<> on March 8, 2016 in Washington, DC.

Cranky old guys who live in glass houses should be careful about throwing rocks. I am referring, of course, to John McCain. But I am labeling him a war criminal by using the standard that he himself offered up in labeling Bashar al Assad and Vladimir Putin war criminals. He is obsessed with Syria and Russia. When he starts talking about Syria he gets a crazed look in his eyes and says and writes the nuttiest things. Here’s an op-ed from December:

President Barack Obama speaks of the need to “bear witness” to injustice. He did little else for Aleppo. To what have we borne witness? To the use of smart bombs to target women and children, hospitals and bakeries, aid warehouses and humanitarian convoys. To the development and popularization of barrel bombs — oil drums packed with shrapnel and explosives, dropped indiscriminately from aircraft to kill and maim as many civilians as possible. To the tactic of follow-on airstrikes designed to kill rescue workers, such as the intrepid White Helmets, who rush to the scene of an attack to save the innocent. And now to the busloads of refugees pouring out of Aleppo and the tens of thousands left behind to the tender mercies of the Assad regime and its Russian and Iranian allies. . . .

We must also acknowledge that Assad, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Qasem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s Quds Force, will never be viable counterterrorism partners. In fact, the opposite is true. The Syrian regime, Russia and Iran are not fighting the Islamic State. Their indiscriminate slaughter of Syrian civilians is what created the conditions for the Islamic State’s emergence. The bloody siege of Aleppo will be a windfall for terrorist radicalization and recruitment. To think that we can destroy the Islamic State by throwing in our lot with those who are strengthening it every day is a dangerous fantasy.

Finally, we must acknowledge that ending the conflict in Syria will not be possible until Assad and his foreign backers realize they cannot succeed militarily. And make no mistake: Succeeding militarily is what they are trying to do. The fall of Aleppo will only encourage them to turn their guns on their next targets in Syria. We must recall the wisdom of former Secretary of State George Shultz: “Diplomacy not backed by strength will always be ineffectual at best, dangerous at worst.”

Sorry John, but Syria, with Russian help, re-took Aleppo and freed the people being held hostage by radical Islamists. But that fact does not stop McCain, who warned Trump in November:

. . .against re-establishing relations with Russia, saying the “price of another ‘reset’ would be complicity in Putin and Assad’s butchery of the Syrian people.”

The Arizona senator said the last reset attempted by President Barack Obama led to Russia’s “invasion of Ukraine and military intervention in the Middle East,” the Washington Examiner reported.

“At the very least, the price of another ‘reset’ would be complicity in Putin and Assad’s butchery of the Syrian people,” McCain said in a statement. “That is an unacceptable price for a great nation. When America has been at its greatest, it is when we have stood on the side those fighting tyranny. That is where we must stand again.”

If we use McCain’s criterion–i.e., bombing civilians–as the benchmark for being considered a war criminal then we are left with the uncomfortable truth that McCain, who bombed civilians in North Vietnam, is a war criminal. Let’s add to that list Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, etc.

You get the idea, a long list of crimes on our side of the ledger. I have written this many times prior to today but will reiterate the point–we, the United States, provided money, training and ultimately weapons to Syrian rebels, including Islamists, and helped fuel the attempt to takedown Bashar Al Assad. We, the United States, helped start that war. We, the United States, made it necessary to bomb and kill civilians. Now we have lunatics like McCain agitating for more war.

Which brings me again to Tulsi Gabbard. She went to Syria, she met with the Syrian President and is now being ferociously attacked by those eager to spawn more war in the Middle East. Well, I say, Tulsi Gabbard for President. This is a smart lady who has a big set of brass balls.

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Larry C. Johnson is a former analyst at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, who moved subsequently in 1989 to the U.S. Department of State, where he served four years as the deputy director for transportation security, antiterrorism assistance training, and special operations in the State Department's Office of Counterterrorism. He left government service in October 1993 and set up a consulting business. He currently is the co-owner and CEO of BERG Associates, LLC (Business Exposure Reduction Group) and is an expert in the fields of terrorism, aviation security, and crisis and risk management, and money laundering investigations. Johnson is the founder and main author of No Quarter, a weblog that addresses issues of terrorism and intelligence and politics. NoQuarterUSA was nominated as Best Political Blog of 2008.