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. kayla

    after six years you better be doing something good in iraq. that is a long time for you guys to do something there.

    July 17, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  2. Wisconsin

    Hey McSame,

    What color is the sky in your magical world.

    July 17, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  3. Joseph Adewole

    Americans are respected everywhere on earth for their intelligence and knowledge; one still wonder how John McCain managed to manupulate Americans to this stage; John has never been involved in any combat; the fact that he was ordered to carry out a sortie which failed and he was shot down did not make him to know anything about war.
    He talks of security, war, and foreign experience, all because he was a pilot in Vietnam during the war there; how did that make him a war hero? I never knew Americans can be deceived to this extent.
    Talking about war and foreign experience, we can see that Barack will handle all these well better than John because he is educated; he does not need anyone to interprete a written document for him unlike John whose qualification cannot be made public because he has none except that he was a pilot in AAF.
    It is high time Americans elected a very educated person; enough of meaningless jagons in the public. We have seen this in Bush; that is why economic situation in America is in tartterstoday.
    Bill Clinton is highly educated, we all saw how he handled economic situation during his eight-year rule – briliantly!
    Americans should think of how to better their conditions in an educated politician than following someone whose education cannot be made public.
    The ball is in your court across the Atlantic, we are watching you from here in Europe.........God bless America and Americans.

    July 17, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  4. skunkrat The Marine

    McCain is a liar, we will never WIN in Iraq. The people of Iraq are the only ones that can win. Mccain will have to eat those word soon just as Bush did. He realizes that the JCS is preparing to shift the focus to Afghanistan so like Bush he declares victory. Bad move McWar.
    Sen. McCain please tell the American people exactly what in your military experience qualifies you to say "I know how to win a war"? You never commanded a Combat unit only a Training Squadron, you spent 95% of you time in the VietNam war as a POW and other than NAM you have no other experience in a hostile environment.
    Sir you are ling and you know it. Your records indicates that you were not even a competent Pilot. You crashed almost every plane that you flew. Being an old mentally disturbed ex-POW doesn't make you a Commander in Chief or even qualified to be such. Stop ling to the public and stop trying to run on your not so stellar Military record.
    You are not a Hero Sir, You are a former POW. A Hero would not have made 32 propaganda tapes for the enemy. It is what it is.

    July 17, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  5. P P Hernandez, Sunset, Republic of Louisiana

    Per DPerry's comment – yes 911 was during Bush's term, as Pearl Harbor was in FDR's. American troops are stil in Japan, Germany, and Italy. So are you suggesting we loose in Iraq or win the war and the peace like a great generation before us?

    July 17, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  6. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    Mission accomplished.......right John? You're a little late with that one, as your "other half", George, declared that years ago.

    July 17, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  7. Eugene

    Funny, I thought success meant you had defeated armed opposition (still active and spawning elsewhere and encouraged by our occupation), in which case we can leave a peaceful, orderly Iraq behind. If that is not what we have done, why use the word "success"? Hundreds of thousands of dead Iraquis, a tattered American image, thousands of wounded and widowed soldiers and families would have a hard time calling this war a success.

    July 17, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  8. RB

    OK. I have to say it. JOHN MCCAIN IS A SENILE FRAUD!

    July 17, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  9. Truth Be Told

    There really is a meaningful difference this year between the two men vying to be president.

    One wants it so badly that he lied about his intention to run.
    The other was willing to sacrifice it out of love for his country.

    And, in the final analysis, it is that difference that makes all the difference. All the difference in the world.

    July 17, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  10. Jann, Denver CO

    Everyday I think "this guy can't get any dummer" and every day he proves me wrong.

    July 17, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  11. Lesley

    Whoever gets into office will surround himself with advisors, whether it's national security or whatever. Obama had shown good judgment and foresight on his own by voting against the war in Iraq in the first place and his global policies of reducing violence in the world by strategic diplomacy with allies and foes alike, the Afghan thing, and talking to Iran, which the Bush administration is now doing. In other words looking at the big picture and not just running to put out fires all over the world as they crop up. Why does the idea that he has naive national security policies persist? Just because McCain says so? Obama has shown better judgment than McCain, who a few months ago didn't think we needed to work on Afghanistan. All the while terrorists were regrouping there. And the "surge" worked partly because of increased troops but mostly because we paid Sunnis to fight for us not against us, the terrorist groups imploded themselves by turning on their own people, the leader of the terrorist army agreed to a cease fire, and our troops finally after years of begging got the MRAPs and other equipment they need to reduce their slaughter. John McCain voted in favor of the war but not in favor of properly arming our troops. With his claimed military superiority he of all people should have made sure the troops were protected, but he didn't. Let's stop listening to his hype and do a reality check.

    July 17, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  12. john il

    how ,and what did we win .where is osama at. this is all i ask .

    July 17, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  13. It's a done deal

    Then we can leave ... right?

    July 17, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  14. john il

    this is also saying we took over germany in ww2.but hitler got away.

    July 17, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  15. Moe, NY

    If Iraq succeeded then BRING OUR SOLDIERS HOME NOW! I, for one, do not believe a word that comes out of this warmongers mouth.

    July 17, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  16. Obama 08: white, 60 year old woman

    McCain's war has succeeded in over 4 000 American deaths, countless Iraqi deaths, millions of displaced Iraqis, a depleted military in soldiers and equipment, a walled city of Baghdad, increased hatred of Americans, tens of billions of dollars in debts, big bucks for Halliburton and an increased war in Afghanistan.

    Oh yeah, McCain says the surge was good because now the strategy can be used as a rehearsal in Afghanistan after SEVEN years.

    July 17, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  17. Will-South Dakota

    LOL......Mr Friends.....when will the Irqi's pay for this, when will they do thier own rebuilding, when will they take over their national security, when will they rebuild their own utilities and pay out of their oil reserves? When that happens it can be called success.
    What about here at home where Americans need help? McSame has no answers to America's needs.All he offers is criticisisms if they go against Bush.

    July 17, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  18. RJ, CA

    Let's face it - there will be no success in Iraq unless Lord Obama says there is! After all - he was a constitutional lecturer and a community organizer who managed to get a day-care center funded in Chicago! Who need generals? Who needs anyone else to tell us what's going on? Lord Obama knows all!

    Meanwhile, the "silent majority" - those who don't bother to blog or waste their hard-earned money on Obama's campaign - just sit back, laugh, and will silently vote in droves for McCain in November. And - dang! - they're probably old, too!

    July 17, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  19. RR

    We have succeeded in Iraq! But yet you want to stay and spend 10 billion dollars a month? McCain....YOUR A COMPLETE IDIOT!!

    July 17, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  20. Denise Groves

    How have we succeeded? If we have, why is Mccain still wanting to keep troops there

    July 17, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  21. Will-South Dakota

    LOL......My Friends.....when will the Iraqi's pay for this, when will they do thier own rebuilding, when will they take over their national security, when will they rebuild their own utilities and pay out of their oil reserves? When that happens it can be called success.
    What about here at home where Americans need help? McSame has no answers to America's needs.All he offers is criticisisms if they go against Bush.

    July 17, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  22. Jonathan



    July 17, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  23. Chris

    Well if we've won, we can withdraw right McCain?

    July 17, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  24. bob

    if iraq is a success, then we have no excuse not to remove the troops 🙂

    July 17, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  25. Mr. Obvious

    The Iraq War has ruined our economy. Weakened our Military. Made our dollar worthless. Caused oil prices to sky rocket up. Killed over four thousand fine young Military Heroes and maimed thousands more. Created a Shiite Government in Iraq that likes Iran a whole lot more than they like us. Recruited thousands of young Arabs who did not hate us before to go to Iraq and fight us because we were invaders on Arab (Homeland) soil. Etc etc.

    July 17, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
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