January 12th, 2014
10:50 AM ET
8 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. kma821

    More pearls of wisdom from the Crypt Keeper.

    January 12, 2014 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  2. Paiste2oo2

    McCain is always loaded with opinions, especially when it comes to giving veterans the shaft.

    January 12, 2014 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  3. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    And this is only more proof of why McCain could never be President, McCain using our military to hate on Obama, dishonorable.

    January 12, 2014 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  4. Chris

    1) Obama wants the Muslims to win complete control
    2) Obama doesn't respect our military
    3) Obama doesn't want this retired General around
    4) Personally, I don't agree with sending one U.S. soldier to either of these two countries
    5) U.S. money should stop going their way and they should pay for every dollar we've spent over there trying to 'civilize' an uncivilized region.

    January 12, 2014 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  5. Hugh Harvey

    That's very funny about Gates, he was treated with respect and attention paid to his input to the Obama administration. I'm sure that at time the President overruled his ideas and used his own which is the prerogative of the Chief Executive, not a lower ranking political appointee. If he was all that unhappy no one made him stay, he could have resigned, left and not let the door hit him in the posterior. He surely was not the answer to the problems and most likely was a great cause of them as his judgment and counsel is suspect.

    January 12, 2014 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  6. JohnRJohnson

    The US should not spill one more drop of blood in Iraq. Especially, any Iraqi's blood. We've done enough to that country already. If the Iraqis want their country badly enough, they'll do what they have to do to keep it. If they don't, no amount of help from us will save Iraq. McCain should have learned that from Vietnam.

    January 12, 2014 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  7. Just sayin too....

    we're out...let's stay out!

    January 12, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  8. don in albuquerque

    Sorry to say you are probably correct RonC.

    January 12, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  9. Dorothy

    McCain should be doing stand-up.

    January 12, 2014 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  10. george

    Does anyone here know the actual difference between Shiite and Sunni, and for that matter, Sufi?

    January 12, 2014 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  11. Gary

    Not sure if you signed up for the ACA yet Senator. But when you do, pick a policy that has Alzheimers coverage.You sure need it.
    Must be Sunday.

    January 12, 2014 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  12. laserw

    This RINO should be sent back to Arizona and left to disappear – he's done enough backstabbing to fellow Republicans that he is a national disgrace. His time has come – go home and stop being a traitor to liberty and freedom.

    January 12, 2014 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  13. GonzoinHouston

    We are nearly at the point where we can cease buying oil from Saudi Arabia. At that point we should wash our hands of the entire region. Our cultures and our interests are just too different. We are never going to have good relations with the area and it will never see peace between themselves.

    The Taliban can have Afghanistan. If need be we can deal with them with drones and stealth bombers. Al-Qaida is more entrenched in other countries anyway. Syria is the Islamic Viet Nam and they are welcome to it. If Iran wants to set off a nuke then Israel will set off a bigger one. Saudi Arabia is a brutal oppressive theocracy, but we've coddled and protected them because of the oil. Israel is the closest thing we have to an ally in the region and they're using us to further their own purposes.

    I'm just tired of the middle east. Let's get to where we don't use their oil and get out of there.

    January 12, 2014 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  14. Hugh Harvey

    The Republicans, businessmen and politicians are hurting for money, if we get another war the defense money will flow again, unemployment will go down, politicians will get the BIG BUCKS in donations to their private personal retirement programs again. We have people who went to Congress worth $100,000 in assets and in a few years were muliti-millionaires with homes in their home state. Washington, Vail, California, Off shore islands etc. They want some more.

    January 12, 2014 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    "It's hilarious reading the anonymous comments............."

    This from someone named 'Owl Creek Observer'.........anyway

    It seems to me, 10 plus years of being in Iraq, billions given in support and training, the largest, most expensive
    Embassy in the world built there, the Iraqis would have learned something.
    They are one of the most oil rich countries in the world.
    They can pay for and fight their own battles now.............the same ones they have been fignting for centuries.

    The number of lives lost, families destroyed, maimed military personnel.........and they still fight.
    Let them have it. Let's be done........it will never end for them.

    January 12, 2014 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  16. Paiste2oo2

    McCain is the first to want to send the Armed Forces into harms way, and the first to want to shaft us out of our benefits.

    January 12, 2014 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  17. Joan

    John McCain is my senator and I am so tired of his remarks against the President. Also, there is not a war he doesn't like. He never hesitates for us to get involved. Money is no object. But spend money on food stamps,putting people back to work, health care and ANYTHING that helps U.S. citizens for McCain it is JUST FORGET IT! We know where his priorities are. He NEVER changes.

    January 12, 2014 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  18. don in albuquerque

    Ir "ignorance is bliss", McCain must live in a constant state of euphoria. Arizona is this really the best you can do?

    January 12, 2014 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  19. Trevor David Hitchin

    John.....please find the pasture.

    January 12, 2014 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  20. jeff

    Crowley is a partisan hack...

    January 12, 2014 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  21. tullymd

    We lost both Iraq and Afghan Wars both of which were unwinnable, if winning meant transforming a barbaric culture into a democracy.

    January 12, 2014 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  22. TNPatriot

    I think that McCain should take Sarah Palin and his 2008 campaign team to Baghdad and run for president and vice-president of Iraq.

    January 12, 2014 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  23. Mopery

    Why send one of the worst Generals in American history back to the country he failed so miserably in? When he retired I couldn't believe the amount of praise heaped on him, General Patton must be rolling in his grave to see what has become of the American military. In World War II, against an enemy that was actually capable of defeating us, we retook Europe in little more than a year from Nazi Germany. In Iraq, against a technologically backwards enemy, it took 8 years and when we left there were more Al Qaeda there than when we began. We need better Generals, not miserable failures like former General Patraeus.

    January 12, 2014 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  24. Michael SC

    does Petreaus need a new GF or need more time to write thousands of love&s.x emails?

    January 12, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  25. Abby

    Hah! Send mccain there so he can crash more planes and cost us more money. This ancient fool needs to retire. Can the fools in Arizona keep this looney old coot there? We've had enough of your looney tunes.

    January 12, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
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