January 12th, 2014
10:50 AM ET
7 months ago

McCain: Send Petraeus back to Iraq

(CNN) - President Barack Obama should send David Petraeus, a retired four-star general who ran the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, back to Iraq to help deal with the growing unrest in the country, Sen. John McCain said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

The Arizona Republican also weighed in on a new book by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, saying he would have waited a bit longer to release the book, which offers a blistering critique of the Obama administration.

On Iraq, McCain said the country is not a lost cause and argued the United States can still offer assistance to help quell the renewed violence that’s rocked the country in the last year.

Why Iraq is in turmoil

The 2008 GOP presidential nominee said he opposed sending combat troops back to Iraq, but added the U.S. can provide other kinds of aid, such as logistics support and Apache helicopters.

“I would suggest perhaps sending David Petraeus and Ambassador (Ryan) Crocker back over there,” McCain told CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley. “(Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri) Al-Maliki trusts them.”

Petraeus has largely stayed out of the limelight since he resigned from his post as CIA director in November 2012 following an affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell.

Crocker was the U.S. ambassador to Iraq from 2007 to 2009, before becoming the ambassador to Afghanistan. He left the latter position in 2012 due to health reasons.

McCain also said if he were in Gates’ position, he might have waited a little bit longer to release a memoir about his role as defense secretary. The book, which includes strong criticism of Gates’ former boss, Obama, is set to release on Tuesday.

The Arizona Senator described Gates as “one of the finest public servants I have known” and said the book “surprised all of us who know him, and he’s decided to really kind of let loose.”

McCain added, however, he would have waiting “a little longer than now” to release the book, titled “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War.”

“But I also respect his ability to voice his views any time he wants to,” McCain said.

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.


Filed under: Iraq • John McCain • Robert Gates • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (362 Responses)
  1. Bullpuppy

    2:19 – "And by the way! We COULD HAVE kept a residual force there, and anybody that tells you that we COULD HAVE is NOT telling the truth!"

    More and more transparent by the day:)

    January 12, 2014 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  2. Ron Foster

    John McCain needs to retire.

    January 12, 2014 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    how about we send Bush to the Hague instead.

    January 13, 2014 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  4. Gerry Wilson

    Maybe have China move into Iraq and bail them clowns out again seeing as how Iraq gave all the Oil contracts to them as soon as the US moved out. Wake up USA?

    January 13, 2014 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  5. Teri

    We should NEVER go back into that country, Let the cards fall where they may, but no more American blood should ever be spilled on Iraq soil again

    January 13, 2014 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  6. bam

    GWB to the Hague instead.....

    January 13, 2014 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  7. svann

    McCain, you're a war vet. Why dont you go?

    January 13, 2014 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  8. dion

    Where does McCain get his reasoning? The WAR IS OVER – bring our troops home. Learn from the Russians and the British that after all these lives and money the weeds are going to grow back just as they have since time began in that land.
    They cannot be changed as the people themselves cannot change for the better. There is enough bad element that the good element cannot fight to make a positive change. Simple as that.

    January 13, 2014 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  9. hal

    Jim, while I agree with your overall assessment, your puerile-like and inappropriate use of the word 'girls' illustrates completely your immature intentions. Try again sir.

    January 13, 2014 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  10. Jonathon Powelly

    If Petraeus is sent every former member of his team better be sent as well.

    January 13, 2014 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  11. joe

    Get real. One old guy can't do anything. Patraeus is only as good as the American forces he brings with him and that will be Zero.

    A 2 trillion dollar war to upset the natural state in Iraq. Like it or not, nature put the Sunnis on top in Iraq. We went in and removed them and put the Shiite on top. Then we left. Of course, the Sunni are going to fight to regain their naturally superior position. And they'll probably win–as they did the last time.

    January 13, 2014 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  12. Kelcy

    The Iraqi government has more than enough oil money to contract with Patreuas for anything they want from him. The US taxpayer does not have to pay for it.

    January 13, 2014 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  13. Cynthia Avishegnath

    GWB should have partitioned the country into three, when he had the chance.

    January 13, 2014 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  14. jeff

    Can grandpa just go to the home already? Or perhaps we should just air drop him over Iraq, he seems to be the only person left interested in spending another 500 billion dollars and hundreds of thousand of lives to keep that travesty going.

    January 13, 2014 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  15. Come On Man

    Hey, John, I mean Mr. McCain sir, do you ever, I mean ever get tired of playing war?

    January 13, 2014 03:14 am at 3:14 am |
  16. blill

    If we send Petraeus back to Iraq, he won't be going alone...more soldiers. McCain wants more war, as usual.

    January 13, 2014 03:22 am at 3:22 am |
  17. Benjamin Faith

    To be or not to be the choice is yours

    January 13, 2014 03:22 am at 3:22 am |
  18. Oneula

    McCain is a joke. Obama got elected to end these foolish and wasteful wars. McCain lost because he wanted to continue and expand them. go home McCain

    January 13, 2014 03:25 am at 3:25 am |
  19. roccotaco

    McCain was just censured by GOP in Arizona and needs to wake up that his own people think his actions are nuts. He needs to do what he told his people he would do if re elected.

    January 13, 2014 03:27 am at 3:27 am |
  20. Gilmore

    WAR IS A BUSINESS. When will the eager cannon fodder realize that?

    January 13, 2014 04:51 am at 4:51 am |
  21. Gator

    If McCain is so adamant about keeping the peace in Iraq, why not have his daughters go through army training and head up the next mission over there? Seriously John, no one here cares what happens in Iraq. No one.

    January 13, 2014 05:18 am at 5:18 am |
  22. Alvin Cavanaugh

    No matter how long we stay in Iraq, it will just revert back to its old ways when we pull out. As it stands, its just a killing field for our young and brave soldiers. Lets just bring them home. We should have learned our lesson in Korea and Viet Nam.

    January 13, 2014 05:40 am at 5:40 am |
  23. Jack Alex

    I said this a long time ago, many years ago, use of the military for political purposes is a travesty, a waste, and misappropriation and misapplication of resources. We cannot fight a conventional war on terrorism, it is a mindset. We've been at this now for a good 12 years and we are no further along than we were when we went down this path long ago.

    January 13, 2014 06:15 am at 6:15 am |
  24. Roland

    @Jim Rome Wars are never about one thing but when it comes to the Middle East there really isn't all that much there besides the energy reserves on which most of the world depends (funny enough not the USA that is and was self sufficient in oil production) the strategic value of oil cannot be understated it is needed to run a economy and to run a army. Any nation denied oil will be unable to mount a successful organized resistance.Look at Japan in WW2 or for that matter Nazi Germany.The U.S. has never needed Middle East oil but being able to deny it to industrial rivals offers real world veto power over them. China for example needs M.E. oil as does Europe,Japan,India all potential rivals of the U.S. as for the defense budget it's a tax payer subsidy to high tech industry.Most of the R&D that has shaped our current lives comes out of the Pentagon budget. Jet engines,advanced materials,the internet,rockets,lasers,satellites. too much to mention.

    January 13, 2014 06:21 am at 6:21 am |
  25. Cass Blaine

    Yea John, you are the guy who gave us Sarah Pallin. You lost all credibility with that one

    January 13, 2014 06:28 am at 6:28 am |
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