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. Dem 4 Obama, PA

    Oh sure, Sen. Obama is the one that is naive and lacking experience. Isn't he the one that actually drew all this necessary attention to the REAL war on terror...the one taking place in Afghanistan. Now McCain has a plan for that war too. He wasn't even thinking of Afghanistan before everyone realized that Obama was right in terms of his focus!

    McCain is clueless and simply following Obama's lead. Oh, and how can he be prepared to oppose it when he hasn't even heard it? I guess his speech writers have some stock rebuttals on file.

    McCain...what a joke!

    July 15, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  2. Rugo A.

    MCCAIN travelled to Iraq more than ten times and he still believe the war on terror is in Iraq, I don't think that he understand the real war that america should be fighting.

    July 15, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  3. FLIP FLOPPERS UNITED

    Another flip flop for Barrack

    July 15, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  4. Bulldog

    McCain has been on how many fact finding missions to Iraq and still can't get his facts straight. The "surge" was meant to get the Iraqi government to gets it's act together while decreasing violence. It has succeeded in decreasing violence but the Iraqi governement is far from getting it's act together and many innocent people are still dying everyday. Just because military members are not dying doesn't mean innocent Iraqis dying is ok. But according to McCain Iraq is a great success while 30 people were killed just today. He doesn't even know the difference between the Shia and Sunnis. Obama knows that and hasn't even been there. McCain is stuck back in the 60's. We need someone who understands the current times.

    July 15, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  5. The Clear Thinking Independent Voter

    I had the pleasure of see President Bush’s news conference this morning. He read prepared remarks, the details of which he clearly was uncomfortable with. I then saw him attempt to answer reporters questions doing what I thought was a poor job of keeping on topic. At one point, he remarked something to the effect of , “I’m 62, I don’t remember everything you’ve asked”.

    Immediately following, Senator Obama presented his comprehensive, detailed, foreign policy plans for the nation. It was a well thought out treatise and he had command of the details in a way that I’ve not seen from either George Bush or John McCain. His intellectual superiority as compared to these two gentlemen was clear.

    Moreover, I don’t know when I’ve heard a politician in recent years, including ALL 100 Senators in Congress, discuss an action plan with a schedule and the resources (people, dollars, equipment) so completely specified. It puts to rest every criticism ever uttered by ANY opponent of Barack Obama. These were strategic solutions that reflect a masterful understanding of the lessons of history, the stimuli that move the human spirit of all on Earth into action, combined with the benefits that Superpower status affords the United States.

    Bravo Senator … mindless critics be silent now.

    July 15, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  6. Love My USA

    CHANGE??????? BO – null null – otherwise known as Dr. NO!

    "CHANGE"......What I Believe BO's Definition of Change Is!

    C = COMMUNISM
    H = HATRED
    A = ABORTION
    N = NEGATIVE
    G = GREED
    E = ELITISM

    "Change" is fleeting! Positive and Negative – Good and Bad. Obama's self-serving "change" born from contempt and controversy, is like a wrecker destroying in a day or two, what it took noble builders – our founding fathers – years to construct.

    The tale of the sinister scorpion, mirrors BO's blueprint of deceit.

    The scorpion, a poor swimmer, asked the turtle to carry him across the river. "Are you mad?" exclaimed the turtle. "While swimming, you'll sting me and I'll drown."
    Laughed the scorpion, "If I sting you, you would drown and I would go down with you. Where is the logic in that?"
    "You're right. Hop on!" said the turtle.
    Halfway across the river, the scorpion gave the turtle a mighty sting. As they both sank to the bottom, the turtle resignedly asked, "You said there'd be no logic in stinging me. Why did you do it?"
    "It has nothing to do with logic," the drowning scorpion replied. "IT'S JUST MY CHARACTER."

    MORAL – “IT’S NOT WHAT I SAY, BUT WHAT I DO”
    Which is talk out of both sides of his mouth.

    LOVE MY USA

    July 15, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  7. Rick FL

    Once again, Obama is correct in his approach to foreign policy, addressing the real concerns where they exist in Afghanistan. We should not continue using our valuable resources in this senseless occupation in Iraq, as Bush & McCain propose. The Iraqi government does not want us there either.

    It's interesting to see how many times Obama has been correct on foreign policy. He continues to be validated even after so-called "experienced" politicians offer misguided criticism (i.e. Iraq, North Korea, Pakistan, etc.). I'll take Obama's judgment any day.

    July 15, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  8. LT in Cali

    What I want to know is why McCain is suddenly concerned with Afganistan? Where was his plan before now? Why did he wait until Obama started really pushing the need to reinforce troops there?

    He once again shows that Obama has shown better judgement in this situation without having had to visit.

    All you Obama haters need to get off the man's back. Obama has shown more concern for the troops, veterans and better judgement than the military man.

    July 15, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  9. David Goldman

    MCMORON IS THE ONE THAT HELPED THE OTHER

    WARMONGERING IMBECILE GET US HERE. MCSAME

    CAN'T FIND HIS WAY TO THE BATHROOM, WITHOUT HELP,

    LET ALONE OUT OF THE CRAP HOLE

    HE & BUSH PUSHED US IN.

    July 15, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  10. Bill

    Mattt I agree anybody would be better than Senator Obama. I also think anybody would be better than Senator McCain too. This country is a great place to live and for the life of me I cannot understand how we ended up with two of the worst choices in American history. This country needs a President with experience knowledge on how to get this country moving again. Senator Obama will state anything to get anybody to vote for him. In closing a vote for Senator Obama is a second term of President Jimmy Carter. A vote for Senator McCain is a third term of President George W. Bush. I am old enough to remember what shape this country was in when President Carter was in office. We do not need a return to that either. We also do not need another four years of President George W. Bush either.

    Please is there anybody else to vote for?

    July 15, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  11. Bulldog

    Fact finding mission? How many facts has McCain learned from his multiple fact finding missions? He doesn't even know the difference between Shiites and Sunnis. He thinks Iran is training Al Queda and Joe Lieberman of all people had to correct him three times. He doesn't even know how many troops are there. McCain shouldn't be telling anyone to get facts until he can get them right himself.

    July 15, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  12. Jan From Boca Raton, Fl

    Obama dosen't have a clue of what he's talking about. He takes his
    lead from his speech writers. God help us all if he is our next President.

    July 15, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  13. Rico in Arkansas

    IF ANY REPUBLICAN OR WAR ADVOCATE COULD SPECIFICALLY DEFINE TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WHAT "WINNING IN IRAQ'" ACTUALLY CONSISTED OF MAYBE WE COULD GET ON BOARD.

    OCCUPYING DOES NOT EQUAL WINNING AND REPUBLICANS ARE ALL ABOUT WINNING EVEN WHEN THEY DON'T KNOW WHAT CONSTITUTES A WIN.

    I WAS ALWAYS TOLD, IF YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE FIGHTING FOR DON'T FIGHT.

    July 15, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  14. linda from South Dakota

    sonds like mccain is quoting bush,, ummmm anything to get the election,,,,, mccain stick to the issues(if you can remember) gooo obama08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 15, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  15. OBAMA BACKER

    This statement comes from the guy that still can't get his countries right. He quoted a country that hasn't existed for 15 year and I'm to believe that foreign policy is his strong suite. Please thats one of those things that if you say it enough then we will start to beleive it.

    July 15, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  16. sh

    What do expect from an senior citizen who still thinks war in Iraq is ok. Iraqis are going to treat us the same way they treated Allawi when they booted him as he ran from the mosque to save his life. What a disaster that would be. Matbe by that time Shell, Cheveron and Mobil got all the contracts for oil and USA soilders will be protecing them and MCBUSH will still say we are going after the terrorist not oil. Wake up voters throw these senior citizen trying to run our life by imposing war on us and we cannot even afford to fill our gas to go to work. VOte for change.

    July 15, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  17. Obamination

    Senator Obama once again demonstrates he is an empty suit.

    Nice shell but no substance.

    July 15, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  18. McSameMcCain on myspace

    Gramps McCain is unfit to be president.

    July 15, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  19. Peter of Oregon

    John Keating 5 McCain: Bomb, Bomb, Bomb... Bomb, Bomb Iran...

    We already know what his military policy is.

    July 15, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  20. EMJ

    My plans better than yours! Nu uh, my plan is the best...

    July 15, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  21. ANGIE

    mccain is clueless the only reason bush mccain and the republicans dont want to get out of iraq is OIL OIL they dont care about making us americans safe they are oil men like hillary said its time to get the oil men out of the white house DEMS UNITE UNITE NOW TO STOP THIS MADNESS!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 15, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  22. DOH!

    This, from the man that confuses Shiites and Sunnis? This, from the man that needs Joe Lieberman whispering in his ear to correct his mistakes?
    This, from the man that thinks singing "Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Iran" is a JOKE? This, from the man that thinks joking about killing Iranians with cigarettes is appropriate?

    THIS IS THE REPUBLICAN NOMINEE FOR PRESIDENT?

    Now THAT is a joke.

    July 15, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  23. Ms. D

    Mccain can rip all he wants because the truth will set him free!! The truth hurt and everything Obama said is correct!!

    July 15, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  24. Rob

    Obama never paid any attention to the war in Afghanistan or Iraq. he never attended any briefings about it neither. he never cared. why is he now? oh yeah, because he can get votes. I understand.

    I live in NC (Camp Lejeune) and I dare to vote for this guy. He even doesnt salute to the flag, a symbol that I would die for. How can I have respect for him...

    Rob from NC.

    Semper Fi

    July 15, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  25. Car

    Obama has a policy plan? That's a joke.

    July 15, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
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