Well, he’s back, pounding the war drums as usual. The AP reports:
BENGHAZI, Libya – U.S. Sen. John McCain called for increased military support for Libya’s rebels Friday, including weapons, training and stepped-up airstrikes, in a full-throated endorsement of the opposition in its fight to oust Moammar Gadhafi. …
At a news conference in the rebels’ stronghold of Benghazi ini eastern Libya, McCain said he did not believe that the United States should send in ground troops, but it should be much more involved in the air campaign and “facilitate” the arming and training of the rebels — much as it armed the mujahedeen who fought the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s.
Upside of Afghanistan: Fall of the Soviet Empire. Downside of Afghanistan: 9/11.
But what’s the upside of Libya? Fall of the Libyan Empire?
“We need to urgently step up the NATO air campaign to protect Libyan civilians, especially in Misrata,” he said. “We desperately need more close air support and strike assets.”
McCain applauded the Obama administration’s decision to use the drones “so we can better identify Gadhafi’s forces as they seek to conceal themselves in civilian areas.”
McCain urged the use of combat aircraft more suited for engaging targets in urban areas, such as A-10 Thunderbolts, which are anti-tank planes, and AC-130 gunships, outfitted with heavy weaponry, including cannons, rockets and machine guns.
Death from Above! The only thing that could be more awesome would be to equip the AC-130 gunships with big-ass loudspeakers playing “Highway to Hell” while they turn some Libyan oil refinery into a giant fireball.
… All nations should recognize the opposition’s Transitional National Council as the legitimate voice of the Libyan people, McCain said, and provide it with “every appropriate means of assistance,” including “command and control support, battlefield intelligence, training and weapons.”
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the administration disagreed with McCain’s call for recognition of the rebels’ political leadership. “We think it’s for the people of Libya to decide who the head of their country is, not for the United States to do that,” Carney said aboard Air Force One as President Barack Obama returned to Washington from California. …
Some in the West have raised the possibility that Islamic militants may be among the rebels, but McCain said he did not see any evidence of that.
“I have met these brave fighters and they are not al-Qaida,” he said. “To the contrary, they are Libyan patriots who want to liberate their nation.
“They are my heroes,” he said.
Some of these heroic rebels have hit speeds upwards of 100 mph while fleeing Gaddafi’s crack mercenaries from Burkina Faso. You gotta be brave to drive that fast on those roads.
However, McCain cautioned that the situation could change if there is a deadlock on the battlefield. “I do worry that if there is a stalemate here, that it could open the door to radical Islamic fundamentalism because of the frustration that thousands and thousands of young people would feel as they are deprived from participating in democracy in the united Libya.”