July 17th, 2008
04:15 PM ET
13 years ago

McCain: 'We have succeeded in Iraq'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/11/art.mccain.7.11..jpg caption="McCain holds a polling edge over Obama on national security issues."] KANSAS CITY, Missouri (CNN) - John McCain took a rhetorical baby step toward declaring victory in Iraq on Thursday, arguing emphatically that "we have succeeded in Iraq."

"I repeat my statement that we have succeeded in Iraq," McCain told reporters aboard his campaign bus in Kansas City. "Not 'We are succeeding.' We have succeeded in Iraq."

McCain made the comments amidst a debate this week over the direction of the Iraq war, and in the wake of new national poll numbers that show McCain with a clear advantage over Obama on national security issues.

Both candidates gave speeches Tuesday outlining new policies toward Afghanistan, but each presented very different plans for Iraq. Obama is scheduled to travel to Iraq as part of a congressional delegation in the coming days.

"The strategy has worked and we now have the Iraqi government and military in charge in the major cities in Iraq," McCain said. "Al Qaeda is on their heels and on the run."

McCain said "the success we have achieved is fragile and could be reversed" if Obama - whom McCain accused of "incredible naivete" - carries through with his plan to withdraw combat troops within 16 months of taking office.

"He said the surge would not succeed," McCain said, a charge he has repeated in recent days. "It is. He said that we had to have dates for withdrawal. He said as recently as a short time ago that the surge had not succeeded, or was not succeeding. It has succeeded. And if we continue, I am confident we will win this war, and I have no doubt about it."

The GOP nominee-in-waiting also backed away from a remark made earlier in the day by his communications director Jill Hazelbaker, who called Obama's trip abroad "the first-of-its-kind campaign rally overseas."

Asked if he agreed with Hazelbaker's comment, McCain said: "No. All I can say is, let other people judge that."

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (203 Responses)
  1. ProudToBeDemocrat

    Define success in regards to Iraq old man .

    July 17, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  2. Heather in SoCal

    This is coming from a man who didn't know that there is no longer a country named Czechoslovakia, and can't tell the difference between a Sunni and a Shia unless Joe Lieberman is whispering in his ear.


    July 17, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  3. Obamalism

    Are you Obamatards denying what he's saying? He said we have succeeded and even a blind liberal zealot can see that. He didn't claim victory or say it's time to pack it up or even time to bring the war to a "close" as Obama would say.

    His plan has worked where EVERYONE else said it was the wrong thing to do. I'm inclined to trust him rather than the 'community organizer' promising to pull out the entire time.

    July 17, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  4. Plugging my nose

    Perpetually repeating a lie doesn't eventually make it true. Didn't the neo-cons learn anything from "WMDs"? They didn't fool us; it was a lie all along. So is this "We've succeeded" nonsense. Republican politicians are like diapers – they should be changed often, and for the same reason.

    July 17, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  5. ashe

    we have succeeded in creating BIG MESS in Iraq.

    July 17, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  6. Jan Illinois

    If thats the Truth BRING OUR SOLDIERS HOME NOW. If you want to have ANY chance at the Presidency of the UNITED STATES its your only CHANCE MR. McCain. Good Luck Sir.

    July 17, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  7. Cindy

    Hmmm.. shouldn't there be some sort of treaty or something? You can't just say it's done and then like magic, it's true. That's kinda like "Mission Accomplished" on a battleship, and yet the battle goes on.

    July 17, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  8. JIM...TX

    Don't quit...are you nuts??? The Republicans are ALWAYS in favor of a war. It keeps their corporate buddies busy building bullets and bombs to kill innocents. McBush would NEVER as he has said(stay 100 years) get out of Iraq!

    July 17, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  9. Stephen of Red Bluff, CA

    I like how CNN never once (twice, or THREE times) mentioned–on air–McCain's "Czechoslovakia" slip up, yet when Sam Nunn says it, Wolf Blitzer practically makes it Breaking News!!

    When did CNN become the enemy of Democrats? Are they over compensating for all the claims of a perceived liberal bias??

    Campbell Brown, whom I've always enjoyed watching, has been particularly negative toward Obama while seeming to play up a McCain positive or side-step anything that would put him (McCain) in a negative light.

    July 17, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  10. What?

    This rivals "Mission Accomplished"

    July 17, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  11. Phil Newton, Murphy, OREGON

    We have a fine military. I am proud of them. They have done exceedingly well under trying circumstances - but they have fought a war that should never have begun.

    If McCain wants to call that "success," then he is welcome.

    Our military is too good for the government that put them in harm's way.

    Come home safe - and soon.

    July 17, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  12. Benjamin Columbus, OH


    July 17, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  13. maxx Atlanta GA

    Mcsame doesn't get it, we should never have been there and there would not have been a need for a surge. And for those that are not educated 9/11 happened as a direct result of this adminstration ignorance of listening to its own intelligence reports...Obama listens to everything he is a Commander in Chief not self serving. Iraqs war is this administrations failure to comprehend, and you want more of the same. Mcsame wanted war before 9/11 and now they have scraed you to death..... have you ever asked what is the win whats the prize for the families of their love ones that have died for individuals of the govt not for its country..... what is winning please tell me!!!! Maybe Haliburton think about it. Lets get out of there enough is enough.......

    July 17, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  14. NoMcSame

    PUMA people here is your boy. He has truly lost his bearings and a whole lot more.
    McSame for the PUMA People.

    July 17, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  15. prairieguy

    If we have succeeded...then why do we need to remain there on and on and on....DUH???

    McSame has lost his bearings once again!!!!!!!

    You already adopted Barack's Afgan plan and Bushie is now talking with Iran...you better get on board before the O train leaves you behind...even have a walker to help you get to the train on time -:)

    July 17, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  16. Obamalism

    Wow, the obamatards are STILL using the 100 years remark. You really do prove what morons you are everytime you type it.

    July 17, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  17. Ms. RDS

    I mean I consider myself to be very smart...but even I just don't get it. Didn't we proclaim "Mission Accomplished" oh i don't know say 5 years ago. So didn't that mean we won? And if we won why do we still have over 100,000 troops there? And if we already won why does McCain still keep saying he is going to win the war? And what was the mission of the war? Wasn't it to turn over the government to the Iraqi people? Well if they asked us to turn over their government to them and leave, why are we still there? And if the surge worked, then why can't we leave? I thought it was too bad so we couldn't leave, now is it too good that we can't leave. Geesh, I'm getting dizzy so many questions not enough answers from McCain or Bush.

    July 17, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  18. Obamalism

    Bushed – We've pretty much had a dictatorship for 7 years.

    You sir have no idea what a dictatorship is. Ask the people of Iraq what it's like, then hang your head in shame. Don't drop your tinfoil hat while your at it.

    July 17, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  19. david,baltimore,mamryland

    Is that why we have to stay there 100 years ,becuase it is so safe? Why doesnt he go to Baghdad and try walking thru a market without Apache helicopters flying overhead and armored personnel carriers surrounding him.Hey Mccain,most Iraquis cant afford that kind of protection to do a little shopping.
    This guy is going to lead our country? Yeah John we won in iraq but you are not going to win this election unless you stage a coup by bringing the troops back over here to install you,those troops that arent committing suicide or rotting in VA hospitals that you dont support.

    July 17, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  20. Kyle in San Diego

    Bulldog... extremely well-said.

    As for you, McCain, I give your impression of Bush an A. The only thing more you needed was the "Mission Accomplished" banner and you would have had that A+!!

    July 17, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  21. Furious George

    JP- we have not been hit by an asteroid either-and your point is?
    You seem to forget that 9-11 happened on Bush's watch. How that has been turned into a plus for this administration is one of the great mysteries of all time

    July 17, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  22. Damian Salter

    Did you see that?
    He just lied through the back of his teeth!

    What a sad fall from grace.
    Where is this man's rock bottom?

    July 17, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  23. Pa Voter

    words, just words.
    SHouldn't we speak to the generals on the ground first?
    John, Show us that you believe this by announcing your plan to immediately withdraw troops from the our occupation of Iraq.

    July 17, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  24. DPerry

    Ex-republican..........I agreed with everything you said. Just making a point to J.P. Although from what I know, Bush had the same intel that Clinton had, just didnt pay any attention to the memo entitled "Osama bin Ladin planning attack on US". Mistake??

    July 17, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  25. kim hussein taylor portland, oregon

    "Our military is too good for the government that put them in harm's way.

    Come home safe — and soon."

    AMEN!!! AND our troops and their families MUST be given all opportinities they have EARNED for themselves and their families-excellent health care, college tuition, mental health care, EVERYTHING they need to make their transitions home as smooth as possible!!!!

    the GOP's treatment of our military is INEXCUSABLE, DISGRACEFUL, AND ILLEGAL!!!!!

    July 17, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
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