July 23rd, 2008
07:00 PM ET
6 years ago

McCain broadens definition of surge

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McCain campaigned in Pennsylvania Wednesday.'
McCain campaigned in Pennsylvania Wednesday.'

BETHLEHEM, Pennsylvania (CNN) – John McCain defended comments he made in an interview on Tuesday when he incorrectly argued that the surge in Iraq gave way to the so-called “Anbar Awakening” – when Sunni leaders joined forces with U.S. troops to fight Al Qaeda in the fall of 2006.

The Arizona senator told reporters Wednesday afternoon that when he refers to the surge, it encompasses not just the January 2007 increase in troop levels but also the counter-insurgency that started in Iraq’s Al Anbar province months prior.

“A surge is really a counter-insurgency strategy, and it’s made up of a number of components,” McCain said. “This counter-insurgency was initiated to some degree by Colonel McFarland in Anbar province, relatively on his own.”

“General Petraeus said that the surge would not have worked, and the Anbar Awakening would not have taken place, successfully, if they hadn’t had an increase in the number of troops,” McCain added.

“I’m not sure frankly that people really understand that a surge is part of counter-insurgency strategy which means going in, clearing, holding, building a better life, providing services to the people,” he continued.

In an interview with CBS’s Katie Couric on Tuesday, McCain said that the surge led U.S. forces to ally with Sunnis, “And it began the Anbar Awakening. I mean, that's just a matter of history."

The Obama campaign quickly seized on the discrepancy in the timeline between when the Awakening started and the U.S. later added 30,000 boots on the ground. Before McCain responded, his camp hit back saying that Democrats were minimizing the military’s role in recent successes in Iraq.


Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (131 Responses)
  1. WWI vet

    LOL

    What ever GRAMPS.

    July 23, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  2. My Dog Ate The Nightengale That Used To Sing on Berkeley Square

    I just saw McCain deliver this rather bizarre message. If I didn't dislike him so much, I'd almost feel sorry for him.

    July 23, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  3. Emma, San Jose, CA

    Sorry, John. We are not buying that it was you said when you were angry about Obama looking so good.

    July 23, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  4. pete

    this makes no sense. I am trying to like you John.....

    July 23, 2008 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  5. Sarah

    I thought McCain was strait shooter.
    He is clearly twisting the reality and mixing troop increase with political reconciliation...
    What a hypocracy!

    July 23, 2008 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  6. linda from South Dakota

    as normal, mccain is making comments to his advantage,,,, we are tired of your lies,,,,,,, be gone!!! scat!!!!! and dont forget to take your meds,,,,,, i would never believe anything mccain said,,, never!!!!!! hes too much like bush,,,,

    July 23, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  7. David Goldman for OBAMA

    I GUESS WHEN SOME GET OLD & LOSE SOME SURGES,

    SOME CONSTANTLY PURSUES OTHERS.

    MCSAME HAS FOUND A SUBSTITUTE, WAR.

    July 23, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  8. Amazed

    Ok, I usually do not leave comments (just read them); but is this guy for real?? Regardless of who I am for and what I believe in, this can't be believed on level of reality. This guy acts like we're living within the Matrix and somehow we've all made the choice to take the wrong colored pill....thus the truth and what we all know to be common sense does not exist. My point...this guy is a straight talk liar and expounder of the truth. Where's Neo when you need him?!

    July 23, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  9. aware

    The surge is a huge success, and Obama is making a fool of himself by denying it!

    But, the two-faced Obama will readily take two positions at the same time and expect what he thinks are stupid Americans to fall for his obfuscation and political expediency!

    America, tell Obama to give it up! We can't stand his prevaracating ways!

    McCain 08, the only wise choice! :)

    July 23, 2008 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  10. Roofin Reality, Houston, Tx.

    Okay. Isn't this someting out of Back to the Future or The Matrix?
    I mean,
    you give a standardly accepted definition of the surge
    and then you flub the history of the definition
    So today, you CHANGE the definition?

    Wow, I think I should have gotten into politics after all?
    Way to go Senator McCain.

    July 23, 2008 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  11. OMG

    Exactly how stupid does he think voters are???? Oh..wait, we're talking about republican voters...ok then. Go ahead Sidney, carry on with your lies, the sheep will follow.

    July 23, 2008 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  12. ABSENT MCCAIN

    I am no McCain fan, and will not vote for him. It seems to me that this man is fixated on his opponent. Where is McCain's solutions to high gas prices, the economy, job loss, the mortgage crisis. When I do find one of McCains so called solutions, they are laughable and extremely unrealistic! This man has absolutely no clue how to fix today's economy, how to help the America of today, or how to even begin to understand what is wrong in America! But hey, he's been around for 72 years so he must know how to handle and relate to the America of today. Like those wacky kids that listen to that new music called jazz! This man has absolutely no clue and no solution to any problems we face now and into the future! All he does is fixate on his opponent. I think mainly because his opponent is offering real solutions to real peoblems. All McCain does is state why his oppnents ideas and solutions won't work without offering any reason, or any solution of his own! Just like his war stance, all he knows how to do is attack, attack, attack!!

    July 23, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  13. Roofin Reality, Houston, Tx.

    By the way,
    I think Senator Obama clearly stated the there were some security successess thanks to the men and women of the military. If you go back and read the transcript of what he said, that's almost verbatim.

    Come on Team McCain, you have to do better. The American people deserve better.

    Let's rock with Obama, at least he isn't going around trying to change the widely held definition of the surge.

    July 23, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  14. Dr.Mimi De La Cruz for OBAMA

    MCBUSH MUST HAVE A MEDICAL CONDITION THAT

    REQUIRES THE IRAQ WAR. PROBLEM IS, THAT HE

    IS BLEEDING OUR CHILDREN & ECONOMY.

    July 23, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  15. baracomama

    McCain said. “This counter-insurgency was initiated to some degree by Colonel McFarland in Anbar province, relatively on his own.”

    So what is it that he (McCain) is taking credit for ?????

    July 23, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  16. A NATION OF WHINERS for OBAMA

    MCBUSH DOES SO SORELY WANT TO FORK OVER THOSE

    IRAQI CONTRACTS TO HIS LOBBYIST. THERE IS NO WAY IN

    GOD'S GREEN EARTH, THAT WE ARE GOING TO STAY IN IRAQ.

    July 23, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  17. a southern bell for OBAMA

    MCBUSH HAS NO PLANES FOR AMERICA, OTHER

    THAN PAYING FOR HIS PLANS FOR IRAQ.

    July 23, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  18. Obama to the rescue 08/12

    McFroggy is so full of it , jealous ,stale, blank full of lies reminds hearing his lingo is like watching paint dry

    He has dirrhea of the mouth.

    July 23, 2008 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  19. Angry Old Warmonger

    Whatever .... this war is so old ... end it already.

    July 23, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  20. Tjaye in LA

    Hmmm....I wonder if he is just saying this to win a political campaign.

    July 23, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  21. Susan

    Did anybody see this exppppplanation on the news tonight. he sounded like a muddled old man, who claims there was a surge before the surge. it was pitiful This man has no businedd being POTUS!

    July 23, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  22. Peachy Keen

    Hahahahahaha. Oh man, this guy is something else. I really think, after he loses in November, he should apply for the next season of Last Comic Standing.

    July 23, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  23. Obama 08: white, 60 year old woman

    To expand Biden: Guliani thinks 9/11 is a noun and a verb; McCain thinks "surge" is both.

    CNN: please send the comments for the blog "Plouffe briefs Dems on Obama's campaign strategy"...maybe then he will get it that this endless need for confirmation as a great military strategist just ain't cutting it with the voters!!

    July 23, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  24. karen

    You OLD liar........

    July 23, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  25. Obama 08: white, 60 year old woman

    By the way, the Shiek McCain says was saved by the tank the 'SURGE" was able to park outside his house, the one who is widely credited for the Awakening was killed in Anbar as a result of a bomb attack in Sept. 2007.

    July 23, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
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