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. cameron

    did this guy just say thank god for the Saudis and prince Bandar the nation that supports more terrorists the any other a nation that gave birth to alqadia, Osama and 15 of the 911 hijackers. what the hell has happened to our country why do we keep voting for morons like him.

    January 12, 2014 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  2. Bob E

    Haven't we "helped" the Iraqis enough?

    January 12, 2014 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  3. the village idiot

    McCain should join him there, and they should both stay there permanently being they are such great managers, of the middle east.

    January 12, 2014 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  4. Seattle Sue

    I remember McCain walking down a street (I think it was in Baghdad) telling us how safe it was, but he had a 100 plus armed guards with him plus snipers on the roof tops and choppers in the sky. Did this old fool think he was fooling any one?

    January 12, 2014 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  5. Bob E

    Always good to hear these opinions about a book that has been read by...nobody.

    January 12, 2014 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  6. OnTheRoad

    McCain you should just go away! We are all tired of your wanting the U.S. to be in a constant war some where with anyone for what ever reason that your sick mind can come up with!

    January 12, 2014 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  7. Owl Creek Observer

    It's hilarious reading the anonymous comments all from the same white house assistants and democrat national committee operatives here. Throw in pimple faced, clueless college freshman with no practical life experiences and that accounts for ninety-nine percent of all comments. You people are pathetic.

    January 12, 2014 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  8. tet1953

    What we should send to the Middle East is....nothing! Let them continue depopulating that cesspool.

    January 12, 2014 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  9. John

    Send no troops, just a general? Maybe helicopters...with no pilots presumably? This sounds like the guy I saw on TV in 2008 who didn't know squat about the ME but wanted to stay there maybe 100 years. His bud Joe Lieberman had to lean in and whisper in his ear what was the difference between a Sunni and a Shiite and al Qaeda. And on the radio I heard this same guy refer to the Iraq-Afghan border, apparently forgetting or never knowing that a minimum 800 miles of Iran lay between them.

    More recently he says we should arm the Syrian rebels, whom he trusts in apparent knee-jerk rejection of Obama's caution. John, if YOU think Al-Maliki trusts Petraeus and Crocker, I think I would have to bet you are wrong about that too. Not to mention, even if AL–Maliki does trust them, who trusts HIM? He is in a position to do right but it seems instead he is a big part of why it is falling apart again!

    January 12, 2014 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  10. andrew

    No. McCain is on the edge of lunacy if he believes people will listen to him now. He's in it for the defense contracts for his state. His views get people killed for nothing but defense related job programs.

    January 12, 2014 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  11. Thomas

    Where is Ahmad Chalabi and why isn't he dead ?
    John McCain was in bed with WMD con-man Ahmed Chalabi way before the war.

    How many died , how many billions wasted ?

    January 12, 2014 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  12. don in albuquerque

    When will we learn not to elect people to office who obviously do not belong there.

    January 12, 2014 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  13. Dude in Colorado

    Is Sen. McCain also volunteering to be the first American to have his taxes raised to pay for Iraq II? Just wondering.

    January 12, 2014 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  14. EdL

    Petraeus has military talent, or perhaps he was lucky. But as an individual he has small merit.

    January 12, 2014 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  15. micarlhay

    Myth has always been especially important where war was concerned. Men must have a fairly elevated motive for getting themselves killed. To die to protect or enhance the wealth, power and privilege of someone else, the most common cause for conflict over the centuries, lacks beauty.
    John Kenneth Galbraith -1977

    January 12, 2014 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  16. Fish

    While were at it does McCain want MacArthur back also??? I have no doubt Gen. Petraeus is a great general but everyone must retire sometime our military cannot rely upon any individual, McCain knows this he's simply catering to his brain dead base!!! We don't need to revisit wars which we have ended, these folks must fight it out themselves!!!

    January 12, 2014 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  17. PR

    McCain has never found a war he didn't love. The guy is freaking nut case. John, it's time to go take your meds and go back to the nursing home.

    January 12, 2014 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  18. Hugh Harvey

    McCain is definitely getting senile. Those two could not handle Iraq when it was ten times as hot and heavy as it is now. Why would anyone consider using a someone like Petraeus who either resigned in disgrace or was fired. In addition when he was a serving officer in Iraq during the 2008 elections he actively supported McCain with political assistance inside the military against President Obama. This was a violation of his oath as an officer and illegal by federal law.

    January 12, 2014 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  19. the village idiot

    we could use their oil revenue and natural resources to pay us back(recouperate our expenses) for setting them free

    January 12, 2014 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  20. Gurgyl

    Karma, USA is electing these old rusty uneducated junk, be better educated before you vote in democracy.

    January 12, 2014 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  21. RonC

    Probably never Don. There are so many that take Faux News as gospel and believe their garbage therefore, the lies take precedence over those that cannot believe the Repubs will lie and everything else to keep their Corporate buddies and rich (like most of them are) in power.

    January 12, 2014 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  22. rs

    McCain (and what's left of the NeoCon Republicans) won't go away without another war to their credits. Really? BushCo. so thoroughly messed up Iraq that they still can't get power all day long. They still have refugees spread all over the Middle East and for fun, they've lit off the civil war (again) that started under our "leadership".
    No, Mr. McCain, the costs are just too high. We lost around 5,000 service members, a bit more than $trillion, and killed 125,000 Iraqi citizens. America has neither the funding, nor the soldiers to go back. That is the real legacy of Bush and the Republicans.

    January 12, 2014 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  23. hubert39

    Make McCain supreme commander of the Mid east and send him.

    January 12, 2014 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  24. tony

    McCrock more like.

    January 12, 2014 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  25. rs

    Owl Creek Observer
    It's hilarious reading the anonymous comments all from the same white house assistants and democrat national committee operatives here. Throw in pimple faced, clueless college freshman with no practical life experiences and that accounts for ninety-nine percent of all comments. You people are pathetic.
    __________
    So, the only people supporting another war in Iraq are McCain, and a conspiracy theorist. That helps put all this in perspective.

    January 12, 2014 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
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