House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard "Buck" McKeon, R-Calif., wrote a scathing retort in the Moscow Times to Russian President Vladimir Putin's Sept. 11 New York Times op-ed on Syria that also claimed America wasn't exceptional.
McKeon's op-ed accuses Putin of making false conclusions about the war in Syria and the decision by the United States to consider, then reject, air strikes in Syria in retaliation for the Syrian government's use of chemical weapons against its own people.
"The Americans who read Putin's op-ed are not dupes," McKeon wrote. "They are aware of the suppression of the Russian people, the intimidation of journalists and the wanton disregard for basic human rights. In addition, they are able to identify irony when they see it, particularly when it is Putin who is making a spontaneous appeal for humanitarianism and the observance of rule of law."
McKeon's op-ed does not directly criticize President Obama, but he suggested Obama's handling of Syria marked a "temporary failure in leadership" after the president indicated he was ready to strike Syria but then unexpectedly put off any action until Congress agreed to authorize military intervention.