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McCain: I Know How to Capture Bin Laden

July 28, 2008

As developments on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan continue to undermine his campaign, Republican John McCain tried to play the Bin Laden card on Friday. Repeating his claim "I know how to win wars," McCain told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that "I know how" to capture Osama Bin Laden. Apparently, the McCain strategy, as he never tires of telling voters, is to follow Bin Laden to "the gates of hell."
Appearing on the Situation Room, John McCain suggested that his record on Iraq and expertise on the geography of the Iraq-Pakistan border region would allow him to succeed where George W. Bush failed in capturing the Al Qaeda chieftain:

"I'm not going to telegraph a lot of the things that I'm going to do because then it might compromise our ability to do so. But, look, I know the area, I have been there, I know wars, I know how to win wars, and I know how to improve our capabilities so that we will capture Osama bin Laden -- or put it this way, bring him to justice…We will do it, I know how to do it."

No doubt, McCain hasn't been shy when it comes to explaining how he'll bag Bin Laden. Over the course of the campaign, Senator McCain has repeated his pledge to hunt down Osama Bin Laden and follow him "to the gates of hell."
For example, in May 2007, McCain described himself as the dog that'll hunt:

"We will do whatever is necessary. We will track him down. We will capture him. We will bring him to justice, and I will follow him to the gates of Hell."

Then in October, McCain told workers at a small weapons factory in New Hampshire:

"I will follow Osama Bin Laden to the gates of hell and I will shoot him with your products."

And in January, McCain reassured suspicious South Carolina voters as well, just in case they had missed his earlier promises on the point:

"My friends, I want to stand before you now and tell you that if I have to follow him to the gates of hell I will get Osama Bin Laden and I will bring him to justice. I will get him!"

In New Jersey last month, McCain pledged, like President Bush before him, that he would get Bin Laden, dead or alive:

"I will look you in the eye and promise you that I will get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice." McCain said in response to a direct question from one of the 2,000 people in attendance at the college's Pemberton campus gym.
McCain said the key to ending the long search for bin Laden was to increase the number of human spies abroad.
"We need better human intelligence. We need people who can swim in the water," McCain said.

(McCain, of course, was speaking metaphorically. Referring not to aquatically proficient spies who would make their way overland to Waziristan after first swimming across the Indian Ocean, McCain was instead describing agents capable of seamlessly mixing in among the peoples of Afghanistan and Pakistan.)
Meanwhile, rumors continue to swirl that McCain will tap Mitt Romney as his running mate. Their shared commitment to get Bin Laden may have something to do with Romney's appeal to Mr. StraightTalk. After all, in May, Romney also made a promise when it comes to Osama Bin Laden. "He's going to pay," he said, "and he will die."
(This piece originally appeared at Crooks and Liars.)


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

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