August 7th, 2008
04:30 PM ET
6 years ago

McCain: High price of oil one justification for Iraq war vote

Sen. McCain took questions at a town hall event in Ohio Thursday.
Sen. McCain took questions at a town hall event in Ohio Thursday.

LIMA, Ohio (CNN) – John McCain offered a new justification for the Iraq war Thursday, arguing that if Saddam Hussein were still in power, he’d be a petro-dictator intent on using today's sky-high oil revenues to obtain weapons of mass destruction.

A voter at an Ohio town hall meeting Thursday asked McCain how he would vote on the 2002 war resolution if he had to do it again, given the advantage of hindsight.

“What do you think that Saddam Hussein would be doing with oil at $120, $125, $130 a barrel?,” McCain asked. “What do you think he’d be doing? I’ll tell you what he’d be doing. He’d be doing what he said he was committed to doing. And that’s acquiring and using weapons of mass destruction, which he did twice before.”

The Arizona senator elaborated on his other reasons for supporting the war resolution, including Iraq’s noncompliance with the U.N. mandated cease fire, as well as Saddam’s “brutal” human rights record.

Ultimately, McCain concluded, “If he were still in power, I believe that the world would be far worse off, especially with all the money he’d be making off of oil.”


Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (596 Responses)
  1. Daniel from El Paso TX

    WOW... so its totally cool to go to war over the price of oil? Because Saddam might use the money made off of it to do what he pleases? We should run straight for Iran of Venezula right now then. Get your kids and send them to your closest Military Entrance Processing Station!

    August 7, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  2. Dave

    This is nuts, considering that the whole reason that oil prices are where they are is because of the instability WE have created in the Middle East. Prices were a lot lower before we got there.

    "Saddam’s “brutal” human rights record." You mean he oppressed and tortured people? Spied on his own citizens? Kind of like the United States is doing?

    August 7, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  3. TRAVIS

    People often forget the amount of violations that Sadam racked up during the Clinton administration when our inspectors were shot at and ran off from his facilities. The UN enacted sanctions on Iraq multiple times but Sadam refused to cooperate. He was intent on obtaining WMD (same as Iran) and was a threat to the U.S. and it's allies. We are better off now that Sadam is gone and this war is turning into a success for the American people and the rest of the world. Good judgment Senator McCain! J-Mac 2008.

    August 7, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  4. Mike

    Keep trying to justify that war Johnny boy.

    The high oil prices are a result of the Iraq war, not a justification.

    August 7, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  5. Jv

    hasn't oil risen partially (or more) because of the war in iraq and the increased instability in the middle east? Oil wasn't this expensive before the war, so how could it have been a justification?

    August 7, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  6. victorhill

    In a McCain campaign "Economic Communications Plan" that was obtained by the Huffington Post, an aide to the Senator lays out several themes, tactics and objectives to shore up the Arizona Republican's standing on the economy and paint Barack Obama as a "job killing machine."

    "Our polling tells us that Americans are still not tuned into what the candidates might do to fix the economy," reads the memo. "We have an opportunity to fill in that gap."

    The strategy, which was authored by Taylor Griffin - a veteran of the Bush White House and Treasury Department who serves McCain as a senior adviser - seems built around traditional themes. The McCain campaign will paint Obama as being "aligned with trial lawyers" and "unions (card check, trade, education reform)," and push the frame that he "raises taxes" and "will kill jobs."

    In contrast, McCain will be positioned as a bold leader on economic matters, someone who has a "record of taking on corporate interests" and will "fight speculation driving up prices of oil and food" as well as "the lawsuit culture." per Hunt. Press.
    Sen. McCain and his Evil Empire!

    Same OLD Washington Junk

    August 7, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  7. mello doug New Mexico

    Right...no WMD so we are justified for going to war for Oil. Hell lets NUKE em all and take what we want. For that matter if you follow the logic of what he is saying then the stronger are justified in taking what they want from the weaker. Good Christian right and a rousing way to end civilization.

    August 7, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  8. Jo

    What a pathetic statement! Oil is currently at the high prices BECAUSE of the war AND because the US government is trying to persuade people to agree to off-shore drilling and drilling in other protected areas.

    August 7, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  9. wyoming dem

    Sadam was found by sheer luck in that dark hole he was hiding in...He would still be hiding today.

    August 7, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  10. Dave, Illinois

    Hey "LeMonton", why can't you have an intelligent conversation without the usual "Mc"isms? Are you so simple minded that you cannot make a point without childish name calling? You know, it really makes your who argument mute because of the obvious ignorance and childishness that frames it.

    August 7, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  11. tomiwa

    So it was all about the oil ...eh? I am sure the tension your war caused in that region drove up the price of oil. There is no way the price would hit that level is iraq and thw whole of that region was peacefull........use a little brain you dummy!

    August 7, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  12. Josh

    McCain can lie and distort the truth. I thought the justification for invading Iraq was to find WMD's, the so called "smoking gun"! 5 years later and not one nuclear head has been discovered. Now high oil prices was the justification.

    America...don't be fooled again!

    August 7, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  13. ari

    McCain; is it your age that makes you incoherent? Or is it me?

    August 7, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  14. Sue

    Now that's what I call a an extremely MISLEADING title, CNN. You make it sound as if he is saying that high gas prices would be a justification for going to war. What he said is completely different–that if we hadn't gone to war, Saddam Hussein would currently be taking advantage of the high gas prices. And then you quickly mention that he "elaborated" on other reasons, without elaborating yourself about the reasons for going to war.

    August 7, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  15. Chuck

    It seems that everyone has forgotten that Suddam Hussein was completely blocked in, under Presadent
    Clinton, and wasn't involved in 9/11/03. With the Billions
    of Dollars we've spent on this useless war, we could buy
    a lot of oil.

    August 7, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  16. Andrea in TX

    This is borderline insensitive consider thousands of Americans and untold numbers of Iraqis have lost their lives over a war that we clearly were misled into waging. Now Senator McCain using the oil to justify the vote??? Once again I'm forced to wonder about my party's leadership and direction. Please Senator McCain, think about the lives lost over your vote & the fact that you were misled like many of us.

    August 7, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  17. R

    How can you make a claim like that completely based on hypotheticals? That's like saying if Walt Disney were still alive, we wouldn't be paying $75 per child to enter, we'd only be paying $70.

    What a joke old man, I wish the pollsters would do some real polling, instead of just calling senior citizens. Get the real numbers out there, don't believe it! Obama will win by huge numbers, the media is just trying to milk it for what its worth. No more news these days, its all about entertainment.

    Re-regulate the media once elected Prez. Obama!

    August 7, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  18. nitro

    Does this idiot think voting for the war was going to make the price of oil go down. By the time we get through spending money over in Iraq its not going to matter what the price of oil is one way or another.

    August 7, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  19. Rational 1

    OMFG! This has to be themost asinine statement uttered by a politician. Foreign policy credentials?? Lord help us.

    August 7, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  20. Jenna

    Yes, now we have created another alli and Democratic society, this is good for Iraq and our country. No More Dictatorship for the Iraqi's thanks to the USA. The least amount of Dictatorship countries the better off the world is. We will be coming home soon and treat out defenders/Military with great respect for their contribution to Democracy!

    August 7, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  21. Ian MacIsaac

    It wouldn't even BE this high if we hadn't invaded.

    August 7, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  22. Barb

    What is McCain trying out for, a stand-up comedian? I can hardly wait to hear more of his lame excuses for voting for Bush's humongously stupid and costly Iraq war! Yeah, we are so much better off spending trillions of US dollars in Iraq, causing their oil production to be a target of the internecine wars, meaning they have less oil for sale. And that's yet another reason gasoline is so expensive now.

    What is up with this guy anyway? Please remember Obama voted against this stupid war, exhibiting the calmness and sensibility we need in our next president.

    August 7, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  23. Ralph V. AZ

    Great! Now John McCain is a psychic!!!!

    What an idiot!!

    August 7, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  24. Unshrub

    So, according to McCain, it's ok to have our brave men and women in the military killed for cheaper oil. McCain is bigger scum then I gave him credit. Let's get this clear, those of you who vote for McCain think it's fine to be killed for cheap oil. Isn't that what McCain is saying? Obama makes more sense all of the time.

    August 7, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  25. GPM

    "John Mcain is the oldest celebrity in the world, like super-old, old enough to remember when dancing was a sin and beer was served in a bucket," "but is he ready to lead?"

    August 7, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
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