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article imageOp-Ed: McCain fiddles while Syria burns

By Gar Swaffar     Sep 3, 2013 in Politics
Washington - The Twitter-sphere was ablaze with the news that Senator John McCain was caught playing poker during a hearing to decide if the US should attack Syria. One picture is worth a thousand words.
Initially, it was only on Twitter, the photo of Senator John McCain playing poker on his iPhone during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee meeting. It was apparently Washington Post reporter Melina Mara who took the photo, which then made it onto Twitter, and was then sent to the ends of the earth, and possibly beyond.
After the photo had made the rounds on Twitter, Senator McCain tweeted a response:
Scandal! Caught playing iPhone game at 3+ hour Senate hearing - worst of all I lost!
No senator, that isn't the worst of all. The worst is that you couldn't, or wouldn't, pay attention to what is going on during a meeting to decide if this nation should in fact get involved in another country's civil war.
And not just get involved in some random fashion as the US Administration has suggested and then backed away from, and then suggested again. The crux of the issue is that when the US does get involved, it is possible for the intervention to destabilize the current Syrian Administration of Syria.
The BBC reports President Obama as stating: ...a "limited" strike was needed to degrade President Bashar al-Assad's capabilities in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack.
And quoted at The Hill's blog: “We're not considering any open-ended commitment,” Obama said.
"What we will do is consider options that meet the narrow concern around chemical weapons."
While the concept of a "limited strike" may have greater appeal to many in Congress, President Obama has also made it clear that he may, or may not, be bound to that concept. The President also was quoted at the BBC stating: "At the same time we have a broader strategy that will allow us to upgrade the capabilities of the opposition."
One translation of that "political-speak" is that the Administration is considering ways to arm the rebels in such a fashion they will be able to overthrow the Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. Regime Change.
It was only last week however, the White House Press Secretary was quoted at USA Today as saying: "I want to make clear that the options that we are considering are not about regime change,"
Senator McCain, it's true that it was only Secretary of State Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, and also Gen. Martin Dempsey, the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman who were speaking, but it is possible that they might have something important to say while you were busy losing a poker game against an iPhone virtual opponent.
The concept of actually paying attention, prior to sending the US Military into harms way, seems too much of a stretch for Senator McCain these days.
Senator McCain, if it is too much trouble to stay on task, would it be acceptable to suggest you may not belong in the Senate any longer?
Is it possible Senator you need a lot more time to play poker on your iPhone, so you can leave the business of government to those who are able to remain on task, especially when the lives of American Military men and women are at stake? The bottom line Senator is that those in the Military deserve your full attention, not just the part you have left over when losing a game of poker.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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