The prominent American Senator John McCain, who advocated war against several Muslim countries, has died aged 81.
McCain died on Saturday in Arizona after being diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour in July 2017. His family announced on Friday that he had decided to cease treatment.
McCain was a fighter pilot during the war in Vietnam. When his plane was shot down, he spent more than five years as a prisoner of war. While in the custody of his captors, he suffered torture that left him with lasting disabilities.
In 2002/3 McCain helped the Bush Administration build a case for war in Iraq, despite a lack of any evidence of WMDs or Saddam’s links to Al-Qaeda. McCain was the only veteran in the Senate who did not turn against the war and maintained it was a great idea.
During a at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire in 2008, McCain was asked about the Bush administration’s willingness to keep troops in Iraq for 50 years. McCain cut the questionner off and said “Make it a hundred.”
In 2011 he made a visit to the Libyan rebel stronghold of Benghazi and urged greater American involvement in the bloody campaign to oust leader Muammar Gaddafi. He said he was against US troops on the ground but argued that Western powers need to do more to “facilitate” the delivery of weapons and training for the rebels.
McCain was long a proponent of attacking Iran, threatening Tehran with military action and hammering President Obama for being “weak” when dealing with the Iranians.
During a campaign appearance in South Carolina in 2007, McCain was asked by an audience member about potential US military action in Iran. “How many times do we have to prove that these people are blowing up people now, never mind if they get a nuclear weapon. When do we send them an airmail message to Tehran?” a man asked. McCain replied: “That old, eh, that old Beach Boys song, Bomb Iran — Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, anyway, ah ….”.
In recent years McCain tried to up American involvement in the war raging in Syria. One of the most vocal critics of the Obama administration’s Syria policy, McCain secretly made a trip across the Turkey-Syria border with Gen. Salem Idris, the leader of the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army. He was an advocate of a no-fly zone over Syria and armed support to rebels.