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. Alex, USMC

    I'm sorry, but you simply can't retro-justify a war that men and women like myself are fighting. I make no judgement on the rightness or wrongness of the Iraqi war– I simply have to say that you can't use this kind of argument.

    If we hadn't Iraq, some people will ask, would gas actually be at the sky-high prices it is today? I'll leave the political judgements to each individual as members of the military are not permitted to use their status to influence the outcome of an election.

    The fact is that yMcCain guesstimating what Saddam would be doing in a world where we hadn't invaded Iraq can't be tied into the real-world oil prices of today, since it's fairly obvious that the war in Iraq has shaped the country in many ways, including the economy.

    August 7, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  2. Nikwashere

    IF saddam were still in power and there were no war... there would NOT have been profits on $120 – 150 barrels of oil, because it would have not gone that high. Those prices are a product of this war!

    August 7, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  3. jon

    John, oh John! Maybe we should have just put you in a museum as a fossil!

    August 7, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  4. Daniel from FL

    You know I laughed out loud, REALLY LOUD when I read this......but then I realized that people are actually gonna vote for this IDIOT! Now THAT is not funny.

    August 7, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  5. Sensible Joe

    McCain just doesn't get it. We've seen no benefits in terms of oil prices after destabilizing Iraq, which emboldened its natural enemy Iran and Iran's grip on the oil markets, in a dubious war that has been poorly executed. The real war is in Afghanistan, where the Taliban who attacked us were based and are now trying to make a comeback - with help, intentional or unintentional, from our supposed ally Pakistan. There's no justifying the mess. He ought to learn to sing a new song.

    August 7, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  6. Jiggles

    ....yeh, who cares about innocent citizens, as long as the US can continue guzzling oil.

    Still, I guess that once you guys have ruined the planet with your vast consumption and blasé attitude towards renewable there will be no one left in the word for you to kill.

    I'm from the UK- we weren't blameless for the war by any means- but please God America can someone tell me why anyone of you would vote for this guy- serious question- I want to know someones reasoning!!

    August 7, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  7. David S. Robins

    This latest McCain remark is utter nonesense. If Saddam Hussein was still in power the flow of Iraqi oil into world markets would never have been disrupted, the Middle East would be much more stable and crude oil prices would never have risen as high as they have thanks to GWBush's obscene and totally unnecessary war. McCain and the Bushies still don't understand that each time they threaten Iran, crude prices go even higher. They don't understand that the corrupt Iraqi puppet regime they have put in place is sitting on its money rather than investing in urgently needed oil industry reconstruction and modernization after 17 years of, first, American imposed sanctions and then war with all its attendant damages. Saddam Hussein knew how to manage his country's vast oil resources prudently. Bush and McCain still just want to loot them.

    August 7, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  8. Pat from Missouri

    The question is though, would we have the same high oil prices if we weren't in Iraq? I am not so sure that we would!

    August 7, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  9. Jams

    Huh? If we didn't invade oil would be about $65 a barrel.

    August 7, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  10. Ex-Republican for Obama

    McCain Policy: Let's go to war with all nations rich in Oil!

    Iraq, Iran, Venezuela, heck...and if Off-shore oil is found in abundance, then, heck, let's even kick our own butt's!

    When we're done with that, can you imagine what Korea, China, Taiwan, Japan, etc.. will do with all of the money they make from their abundant exports to the US....let's go to war with all Electronic Gadget production power houses.

    Automobile countries are after that: Sorry Japan, we're gonna have to attack you twice. Germany you get a good whooping again and Britain and France, you really shouldn't have become competitive in the automobile industry....we gotta invade you now.

    McCain, war is the solution for all! "Bomb, Bomb, Bomb" em all!

    No Thanks you Crazy Maverick you! (I bet he's cute in his cammie pajama's though)

    August 7, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  11. Ted van Tol

    Who was supporting in the Iran Iraq war Sadam in the first place!
    America is always on the wrong side first. America has also supported the Taliban in Afghanistan first.
    So you have to fight against you own weapens.
    America needs a leader with vision and who can look farther than his nose.
    I know someone!
    Out of Iraq, focussing on Aghanistan and get
    Osama Bin Laden and his frends.

    Barack for President.

    With love from the Netherlands
    Europe for Obama

    August 7, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    are you kidding me? is this guy for real? i can not believe he is running neck to neck with Obama in polls for the presidency of USA. i am not sure what to believe anymore. is this really serious? OMG! i am speachless reading this non-sense.
    does McCain not know that Iraq was not allowed to sell its oil?
    I mean really please someone tell me that this guy is really not running to be my president, president of the most powerful nation in the world.

    this is really scary and truly i am scared today.

    August 7, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  13. Peachy Keen

    Oh, so now you are a fortune teller and you knew in 2003 that the price of oil would be where it is in 2008, so to protect us from the evil Saddam in 2008, you voted in 2003 to kill him.

    Do you EVER listen back on tape to the things you say and how ignorant they are. I would like to know how many of your health record documents you hid from the media.....documents referring to the onset of dementia. It is obvious you are no longer thinking straight.

    August 7, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  14. What?

    Of course, the value of our dollar might not have diminished so much if the policy of "charging" a war by adding its cost to our deficit hadn't been adopted to begin with. That reduced value is a real part of the increase in oil prices. Whether Senator McCain feels justified in his voting for the war or not is irrelevant. Please at least don't pick an argument that is flawed and preys on the very real pain most Americans (i.e., those who don't have $100 million laying around) are feeling right now.

    August 7, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  15. Paul From Indiana

    Did he really just bring up the WMD argument again? While they say Hindsight is 20/20, apparently that isn't true for McCain. What an idiot!

    August 7, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  16. Check 2 Check

    Nah Bill from Alabama, I second your E-motion. I think others know its too ridiculous to even comment on such B.S. statements.

    August 7, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  17. RUCKA

    IT'S AN ABSURD AND FLAWED REASON! One of THE major reasons for high oil prices is the de-stabilization of the region by us going into Iraq! It's the same logic as killing your parents then asking for mercy because you're an orphan!

    The Iraq War is why the prices are high. They were much lower during Saddam's contained period.

    I hate old man logic like McCain uses.

    August 7, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  18. StoptheFearMongering

    the most ridiculous claim made so far in this election.

    if we're talking what ifs, had the US not invaded iraq all the billions that went to war could have been spent on education, healthcare, job creation, and to an overall healthier economy where oil may never have reached the insane prices it's at now. not to mention all the fuel wasted powering the tanks, warplanes, warships, and missiles fighting a meaningless war.


    August 7, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  19. lou

    Sorry McSame...your buddy Bush already used that line on us and we're not buying it anymore. The only people benefiting from the 120 barrrel prices are the ones who started this war in the first place.

    August 7, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  20. FRANK O.


    August 7, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  21. Boulder Brian

    High gas prices is certainly no justification for war in Iraq.

    ...Unless of course you start sending military to Safeway and other various supermarkets because of the high price of orange juice, milk, etc...

    Heck, why not just send troops to local dairy farms and really nip this problem in the bud.

    Is there any proof that farmers aren't buying up stock-piles of fertilizer to make weapons? I remember some guy named McVeigh that did that sort of thing..."As president, I would eradicate farmers to keep the American people safe. I am John McCain, and I approve this message."

    The old guard in Washington is a joke! We need fresh blood, a new approach, and a different viewpoint when it comes to world affairs. Fear shouldn't work in America and Americans are ready to be lead by hope, not fear.

    August 7, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  22. Nick - Arlington, VA

    I've goto wash the filth of this statement off my body.

    August 7, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  23. bee

    this guy is something else

    August 7, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  24. Adam

    I don't think oil would have been $140 if we didn't start the war in Iraq. What was it, $50 when the war started? Gas was 1.60, I remember that much

    August 7, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  25. Tim in Syracuse

    Good Gods......if we hadn't invaded Iraq and tanked its production, forced ourselves so far into debt, damaging our own economy and devalued the American Dollar we wouldn't be at $120 a barrel let alone $130 or $140.

    John, you need help. Your grasp on reality is less stable than Charles Manson or Windows ME. There were no WMDs and while Saddam was a loud mouth we haven't invaded Iran because their president is shooting his mouth off all over the place.

    Oh....wait....forget I said that. No need to bomb bomb bomb Iran.

    August 7, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
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