George Graham

McCain Rushes in and Makes a Fool of Himself

McCain stands in front of Nour, center, during his recent visit to Syria.(Razan Shalab AlSham/Syrian Emergency Task Force/HO)

There’s no fool like an old fool. Especially a malevolent old fool. And Senator John McCain certainly fits that description. Obviously smarting from his ignominious defeat in the 2008 presidential election, McCain is constantly trying to make President Obama look bad. And he usually winds up with egg on his face.

McCain seems to fancy himself as an expert on foreign affairs. I suppose it’s because of his leadership role in the International Republican Institute, a partly tax-funded organization set up under Ronald Reagan to do the CIA’s dirty work (under the guise of promoting worldwide democracy).  By “democracy,” the IRI means free-market capitalism. The group is notorious for involvement in coups against foreign regimes that don’t accept the domination of global corporations.

Apparently stuck in a befuddling time warp, McCain sees the defunct Soviet Union as America’s chief rival for global supremacy. He rushes to attack Russia at every opportunity. You will probably recall his intervention in the 2008 conflict between Russia and its neighbor, Georgia, for example. He was all for the US intervening to save the Georgians. Naturally, the vast majority of Americans opposed that harebrained idea.

Now, McCain is meddling in the Egyptian civil war, and once again he looks like the Ugly American – impetuous and uninformed. The Arizona senator flew off to Syria to pal around with the rebels and managed to get himself photographed with a notorious kidnapper. The trip was intended to promote his crusade to get the US involved on the side of the anti-Assad forces, probably because Russia supports  the Syrian dictator. Instead he vividly demonstrated the main reason for America to back off.

Here’s the Reuters report of McCain’s blunder:

 BEIRUT — Arizona Sen. John McCain was photographed during a trip to Syria with a man implicated in the kidnapping by Syrian rebels of 11 Lebanese Shiite pilgrims a year ago, a Lebanese newspaper said on Thursday.

McCain, a Republican, has been an advocate for U.S. military aid to the rebels fighting President Bashar Assad and made a short trip to meet rebel commanders in Syria this week. He has insisted that the United States could locate the “right people” to help among rebel ranks infiltrated with radicalized Islamists.

However, he may have crossed paths with men linked to a group notorious in the region for kidnapping the pilgrims, the Daily Star said. The paper said that as well as McCain’s photographs with rebel commanders, one image showed the face of Mohammad Nour — identified by two freed hostages as the spokesman and photographer for the Northern Storm brigade that kidnapped them.

Photo above shows Nour (center) with McCain.

McCain’s response was that he didn’t know he was associating with Nour; a lot of Egyptians wanted to take pictures with him.

That says it all, doesn’t it? The Obama Administration is reluctant to back the Syrian rebels because they include some really bad actors, including Islamic extremists sworn to kill American “infidels.” In the confusion of the civil war, it’s impossible to tell the good guys from the bad…

As McCain has so vividly illustrated.


Click here for the Reuters report.

Click here for more on the IRI.



About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for