August 7th, 2008
04:30 PM ET
13 years ago

McCain: High price of oil one justification for Iraq war vote

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Sen. McCain took questions at a town hall event in Ohio Thursday."]
LIMA, Ohio (CNN) - John McCain offered a new justification for the Iraq war Thursday, arguing that if Saddam Hussein were still in power, he’d be a petro-dictator intent on using today's sky-high oil revenues to obtain weapons of mass destruction.

A voter at an Ohio town hall meeting Thursday asked McCain how he would vote on the 2002 war resolution if he had to do it again, given the advantage of hindsight.

“What do you think that Saddam Hussein would be doing with oil at $120, $125, $130 a barrel?,” McCain asked. “What do you think he’d be doing? I’ll tell you what he’d be doing. He’d be doing what he said he was committed to doing. And that’s acquiring and using weapons of mass destruction, which he did twice before.”

The Arizona senator elaborated on his other reasons for supporting the war resolution, including Iraq’s noncompliance with the U.N. mandated cease fire, as well as Saddam’s “brutal” human rights record.

Ultimately, McCain concluded, “If he were still in power, I believe that the world would be far worse off, especially with all the money he’d be making off of oil.”

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (596 Responses)
  1. Daryl from Seattle

    Well that insightful answer was about as good as an 'oil speculator's'. I love how the man who wants to lead our country is big on terms like would've, could've, and might have to justify the death of thousands of Iraqi citizens. I thought McCain was different from the rest of the GOP. Guess I was wrong. Seriously people, we cannot allow this man to become president! We can't take 4 more years of this kind of thinking! The man is a liar, a truth bender, a speculator, and he has no ideas different from the ones which got us in this predicament in the first place. I just pray that there are more voters like me who can see through the smoke he's blowing.

    August 7, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  2. Boston For OBAMA

    Seems to me the prices really began to soar when the United States invaded IRAQ to control the oil. McCain admitted the war was all about the oil.

    August 7, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  3. John

    Woow..I cannot believe McCain came up with that view. If oil is that high today it is because the geopolitical situation in the Middle East, and in Africa is very bad. So, why is the political situation in the Middle East so bad? I wonder if he does not consider our invasion in Iraq as a probable cause. In 2003 oil was still $36/barrel.

    August 7, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  4. Rob

    Chicken or egg Senator? Maybe oil prices are high because of a US war with Iraq and poor foreign policy with Iran.

    How about justification for war is so US companies can tap Iraq's fields which the press has recently (although inadequately) covered. One doesn't need a foil hat to draw that connection.

    August 7, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  5. dave

    That's a mean joke McCain made. McCain has an evil mind. One who projects evil is evil him or herself. Be careful! Plenty risk not to vote this evil mind.

    August 7, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  6. Ian

    I can't believe we still have to put up with this right wing bs.

    August 7, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  7. Pa Voter

    This was too easy. But finally, someone's admitted to the primary reason for unprovoked attack of Iraq.

    But hey, four more years of this sort of (hypathetical) reasoning is better than the smart young, new guy with his fresh ideas, uh OHIO voters?

    August 7, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  8. Bobbie, New Hampshire

    Right on John-you understand-Obama is stuck in his ivory tower and only knows how to offer $ incentives to our enemies--another way to spell incentives is APPEASEMENT which only further enables them–

    John McCain is the closest thing to Teddy Roosevelt this country has seen in a long time--we're behind you John-

    August 7, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  9. Heath, Bronx, NY

    I am certain we could say that the world would be a safer place if we got rid of half the dictators in the world. However, you don't trump up charges, lie to the american people, kills thousands of American soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqi citizens, on a war that is costing billions and driving our economy into a recession.

    This is the man you want to be president? Whoa

    Has intelligence taken a nap in America

    August 7, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  10. Keith from Phx

    Our enemies are stronger because we invaded Iraq.

    Worried about what Iran might do next in Iraq? Iran wasn't in Iraq before we invaded. Iran is stronger because we invaded Iraq.

    Concerned al Qaeda in Iraq will regroup? There was no al Qaeda in Iraq before we invaded. Al Qaeda in Iraq is stronger because we invaded Iraq.

    Upset about the spread of radical fundamentalist Islam – that 40% of Iraqis are now living under Sharia law? Iraq was a secular state before we invaded. Radical fundamentalist Islam is stronger because we invaded Iraq.

    Angry that the Taliban and the core of al Qaeda are re-Surge-nt in Afghanistan? We could have crushed them if we had sent 30,000 troops to Afghanistan when we chose to send 130,000 to Iraq. The Taliban and al Qaeda are stronger because we invaded Iraq.

    John – how dare you claim you understand national security when the actions you continue to support have done nothing but make our enemies stronger? You have no business telling anyone how to keep America safe.

    August 7, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  11. LLMTruth

    john McBrainless is a hopeless warmonger. He is just itching to insight Iran and goad them into a war so he can ruffle his war feathers. His tired point of WMD's is already a pretty well known fact that Iraq had no such weapons. Yet, here is McBrainless still pumping the notion of WMD's. Hey, McLame here's a news flash, that was a lie, there weren't any WMD's and there was no evidence proving that either. Yet, you still persist in expounding the Dubya talking points. It just shows how much he is aligned with Bush.

    Then he bases his opinion on supposition, would if Saddam were still in power? And this is the guy who would commit this nation's resources on a supposition. And the killer is that nobody thinks there is anyhing wrong with this. We are apparently a nation of fools who like to be toyed with, then blindly follow along. What about the other nations whose leaders we don't exactly care for? Are we going to find some pretense to invade them as well? What about North Korea for one?

    Go ahead America and put this demented man into office and see what happens. You will get exactly what you ask for; more confusion and distortions. There will be nobody to blame but yourselves. Not me because I am not going to be fooled by lunacy and blind national fervor again.

    August 7, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  12. John Ring

    Invading Iraq didn't even secure us access to petroleum, and instead cost everyone in this country more money than we can count. Nothing about your vote was smart, John, and your opponent realized that from the beginning.

    August 7, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  13. Moe

    Anybody catch his comment that he doesn't fully understand how speculation works?

    OK...let's see now...

    Doesn't fully understand Economics.
    Doesn't understand Speculation.
    Doesn't know how to use a computer.
    Confuses Shia vs. Shiite
    Confuses Czech Republic
    Confuses border of Iraq.

    I think I've come to the conclusion that yes he is a war hero. But he doesn't have the intellectual capacity to be the leader of the free world.

    He seems more like a GOP puppet.

    August 7, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  14. jason, tx

    um, that presumes that oil would be this high without the Iraq war. I doubt it would be.

    August 7, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  15. Daisy - Canada

    Just what this world needs – a clairvoyant – he can speak for the dead knowing exactly what they would do!

    August 7, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  16. marty from Indiana

    seems like I remember when he was in power.... the revenue from oil was used for humanitarian purposes in Iraq and Sadaam wasn't able to touch the money. McCain needs to study both geography and history.

    August 7, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  17. Greta

    This is a macaca moment for McCain. America believes the war in iraq was wrong.. no justification period..!!! For him to remain obstinate makes me believe suddenly he really wants America to stay in Iraq for 100 years.. after all to him its all about oil even it costs over 3000 American lives!

    August 7, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  18. Mike

    So I guess the McCain Doctrine will be "Invade now, justify later." Looks like McCain is really reaching to make Iraq the top issue.

    August 7, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  19. Angel


    August 7, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  20. Jesse, St. Louis Park, MN

    WOW, McCain really is an idiot!

    August 7, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  21. John from New York

    McCain is a nightmare.

    August 7, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  22. The Guy



    Goodbye America. You will be missed. It's too bad "men" like McCain fooled you into destroying yourselves.

    August 7, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  23. Gary

    But the justification for the war was WMD's, not human rights or oil.

    What is happening with Iraqi oil today?? It doesn't seem to have much of an effect on the current price does it??

    August 7, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  24. Andrew

    So the War in Iraq was over oil? Given hindsight, McCain thinks that allowing the Iraqi's not to control their own oil was the best reason to lose thousands of American lives?

    August 7, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  25. Ediera, IL

    Oh God, haven't we heard this one before. George W. Bush told us if we went to war with Iraq our gas prices would be lower. Prices went from $28. a barrel to over $140. Shades of the Bush legacy. McSame is falling in lock step.

    I'll vote for Barack who I think we'll do a better job with the economy. And people are excited about Barack, which means he'll get more done. Who in their right mind is excited about McCain. Heck, I'll go watch my grandfather before I watch him, at least it will be more entertaining.


    August 7, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
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