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. Randy

    In this era of information tech, one doesn't need to go to Iraq or Afganistan to get to know the info. Unfortunately John Mc Cain doesn't know how to use a PC or browse internet to get to know the facts. He still live in 60's...

    July 15, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  2. The Other Campaign Strategist from 115th St & Amsterdam Ave

    The fact that McCain plans to "rip" Obama on his foriegn policy plan, even before he hears it, means McCain has no concept of "Substance over Sizzle".

    Having just heard Obama lay out a comprehensive 5 – Point ACTION PLAN, I can guarantee you that McCain can't, with any credibility, criticize Senator Obama for " not talking to Petraus" or other leaders.

    On at least 5 occasions, Obama showed how the recommendations, testimony, memos, reports, etc of Gen. Petraus, as well as the commanding General in Afghanistan, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the commanding general responsible for training Iraqi security forces influenced his approach.

    McCain can see to wrap himself in a cloak of "I know the military better than you do" if he wants to be he will look like an UTTER FOOL if he does.

    To simply criticize without regard for the substance is an insult to thinking Americans everywhere. We are not mindless Mr. McCain. You've got to bring some meat to the his party. Hold the gravey .... hold the hand waving.

    July 15, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  3. Roberto

    Our country is teetering on the brink of a major economic meltdown because of Republican fiscal policies (during Bush's 7.5 years the national debt has gone from $5 Trillion to almost $10 Trillion) and people actually want a Bush clone in the White House?

    How stupid is that?

    July 15, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  4. Shawn, Takoma Park, MD

    *yawn*

    McSame promises to continue the most backwards and disastrous foreign policy in US history, so frankly I couldn't give aq squirt about any criticism he has of Obama on the subject. I trust Obama MUCH more on foreign policy. Period.

    July 15, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  5. Praying for America

    Everyone that thinks this war is ok something is wrong. You are looking a Obama as someone who does not know what he is talking about if you noticed Bush is listening. He has been doing exactly what Obama has been saying through the back door. America please wake up our troops are dying and our country is going to the dogs because we will not open our minds are hearts to think maybe this man does not know what he is talking about. You are saying you have to go to Iraq first before you can say that what we should do. Well what are you thinking we should do? Keep our troops over there indefinitely and what is going to happen to America. We are on the loosing end of this. McCain's wife just picked up millions of dollars off the sell of the beer company that was just sold. She was worth 100 million what is she worth now. All of you on this blog do you have a 100.00. Keep a close mind and I guarantee it is going to get worst with McCain.

    July 15, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  6. Marcia Fennell

    Worse than the thought of another terrorist attack, is what happens to the USA if Barak Obama becomes President.

    God help us all, if that tragedy occurs. Amen.

    July 15, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  7. Dana

    Angie you are 100 percent correct!! McBush is about Oil Oil profits because they are already rich and set for life so they don't care about the American people!! PEOPLE WAKE UP!!!

    July 15, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  8. Sylvia

    Just like Wesley Clark has said, being a POW does not qualify one to be commander in chief. McWar has not serve in a position to make decision critical in a war as a commander. McWar will only push Bush's agenda in Iraq. Status quo and a never-ending war. Same ole, same ole.

    July 15, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  9. Marie, Canada

    Senator McCain's surge was used to put walls up in all major cities in Iraq between local citizens that will never get along.

    I don't call that winning a war. I call that sticking your nose where it doesn't belong and trying to save face.

    Didn't McCain make another old age mistake yesterday when referring to Czeckoslovakia instead of the Czech Republic?

    His mistakes keep adding up and makes his foreign service experience argument look bad.

    July 15, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  10. Praying for America

    Everyone that thinks this war is ok something is wrong. You are looking a Obama as someone who does not know what he is talking about if you noticed Bush is listening. He has been doing exactly what Obama has been saying through the back door. America please wake up our troops are dying and our country is going to the dogs because we will not open our minds are hearts to think maybe this man does know what he is talking about. You are saying you have to go to Iraq first before you can say that what we should do. Well what are you thinking we should do? Keep our troops over there indefinitely and what is going to happen to America. We are on the loosing end of this. McCain's wife just picked up millions of dollars off the sell of the beer company that was just sold. She was worth 100 million what is she worth now. All of you on this blog do you have a 100.00. Keep a close mind and I guarantee it is going to get worst with McCain.

    July 15, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  11. tanner, ca

    The posters on this site are really pathetic. This is the worst moderated board I have ever seen. Talk about one sided... sheesh! Do you delusional people really think that these messages really reflect the views of all Americans? I'll answer that for you, no. All these boards reflect are the views of a handful of nutcases who are preaching to the choir.

    July 15, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  12. NPA

    Everybody who's got some sense knows this is a dog and pony show. There is not very much that Sen. Obama is going to find out through his visit to Iraq that he could not find out from reading the reports. Same goes for John McCain and his past visits. US officials are always sheltered when they hit the ground in Iraq.

    So all this talk and counter talk is a show.

    July 15, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  13. FLORIDA Voter for Barack Obama

    LET'S CLEAR THIS UP ONCE AND FOR ALL:

    O.B.A.M.A. H.A.S. A.L.W.A.Y.S. W.RI.T.T.E.N. H.I.S. O.W.N. S.P.E.E.C.H.E.S.

    DO NOT TRY TO COMPARE HIM TO THAT EMPY HEADED REPUB NAMED BUSH.

    July 15, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  14. David Goldman

    EVERY MILITARY EXPERT, EVERY ONE OF THEM,

    REGARDLESS OF POLITICAL AFFILIATION, HAS

    EITHER IN PRIVET BUT MOSTLY IN PUBLIC,

    STATED THE BUSH_MCBUSH PLAN DEFICIENT IN

    EVERY WAY FOR THE AFGHANISTAN & IRAQ WAR .

    BILL CLINTON FOUGHT A WAR WITH A BETTER EQUIPPED

    NATION (YUGOSLAVIA) AND DID NOT LOSE A SINGLE

    AMERICAN LIFE. THAT WAS SWIFT & ACCURATE & WITH

    THE HELP OF OTHER NATIONS.

    AND HOW WAS OUR ECONOMY? STELLAR

    WE GOT HELP. BUSH & MCBUS JUST GREEDY MONKEYS

    WITH THE IQ OF A POTATO. THEY KNOW TWO THINGS,

    BOMB, BOMB, BOMB, & PUT THE MONEY IN OUR ACCOUNTS,

    VOTE FOR MCSHAME & THE PRICE OF GAS WILL BE $10.000 GAL.

    July 15, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  15. Julian

    Obama has never said the surge isn't working or wasn't working, read the article and not just the headline

    July 15, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  16. McLame = Nearing the end of an erosion cycle

    Love My USA
    Obama you are doing great its all the way to the White House /Oval Office .
    For the Obama Movement just wait you ain't seen nothing like it yet the wheels are just starting to turn .
    Obama dont fill town halls he fills arenas .
    Vote Obama

    Obama 08/2008
    Yes We Can
    Change We Can Believe In
    Hope

    July 15, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  17. Tracey

    I have talked to someone who has been in Iraq, MY SON, and let me tell you it is all messed up over there, Obama is right all the way!!!! We need to get out asap. and win in Afghanistan. McCain needs to drop out and let America move on!!!! I want this country to always be great, but there are things going on here that need to be taken care of. The GI Bill needs to be done and the soldiers should have what they need. They have done their duty!!! McCain will not win, people are tired of the same old, same old. Lets keep hope alive and move in the direction!!!!

    July 15, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    ALL OF YOU GOPERS PLEASE GO BACK TO FIXED NEWS SITE AND SPEW YOUR HATRED YOU ARE NOT WANTED HERE...LMAO

    July 15, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  19. Edward

    McCain just argued that the SUCCESS of the SURGE need to be replicated in Afghanistan...thatthe two arenas are therefore linked. So the 5 year mis-adventure in Iraq is now only a testing ground for the true battle?!?!

    This man does not have a clue beyone fighting. Barrack is right he is talking about STRAGEDIES that we make us safe McCain is focused on TACTICS. There is a HUGE DIFFERENCE. One is visionary forward looking, the other is shortsighted.

    July 15, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  20. Canadian black man for Obama.

    McCain supporters please give me a break.

    Does Mccain step his foot on Iran before he knew he have to bomb them?
    Does McCain step his foot on Iraq before he support the invasion of Iraq say they will recieve us with flowers and as liberators?

    McCain will think he has step foot in everwhere whereas he is losing his mind.

    Old man please give me a break.
    The surge of the Iraqi war working because we buyout the enemy, we made payment to lots of people who have to work with us.

    We have not kill all the Enemies in Iraq Senator McCain. The Enemies are still there only we pay them to support us.

    MCCain you can't fool us our soilders have worked brainlently, but they did not kill all the insurgents.

    McCain is calling Obama fli flop ahhhhh!!!!
    You voted against Bush tax cut 2 times before you now support it, you said you have no clue about economic 5 moths ago now you know everything about economic.

    First /second of your tries said Americans cause the house foreclosure not lender. Your third try you now support help to those whom were affected by house forecolsure.

    McCain fli flop before you call Obama fli flop please do yourself a favour take a look at mirror first.

    July 15, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  21. Tom

    I feel sleepy, McCain is boring

    July 15, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  22. fedup

    McLame, McBush, McSame, McWar, etc....
    Interesting how all those people who are so interested in speaking of how Obama is all about hope and bringing unity are sitting here publicly calling his opponent names. A bit childish. Does Obama know how to recite a speech to people and have charisma? Yes. That doesn't mean he knows how to handle foreign affairs. By the way...if someone turned Obama's name into a joke, they'd get crucified for making a racist comment. But it's okay to do it to his opponent with no repercussion. Just a thought.

    July 15, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  23. Arden

    "And the hits just keep on coming". Now we are not only going to stay in Iraq for 100 years McCain plans to send our military without any rest or a brake to Afganistan. Just where are we going to get the money for this and what about the mess we have at home. It's not important. Well get ready folks we are heading for a depression. Sen. McCain represents a nightmare.

    July 15, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  24. Josh

    Obama is more fit to be President than McSame. Because according to him, we are nothing but a bunch of whiners and the bad economy in my state of Ohio is psychological. John McCain should not be President since he can't separate fantasy from reality. The reality is people are suffering under the Bush's regime reckless policies. We the people must make the right decision and put Barack Obama in the White House. It's time to send old senile John McCain back home. If McCain is president, then the end of the world will come faster than we ever dreamed possible.

    July 15, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  25. nathan

    Remember on CNN when McCain said "General Petraeus goes out there almost every day in an unarmed humvee".

    General Petraeus has NEVER gone out of the GREEN ZONE without any armoured protection. It seems McCain also needs to speak to General Petraeus!!

    Also, as far as foreign experience, he'd do well to know, Czechoslovakia does NOT EXIST! There is no such country! Even GW knows this and pointed it out to McCain in the 2000 campaign!!

    July 15, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
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