July 15th, 2008
10:00 AM ET
10 years ago

McCain rips Obama foreign policy, lays out Afghanistan plan

McCain criticized Obama's foreign policy Tuesday.

McCain criticized Obama's foreign policy Tuesday.

(CNN) —
Shortly after Barack Obama laid out his foreign policy vision in Washington Tuesday, presumptive Republican nominee John McCain criticized his proposals as naïve and premature, attacking the Illinois senator’s opposition to the surge policy in Iraq and highlighting his own proposal for victory in Afghanistan.

“He is speaking today about his plans for Iraq and Afghanistan before he has even left, before he has talked to General Petraeus, before he has seen the progress in Iraq, and before he has set foot in Afghanistan for the first time,” McCain said at a campaign event in New Mexico. “In my experience, fact-finding missions usually work best the other way around: first you assess the facts on the ground, then you present a new strategy.”

Obama will travel to Iraq later this month as part of a congressional delegation that will include Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Democratic Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, both of whom have been mentioned as possible running mates for the presumptive Democratic nominee.

At his foreign policy speech this morning, Obama attacked McCain's position on the state of the conflict. “Senator McCain said — just months ago — that ‘Afghanistan is not in trouble because of our diversion to Iraq.’ I could not disagree more," he said. "Our troops and our NATO allies are performing heroically in Afghanistan, but I have argued for years that we lack the resources to finish the job because of our commitment to Iraq."

McCain fired back roughly an hour later. “Senator Obama will tell you we can't win in Afghanistan without losing in Iraq. In fact, he has it exactly backwards. It is precisely the success of the surge in Iraq that shows us the way to succeed in Afghanistan,” McCain said. “It is by applying the tried and true principles of counter-insurgency used in the surge - which Senator Obama opposed - that we will win in Afghanistan. With the right strategy and the right forces, we can succeed in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

“I know how to win wars. And if I'm elected President, I will turn around the war in Afghanistan, just as we have turned around the war in Iraq, with a comprehensive strategy for victory.”

McCain’s Afghanistan proposal includes the addition of more brigades, the launch of an integrated nationwide security plan for the civilian population, greater military engagement of Taliban forces and unity of command, a doubling of the size of the Afghan army, a boost in for civilian-military engagement, and the appointment of an “Afghanistan Czar” – a White House-based national security official reporting to the president whose task is to bring the war to an end.

In his Tuesday remarks, he also stressed non-military assistance to the Afghan government and economy, and the promotion of alternative crops as a way to end drug trafficking in that region.

McCain added that special attention must be paid to Pakistan, “where terrorists today enjoy sanctuary,” calling for the strengthening of local tribes who are willing to fight terrorists there, as well as greater non-military assistance to the civilian government.

“Senator Obama has spoken in public about taking unilateral military action in Pakistan. In trying to sound tough, he has made it harder for the people whose support we most need to provide it,” said the Arizona senator.

(Updated with additional McCain remarks)

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soundoff (234 Responses)






    July 15, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  2. Damian

    Its a pity that Democrats show so much hatred in their attacks on Mccain. It now fully expalins their hatred of Bush. The same people who complained that the Republicans love to hate. Just read what you are writing here to know that you are the hater and have taken complete leave of your senses and civility. At this rate, many of you will commit succide come election day. Really Democrats, you have become quite pitiable.

    July 15, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  3. NickNas

    Al,California July 15th, 2008 12:48 pm ET

    You guy can call John McCain all the names you want, but the fact of t he matter is McCain is the most qualified person. How can you depend on a guy's judgement to run the country. One good vote on against the war on Iraq is "amazing judgement"? GOOD LORD! how about "20 years with Rev. Wright"? good judgement? how about allowing his two young daughters get on TV? Good judgement? How about the flip-flop on gun control? Good judgement?How about public campaign fianance? GOOD judgement?How about voting for the spy program of mr. bush? good judgement. This guy will do anything to get elected. I've had it with them democrate

    Think long and hard people!!! DO YOU KNOW WHAT OBAMA's stand is on every issue that is important to US!


    If you can type all of that (totally inaccurate) drivelthen you can navigate to Obamas site and look up EVERY position on ALL of the pertinent issues. I KNOW you won't because people like you do not WANT to know. THEN what would you say in these blogs?

    want to REALLY have fun? Look up McCains record and the 4 or 5 huge gaffs a day he makes....oh and dont forget get McCain to release his FULL Military records and not just the 17 of the over 600 pages that are there.

    Opening ones eyes can be painful at times but walking around in the dark is worse.

    That is all

    July 15, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  4. Amado Castaneda

    John McCain is my hero! Woohoo! Save us all!

    July 15, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  5. people say No to McCain

    BOMB BOMB BOMB BOMB BOMB IRAN....Shiites no i mean Sunni...i don't know about the economy...is that what i voted?...that's one way to kill Iranians...i am not going to be a great communicator...i speak for me-John McCains greatest hits

    July 15, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  6. Martin

    Read Obama's full speech, or watch it, and you'll find a very reasoned approach to a disastrous foreign policy mess. I think these people commenting here are just besides themselves because we haven't had a figure run for POTUS who spoke so clearly on so many issues. Americans must just be used to being lied to all the time. They can't handle a critical thinker in the White House.

    Senator McCain's only ability is to criticize Senator Obama whenever Obama speaks. McCain has NO PLAN for the US. His advisors are JOKES and he only uses them to bolster his own self-serving image when necessary, then drops them when it gets leaked out how completely NUTS they are. McCain's day in the sun was in 1999/2000. Now, he's just NUTS himself.

    July 15, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  7. Maritza

    Grandpa should stop telling Mr. Obama what countries he should visit or not. As OLD as he is, he is not Obama’s father or his grandpa!!!

    July 15, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  8. Phil Newton Murphy, Oregon

    McCain is wedded to a misguided Iraq effort. Obama is committed to finishing that fiasco on a high note and getting on to the REAL frontline: Afghanistan.

    Obama 08

    July 15, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  9. Jack

    Obama doesn't support a surge of troops in Afghanistan, just shifting our resources from Iraq to Afghanistan. And you don't need to be in Iraq to know what's going on there. Last time I checked, we HAVE lost thousands of American lives, we HAVE lost billions of dollars, and we ARE still fighting a war against someone who wasn't involved in the 9/11 attacks. Just a guess though.

    July 15, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
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