Map: All the Countries John McCain Has Wanted to Attack

Syria, Iraq, Russia, North Korea, and nine other nations the Arizona senator has been eager to bomb, invade, or destabilize.

| Fri Sep. 6, 2013 5:00 AM EDT

Even before he was caught playing poker on his iPhone at a Senate hearing on Wednesday, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) had already sent a message: Anything less than an extensive aerial assault on the Syrian regime by American forces would be an unacceptable approach to the conflict in the Middle East. This was hardly surprising. Over the last two decades, McCain has rarely missed an opportunity to call for the escalation of an international conflict. Since the mid-1990s, he's pushed for regime change in more than a half-dozen countries—occasionally with disastrous consequences.

Here's a quick review of McCain's eagerness for military action and foreign entanglements.

Syria

Fighting words: "Providing military assistance to the Free Syrian Army and other opposition groups is necessary, but at this late hour, that alone will not be sufficient to stop the slaughter and save innocent lives. The only realistic way to do so is with foreign air power."

What he wanted: Airstrikes, culminating in regime change.

What was it good for? TBD.

Angry McCains: Five


 

IRAQ (part II)

Fighting words: "Leaders always have choices, and history teaches that hard choices deferred—appeasing Hitler, choosing not to deter Saddam Hussein in 1990, failing to act sooner against Al Qaeda—often bring about the very circumstances we wished to avoid by deferring action, requiring us to react in freedom's defense. America's leaders today have a choice. It will determine whether our people live in fear behind walls that have already been breached, as our enemies plan our defeat in time we have given them to do it."

What he wanted: Ground war culminating in regime change.

What was it good for? See above.

Angry McCains: Five

 




AFGHANISTAN

Fighting words: "We should make an immediate statement of our resolve that we no longer intend to tolerate sanction given to our enemies by any nation…Should the Taliban refuse our demand, then they must know that they will be treated as allies of our enemy, and, thus, are themselves our enemies, and will suffer much for their allegiance."

What he wanted: Osama bin Laden's head, at any cost.

What was it good for? Ground war culminating in regime change (ongoing).

Angry McCains: Five

 

LIBYA

Fighting words: "I would arm, train, equip, both from without and from within, forces that would eventually overthrow the governments and install free and democratically-elected governments" (2000). "[I]t does take time, as it did during the period of the Russian occupation of Afghanistan. But we were able to provide them with some weapons and wherewithal to cause the Russians to leave Afghanistan. So we can do it" (2012).

What he wanted: Regime change.

What was it good for? Regime change (12 years—and one ill-considered tweet) later.

Angry McCains: Five

 

 

Kosovo

Fighting words: "The best course for us, NATO, Kosovo, Russia and even Serbia is to begin fighting this war as if it were a war, with huge stakes involved, instead of some strange interlude between peace initiatives…To that end, we should commence today to mobilize infantry and armored divisions for a possible ground war in Kosovo."

What he wanted: Ground war culminating in regime change.

What was it good for? Airstrikes.

Angry McCains: Four

 




IRAQ (part i)

Fighting words: "It is clear to me that if we fail to act there will be inevitably a succession of dictators, of Saddam Husseins, of which around the globe there is an abundance."

What he wanted: Ground war in Kuwait.

What was it good for? See above.

Angry McCains: Four

 

Nigeria

Fighting words: "If they knew where they were, I certainly would send in U.S. troops to rescue them, in a New York minute I would, without permission of the host country. I wouldn't be waiting for some kind of permission from some guy named Goodluck Jonathan."

What he wanted: Special ops raid against Boko Haram.

What was it good for? TBD.

Angry McCains: Four

image: mccain

 

Bosnia

Fighting words: "If [Bosnians] were equipped,especially with TOW missiles, some heavy armor, some tanks, then I think that we could foresee a stable situation."

What he wanted: Air strikes and military assistance.

What was it good for? See above.

Angry McCains: Three

 




NORTH KOREA

Fighting words: "I would arm, train, equip, both from without and from within, forces that would eventually overthrow the governments and install free and democratically-elected governments."

What he wanted: Either regime change by aiding local opposition, or an outright military confrontation.

What was it good for? TBD

Angry McCains: Three

 

IRAN

Fighting words: "It's that old Beach Boys song, 'Bomb Iran'? Bomb bomb bomb…"

What was it good for? Unspecified air strikes; unspecified support for dissident groups.

What he got: TBD.

Angry McCains: Three

 

GEORGIA

Fighting words: "Today, we are all Georgians."

What he wanted: Unspecified aggression toward Russia after invasion of Georgia.

What was it good for? Absolutely nothing.

Angry McCains: Two

 





RUSSIA

Fighting words: "Now is the time to fundamentally rethink our relationship with Putin's Russia. We need to deal with the Russia that is, not the Russia we might wish for. We cannot allow today's action by Putin to stand without serious repercussions…We should push for the completion of all phases of our missile defense programs in Europe, and move expeditiously on another round of NATO expansion."

What he wanted: A new Cold War.

What was it good for? Absolutely nothing.

Angry McCains: Two

 

SUDAN

Fighting words: "NATO should immediately establish and enforce a no-fly zone over Darfur to ensure that Khartoum ends its offensive military flights and bombing raids, as the Security Council has already demanded…[T]he United States should intensify efforts to persuade UN members to commit troops and funds for the UN force in Darfur, and it should develop plans for US logistical support."

What he wanted: UN troops.

What was it good for? UN troops.

Angry McCains: Two

 

MALI

Fighting words: "We need to have DOD assistance as much as feasible and necessary to prevent Mali from deteriorating further into a chaotic situation."

What he wanted: Military assistance.

What was it good for? Military assistance.

Angry McCains: Two

 

CHINA

Fighting words: "The Arab Spring is coming to China."

What he wanted: Totally unclear.

What was it good for? Nothing.

Angry McCains: One