Posted 4 a.m. Sept. 20 Students grilled Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) with questions about terrorism and American military action in a live broadcast of CNN’s “Crossfire” Wednesday night, hours after the Associated Press reported the president’s decision to send U.S. military planes to the Middle East.
Audience members asked McCain about the possibility of a ground war with Iraq and Afghanistan, countries suspected to be harboring terrorist cells responsible for attacks on New York City’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon last week.
“I say we rule out no options,” McCain said.
He said although ground combat was not a likely option, the United States may send troops to surround and capture terrorist groups.
“I strongly support the president and I think he’s been doing a wonderful job,” said McCain, who greeted students seated onstage during commercial breaks.
One student asked how much the public would see if the United States did enter a war. McCain replied “much less than in the past,” and encouraged “a full and open debate” on safety restrictions in our country that may seem to compromise American liberties.
McCain also advocated strengthening U.S. intelligence defense, after Central Intelligence Agency officials said they had “no inkling” Sept. 11’s attacks would occur.
“We’ve got to start having some inklings,” McCain said.
He also said the solution to international terrorism would be “getting to the root of the problem.”
Immediately, McCain encouraged American citizens to support the airline industry and be patient with restrictions on planes that may inconvenience them.
“I believe we should do everything we can do to return to normalcy,” McCain said. “If you were planning on taking a trip, take it. If you were planning on making a purchase, make it.”
Crossfire producers have not arranged the guests for Thursday’s show, which will also broadcast live from the Jack Morton Auditorium in the Media and Public Affairs building.