keeping the U.S. secure? McCain and Graham predictably want “greater military action” against the Syrian government because that is always their answer to everything, but it is completely divorced from any compelling reason for the U.S. to embark on a new, potentially very costly war alongside another unnecessary war that our government is already fighting. The senators are engaged in their same tiresome warmongering, and if Trump doesn’t want to destroy his presidency he should ignore everything they say.