John McCain Loves the Syrian Rebels, But Confuses Them With ISIS


John McCain
Wikimedia Commons

Sen. John McCain made quite the gaffe on Sean Hannity's show last night. While criticizing Sen. Rand Paul's opposition to arming the "moderate" Syrian rebels, McCain slipped up and accidentally implied that he had met with ISIS. McCain clearly meant to say that he had met with the Free Syrian Army (the Syrian rebel group that McCain and the Obama administration support), and was vouching for its trustworthiness.

The mixup is noteworthy because critics like Paul are arguing that arming the Syrian rebels is not categorically different from arming ISIS—our enemy—since those weapons eventually make their way into the hands of ISIS terrorists anyway. While McCain and Obama want to make the case that the Free Syrian Army is the group worth supporting in the conflict, others have raised serious doubts that the rebels are as "moderate" or as organized as U.S. forces would like to believe.

Some media reports claimed that the Free Syrian Army agreed to a temporary truce with ISIS, given that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is a mutual enemy of both groups. And the family of Steven Sotloff, one of the journalists murdered by ISIS, has claimed that Syrian rebels actually sold Sotloff to ISIS for cash.

Watch McCain making a fool of himself here.

Elsewhere, Reason's Lucian McMahon notes that McCain is ready to send American troops into Syria, because of course he is.

Hat tip: The Daily Caller

NEXT: Researchers Create Fully Functional 3D-Printed Drone For the Defense Department

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. To be fair to Grandpa, the distinction between ISIS and the FSA is kind of academic in the long run.

    1. WWF, WWE, its all pro wrestling.

      Do you like your curry spicy? OR REALLY SPICY?

      I wouldn’t say ‘academic’ however. There are clearly intra-sunni splits between sectarian and more ‘nationalist’ elements. This is playing out all over the ME. We’re not saying so directly, but we’re trying to support a ‘coalition of sunni nationalists’ who reject the idea of an Islamist government as an alternative to the Alawite regime. However, this doesn’t mean they all aren’t bloodthirsty violent fucks who torture and behead each other.

      1. It’s academic in the sense that both groups are going to use American weapons to commit atrocities and both are going to end up in the sights of American flying killer robots.

        But you’re right that the distinction between militant nationalists and militant sectarians isn’t academic. That distinction is pure bullshit.

        1. Not if you’re Syrian

          1. Actually Hugh’s correct, even if he was a Syrian. Almost all of the “FSA” (which isn’t a single group, but dozens of (usually) loosely connected militias) are both militantly nationalist and sectarian. For almost all of my Christian and Alawite friends still in Syria, the “distinction” is worthless.

            Many of them have been acknowledging for over a year (especially on youtube in Arabic, which I listen to, as well as Arabic media) that they will be fighting the foreign jihadist groups once (if) the regime falls.

  2. Since Rico is listing some of the Free Syrian Army’s ‘greatest hits’: it should always be noted that when the FSA killed the American ISIS member, ‘Douglas McAuthur McCain’ (no relation… to ANYBODY), they also beheaded a number of the other ISIS fighters with him. Because… hey! Whatever. A few beheadings on Facebook doesn’t make them *bad guys*? Shit happens. They were ‘more secular-ish’ beheadings. which people are generally more comfortable with.

    1. Damn, Gilmore, that was good.

    2. I will not shed even the tiniest tear for the European, Canadian and American idiots who “join the jihad” and get an excessively close shave.

  3. …McCain slipped up and accidentally implied that he had met with ISIS.


    1. As a U.S. Senator, John McCain belongs to all of us.

      However, the blame lies entirely on the State of Arizona.

  4. The mixup is noteworthy because critics like Paul are arguing that arming the Syrian rebels is not categorically different from arming ISIS.


    Or its noteworthy because it demonstrates that maybe McCain is getting long in the tooth and not only doesn’t know what he’s talking about in foreign policy but that his mind is getting fuzzy.

    1. Or it’s just possible that McCain actually HAD met with ISIS and have forgotten which pieces of information are supposed to be secret.

  5. Did he look into their eyes?

    Did he see the soul of freedom?

  6. I don’t think the adjective “moderate” applies to any militant who takes up arms with an illegal rebel force.

    One might as well talk about moderate abortion clinic bombers, moderate communists like Bill Ayers, moderate IRA-supporters like Peter King, or moderate patriots like George Washington.

    No militant is moderate.

    1. And that goes double for the Muslim variety.

    2. And no STEVE SMITH is subtle.

    3. I don’t think the adjective “moderate” applies to any militant who takes up arms with an illegal rebel force.

      tell that to the people who founded this country.

      1. They were radical as hell for the time. They were proposing a profound break with European/English governance models.

        No, they weren’t the least bit moderate, for the times.

        1. If Lord North and George III had bent enough to give the American colonists a vote in the British Parliament, it is likely that the American Revolution wouldn’t have happened.

  7. McCain is sort of old news. What’s Reason up to with all these grampa articles? Making the folks who helped elect Obama in ’08 feel better about their choice?

    1. Too many people bitched about the Millennial articles, so they went in a different direction.

    2. Joe Biden?

      1. Clueless Joe has shown himself a worthy sidekick to the Lightextinguisher.

  8. The moderate Islamists are the ones who cut off your head with a sharp sword instead of a butter knife.

    1. i think the distinction which we should adopt and repeat often =

      – A ‘Radical Muslim’ wants to cut your head off

      – A ‘Moderate Muslim’ wants a Radical Muslim to cut your head off.

  9. lol, that idiot is still on the scene? Really? lol.

    1. Beat to my comment by Anonbot.

      …Just, fuck.

  10. I think age, Vietcong torture and hitting his head really hard off the deck of the USS Forrestal may finally be pushing McCain off the edge.

    1. Don’t forget the diversion of blood from his brain to his massive and constant warboner.

      1. For WarBoners lasting more than 4 terms, consult your local licensed MSM Lackey…

  11. If Greg Stillson were president we wouldn’t be going through this shit.

  12. McCain is still able to speak without his drool bib? Then send that POS to the front lines in Syria, along with his pipsqueak toady. I want it televised live.

    1. Let’s suppose, just suppose, that a number of TOP MEN found themselves in the hands of ISIS.

      Do you think ISIS could earn more by getting ransom for them or by putting the beheadings on PPV?

  13. Didn’t the Free Syrian Army sell some of the beheading victims to ISIS?

    I recall reading a story about how one of the hostages (or maybe someone who got away) was basically “sold” to ISIS by the “moderate” Syrian rebels he was working with.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.