McCain fires back at Obama over Iran

(CBS News) Sen. John McCain on Wednesday fired back at President Obama for accusing Republicans of speaking too casually about war, remarking that Mr. Obama should be respectful of the conservative viewpoint.

"I think there's a lot of us that understand what our responsibilities are," McCain told "Face the Nation" anchor Bob Schieffer on "Face to Face." "There are a lot of us that have had some experience in warfare, and so for him to treat our views with disdain...I treat the president's views with respect. I may disagree with them, but I'm not being disrespectful. I hope he would give us the same respect that I think some of us have earned."

In a press conference yesterday, Mr. Obama said that casual speculation about war with Iran doesn't take into account external effects like the impact it could have on young soldiers. At the same time, Mr. Obama has said in the past week that when it comes to keeping a military option against Iran on the table, he doesn't "bluff."

"Since when does a president of the United States have to tell anybody that the United States doesn't bluff?" McCain asked. "I was very disappointed in that kind of comment."

Mr. Obama has said that while he's keeping all options on the table to deter Iran from building a nuclear weapon, economic sanctions have so far had a positive impact.

McCain told Schieffer, "There's no doubt that the sanctions are biting. There is also no doubt... that it has not changed Iranian behavior in the slightest."

"So there's a robber outside your house that says he wants to rob you, and he's putting together a gun," he continued. "You wait until he gets the gun? So what we need to do is make it clear to the Iranians that if they reach a certain point, a red line, and we agree with the Israelis on that red line."

With respect to Syria, McCain said the administration's actions haven't been strong enough.

The nation's top military leaders testified before McCain and other senators in the Armed Services Committee on Wednesday, saying that U.S. was considering "all possible additional steps" including "potential military options" in Syria. Still, the U.S. is focused on "diplomatic and political approaches rather than a military intervention."

McCain told Schieffer the U.S. should build a coalition to use air power against Syria's tanks and artillery and to establish a sanctuary zone. He likened the situation to the U.S. interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo -- and compared it to the lack of intervention in Rwanda.

"So here we are with a clear case of human rights massacres and ethnic cleansings... [and] if Assad wins, it would be the greatest blow to Iran in 25 years," McCain said. "So there is a national security component to this as well."

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