April 7th, 2008
01:24 PM ET
13 years ago

McCain: Calls for Iraq withdrawal a ‘failure of leadership’


WWatch McCain talk about veterans and Iraq.

(CNN) - Sen. John McCain sharply criticized calls for withdrawal from Iraq, telling a Missouri audience of the Veterans of Foreign Wars that those statements were politically opportunistic and strategically irresponsible.

“[Withdrawal] may appear to be the easier course of action, but it is a much more reckless one, and it does them no credit even if it gives them an advantage in the next election,” the presumptive Republican nominee said in a speech at the National World War I Museum.

McCain also asserted that major redeployment of troops from Iraq was really a policy of “withdraw and re-invade” because “trouble will come immediately.” He also warned of calamity should the United States withdraw from Iraq, he defended the record of recent progress and praised General David Petraeus, who is slated to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday.

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. Mk

    And being led INTO Iraq is what?

    April 7, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  2. Kevin---Wasington, DC

    Of course he would because he is a war junkie. If you like beer then you don't tell people to not drink beer, you encourage them. McDumb will keep this war going and gas prices will continue to soar, he will bring more deaths to our soldiers, and people will love him for it.

    He reminds me of Commodus the ruler of the Roman Empire, rule people with fear and death and they will love you.

    Does anybody really she that he is wayyyyyyy tooooooo old to be President, another puppet for the Republicans.

    April 7, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  3. RickytheGriff

    War.... the only thing Republicans now bring to the table.

    April 7, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  4. Randy - Denver

    Yet again the republicans try to sell this war in Iraq as needed and the violence there as something NOT caused by our occupation of Iraq. the simple truth behind the matter is that the violence is, in part, due to the fact we neither established a coherant peace nor did we leave after Saddam was overthrown, the continued violence is a direct result of those errors (not to mention the first one of invading in the beginning). Troops can keep the peace, that is easy when you have the firepower and is what we are seeing now, but they cannot bring stability all they can do is keep the violence down and respond when it overwhelms, troops are a reactive force by their very nature. The cause for the violence will nto go away until we do, staying is dishonoring our country much more than leaving ever could. Look at Vietnam we dishonored our country while we were there (mei Lai etc) we ahd a moment of shame when we left but now we look good in the eyes of the average Vietnameese BECAUSE we left, you see a strong country can take a bit of shame for the good of the world, a prideful country cannot.. so are we strong or prideful?

    April 7, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  5. Alonzo Demetrius


    April 7, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  6. Big O

    If he thinks it will be failure of Leadership to withdraw but if was this Failed Leadership that got us in this WAR. McCain need to have his head checked because he is STUCK in Time. It's one thing to be Old & WISE but it's another to be OLD & STUPID.

    April 7, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  7. Blake

    Can it be possible to have a President that is even more disliked than Bush?

    Guess we might find out if this man becomes President. Seems he is up to the challenge

    April 7, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  8. Jack Hicks, Fort Myers

    He is fundamentality correct–we would be inviting disaster. But he needs to display more defining tactics (carrots/sticks) he intends to use and also, a little more urgency to get our troops out of there.

    We have indeed got a failure of leadership–neither party has a credible leader, with a credible agenda, that will really help Americans–without de-evolving into a social welfare state, or sustaining a very worn out status qou. We need change.

    We need a third party that realizes that government is OUR servant–and one that recognizes MAJORITY rules (even if split between party lines), and takes serious action to get government out of our daily lives and wallets.

    April 7, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  9. paul oregon

    according to the def. in my dict. mccains awar monger i wonder if
    one of his reltives or his wife had to go to iraq. if he would still be
    for war

    April 7, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  10. RealityKing

    Headline should read...

    Liberal road kill found under the straight talk express, again..

    April 7, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  11. John, PA

    And you deny being a warmonger...........Good one John, good one!

    April 7, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  12. Timothy

    McCain again is wrong:

    A early withdrawl of America troops may not be wise but how many more men and women should die for a unsuccessful cause. Why does America think it can bring democracy to a region that has being fighting before B.C. and A.D., If our so called politicans were students of the bible and not america history; they will read and see there will be no peace in the middle east until the true Prince of Peace returns.

    There will always be wars in that region. America will not be the broker; however, it will be broke economically if we don't stop and gradually withdraw. Are we going to be occupiers in an unstable region as McCain suggested 100 years and are we going to continue to finance a war with money we don't have. Someone needs to do something other than sending more troops and money. Q: Do you not find it strange our government could not find money to care for it's people inregards to education, medical care, helping the poor or any domestic problem here at home but it was able to find, borrow or make new money to finance over 300 billion in america dollars and rising to defend a nation which is not soverign. May God have mercy on our nation according to II Chron. 7:14 we are indeed going to need it.

    April 7, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  13. kathleen

    A warmonger? More than one. The whole bunch of them!!!!!!!!!
    When the book is written about the legacy of Bush and his cronies.
    Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove, Rice, McCain, the American people will
    never believe that our trusted officials stood by and did or said nothing. We will
    be asking "why, was this man not impeached".??? Why was Cheney
    allowed to make millions and millions off of this war? How many crooks did Bush protect? Why does China own us? Why couldn't
    Mattel talk back to China about the lead on toys?Was the bail out
    of the Bear Stearns bank funded by China? How many of our banks
    does China own.?Is China going to be able to buy our forclosures?
    Could we even stop them?
    Democrats, the Republicans laugh at us. Be careful what you wish
    Obama 2008 for Change We Can Believe In. 2008
    Retired Professional White Woman for Obama from Day 1

    April 7, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  14. George

    What does victory in Iraq looks like? It is a fallacy to think that there can be a legitimate government in Iraq while the country is under foreign occupation. C'mon McCain the public deserves the truth. Tell us in no uncertain terms what are the real objectives in Iraq.

    April 7, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  15. I used to be a Democrat

    McCain is right. You liberals need to listen up and support the next President.

    April 7, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  16. Denver


    April 7, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  17. Velle

    Hey McCain, in your last check-up did they test your hearing?
    WE ARE NOT STAYING IN IRAQ! Try reading "The Federalist Papers".
    I forget whether it was Jefferson or Paine who said (or words to the effect): When a government no longer serves its constituents, revolution is justified!
    If WE Americans choose NOT to pay for your moronic war, you are commanding nothing! The WILL of the People has had just about enough of this crap. Within the next few years, there is going to be a reckoning where the American People take back their government and get rid of all you military-industrial-complex morons. We have a country to rebuild in the image our Founding Fathers intended and YOU are standing in the way! Retire...write your memoirs...have a Budweiser on Cindy and SHUT UP!

    April 7, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  18. Doug, Florida

    Electing you would be a failure of foresight!!!!!

    OBAMA 08

    April 7, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  19. KMAN

    Of course one of McRelic's greatest failures of leadership was in his authorizing the WAR in the first place. This pathetic old fool is simply out of touch with reality ... he doesn't seem to see a problem in the world that the US military can't fix! Former (OLD) military leaders are NOT the most qualified people to run the country since they only see the world from a war-mongering perspective!

    April 7, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  20. j

    Hell, it was "failure of leadership" that got us in Iraq.

    April 7, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  21. richie

    No, John,
    Calls for Iraq invasion was failure of leadership and that is what we are looking to restore!

    April 7, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  22. C Davis

    Having been a VietNam veteran, does McCain consider the eventual withdrawl from VietNam to be a "failure of leadership"? If so, had he the opportunity to lead the nation then, how much longer would he had us stay there?

    April 7, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  23. Terry

    Voters need to watch out. High gas prices, forclosures, inflation, recession. You haven't seen anything yet. McCain will open a war all over the middle, east and that will be the end of U.S. The guy is old anyway. You think he cares about the future. Well, I'll just take my money and go live somewhere else.

    April 7, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  24. Ifeanyi Azubike Houston Texas

    When will he get it. With his stubborn support for Iraq, I believe that following the money by relocating to Iraq is a good alternative to a McCain presidency.

    April 7, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  25. Nikki

    Someone please explain to me how McCain plans to win this war and, what's the rule of measure for a win? I want substance and no empty speeches about continuing the course.

    April 7, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
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