"I thought Jimmy Carter was bad."
That's what Sen. John McCain said Tuesday, speaking about the Syria policy of President Barack Obama's administration. The Arizona Republican went further, saying the Syria situation could ultimately pose a terrorist threat to the United States. McCain made his comments during a wide-ranging interview on the Phoenix radio station KFYI.
"If you don't care about Syria, my dear listeners, if you don't care about Syria, it's becoming a regional conflict. It's spread to Lebanon. It's spread to Turkey. It's spread to Jordan. It is spreading throughout the region, and sooner or later it will affect the United States of America if you allow a place to become a base for al-Qaida," McCain said. "I have never seen anything like this in my life. I thought Jimmy Carter was bad, but he pales in comparison to this president in my view."
"We now have thousands of fighters of this — radical, extremist, al-Qaida affiliated people pouring in from all over the world into Syria, fighting against our guys, who are the good guys and also not doing much fighting against Bashar Assad."
McCain also criticized Secretary of State John Kerry for international negotiations involving Russia while that country continued to provide more traditional armaments to Assad's forces.
"I'm telling you, this guy ... is a monster," McCain said about Assad. "The people who are giving him the weapons are the Russians, and our secretary of State is buddy buddy and palsy-walsy with ... his buddy Sergey in places like Geneva and others."
McCain was referring to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. He said the Syrians are "dropping things that look like cluster bombs. They're crude cluster bombs out of helicopters which indiscriminately kill."
McCain also referenced new reports of torture and killing by the regime of the Syrian president.
"It's horrible. It's horrible, 11,000 people tortured to death," McCain said, adding that while visiting a refugee camp in Jordan, he met with among others, victims of Syrian gang-rapes.