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. Geoff, LA, CA

    I seem to recall that oil was between $40-$50 per barrell BEFORE we invaded. McCain is out of touch with Americans who are not lifelong politicians.

    August 7, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  2. PW, CA

    If Saddam were still around we wouldn't be in this mess.....why would it be different now than before we invaded his country? The only reason the prices are so high now is because bush and his gang are purposely keeping certain fields in Iraq shut down allowing no production.....that's why we invaded the country.....he and his buddies wanted there anyone who has not yet seen the pictures of daddy bush and the sheik?

    August 7, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  3. Bushwhacked in Eugene, OR

    What a lame, lame way to spin this! McCain can sputter all he wants, but that war vote is indefensible.

    Oil may not have gone so high without the war; we certainly would have spent fewer billions of American dollars on a fruitless effort that has cost untold lives; maybe this, maybe that.

    And this may tries to distance himself from the Bush administration? Please - he just can't hide his true colors.

    August 7, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  4. Wayne H

    What would the price of oil be today if we didn't enter Iraq? Any educated feedback on that one?

    August 7, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  5. jason

    mcshame you are a loser bro oil prices are jumping because your Bush buddy is the one making the prices with EXXON

    August 7, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  6. Ed

    If Saddam was still in power, the only person who would benefit from sky-high Iraqi oil is Kofi Annan's son. Guess McCain already forgot the heavy U.N. sanctions in place while Saddam was in power and that the Oil for Food program was the only legitimate way Saddam could get Iraqi oil to market. Saddam had to sell Iraq's oil for pennies on the dollar in return for food and medicine because Kojo Annan ran the most corrupt program in the history of the U.N.

    August 7, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  7. Waaaiit a minute

    hmm so why isnt the US attacking Iran then?

    August 7, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  8. Montana is Obama Country

    dealing with hypotheticals is all he has..

    Bush agrees to 2010 time-horizon

    Oil is down

    Tire gauges work in reducing daily consumption..

    This guy is too OLD tooooo LEAD... even a horse to water..

    August 7, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  9. Ian

    When he says that Saddam had aquired WMD twice before, is he referring to the weapons we sold him?

    Also, gas didn't go up this high until we invaded Iraq.

    August 7, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  10. Joe Matt

    Huh? So he would've voted for a lie because he knew oil would dramatically rise in price. John McCain can "tell you" what Saddam Hussein would do? Is that kinda like how he "knows" how to catch Osama Bin Laden? Is John McCain a psychic? If so, then we definately should elect him to office. On the other hand, if he was a psychic why didn't he cheating on his first wife leading to his divorce. Or why didin't he "know" how to prevent a visit to the Hanoi Hilton? Maybe his psychic powers have grown since then. Sheesh

    August 7, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  11. Charles

    So, Mr McCain, using that line of gibberish, if Brittney had not shaved her head and was still in power, do you think she would have a chance of a cabinet post in your administration?

    And volunteering your wife for the topless beauty contest in Sturgis???
    Nothing is connecting too well for you upstairs these days, is it John? Are you a firetruck today? Or is it biker Thursday? Tapioca Tuesday?

    Do you really think that the American public would trust you with all of the important decisions that are going on in our country right now?

    August 7, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  12. Dan, Maryland

    Maybe, just maybe...if there wasn't so much turmoil in the middle east (ie Iraq), the prices wouldn't have jumped so high in the first place...McCain, you're a riot, I can't help buy laugh, I miss the McCain of 2000, you know, the respectable guy.

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

    Gimme a break.....What other "what if's" can this clown shoe babble on about? What if Bush hadn't been elected president? What if the current oil cartel wasn't in Washington? What would the cost of crude be then?

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

    That's taking stupidity to a new lower level. Saddam was limited by the amount of oil he could sell by UN sanctions. None of the price surge would have helped him much. All of the war has helped the dictator of Venezuela, the Iranians and the Russians.

    August 7, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  15. Mad as hell and not going to take it anymore

    McCain does not understand ... the issue is not whether Saddam should have been toppled = but how it was done - circumventing the Constitution and Lying to the American public should be an impeachable offense (certainly registers higher than what Clinton did) ... we would have succeeded in toppling Saddam in other ways (including economic) - but that was not the way that the neo-cons decided to drive this thing ... and now there have been probably 500,000 people killed so that Americans can drive Humvies ... John – bite me - go back to Phoenix now and just leave us alone!!!!

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

    WHAT!! don't speculate on what he would do. we found no wmd and were so tight on what that country could and couldn't do. he couldn't order a venus fly trap on the internet without someone knowing.

    just a crock of bull dung to try and tie todays oil prices, which have gone up drastically with this war, to removing him and his wmd's. wasn't there and oil for food program in place? sell the oil and all they could buy the proceeds was civilian supplies?

    August 7, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  17. Glenn Doty, Columbia, SC

    So McCain has finally admitted that we invaded Iraq for oil.

    Congrats to him for honesty, even though it's 5 and a half years too late.

    As for the effect on the price of oil:
    When we invaded, Iraq was pumping out the same volume/day as it is now. During the intervening 5 years, Iraq's output was consistantly lower than before the invasion. The instability that our invasion caused has caused price fluctuations, often increasing the fundamental price of fuel by as much as 30.00/bbl (though right now the additional "security concerns" increase is less than 5.00/bbl.

    Since the invasion, Iraq has exported ~4 billion barrels of oil. Our invasion cost 1.6 trillion dollars thus far. Which means that if the invasion was actually about oil (McCain has finally admitted it), the cost of oil from Iraq's military misadventure have cost an additional ~400.00/bbl – before we pay regular market price for them.

    Empirial expansion is not a good way to obtain oil. McCain should revert back to lying about this again... the truth just makes him look even more stupid about energy.

    August 7, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  18. Kelvin

    So senator McSame by your logic the US should attack the Saudis since they funded the Sept 11th attacks and Bin Laden's family ties are there?!

    August 7, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |


    August 7, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  20. Don Child

    Um .... isn't the US action in Iraq a big part of the reason for the higher oil prices? We create instability, the price goes up, and McCain blames Sadaam? duh

    August 7, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  21. Bill from ALabama

    McCain is telling the truth about the threat Hussein would have been if he were still there garnering today's,price of oil..........there is a big difference.

    August 7, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  22. California Gold

    Since Sadam is dead and gone and we are paying through the nose for fuel. Given your rationale Senator McCain, who do you suggest the United States of America next hunt down and kill over the price of oil? Obviously we need to keep murdering until everyone who can raise the cost of oil is dead.

    That brings us to the McCain pledge for 100 more years of war.

    August 7, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |


    August 7, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  24. Jo Ann

    McCain is so sick and I am tired of looking and listerning to him-Bush
    had Saddam killed so he could try and take the oil what did it do but get a lot of people killed for a lie and oil is still high.

    August 7, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  25. Bill from ALabama

    Heck,it looks like I am the only guy caring about your absurdities,CNN.

    August 7, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
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