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. Earl

    Shades of Hillary.

    McCain is trying to pull the military wool over our eyes.

    July 23, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  2. Nora

    Mc Cain` s gaffes are getting bad. New tapes today , from PA are realy scary.!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 23, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  3. lila

    Hay Texas Trail Dog...

    Barack Obama met with a crowd of cheering troops and State Department workers in Baghdad Monday night.

    "So I don't care whether you are a Sailor, a Soldier, an Airmen, or Marine. A National Guard, a Reservist, active duty, we just want to say thank you," Obama said. "Back home, as I travel all across the country, every single day I meet your friends, your family members, your co-workers, and the main thing they want me to communicate is how proud they are of you," Obama continued. "They may disagree on politics. They may disagree on the issues. But the country is absolutely united in the excellence, the devotion, the dedication with which you have performed your duties, here."

    on google type in:

    Obama Gets Mobbed By Crowd of GIs In Baghdad

    Watch the Video.

    That's what our troops think about Obama.

    July 23, 2008 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  4. Montana is Obama Country

    Texas Trail Dog.. You have not been listening. Barack states the exceptional duty of all soldiers and addresses the loss of lives all the time.. repeatedly..

    You are the one who will not "acknowledge" Baracks statements. Try google or youtube. You will find plenty of said comments..

    You should condem McCain for not wearing a Flag Pin and for wanting to continue the war in Iraq which will surely bankrupt America.

    The Native Americans have a saying– It goes like this: If a person is pointing a finger at another- that person should look down at their hand as there are THREE fingers pointing back at them..

    You should look at your hand before opening your mouth..

    July 23, 2008 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  5. TN Susan

    What really stinks is that people like Texas Trail Dog are too crazy to even notice McShame is a major disgrace to the office he seeks. If this man wins America is doomed to more stupidity than even Bush drug us through. I don't even want to think about the laws he will decide to break to make sure everyone believes his way of doing things. Obviously he can't handle the job America, don't close your eyes and pull the lever for this joke. Give America a chance and vote Obama!

    July 23, 2008 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  6. ali

    tx trail dog-lay off the coffee.

    July 23, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  7. Maggie Muggins From Selwyn

    Guess what the person who calls himself the Texas Trail Dog must be Rush Limbaugh in drag. No other sane person could ever make such ridiculous statements.

    In his defence though it is everyone's right to be foolish but should show some constraint on advertising it.

    July 23, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  8. Cheryl

    Texas Trail Dog, could you please make your font even BIGGER. That way I'll know you're a true patriot.

    And try to use the words "brave" and "blood" and especially "freedom" more. Because we're not smart enough to have anything but a knee-jerk response to those all-American words after we've been conditioned by eight years of bully-patriotism.

    Seriously, just for once try talking about the merits of your candidate instead of trying to emotionally blackmail people.

    July 23, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  9. Lucas, Nashville TN

    Somebody get him some new oars. His backpedaling is gonna break this tired old pair.

    July 23, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  10. S. Boatman

    Mccain Needs To Broaden His Definition Of Something Else! Anything Else! Mccain Would Rather Stay At War Than Loose An Election!

    July 23, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  11. cricket

    I thought John McCain was against change. Everytime I turn on the t.v. John McCain has changed his mind. Major Flip-Flopper. He can not tell the same thing twice .

    July 23, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  12. Tell the truth

    Texas Trail Dog! July 23rd, 2008 9:36 pm ET

    ALL OBAMA CAN DO IS LIE, LIE AND LIE STRIVING TO MAKE THE PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT WHAT HE SAID IS THE LIVING TRUTH. HE WILL NOT ACKNOWLEDGE THAT OUR BRAVE SOLDIERS, HAVE FOUGHT, DIED AND LOST THEIR BLOOD IN A FOREIGN LAND TO WIN IT'S FREEDOM. HE WILL NOT ACKNOWLEDGE THE BRAVERY OF OUR FIGHTING MEN. I CONDEMN HIM FOR THIS, BUT HE HAS ONLY PROVED WHAT I HAVE BEEN SAYING ABOUT HIM. ACCORDING TO THE SITUATION HE WILL SAY AND DO ANYTHING TO BACK UP HIS LIES JUST TO WIN THE OVAL OFFICE THAT HE DOESN'T HAVE A CLUE ABOUT RUNNING. SAD, SAD SAD, DAY FOR AMERICA WHEN THIS HAPPENS.

    Please MR. Trail Dog speak with facts. You Obama hater are sad. You should go to Irag and fight. Please do not come home until McCain says so. Leave your family. It is easy for people to type on a computer screen with NO Action.

    GULF WAR VET
    IRAG WAR VET

    July 23, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  13. pat C.

    how can we stand much more of this dribble? i am beginning to hear serge in my sleep. how many times can McCRAZY repeat this word? we get it old man. take credit for it and move on. nobody cares! we just want our men and women out of there and NOW! this is a war that should have never been started and no serge can replace the 4,100 soldiers that have died just so McCain can stand there and stomp his foot and claim he did it! this man is a fool and an idiot and should never be trusted with the responsibility of our country.

    July 23, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  14. roger

    mccain lost his mind this guy thinks surge is everything in his life. looser go home and sleep.

    July 23, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  15. M.S. Indiana

    Texas Trail Dog!
    you are a fraud... don't even know why cnn or any one else lets you blog..
    First off Iraq was a stable country, before we invaded it, it was our ally and was strong, a nice buffer against Iran.
    Second, Obama have only voted against founding the war in Iraq ones, he have tried to get our fine soldier home. Where McCain would rather they stay 100 years and he also voted against the GI bill, which would have been good for our veterans, and DAV gives Obama a 80% support, was 20% for McCain...
    3rd, Bush have said mission was accomplished... McCain have said we succeed, so why not bring the troops home and let Iraq police and military take back their country ?? After all their government wants it so, and the people to too

    July 23, 2008 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  16. Mickey

    McCain is the Commander in Cheese. What a goof-ball.

    He is clearly losing it, and he takes up serious air time to lie about the record. Any time you have to stand in a cheese aisle at the grocery story and redefine the word "surge", your campaign is going down the toilet.

    He is trying to claim the credit for what Colonel McFarland did.

    July 23, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  17. mj

    Hey Texas Dog, haven't you read where Obama consistently acknowledges the sacrifice of the troops? Regardless of who you support, Obama has been very supportive of the troops and the sacrifices they have made. Can you read???? And what facts support your accusations that he lies? Please support your comments with something other than childish accusations because those are meaningless to anyone who is capable of reading the facts.

    July 23, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  18. Hispanos para Obama

    McCain is a Liar !

    July 23, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  19. Enough is enough

    SURGE SURGE SURGE SURGE SURGE!!!!!! I do not think this man can talk about anything else. Heck he does not even know when or why the surge was started.

    July 23, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  20. FactCheck

    McCain has now amended his definition of the surge to include anything positive that has happened in Iraq, Afghanistan, the US or any other part of the world that he can take credit for.

    July 23, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  21. Concerned Citizen of America 2008

    Texas Trail Dog, Do you even read a newspaper or watch a news clip? Obama has always thanked our Men and Women in Uniform for their service. Your posts are not well thought out, full of your opinion, your emotions, and no facts. Some of your posts even show your ignorance as you referred to Obama supporters as porch people? Thank god you aren't a Democrat or an Obama supporter. The GOP can have you..

    July 23, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  22. FactCheck

    Dear Texas Trail Dog: how about your spend at least 10% of the effort in helping Hillary pay off her debt that you do in bashing Obama. Oh wait, that would actually take effort on your part.

    July 23, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  23. Lourdes

    WHAT?!? How can you change the definition of a military strategy after it has already been carried out?

    He either doesn't understand what is really going on (which wouldn't be a surprise considering the mistakes about Czeckoslovakia, the Iraq border, etc,) or else he is a liar who hopes that the American public isn't paying close enough attention to catch him. Either way, NOT presidential.

    July 23, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  24. Trollmaster

    Why can't McCain just be honest and admit he made a mistake?

    By doing this he only makes the whole thing look worse.

    July 23, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  25. jason, tx

    Wow. Now we are changing definitions. Um, this guy is a nutter. How can any of you vote for him. He's gonna trip all over himself from all the back pedaling and it seems he isn't even listening to Obama.

    When is this guy going to start talking about issues instead of trying to bait Obama into a fight.

    That said, I'm glad he is the Republican candidate. He will lose handily and that makes me very happy.

    OBAMA 08

    July 23, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
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