Perrspectives - Bringing light to Darkness

McCain Said It "Out Loud" in 2002: "Next Up, Baghdad!"

September 28, 2008

On Saturday night Sarah Palin once again put John McCain in a tough spot, this time on the subject of Pakistan. Just hours after McCain blasted Barack Obama for saying "out loud" that the U.S. should - if necessary - unilaterally strike at Al Qaeda targets along Pakistan's western border, Palin in essence agreed with the Illinois Democrat. Of course, McCain himself never followed his rule that you don't announce possible American military action "ahead of time." As it turns out, John McCain in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks said early and often that Iraq should be an American target.

As the New York Times recently detailed, McCain starting in the fall of 2001 publicly proclaimed that Saddam was next in line after the U.S. assault on Afghanistan. The day after the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington, McCain told ABC News, "There is a system out there or network, and that network is going to have to be attacked." That same day, he informed MSNBC that, "It isn't just Afghanistan." And then on October 9, 2001, McCain told CNN's Paula Zahn that Iraq was at the top of his list:

ZAHN: And as you know, Senator, the U.S. and Great Britain notified the U.N. Security Council yesterday that they reserve the right to strike against other countries in this campaign. What countries are we looking at?
MCCAIN: Well, I think very obviously Iraq is the first country, but there are others -- Syria, Iran, the Sudan, who have continued to harbor terrorist organizations and actually assist them.

In case there was any lingering confusion about McCain's intentions, he erased all doubt on January 2, 2002. Aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt over a year before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, McCain yelled to a crowd of sailors and airmen:

"Next up, Baghdad!"

And to be sure, John McCain wasn't shy about to trying to manufacture a pretext for the assault against Saddam he repeatedly advertised. In the wake of the anthrax attacks in the U.S. in the fall of 2001, McCain was quick to suggest Iraq might be behind them. Appearing on the David Letterman show on October 18, 2001, McCain suggested that the anthrax incidents augured a "second phase" in the war on terror, this time against Baghdad:

LETTERMAN: How are things going in Afghanistan now?
MCCAIN: I think we're doing fine...I think we'll do fine. The second phase - if I could just make one, very quickly - the second phase is Iraq. There is some indication, and I don't have the conclusions, but some of this anthrax may - and I emphasize may - have come from Iraq.
LETTERMAN: Oh is that right?
MCCAIN: If that should be the case, that's when some tough decisions are gonna have to be made.

McCain has been firing salvos at Barack Obama for months over Obama's August 1, 2007 declaration that "If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will." Sadly for McCain, that approach became the policy of the United States government by January 2008, as the Bush administration stepped up strikes against Al Qaeda and Taliban targets in Pakistan using unmanned Predator drones. Worse still for McCain, the Pentagon's top commanders, including Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen and commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, concurred with Obama's assessment both that more troops were needed there and that they could only come from Iraq.
Neither his past statements on Iraq nor the reality on the ground in Afghanistan prevented McCain from launching his same tired broadside during the debate on Friday:

"Now, you don't do that. You don't say that out loud. If you have to do things, you have to do things, and you work with the Pakistani government...
...I guarantee you I would not publicly state that I'm going to attack them."

For his part, Barack Obama on Friday made clear that "nobody talked about attacking Pakistan" and that ''if the United States has al Qaeda, bin Laden, top-level lieutenants in our sights, and Pakistan is unable or unwilling to act, then we should take them out."
Sadly for John McCain, on Saturday Sarah Palin agreed with Obama about the Al Qaeda and Taliban safe havens ensconced within the territory of America's problematic ally, Pakistan:

"If that's what we have to do stop the terrorists from coming any further in, absolutely, we should."

In response today, John McCain recanted Palin's words for her during an appearance on ABC This Week with George Stephanopolous. After first claiming that "sticking a microphone" in Sarah Palin's face did not produce "definitive policy statement" by her, McCain announced:

"[Palin] understands and has stated repeatedly that we're not going to do anything except in America's national security interest, and we are not going to, quote, 'announce it ahead of time.'"

Unless, of course, the country is Iraq and you're John McCain.
UPDATE 1: On Monday, September 29, McCain told Katie Couric during a joint interview with Sarah Palin, "Gov. Palin and I agree that you don't announce that you're going to attack another country."
UPDATE 2: Iran, too, has been an object of John McCain's premature emancipation. In October 2007, John McCain told a GOP debate audience that the prospect of U.S. strikes against Tehran "is a possibility that is maybe closer to reality than we are discussing tonight." At an event that April, McCain jokingly sang "bomb bomb Iran." Then this July, he kidded about cigarettes as "a way of killing them." Still, none of those statements prevented McCain from airing an ad in June proclaiming, "only a fool or a fraud talks tough or romantically about war." Even in jest, John McCain's decidedly unpresidential temperament makes him unfit for command.

4 comments on “McCain Said It "Out Loud" in 2002: "Next Up, Baghdad!"”

  1. Has there ever been more of an outright fraud than John McCain?
    He's the absolute bottom of the barrel. He's worse than Bush in that at least Bush actually believes in his (Bush's) screw'd up world view--McCain doesn't even have strength of conviction to fall back on.
    It's become more & more apparent that he'll say whatever seems expediant at that moment, to very disasterous results(for him, that is).
    Within the last 3-4 weeks, he has flip-flop'd so often and with such rapidity that it's impossible to tell whether he's coming or going...and he's making serious poilitical gaffes to the tune of about one a day lately--some days, like yesterday, he manages to screw himself 2 or even 3 times. Rick Davis must be a train wreck as campaign manager...assuming McCain even listens to Rick.
    I've always despised McCain--thought him a sneaky, puff'd up, arrogant little punk--but until recently, I never realized just how inept he is--he's a walking/talking disaster zone. He must be an absolute embarrassment to the majority of Republicans out there.

  2. Senator McCain can show his face in public because he is a 100% bonafide, lying, opportunistic, angry, old, grudge-holding, warmongering, fearmongering, confused, doddering, scurrilous, adulterous, slanderous, insidious scumbag; or in other words, a mavericky, bulging sack of fetid human excrement.

  3. McCain cant even handle a gap tooth entertainer........... dont get me wrong david letterman is a legend in his own. But for a guy that says hes GOING 2 keep my baby feed, healthy and safe cant even handle queistion's from a team of people who try 2 get a line in a simpsons eposide! your telling me this guy is supposed to handle the WORLD! Dont we know this is a very important job. i dont and wont put up with this democracy seperating my family and co-workers from me, cause i dont know my future! My friend said "remeber when that guy..... did that thing with his co-worker, like i did last summer;P. He was a peoples people he was us someone who lived, felt and understood US"!
    WATCHING that 15 minutes of awww. McCain's camp is really over rated for ignorance. who is a lame excuse for bush's faults.
    But back 2 my babys future: if we got guys like this going up for the #1 job in north america,
    (besides a union plumber' because everybody in the LOW INCOME neighborhoods got jobs like that":)
    We just like to eat ramen noodles amd watch attenna tv!
    But where the lucky ones that dont get sick, walk 2 work and eat once a day, because we invaded a country with the MOST oil in the world just so we can increase NORTH AMERICAs cost???????? Thats are liberty, we just except and appriciate WE are not the ones standing in a taxed funded office asking HOW DO you WANT ME TO LIVE....unemployment, foodstamps, jail, etc........The david letterman show was humbeling in our times of recession and to Mr.McMcain and the the ground we call north america.


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

Follow Us

© 2004 - 
 Perrspectives. All Rights Reserved.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram