October 9th, 2007
05:35 PM ET
15 years ago

McCain slams Rumsfeld, management of Iraq war

Arizona Senator John McCain served in the military during the Vietnam war.

(CNN) - Trying to separate himself from his Republican rivals, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said at Tuesday’s presidential debate in Dearborn, Michigan, that he was the only GOP candidate to predict years ago that military action would not be enough to win the war in Iraq.

"I'd just like to mention I'm the only one on this stage that four years ago said this is a failed policy in Iraq. It's not going to work. It’s got to be changed," McCain said. "I was criticized by Republicans for my severe criticism of Secretary [of Defense Donald] Rumsfeld. I advocated the strategy that's succeeding, and thank God the American people are giving us a little window."

Although a staunch supporter of the war in Iraq, McCain has called Rumsfeld "one of the worst secretaries of defense in history" and has criticized the management of the war effort.

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- CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich

Filed under: Iraq • John McCain • Michigan
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. Common Sense

    Didn't the strap Rummy to a rocket ship and send him into the sun a while back?

    October 9, 2007 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  2. WhatTheHey

    Sure McCain, you could have done so much better. Maybe you would have saved what 20% more lives? How about asking why the hell we had this war in the first place?

    WMDs? Nope.
    Terrorists? Nope.

    Hmmmm... Oil? Business? Halliburton?

    Try explaining that to the American people.

    October 9, 2007 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  3. Rodney Dallas TX

    And yet he still supports every move George Bush makes! McCain, you can't pick and choose. Bush is bad and as long as you support him, you will NOT be elected.

    October 9, 2007 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  4. B.Brade Batavia, NY

    I totally agree with Senator McCain. SOD Rumsfeld made decisions that has caused many people, there lives, daughters, sons, grandchilderen, fathers, and etc. I was an X-soldier and I personally know that if Rumsfeld would have listen to the military experience at that time we would not still be in Iraq with the numbers we have now. Secondly if Pres. Clinton would have taken care of the situation in 1993 when the first terriorist attack had taken place on the WTC, then we wouldn't be where we are now.

    October 9, 2007 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  5. Steveo, Warrenton, Virginia

    "WhattheHey" you are right we are in this war because of oil and business, but I think you should be honest and not just make stuff up. It was French Businesses who were trading with Iraq military contracts that were against UN sanctions and it was Russia the largest buyer of Iraq oil that voted in the Security Council not to force Iraq to comply with UN sanctions.

    October 9, 2007 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  6. Noah, menlo park CA

    Who is McCain kidding? The current course is succeeding? Only in fantasy land. The difference between today's strategy and last year's is a small percentage shift in the number of troops–less than one percent. If anyone thinks that's a change in strategy they need their head examined.

    October 9, 2007 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  7. Virginia Brock, Rock Island, IL

    McCain is the only one who considered Iraq a failed policy? What is Ron Paul, lunchmeat?

    Ron Paul predicted exactly what would happen if we went into Iraq – the American interests in the area would be compromised, and the security situation in America would degrade. And he has always supported the best way to avoid (before invasion) or mitigate (now that we've already gone in) these consequences – pull our troops out of a country where they are not wanted.

    October 9, 2007 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  8. Patrick, Tulsa Oklahoma

    Hmmm 20% more lives saved, I have this crazy idea that maybe that's a good thing! If we would have done what McCain said from the beginning we would be a lot closer to being able to leave right now.

    October 9, 2007 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  9. Mike, Milwaukee, WI

    Yea, so what the war was mismanaged. Mr. McCain's lack of leadership is one of the causes. He was not there standing up to this administration AT ALL when it counted. He is a member of the United States Senate for Christ's sake. So why say something now? This is why McCain's campign isn't doing well...

    In 2000, he was a leader. Now he is a George Bush follower....the American people have had enough.

    October 9, 2007 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    He just wants to sound more like Ron Paul.

    October 10, 2007 04:16 am at 4:16 am |
  11. laurinda,ny

    Isn't it a little to late to be talking about that now when the damage has been done. He should have spoke up sooner.

    October 10, 2007 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  12. Ryan Indianapolis

    McCain has some points but who can predict what is going to happen in a war, I mean it took us 10yrs for the Union Army to get it right. There has been failures in this war but what war hasnt. What we need to look at is the progress being made. Hey liberals how many US SOlidiers do you hear of now that are dying over there?????? Cause I am not hearing us take any casualities or very minimal now a days. The tide is turning in this war and all the gloom and doom is last year thoughts, America is WINNING. I know you hate Bush we get it but for you to root against america is TREASON. 20 yrs from now Bush will be judged in a different light and all you defeatist will be on the wrong side of history. Now I know it is hard for your lil brains to think that far ahead and to actually have some foresight but AMERICA IS WINNING AND you can either get behind our Solidiers or please just shut your mouths . I could really care less what you do.

    October 10, 2007 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  13. Charles, Pikeville, KY

    If Sen. McCain is really deeply serious about his comments on Rumsfeld and Iraq, he needs to look one step further and condemn Georgie Bush. Bush, who McCain constantly supports and admires, is the dumbest, most lame, pitiful excuse for a human in Washington since history began. Yet, McCain clings to Bush's butt like glue. Were it not for Bush and McCain's support of him - I could envision myself voting for McCain. I happen to like McCain - but I detest Bush and Cheney with the deepest acidic reaction. If McCain truly believes Iraq was wrong when Bush started it and it's still wrong today - then it's time to break suction from Bush and say so loudly enough for the world to hear. There is NOTHING unpatriotic about kicking Bush's ass (aka face).

    October 10, 2007 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  14. RightyTighty

    If we would have done what McCain said from the beginning we would be a lot closer to being able to leave right now. - Patrick, Tulsa Oklahoma

    I do like McCain but sorry Patrick, 500,000+ troops to invade Iraq would have been a disaster for sure. And it would have cost us a lot more than 4000 troops over 5 years, unless of course we were going to kill everyone in sight during that invasion as we did in WWII.. Do you think Normandy or Guadalcanal were considered political successes at the time? What about the Brits constant bombing of civilian targets, 500,000 women and children KIA?, political successes?? No way.., but historically, they were as right as Rumsfeld is today.

    Small, mobile and a big stick. That’s the winning military strategy of the future. That's also Rumsfeld’s legacy as Secretary of Defense. Definitely not the worst ever..

    October 10, 2007 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  15. hg

    I think all you republicans are for war,you all make it worse on your trails..always the words of george bush oh terroist there gonna get us,were under a security threat..sshut up about it,they watch everything we do now anyway...because of you republicans..I oppose any republican who speaks on Terror.or never gets the presidency for 100 years.

    October 10, 2007 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |