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McCain Blasts White House on Syria a Day After Cancer Diagnosis

In this June 13, 2017, file photo, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. Jacquelyn Martin/AP
In this June 13, 2017, file photo, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. Jacquelyn Martin/AP

As former President Barack Obama said of Sen. John McCain, "Cancer doesn't know what it's up against. Give it hell, John."

A day after his brain cancer diagnosis was made public, McCain was back in form, giving hell to the White House on Thursday on Syria policy.

McCain, an Arizona Republican and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, fired off a statement ripping President Donald Trump for shutting down the CIA's program to arm "moderate" Syrian rebels against the Russian-backed regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

"If these reports are true, the administration is playing right into the hands of [Russian President] Vladimir Putin. Making any concession to Russia, absent a broader strategy for Syria, is irresponsible and short-sighted," the senator said.

McCain also took the administration to task on Afghanistan. "Six months into this administration, there is still no new strategy for victory in Afghanistan either. It is now mid-July, when the administration promised to deliver that strategy to Congress, and we are still waiting."

The 80-year-old McCain, the GOP's presidential nominee in 2008, was diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive type of brain cancer, according to doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, who removed a blood clot above his left eye last Friday.

"Subsequent tissue pathology revealed that a primary brain tumor known as a glioblastoma was associated with the blood clot," McCain's office said in a statement late Wednesday.

McCain, a Silver Star recipient for his courage as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, is expected to begin a program of radiation and chemotherapy to fight the cancer. He also gave notice, or perhaps warning, to his colleagues that he'll be back.

"I greatly appreciate the outpouring of support" he's received in messages from Trump, Obama, and his Senate colleagues, McCain said in a tweet, "but unfortunately for my sparring partners in Congress, I'll be back soon, so stand by."

-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.

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