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. Boston For OBAMA

    HMMMMM...............still in moderation I see.

    August 7, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  2. Observer

    McCain said WHAT!?!?! You can't be serious! A retroactive excuse for the invasion, based on current oil prices? Where's the logic in this? Who advises this guy?

    August 7, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  3. froslappa

    I guess no one realizes that if we never went to Iraq, oil prices wouldn't be high. If oil prices weren't high and Saddam was still in power then McCain's argument goes straight out the window. What an idiot.

    August 7, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  4. Vietnam vet for Obama!

    Maybe, had he lived, Saddam would hav used windfall oil profits to finance his quest for WMD. But that ignores the fact that the surge in crude oil prices was a direct result of GW Bush's war for fun and profit.

    Saddam was quite well contained by the UN sanctions in place before the invasion, oil prices were relatively stable, and Dorothy was safe at home in Kansas.

    August 7, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  5. Joe

    So the war was fought for oil. Finally we have that cleared up. Morons.

    August 7, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  6. Andrew

    Maybe if he didn't authorize the war which led to several refineries, and all the oil they contain and produce, being destroyed, gas prices wouldn't be as high today.

    August 7, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  7. Zach

    Are you kidding me? How stupid is McCain? This is the most backwards logic I have ever heard. I'm not about to argue that the world may very well be a better place with Saddam Hussein no longer in power, however, if it weren't for the Iraq war it is just as likely that we would not currently be facing these gas prices.

    Also, last time I checked the president of Iraq does not set oil prices. If Saddam could have jacked up oil prices before, don't you think he would have?

    August 7, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  8. Dustin

    wow. did he just really equate the Iraq war to a war on oil, when the Repubs have been fighting as hard as they can to say oil wasn't a factor? BRILLIANT!!!

    August 7, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  9. Patrick

    The question is not whether we're better off without Saddam its whether it was worth almost a trillion dollars and close to 5000 American lives to do it.

    Plus Iraq was under heavy sanctions and its oil industry had completely collapsed before the invasion. One of the main reasons Iraq hasn't been able to pay for its own reconstruction is that the oil industry there was completely destroyed even before the invasion.

    Therefore Saddam would not have been making any money off of the current oil boom.

    These statements are factually, and morally incorrect.

    McCain needs to run a more responsible campaign, I expected much better from him.

    August 7, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  10. Dan

    another question – if saddam was still in power and the war in Iraq never happened, what is the likelihood oil would be the price it is today?

    August 7, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  11. MBFLA

    There is absolutely NO justification for what we have done to Iraq!

    August 7, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  12. Josh

    I thought one of the reasons that the oil price hit the sky was cause of the war?? I think this guy doesn't think we are remembering the past holding on the present and worried about the future!! Thanks John for reminding me why I need to vote for Obama!

    August 7, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  13. Richard in Atlanta

    Senator McCain has totally lost his bearing! If there were no war in Iraq,the price of oil would not have sky rocketed out of control. It appears to me that Senator McCain is getting a bit cocky with The American People. He seems to think that we are a bunch of uneducated folk who have no access to media that is not slanted in his favor. I can only hope that this great country can see through his crooked straight talk and vote for what is best for OUR country.

    August 7, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  14. Wally

    Wow, so now the justification for the war is about fictitious hypotheticals. Most candidates won't even answer those as campaing questions, much less go to war and bankrupt the largest economy in the world based upon them. Shoot first, try to clean up later, that is the McCain way.

    August 7, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  15. Never Again CNN

    If he's so concerned about human rights violations, what does he plan to do about Darfur, China, Zimbabwe, Kenya ... and N Korea already has nukes. McSame is just like bush, all about the oil and raking in the money for the rich.

    August 7, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  16. JB

    Orwellian Doublethink. Or at the very least, a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Oil costs are high due to, in no small part, the instability of supply in the Middle East. Sadam Hussein was a petty dictator and scourge of his people. But the war has left an increasingly destabilized region.

    To use the current price of oil as a retroactive rationale for war not only ignores the gross misuses of other reasons during the build up to war, but completely misses the cause and effect relationship between the war and current prices.

    Next he'll be telling us that it was ok that the administration didn't do as much as it could have during Katrina, because "not a lot of people live in New Orleans any more" .

    August 7, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  17. Don

    You betcha John! Thousands of dead Americans, over One Million dead Iraqis. 79 billion extra for the Iraqis oil industry. And now they want us to get out. (And we should, there is no justification for us ever being there in the first place and devastating their country.)

    You betcha "old, white haired, wrinkly, dude." You justify Oil Company profits to the thousands of graves you have helped fill, and all the ones you want to continue to fill.

    August 7, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  18. Kevin

    Wow, can you believe the audacity of this Idiot. Anything to justify a war.

    August 7, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  19. mk

    And this guy is different from Bush?
    He is already making up new excuses for a war that was based on lies.
    How STUPID do the repubs really think we are?

    August 7, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  20. Tony

    And if Bush weren't in power oil would be much cheaper because we'd be well on our way toward renewable energy. Would it then have been ok for someone to take him out and kill hundreds of thousands of Americans in the process?

    August 7, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  21. RickytheGriff

    So, in other words....

    .... 4000 of our men and women died for oil.

    e'nuff said.

    August 7, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  22. Roger from CA

    UMMMMMMM...... Wasn't Husseing constrained from fully exploiting his oil resources???

    Oh, and let's not forget that much of the rise in oil prices is due the instability surrounding Iran's intransigence on the nuclear issue..... And, golly gee, a big chunk of the reason for that is that Iran no longer has a counterweight in a hostile, Sunni-controlled Iraq. In 2003, Iran was run by "moderates" (relatively speaking). The current joker in Iran (not going to try to spell his name from memory) arose in response to the greater instability thrust on the region by the American invasion of Iraq.

    So, McCain's logic is completely nonsensical.

    By the way, wasn't this invasion about Iraq's alleged HAVING (present tense) WMD's? You can't keep redefining the mission retroactively, when you are talking about a pre-emptive war.

    August 7, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  23. What!

    Excuses! Excuses! Excuses! Senator McCain is so whacked. Wake up America! You have been warned. Peazzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzze do not vote for Senator McWar.

    August 7, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  24. Troy

    mccain is absurd grasping at anything and throwing it out hoping it sticks.

    August 7, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  25. rob from vegas

    uhhh oil wouldn't be that high if we weren't in Iraq!
    it's been said 1000000 times by professionals, but then again, mccain doesn't listen much to them. he listens to Bush and Cheney...

    August 7, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
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