July 15th, 2008
10:00 AM ET
6 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)


Filed under: John McCain • Popular Posts
soundoff (234 Responses)
  1. PG

    McSame what about that viagra question? Still waiting.

    July 15, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  2. Thomas

    If " presumptive Republican nominee John McCain plans to criticize his proposals as naïve and premature ", wouldn't it be " naïve and premature " to plan to criticize Obama BEFORE " the Illinois senator’s opposition to the surge policy in Iraq and highlighting his own proposal for victory in Afghanistan " ?

    July 15, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  3. DflateMacsStr8TalkXpress: Econ MIA, AWOL on facts, POW from reality

    Before Grampy rips anyone he better get the difference between Shia and Sunni straight, realize (without Joe Liberman to remind him) the real threat of Al Qaeda, and understand that Czechoslovakia is longer a country so will have nothing to do with Russia. Got it, old man?

    July 15, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  4. JC Atlanta

    OBAMA talk to PETRAEUS early this month and had a meeting with army leaders what is Mc Cain talking about !Of course he is try to get media attention and finally realise that AFGHANISTAN was a big matter wake up MC CAIN you are sleeping buddy!

    July 15, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  5. jean HUISSEIN (WHAT HAPPEN TO THE GREAT COUNTRY WE USED TO BE???)

    GM IS CUTTING JOB.

    WHY ARE WE SHIPPING OUR JOB TO OVERSEAS?
    WHY CAN'T WE COMPETE WITH EUROPEANS AND ASIANS?
    OUR COUNTRY IS GOING DOWNWARD

    AMERICAN AGAINST FREE TRADE AND WAR.

    BARACK HUISSEIN OBAMA 08 AND 12

    July 15, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  6. Chuck, Democrats United We Stand

    Talking about reality, it is a shame that McCain wears blinders and can not see what is fact. McCain needs to open his eyes and see the situation for what it is. Iraq, a failed policy build around a store house of lies and deception. Afganistan a potentially failed policy built around under staffing, underfunding and over shadowed by Iraq's war of lies and deception

    July 15, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  7. Robert, SC

    Adam:

    The first quote is McCain; the second is Obama.

    July 15, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  8. Bryan

    This whole "You can't criticize our policies in Iraq/Afghanistan until you've been there" argument is TERRIBLE. Just give it up, McCain.

    It's like saying you can't critique a movie unless you were on the set when it was made.

    July 15, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  9. RED STATE

    Headline should read

    "MCCAIN TO GIVE SPEACH ON HIS PLANS FOR PERSIA, AND THE GROWING TENSIONS BETWEEN THE USA AND THE USSR."

    July 15, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  10. Esther

    True wisdom and judgement is not about getting the facts or the fact-finding according to McSame, it is about what you do with the facts! It is about insight, predictions that come true and good judgement and solid strategy long before things start playing you out.

    A commander-in-chief should be in control making plans and taking actions to achieve the intended outcomes not the other way around of the outcomes shaping the reactions like McSame obviously supports.

    Obama's record shows a very strong wisdom and judgement as opposed to McSame's considering their predictions on Iraq years ago.

    July 15, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  11. Wisconsin

    McWar's plan is wrong for America. He has no idea what America needs and only wants to be Bush III.

    Obama has a plan for the future and yes I believe that a President talking about Hope is not a bad thing.

    July 15, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  12. The truth

    To Lorna NY:

    No, what you know just came from what the media wrote and not really the facts. Not only the media are biased, but also they only know a part based on what they can cover (and just the ones that they want to cover only). I'm sure, the reality is much more complex than what you and I saw on the media.

    Obama is a sneaky person and want only to take advantage of someone else for his own gain. For example, not only he is not inexperienced and doesn't really know anything that he opposed the troop surge, but also when the surge is working and Iraq is heading toward a democracy country, then he will say that he will finish the job and make Iraq case become America's winning, so that people will see that he is the "hero" that can make the Iraq war becomes good for America.

    Do you see my point here? First, he always positions himself to whatever is good for him, not the country. So if something is moving toward something good for him, he will be there.

    I never see that he's dealing, talking and negotiating with other foreign leaders in the world. What he talks only in America where races are equal and the white people are afraid of the black people.

    If we want to trace back for centuries, what the black people have done and contributed to the world that can make them to be respectable and honored by the world? I'm not saying none, but for how much in percentage?

    If you respect someone, you know that he/she deserves the respect because of his/her pure sacrifice to you, right? Respect cannot be forced. Same thing applies to the nation. Without our sacrifice, don't hope that the world will respect us. And among the Americans, who give the most sacrifices and contributions? You know that.

    If Obama becomes the president, if the world still gives respect, it is because of the America, and not him. But silently, I am sure that the world leaders will undermind him simply because in their mind, black people are Africans who are poor and uneducated. If you ask the world, who they prefer to talk to and to have business with? Surely the white people. Why? Because they are more trusted and respectable. I'm talking about majority. Like or dislike, that is still the reality.

    See, if CNN will post this comment or not. I'm not seeing that this comment will do harm to our country. But if CNN doesn't publish, it's because this comment doesn't favor to Obama. I'm not worried, because I'm blogging to everywhere not only CNN.

    July 15, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  13. Chuck, Democrats United We Stand

    McCain can say anything he want, but no matter what comes from his mouth, it will be nothing by McBush distortions of fact and out right tap dancing around the truth. McCain knows he is wrong and knows that the current policies are wrong; however he lacks the ability to accept the facts as they are and turn a new page towards a new direction.

    July 15, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  14. OBlahBlahBlahBama

    All of you pathetic hypocritic age discriminating punks that constantly moan about racism get a job and move out of your mother's basement. BTW, do you kiss your grandmothers with that filthy unrespectful mouth of yours?

    July 15, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  15. Fred

    Bring it on....

    He can't even use the internet.

    July 15, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  16. Kevin Leo (Jonesboro, GA)

    Think about this rationally people!!! Obama is getting tons of intelligence and ACTUALLY LISTENING to his advisors, unlike Bush or McSame. I don't need to go to Darfur to know how messed up things are there do I?!

    July 15, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  17. FLORIDA Voter for Barack Obama

    I AM A VOTER AND HAVE NEVER BEEN TO IRAQ OR AFGHANISTAN.

    LIKE MOST VOTERS EVEN I CAN SEE IT IS OBVIOUS THE HUGE MISTAKE WE MADE INVADING IRAQ.

    THERE WAS NO EXCUSE. THERE WERE NO WEAPONS. WE HAVE NO PURPOSE THERE NOW UNLESS IT IS THE WRONG PURPOSE SUCH AS OIL!

    HELLO AMERICA? HAVE YOU FALLEN ASLEEP AGAIN?

    WAKE UP AND SMELL THE BS.

    WE NEED TO END THIS CATASTROPHY.

    YOU KNOW THIS AS WELL AS I DO.

    July 15, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  18. Gianni

    McCain is a fool.And I am a Conservative.Republicans are educated illiterates,boring,parochial and ofcourse lack direction.What a pack of fools.

    July 15, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  19. Super D

    First of all,

    If you let a stupid, liberal Democrat in charge of anything military, you're asking for a total screw up.

    Second of all,

    Obamabots, he's not talking to you, he's playing to independents, so enough of your stupid, ignorant and uneducated comments.

    I hope Petraeus spits in his face when they meet. He's nothing but a defeatest.

    July 15, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  20. Jenny

    Rip, that's a good one. McCain should rip open his medication and chill.

    July 15, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  21. Sean

    McCain really IS confused. When Obama made it clear that the execution of his plan for withdrawl will be based on information gathered from Iraq and our military leaders there, McCain claims Obama's flip-flopping. And then McCain invents some strange charge that Obama isn't basing his plan on facts gathered from Iraq and our commanders there, even though in truth, he is?

    Honestly, I'm not really sure what supposed problem McCain is referring to here. He seems to have lost the plot...

    July 15, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  22. Rick

    If the only thing you Obama supporters can run on, is the Bush comparison, then you are in real trouble. I have one simple question to everyone, Democrat, Republican , and Independent. If you apply to be a CEO of a business, do you think they would require years of experience? Our Country is way more important than a business! I know I'd like to get a CEO job by saying "I want to give the employees and stockholders hope and change for a better future." That with 2 years in the mail room would get me laughed out the door. I am confident we will do the right thing!

    July 15, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  23. Were NOT your friends!

    McCain, you are REALLY REALLY out of touch. 99% of Americans havn't been to Iraq and about 70% of them know that we need to begin pulling out and putting an end to this thing! Afghanistan is the MAJOR issue now and ALWAYS should have been! Obama's correct. There's nothing wrong with changing your position on something as long as your truthful and your representing the facts.

    OBAMA '08

    July 15, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  24. desibigb

    "Nine soldiers killed in one day" What other kind of bloody evidence you need to know that Afhganistan should have been a priority rather than Iraq. The whole world except ( mcbush and bush) knows that Iraq was given a priority beacause of self interests. The disgusting fact is there are few who still support mcbush and his planning to stay in iraq for 100 years rather than concentrating more on Afghanistan.

    July 15, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  25. Bruce

    McCain sucks canes wrote:

    "I didn't know how much republicans hated blacks and other minorities. It is apparent that republicans only want the votes and if these minorities are running within their party to advance their racists agenda."

    That is the stupidest things I think I've ever read in here. So you are grouping all Republicans as white and making repugnant remarks. Doesn't THAT slap of racism? You need to get a life.

    July 15, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
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