January 12th, 2014
10:50 AM ET
6 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. Mom

    It is Said that mr Mcain couldn't see the link between Syria and Iraq, if anything the US should not help the Iraqi regime that sidelined with Iran and Syria which is the main reason Sunni Islamist are now proliferating in there. moreover if u read the latest news it seems those groups are being funded by local intelligence services why would it be a US problem ??

    January 12, 2014 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  2. Marie MD

    Let's do something even better and let's send the old man who gave us the screecher from AK and the teaklan party back to Vietnam.
    Does he realize that the Iraq war should have never been and was a lie based on non existent WMDs?

    January 12, 2014 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  3. John

    McCain wants war. Sure – this time we'll send in the sons of the wealthy, politicians, and these other chicken hawks.

    January 12, 2014 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  4. Hotdog

    McCain is just flat out sickening!

    January 12, 2014 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  5. ahab

    Let them kill each other.Should have stayed out to start with.

    January 12, 2014 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  6. McCrazyy

    America will be a much safer place when war monger McCain is gone.

    January 12, 2014 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  7. steve harnack

    Yeah, let's send a couple of disgraced Americans to Iraq to tell Iraqis what to do again, after all, it was such a great success last time! They could probably get the country involved in a full blown civil war in no time, provide weapons to both sides and make out like bandits! Not to mention giving AlQaeda a great new recruiting tool!

    January 12, 2014 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  8. GetReal

    Because we didn't do enough damage the last trip there!

    January 12, 2014 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  9. miguel

    This President's self serving politics is not worth dying for John.

    January 12, 2014 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  10. FactChecker

    For McCain there is no limit to how many wars we should get involved in. Stay in Afghanistan and Iraq. Get much deeper into Libya and Syria. Show much stronger military force to oppose Iraq and mainland China. That is 6 major commitments right there that McCain wants. Then what about Lebanon, Egypt, Thailand? Those are probably three more on his wish list.

    January 12, 2014 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  11. Lew

    GOTTA be kidding me. It didn't work. Eyes elsewhere.

    January 12, 2014 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  12. tm1946

    seems a little stupid to me. Iraq will fall either way, we no longer have the guts or desire to be more than a quiet little country, one of 300. So be it

    Now everyone is happy.

    January 12, 2014 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  13. straighttalk

    People like Mc Cain are deadly to America and our way of life. Send him to IRAK on a one way ticket please.

    January 12, 2014 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  14. Opinion8it

    sure you're right....

    January 12, 2014 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  15. ImvotingforHillary

    If Iraq had no oil Saddam would still be in power and this would not be a news item.

    January 12, 2014 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  16. JustAnotherAnimal

    McCain is delusional if he thinks Obama is going anywhere near Iraq again.

    January 12, 2014 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  17. darth cheney

    Well, how else can we have an permanent war for the perpetual benefit of the military industrial complex?

    January 12, 2014 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  18. George

    Why doesn't John McCain go himself, since he obviously knows the correct answer to every problem anyway??

    January 12, 2014 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  19. moxjox

    John "I never met a war I didn't like". McCain wants to provide support and Apache helicopters to Iraq.
    Didn't we send aid to the Afghan rebels to fight the Soviets and.then have that "aid" turned against us in the Afghan conflict?

    If McCain pays the cost out of his own pocket, maybe we'll consider the idea.

    January 12, 2014 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  20. Jim Rome

    Halliburton, Raythen, Blackwater and Lockheed are DESPERATE, DESPERATE DESPERATE for another conflict. Think about it. They're in the war business. These companies have a $700 BILLION per year industry, and they've got no work! The wars are over, and they're looking for the next one. They might even be trying to start one. (If someone paid you a billion dollars, wouldn't you go over to Syria or Iraq or the Sudan and start some something?)

    January 12, 2014 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  21. Jim Rome

    How clear can we make it? John McCain regularly attends Halliburton shareholder meetings. He is in the war for profit business. He is a war profiteer. Everything to him involves war, and war services. Everything out of his mouth is "I think we should send troops!" So transparent. So ugly. So demented. There is something fundamentally wrong wtih someone who profits from war. Send the troops home and give our Veterans the care they need.

    January 12, 2014 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  22. Jim Rome

    If you're a salesman for Hallibuton, wouldn't you be on the first plane to Iraq to stir up trouble? Hand out a few guns. Maybe pay off some apache helicopter pilots to drop off some weapons. I know I would.

    January 12, 2014 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  23. Jim Rome

    Halliburton's CEO made $28 million in salary last year. All paid for by US taxpayers. Meanwhile, we have Veterans waiting to see a doctor. The war for profit business is sickening, people.

    January 12, 2014 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  24. Ron

    Petraeus helped create the policy that created death squads composed of militia members who then engaged in what became a sectarian civil war. Does McCain think that was a good policy? Of course, he does....He loves war...

    January 12, 2014 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  25. Gless

    Since it was Mc Cains idea, he should go to Iraq. Dummy.

    January 12, 2014 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
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