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. maynard hopkins wi


    August 7, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  2. Erin in Edmonds WA

    Weak argument from a weak mind. Leave it to this fool to try to draw a line from the Iraq war started a few years ago to what is happening now–and conveniently forgetting that the demand for oil drives it's prices up......dummy.

    August 7, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |


    Prewar gas prices..roughly 1.50? I just paid 4.04!!! MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

    THIS MAN IS SENILE...he's a LIAR and a PANDERING HAWKISH GOON.....He'd blame Hussein for global warming if he thinks it would justify a STILL UNJUSTIFIED WAR and get him a couple votes along the way. AMERICA IS SMARTER THAN YOU JOHN MCIDIOT!

    Officially Ticked off!

    Independent 4 OBAMA '08

    August 7, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  4. California Gold

    Sadam is dead. So why are the prices through the roof? Does this mean we need another 100 years of war? Is that why McCain is preaching 100 more years of war? I'm not in agreement of his drill, bomb, drill, bomb, drill right here, drill right now message.

    August 7, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  5. Bill Charlotte, NC

    He will do anything to justify his blunder. 4,000 and counting Americans dead and trillions of $ wasted. If Sadam were there, their bitter rival Iran would not be so powerful. They offset each other.
    McCan't is a desperate IDIOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I suggest anyone who falls for this crap, volunteer and go on over... or send your son and daughter. Do you think their lives would be worth me getting gas a little cheaper?

    He is an IDIOT>

    August 7, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  6. Kate

    Really??? Just how uninformed and gullible does this guy think the vast majority of Americans are?

    To all those of you who say the Obamatons are "drinking the kool-aid", just take a look at McCain's recent pronouncements and tell me if you don't reconsider:

    In just the past few weeks, McCain has:
    - FORGOTTEN the difference between Shiia and Sunni,
    - MISTAKENLY claimed Iraq borders Pakistan,
    - FALSELY claimed that Obama wants to tax energy,
    - FALSELY said that proper tire pressure would not help conserve gas consumption, admitted he doesn't know that much about the economy,
    - BALKED and blushed when asked if it was fair insurance companies covered Viagra but not birth control pills,
    - SAID the now defunct country of Czechoslovakia still exists, and
    - FALSELY said Iran (Shia) helps Al-Quaeda (Sunni)

    Now he's claiming that he foresaw high gas prices and believed they posed such a danger, he believed it worth authorizing a war that has so far cost billions and has caused the death of more than 4,000 American servicemen and women as well as tens of thousands of Iraqis? That's quite a stretch, even for the self-proclaimed "Maverick"

    August 7, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  7. shaik

    high oil prices is good enough reason to let 4,000 Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis die? Just for him to even say this is EVIL.

    August 7, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  8. Girls View

    Had we not gone into Iraq, we would have a $1Trillion in Iraqi War expenses that we could have used to subsize these higher oil prices..

    I'm betting that would have been the cheaper route to take ... oh and we'd have 4,200 US troops still alive.

    August 7, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  9. Dave in Orange County, CA

    McSame is confused again....

    Very poor logic and judgement for someone who hopes to be President.

    Oil was like $25 / barrel in 2003!

    McSame was among the other pro-war nitwits saying the Iraq war would pay for itself with all that oil!
    We're spending a Trillion $$$ + High Gas prices for this Iraq war!

    Wake up people!

    Vets for Obama!

    August 7, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  10. Allen in Hartwell GA

    Doesn't it seem strange that the very thing we went into Iraq to prevent is happening right under the nose of our "Dear Leader"? He was supposed to save us from the bad guys so that we could go shopping. Well, the bad guys are here and always were, and we aren't going shopping because we can't afford to.

    August 7, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  11. Greg, Brattleboro, VT

    Rob August 7th, 2008 6:40 pm ET

    "Like him or not, John makes a good point on this."

    Why didn't they go to Iran?

    I'm convinced that you don't even know that Sadam was armed by the US and their allies. When you make a monster and he becomes uncontrollable, the only thing you cn do is to destroy him. That's what happened to Sadam. They tried the same with other terrorists but they were unsuccessful.

    American policy needs a new direction, in case you've not yet understood it.

    Rob, there is something else your John said you did not catch.

    August 7, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  12. Marc PDX

    This is an excellent question and probably divides democrats and republicans today, based on fundamental beliefs. There is no doubt that Saddam was an evil man. He attacked Iran and Kuwait. He used chemical weapons on Iranians and on Iraqi Kurds and Shiites. He attacked a US Navy ship in the Gulf prior to the first Gulf War (then claimed it was an accident). Saudi Arabia was scared to death of him as were most of his neighbors. It cannot be argued (successfully) that Saddam was not an evil and unpredictable man. A man who was perpetually confronting other nations and peoples and operating in a brinksmanship style with the UN and other countries.

    After the first Gulf War (after invading Kuwait) he hated America and it is not hard to believe that he would be willing to seek revenge in some way against America. It would have been out of character for him to not do that. He was a constant threat as a human being. A man who killed as easily and naturally as sneezing. And he was going to successfully outlast the UN sanctions. By the time of the 2nd Gulf War most of the UN Security Council were tiring of maintaining sanctions and were showing signs of readiness to back away from them. Also, we now know that there were billions of dollars in kickbacks to Saddam from some of those nations – nations who had huge financial investments in Iraq which were stalled. That was the backdrop to the decision to topple Saddam – not terrorism. I don't know how it has morphed to terrorism today. It was over a fear of WMD. And if he didn't have them at the time of the 2nd war he was surely intent on re-developing them after the sanctions were removed, and he was succeeding in turning the UN tide of opinion by the time we toppled him. That is why we toppled Saddam Hussein. And whether he would have done us harm if we had left him alone we'll never know. But the basic reason for going in will remain that reason. If you think it would have been better to wait and see then you're probably a democrat. And if you think it was time to remove the threat then you're probably a republican.

    August 7, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  13. Jean, Indiana

    So where is all that oil money going now, McSame?

    August 7, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  14. Chuck, Montgomery, AL

    August 7th, 2008 6:23 pm ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    If this guy has his way, we'll be at war forever. I smell the draft coming – men and women, single and married, kids or no kids.

    He's a warmonger that gets a gleam in his eye when war is even mentioned.

    BIG mistake

    August 7, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  15. Reality Check Richmond Virginia

    ExxonMcCain 08

    August 7, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  16. Peachy Keen

    I believe that John McCain thinks if he hadn't been a POW, he could have single handedly won the Vietnam War.

    August 7, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  17. Chuck, Montgomery, AL

    OK CNN – what gives?

    August 7th, 2008 6:23 pm ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    If this guy has his way, we'll be at war forever. I smell the draft coming – men and women, single and married, kids or no kids.

    He's a warmonger that gets a gleam in his eye when war is even mentioned.

    BIG mistake

    August 7, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  18. Joe in Pomona

    Whoa. It looks like those "No blood for oil" people are right after all.
    The U.S. military isn't for defense but hired killers for cheap oil.
    Thanks for coming clean McCain.

    August 7, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  19. Wisconsin


    McShame: Would do it again.

    Attack Iraq who never attacked us.

    Ignore the people who did attack us.

    This is the judgment of McShame that we need to worry about.

    The terrorist who actually did attack us are as strong as ever BECAUSE we go into Iraq and took the focus off of the attackers.


    McShame would do it again!

    Defend America NOT oil profits! McShame has been bought by ig oil for 1.3 mil

    August 7, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  20. Fed up with the lies

    And folks want to put this guy in a position of power? What a loser! He still won't admit he got sucked in to the lie.

    August 7, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  21. Not sleeping at the switch

    OH MY GAWD!!! What next?? If there were LESS Dinosaurs then Oil would be more scarce and because HE started a conservation program 26 million years ago he gets credit for it? Who Listens to this crap?? Now he is going BACK into history to make a case for the war and high oil ???

    August 7, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  22. Joe

    This is ridiculous. President Bush and Senator McCain think it is fine for the US to pay $150 billion for the war in Iraq and the Iraqi government has so much money from oil revenues that they recently sent government officials into the streets to give away money as a means of getting their economy going. Meanwhile, here at home American working families are struggling to pay higher energy costs, bridges are crumbling, and we're denying benefits to our veterans. Regardless of what Senator McCain says, his position on the war cannot be justified.

    August 7, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  23. John S

    Are you kidding me with the WMD thing? Where has McCain been the last five years? Is he going to re-sell justification for invasion based on WMDs? Does he think we're that stupid? Are we?

    August 7, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  24. the ends will never justify the means

    In the face of overwhelming, compelling evidence that....

    The President lied to Congress,

    lied to the American people,

    put the finest fighting force in the world in harms way.....absolutley illegally , premeditated and deliberatley.

    Injected viral, party driven members of his ilk into the justice system with intent to pervert the law and protect His administration....

    We, as citizens must be honest with ourselves and each other.....

    The man, the entire administration, needs to be indicted and investigated with vigor and vigilence in the name of truth and justice.

    Have the courage to let the chips fall where they may.

    If we dont do this..... history shall show.....that 4100 Americans and countless thousands of foreign nationals died vain.

    Victory in Iraq begins with justice here at home.

    May God grant courage to the remaining, decent men and women of the justice dept.

    August 7, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  25. Seth

    A Wag at once said that all you have to do to to disabuse yourself about the wonders of democracy, was to spend about five minutes talking to the average voter. We have spent hundreds of billions of dollars because of the neoconservatives advocation of so-called preventive wars, and the expansion of an 'American Empire' established by the existence of about 800 bases overseas. We spend more money on so-called national defense, then the entire rest of the world combined, and that does not even include the $100 + billion we spend fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan every year. When you brain dead, talking point, McCainiacs attack me, know that I am not a liberal, nor am I an Obama supporter. I am a traditional conservative, some use the term paleoconservative. For those of you who would like to actually educate yourself a little bit, rather than simply meaningless Scream invective, go to Wikipedia and search for the articles on neoconservatives. You might just be surprised to find out that their background is not conservative at all [low taxes, smaller government, no foreign intervention, no deficit spending], but rather quite the opposite. Oh hell–why waste my time to educate a bunch of baboons!

    Dorsett Bennett
    Attorney at Law

    August 7, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
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