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Forever Wrong: Five Years of John McCain on Iraq

March 16, 2008

Just in time for the fifth anniversary of the U.S. invasion, presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain made an unannounced visit to Iraq. While McCain deemed the visit a "fact-finding" mission, his secret visit to Baghdad is just part of an extended photo opportunity in the Middle East and Europe designed to highlight his national security credentials.
Unfortunately for McCain, his excellent Baghdad adventure could well produce the opposite effect. After all, this week's looming anniversary highlights that at almost every turn, John McCain has been disastrously wrong about Iraq. From his predictions of a short war and U.S. troops greeted as liberators to "mission accomplished" and a thousand year American presence, the supposed maverick sounds hauntingly similar to President Bush and Vice President Cheney. The simple lesson for Americans is that you don't get to be this wrong and still become President of the United States. The corollary: John McCain is unfit for command.
Here, then, is a look back at five years of John McCain on Iraq.
On the Run-Up to War
"Look, we're going to send young men and women in harm's way and that's always a great danger, but I cannot believe that there is an Iraqi soldier who is going to be willing to die for Saddam Hussein, particularly since he will know that our objective is to remove Saddam Hussein from power."
John McCain, September 15, 2002.
"But the fact is, I think we could go in with much smaller numbers than we had to do in the past. But any military man worth his salt is going to have to prepare for any contingency, but I don't believe it's going to be nearly the size and scope that it was in 1991."
John McCain, September 15, 2002.
"He's a patriot who has the best interests of his country at heart."
John McCain, on Ahmed Chalabi, 2003.
On Saddam's Weapons of Mass Destruction
"Proponents of containment claim that Iraq is in a "box." But it is a box with no lid, no bottom, and whose sides are falling out. Within this box are definitive footprints of germ, chemical and nuclear programs."
John McCain, February 13, 2003.
"I remain confident that we will find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq."
John McCain, June 11, 2003.
On Being Greeted as Liberators
"Absolutely. Absolutely."
John McCain, asked by Chris Matthews, "you believe that the people of Iraq or at least a large number of them will treat us as liberators?" March 12, 2003.
"Not only that, they'll be relieved that he's not in the neighborhood because he has invaded his neighbors on several occasions."
John McCain, asked by Chris Matthews, "And you think the Arab world will come to a grudging recognition that what we did was necessary?" March 12, 2003.
"There's no doubt in my mind that we will prevail and there's no doubt in my mind, once these people are gone, that we will be welcomed as liberators."
John McCain, March 24, 2003.
On a Rapid Victory and Mission Accomplished
"I think the victory will be rapid, within about three weeks."
John McCain, January 28, 2003.
"It's clear that the end is very much in sight...It won't be long. It, it'll be a fairly short period of time."
John McCain, April 9, 2003.
"Well, then why was there a banner that said mission accomplished on the aircraft carrier?"
John McCain, responding to assertion by Fox News' Neil Cavuto that "many argue the conflict isn't over," June 11, 2003.
"I have said a long time that reconstruction of Iraq would be a long, long, difficult process, but the conflict -- the major conflict is over, the regime change has been accomplished, and it's very appropriate."
John McCain, June 11, 2003.
"I'm confident we're on the right course."
John McCain, March 7, 2004.
"We're either going to lose this thing or win this thing within the next several months."
John McCain, November 12, 2006.
"My friends, the war will be over soon, the war for all intents and purposes although the insurgency will go on for years and years and years."
John McCain, February 25, 2008.
On the Safe Streets of Baghdad
"[There] there "are neighborhoods in Baghdad where you and I could walk through those neighborhoods, today."
John McCain, after touring a Baghdad market wearing a bulletproof vest and guarded by "100 American soldiers, with three Blackhawk helicopters, and two Apache gunships overhead, April 1, 2007.
"There's problems in America with safe neighborhoods as we well know."
John McCain, March 8, 2008.
On President Bush and His Team
"We are very fortunate that our president in these challenging days can rely on the counsel of a man who has demonstrated time and again the resolve, experience, and patriotism that will be required for success and the hard-headed clear thinking necessary to prevail in this global fight between good and evil."
John McCain, on Dick Cheney, July 16, 2004.
"I think he strengthened our national defenses. I think he has a good team around him."
John McCain, on President Bush, September 3, 2004.
"I said no. My answer is still no. No confidence."
John McCain, on whether he had confidence in Bush Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, December 15, 2004.
On a Permanent American Military Presence in Iraq
"We cannot keep our forces indefinitely staged in the region. Were we to attempt again to contain Saddam, we would eventually have to withdraw them. The world is full of dangers and, more likely than not, we will need some of those brave men and women to face them down."
John McCain, February 13, 2003.
"We have had troops in South Korea for 60 years and nobody minds."
John McCain, June 7, 2007.
"Make it a hundred."
John McCain, told that President Bush had said American troops could remain in Iraq for 50 years, January 3, 2008.
"I asked McCain about his 'hundred years' comment, and he reaffirmed the remark, excitedly declaring that U.S. troops could be in Iraq for 'a thousand years' or 'a million years,' as far as he was concerned."
David Corn, January 3, 2008.
"The U.S. could have a military presence anywhere in the world for a long period of time."
John McCain, February 20, 2008.
UPDATE: On Tuesday in Amman Jordan, McCain added a new chapter to his reign of error on Iraq, this time comically proclaiming an Iranian-Al Qaeda alliance featuring Iranian operatives operatives "taking al-Qaeda into Iran, training them and sending them back."

10 comments on “Forever Wrong: Five Years of John McCain on Iraq”

  1. That's an awesome compilation. Maybe the MSM will reconsider McCain's so-called strength on national security.

  2. The reason that so many radical Muslims, and many other world citizens, hate the United States is because of our OCCUPATION of Muslim lands, and because of our financial and military support of Israel - whose Jews left Palestine long ago and have returned to steal the land from Palestinians. Why does the U.S. support Israel? Because Christians in the U.S. mistakenly believe the false claim by Jews that Palestine was given to them by a god. McCain believed in the immoral invasion of Vietnam, and he believes in the immoral invasion of Iraq. He is a clone of our disastrous current President, so if you want this country to go bankrupt and experience more terrorism, vote for him.

  3. "Make it a Hundred, Make it a Thousand, Make it a Million."
    No dont go telling me someone is actually considering voting for him after hearing this?
    I would think you would identify with those in a mental ward if any of those many comments of his sounded rational

  4. John McCain is a total non-entity to me, he jumps on every sort of public opinion topic going in order to boost his public persona, look at what is happening with the Arizona immigration law, he is a proponent of that. The funny thing with that however is that he is not sure on whether he should be pro or against as public opinion is divided.
    C'mon John tell us what you really think

  5. The Forever Wrong and the Five Years of John McCain on Iraq is really nice one to get read about, I think this is a good information for knowledge because it has good for knowing about it.


Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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