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. Conrad

    Did McCain ever consider the possibility that the high cost of oil is partially attributable to the war in Iraq?

    August 7, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  2. Dayahka

    Don't you remember, John, or is your memory gone too, that we were not allowing him to sell oil freely anyway, and so he'd still be facing sanctions and unable to profit in the way you suggest. And isn't it sort of odd, now it's not that the US went to war to find WMDs, but to prevent him from being able to buy them when the price of oil went up six years later. Tongue disconnected from your brain, old chap?

    August 7, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  3. arc, Lugano CH

    WMD in Iraq = Bush/Cheney Lies = Hillary Supporters for McCain

    August 7, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  4. Hannah

    That is absurd. So Senator McCain would still enter into a war in Iraq, knowing that the reasons were false? That is essentially what he is saying here because the advantage of hindsight tells us that all the evidence of WMD was false.

    August 7, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  5. DB

    If George Bush and John Mccain hadn't invaded Iraq, the region would be much more stable, in which case, as anybody who understands the economy would know, there would not have been a huge run up in the cost of oil. Yes, the price oil would obviously be increasing due to increased global consumption, but the huge RUN UP was caused by the unstable situation.

    Once the Bush administartion started to negotiate with Iran, as Obama has suggested all along, and Congess started talking about cracking down on speculators, also as Obama has suggested all along, oil prices started to come back down.

    It is obvious to any rational obserer that the failed Republican policies are to blame for high and unstable oil price.

    August 7, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  6. voter

    Fear mongering!! (and btw, Canada/Mexico provide us WAAAY more oil than the middle east)

    Stop diluding yourself to suit your agenda McSame! You'll find ANYTHING to justify a WAR because you want "winner" written next to your name in the history books. My children will NOT fight a war for you!

    war drill war drill war drill

    August 7, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  7. mike E DANVILLE,VA

    Mcwar just likes to start fights and have someone else do the fighting for him. Send Mcwar to the inner-city on one of the corners and have him start his own war. Not only start it but fight it too. I feel more threatend by whats going on in our own communitys than in Iraq.

    August 7, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  8. DR. YES

    wow!you voted for the war ,so,saddam wouldnt get rich,when the price of oil went up? must have gotten one of bush's "memos",too.....maybe you should drop out of the race,and write a book about how you were mislead by a forged letter or something.i hear there's lot's of money in it.

    August 7, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  9. Brian Phoenix AZ

    What about the 80 billion that the Iraqi's are making off it and the US is still funding this unholy war?????

    August 7, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  10. Jason

    Huh? The prices wouldn't be as high as they are if we hadn't gone into Iraq.

    August 7, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  11. Mike

    Gas wasn't expensive when you voted, or did you forget again. Idiot! Please dont vote for this guy. At least vote for a real Republican in Barr.

    August 7, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  12. Jeanne

    what a thing to say.............shameful.

    August 7, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  13. Ann

    But the price of oil is more than triple what it was when Saddam was in power BECAUSE of the war! Man- McCain is better at Orwellian newspeak than I thought!

    August 7, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  14. stephy

    why doesn't the white house just admitt that the war in Iraq is all about oil. Our soldiers are giving there life for the greed of George Bush. Why can't americans see the forest for the trees. there's a reason why other countries don't like america, it's because they know why america invaded Iraq, and it wasn't for WMD.

    August 7, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  15. stephanie hacker

    Well now isn't this special. First it was Saddam was a dictator hell bent on getting WMD's, then it was becasue he committed genocide on his own people in the 80's while certain Administration Officials held hands with them, then it was to liberate the Iraqi people. McCain just does not get it. He and his party claimed it would be a swift and fast victory, the Iraqi's would throw candy and flowers at us and the best one is hey their oil would pay for the war. While we as taxpayers are paying billions of dollars for this war, the Iraqi Government is sitting on a 79 billion dollar surplus. And the beauty of all this is we are paying them interest for holding their money. Is this what John McCain calls winning in Iraq? Just wanted to ask that question. I along with the majority of Americans now want to know John McCain what is your definition of victory in Iraq? We though it was "Mission Accomplished" several years ago aboard the big boat Fly Boy George was on. thx for all your support

    August 7, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  16. Shawn

    Nice Speculative Justification, McSame. Sounds like something Bush would say.

    Fear Talk Express : Full steam ahead!

    August 7, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  17. Jonathan of Tampa, FL

    I really think John McCain has gone insane. He is using the worst hypothetical scenario I can think of. I can tell you the reason oil is where it is today is because of The Iraq War. Look at your calenders when oil started to rise. Just like George W., McCain thinks it's cool to drop bombs on people who might have a weapon that could get into the hands of a terrorist and may end up being used against America. He will drop a bomb if someone sneezes wrong and call it the threat of getting Americans sick. Come on not buy into this war mongers fearful philosophies on why we should kill and train people in the middle east to think like Americans.
    If John McCain is telling the truth how come he is not leading "INVASION: THE SURGE IN IRAN"? I mean, the threat of Nuclear weapons is a serious threat. Come on McCain don't be lame and play games, what is it you are saying? Be consistent. Be real and have a tiny bit of morals.

    August 7, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  18. -K&H-

    Was there proof of WMD's because I can remember we found none.

    August 7, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  19. seeing the truth

    one would think that after saying the same talking points , pandering and lying as long as John would think he would not need Que cards...guess it must be memory loss. that happens at that age i guess

    August 7, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  20. SimonSays

    Ummm...hello...Iraq had an embargo against selling its oil on the open market. That's why they needed the oil for food program. So what is he talking about Saddam taking advantage of high oil prices???

    August 7, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  21. Ian


    As someone who worked over there during the "U.N. Sanction" years, I personally saw oil being smuggled out of Iraq in trains of tankers.

    We definitely weren't cutting into his income, and let's not forget all the other resolutions he broke, kicking the weapons inspectors out numerous times and taking pot shots at American pilots enforcing the no-fly zone.

    People seem to have short memories in this country.

    Everyone complains about the current cost of the war, but I'd like to know how much money we spent policing Saddam Hussein from 1991 until the current war. That was over a decade of wasted resources trying to keep that man in line.

    Good riddance.

    August 7, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  22. JA Cook

    The US should invade any country that has what we want unless they voluntarily turn it over to us at what we decide is a fair price.

    McCain 08
    Better than Bush

    August 7, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  23. Paul

    Oil wouldnt be $130 a barrel if the likes of you hadnt gone and messed the world up in the first place!!

    August 7, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  24. Army Vet in Charlotte

    He must really be joking with this.

    One of the BIG reasons for oil's price increase is INSTABILITY IN OIL-PRODUCING REGIONS, LIKE THE MIDDLE EAST. Iran did it a few weeks ago with their missile testing to raise oil prices and make a few million more bucks. Doing something like starting a war is sure to make prices go up, not down! This says something about his grasp of economics.

    And for the record, Saddam had given up his nuke program years before we invaded. And he had no ties to terrorists either, so those are out.

    If you want to talk about a brutal human rights record as a justification for invasion, then let's go after Saudi Arabia next. Public executions, subjugation of women, complete lack of religious freedom, etc.

    August 7, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  25. Another Canadian

    This is so Ridiculous and sad that Mr. McCain is still trying to justify that horrible war . You do not need to do that anymore Sir. Please move on with the real issues at hand . Loss of Jobs and house foreclosures have got to be the # 1 issue !

    August 7, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
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