July 23rd, 2008
07:00 PM ET
12 years ago

McCain broadens definition of surge

McCain campaigned in Pennsylvania Wednesday.'

McCain campaigned in Pennsylvania Wednesday.'

BETHLEHEM, Pennsylvania (CNN) – John McCain defended comments he made in an interview on Tuesday when he incorrectly argued that the surge in Iraq gave way to the so-called “Anbar Awakening” – when Sunni leaders joined forces with U.S. troops to fight Al Qaeda in the fall of 2006.

The Arizona senator told reporters Wednesday afternoon that when he refers to the surge, it encompasses not just the January 2007 increase in troop levels but also the counter-insurgency that started in Iraq’s Al Anbar province months prior.

“A surge is really a counter-insurgency strategy, and it’s made up of a number of components,” McCain said. “This counter-insurgency was initiated to some degree by Colonel McFarland in Anbar province, relatively on his own.”

“General Petraeus said that the surge would not have worked, and the Anbar Awakening would not have taken place, successfully, if they hadn’t had an increase in the number of troops,” McCain added.

“I’m not sure frankly that people really understand that a surge is part of counter-insurgency strategy which means going in, clearing, holding, building a better life, providing services to the people,” he continued.

In an interview with CBS’s Katie Couric on Tuesday, McCain said that the surge led U.S. forces to ally with Sunnis, “And it began the Anbar Awakening. I mean, that's just a matter of history."

The Obama campaign quickly seized on the discrepancy in the timeline between when the Awakening started and the U.S. later added 30,000 boots on the ground. Before McCain responded, his camp hit back saying that Democrats were minimizing the military’s role in recent successes in Iraq.

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (131 Responses)
  1. seyi

    I notice every repub on this blog does nothing but criticize OBAMA, but OBAMA has nothing to do with the incompetency of McCain.

    The new word of the year is no longer change people, it is "THE SURGE"
    The SURGE, by definition before it was carried out ,was the substantial INCREASE IN # of TROOPS in IRAQ. Hence the word "SURGE" That didn't start until january 2007 and the # of troops peaked in July 2007. The Anbar Awakening started in August 2006. There is nothing else known as the THE SURGE as it pertains to the iraqi war.
    Somebody please tell McCain to stop hurting himself. The OBAMA campaign is getting all the coverage and every time McCain gets on TV, he makes a mistake,
    His campaign is becoming a joke.

    July 24, 2008 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  2. ANGIE

    people wake up and wake up hard just look at mccain think about it real hard do you really want this old confused liar to be you president if you answered no then you better registar to vote take your selves to the voting booth and VOTE OBAMA JUST DONT TALK WALK IT!!! or its gonna be a sad day for america if mccain wins and i pray everyday people will be smarter this time dems get over the primaries they were fun but its over things happened the way they did NOW UNITE AND VOTE BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA MAKE THIS WORLD A BETTER PLACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 24, 2008 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  3. Wisconsin

    Its not McWar's fault! It's all the stupid whiner American people who clearly did not count on the pre-surge surge that was a big part of the surge.

    How many people remember the pre-surge surge post surge of Jan. 12th in Czechoslovakia? Thats when we used Iraq's WMD's to get our flag pins back!

    July 24, 2008 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  4. Mildred

    Poor McCain. Some body help him take his foot out his mouth.

    July 24, 2008 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  5. Steven

    lila,; Texas Trail Dog Doesn't Read. He's Just Waiting For That Big "G" To Happen and Spew His Hate For Obama.
    The Warmongers Can't Stand The Truth.

    Barack Obama met with a crowd of cheering troops and State Department workers in Baghdad Monday night.

    "So I don't care whether you are a Sailor, a Soldier, an Airmen, or Marine. A National Guard, a Reservist, active duty, we just want to say thank you," Obama said. "Back home, as I travel all across the country, every single day I meet your friends, your family members, your co-workers, and the main thing they want me to communicate is how proud they are of you," Obama continued. "They may disagree on politics. They may disagree on the issues. But the country is absolutely united in the excellence, the devotion, the dedication with which you have performed your duties, here."

    July 24, 2008 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  6. steve fielder

    Poor Old John! First, you redefine the term "surge" and next you'll be redefining the term "war"! You still can't define the term "victory", can you!?! Go have yourself a nice long rest. buy a little mountain cabin in Czechoslovakia, tune in the sports channel on your Short Wave Radio and cheer for the Brooklyn Dodgers!

    July 24, 2008 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
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