November 8th, 2007
05:05 PM ET
7 years ago

GOP Senate leader says Iraq war 'winding down'

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell insisted Thursday that the Iraq war is "winding down," one of the most positive statements yet by a congressional leader.

It comes as Democrats are launching another attempt at pulling combat troops out of Iraq. In response, McConnell told CNN Radio that Democrats are making a mistake.

"The war is winding down. Next year's election is going to be about this Congress and what it failed to do," McConnell said in his Capitol office.

The Kentucky senator pointed to recent newspaper reports of lower death tolls and insisted there will be "fewer and fewer troops in Iraq, fewer and fewer casualties, more and more ... return to normalcy."

He spoke to a handful of reporters on the same day House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a proposal to temporarily fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and set the goal of pulling U.S. combat troops out of Iraq in a year.

A similar bill passed Congress in May but was vetoed and killed. The latest effort could meet a similar fate as Democrats show no sign that they have gained the votes to override the president's block.

Republicans are salivating over the chance to make Democrats appear obsessed with a single topic.

"I think it's bad politics," McConnell said. " His thoughts echo points raised by other Republicans in and out of Congress as they launch a counteroffensive. But McConnell's assessment that the war is "winding down" was among the most positive.

At the same time, Democrats insist the war is a continued disaster.

"This is not working, it's a war without end," said Pelosi. "There is no light at the end of the tunnel. We must reverse it."

– CNN Radio's Lisa Desjardins


Filed under: Iraq • Mitch McConnell
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Sarah, Kansas City, MO

    Sure the republicans would love to change the subject on the war. How about the economy and our enormous deficit and debt Sen. McConnell? The republicans have once again led us into serious economic trouble.

    November 8, 2007 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  2. Gorbashov

    It's winding down????? What SPIN!!!

    2 million, mostly middle class, have fled the country. Over another 2 million are internally displaced due to ethic cleansing. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi's dead and wounded.

    NO POLITICAL RECONCILIATION IN SIGHT!

    Yeah, "winding down"!

    How does anyone take these Republic Party Spin Doctors seriously?

    November 8, 2007 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  3. Brian, Orlando, Florida

    More lies from a Bush ally.

    November 8, 2007 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  4. Pete, T.S. FL

    Winding down? Meaning what? A month, a year, a decade what? Stay the course?

    November 8, 2007 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  5. brandi laurinda, ny

    i'm glad the war is winging down- now if we can only elect a real preseidnt who knows about what real americans want and need, wee'll be in better shape in 08 and beyond

    November 8, 2007 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  6. Evie, TS Florida

    Why is moderation taking so long?


    "I think it's bad politics," McConnell said. " His thoughts echo points raised by other Republicans in and out of Congress as they launch a counteroffensive. But McConnell's assessment that the war is "winding down" was among the most positive.

    At the same time, Democrats insist the war is a continued disaster.

    "This is not working, it's a war without end," said Pelosi. "There is no light at the end of the tunnel. We must reverse it."

    I think it is time we begin to LISTEN to reason.

    This article points us in the direction to put on a blind fold and pray we "hanging chad" the right one.

    Ron Paul ... we need to hear more of what he has DONE.

    F-O-C-U-S

    November 8, 2007 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  7. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    I can't remember but isn't what the leadership said about the Vietnam war as it continued on for several more years?

    Tell this to those who have family still fighting over there ... tell them when their soldiers are coming home!

    November 8, 2007 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  8. Bob, Seattle

    Senator McConnell's words are like a toxin to a weed for the Dems. Watch them squeal as their cries become irrelevant.

    November 8, 2007 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  9. Bill, Streamwood, IL

    Lemme guess, the war in Iraq will finally end and we'll declare victory about a week before next year's elections?

    November 8, 2007 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  10. J. Lee, San Diego, CA

    Here we go again... I remember in the past there were talks about the "last throes" of insurgency, etc... Until US troops are on their way out of Iraq, I think it's a little premature to say that the "war is winding down." Republicans seem to have this problem with counting their chickens before they hatch with regards to the war in Iraq...

    November 8, 2007 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  11. Ben, Santa Cruz, CA

    Apparently senator McConnell failed to read the CNN article a few days ago about how 2007 has seen the most American casualties in Iraq yet. At what point does right-wing "spin" become utter insanity? Where does this guy get his info, a "think"-tank funded by Haliburton?

    November 8, 2007 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  12. john , St.Louis

    Hasn't this year had the highest American death toll?
    Yeah, its winding down, the insurgency must be in it's last throes again , and we're still being greeted as liberators.

    November 8, 2007 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  13. Tom Z, FL

    The Democrats are blinded by their own hunger for power. A look at what's actually going on in Iraq and Afghanistan shows that The Democrats are are only trying to appease their Moveon.org base, not reality.

    November 8, 2007 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  14. Ivan, Chicago, Illinois

    What's happening in Iraq is just the lull before the storm in Iraq. And since Bush and you Republicans own the War in Iraq, you will pay the price of it's success or it's failure, at the ballot box. And right now success is not a good bet.

    November 8, 2007 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  15. Rita - Indianapolis, IN

    I understand now. When people take something out of context, it changes the picture. I have had this done to me, something was taken completely out of context and made into a lie in a Civil Rights case and I was being charged for $7,120 of 10 months loss of tenant income that I never made this owner lose. Many more lies came from all of this also. This was a total surprise to me as I am a handicap person and do not harass or call anyone all night long especially when I did not know their phone number.
    Usually police are called when someone is being harassed, no police came to my door = one red flag.

    November 8, 2007 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  16. Hank, Fort Myers, Fl

    This is a hoot–and must be very slow news day indeed for this deadwood headline of this Senator's assessment of the situation in Iraq. Thank you sir...I feel so much more reassured thanks to your indepth assessment.
    As a Senator...he gets regular security briefings from the White House. These are classified status reports with up-to-the-minute analyusis of the situation on the ground in Iraq-Yet to define that the "war is winding down" he must use a newspaper article to support his view. Another class example of how ignorant the Republicans think Americans are. All he had to do was carry his lazy butt to the front door and pick a newspaper–and CNN qouted him!!! God what a mess we are in.

    November 8, 2007 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  17. a.thomas, ny, ny

    It is naieve to say that the war in iraq is winding down because

    a) there are million of people being displaced in iraq; and

    b) the american soldiers have given weapons to the sunnis to drive out the al-qaeda terrorists, and the sunnis with arms will be a big civil war problem to the current shiites. administration.

    November 8, 2007 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  18. Jeff, Burlington VT

    Winding down from what? Wasn't Mission Accomplished already declared a few years ago?

    November 8, 2007 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  19. pierce, philadelphia pa

    the republican party is destroying this country to make the rich richer. their famed morality involves only the worship of mammon. what a contemptible group of hypocrites. open your eyes america.

    November 8, 2007 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  20. D. Endo, Honolulu HI

    Mitch McConnell is a moron.

    November 8, 2007 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  21. Jake, IA

    Democrats want us to fail so badly in Iraq. Unbelievable! Keep speaking Pelosi, each comment sounds more anti-american than the previous.

    "This is not working, it's a war without end," said Pelosi. "There is no light at the end of the tunnel. We must reverse it."

    November 8, 2007 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  22. Sharon, Littleton, CO

    I wish Mitch would retire. He's certainly out-of-touch with reality.

    November 8, 2007 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  23. Christian, Tampa FL

    Winding down? Okay, let's bring the troops home, then. NOW.

    November 9, 2007 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  24. Steve, Portland, OR

    Yeah right. Wasn't this last month a month for Islamic holidays. Lets see those numbers decrease in the next few monthe before elections and I expect you'll get some political capital. If not, well it's about time we citizens cleaned House and Senate of both parties. Electing more independants that care more about their constituents as well as our soldiers and our mostly forgotten veterans.

    November 9, 2007 02:48 am at 2:48 am |
  25. corb, Seattle WA

    Is there a single person on Earth who would buy that line? He may as well dust off the old "Mission Accomplished" sign.

    Hey, if its winding down why don't we cut the soldiers pay again. They won't be needing it!

    November 9, 2007 04:05 am at 4:05 am |
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