McCain on sending troops to Africa: Be careful
October 16th, 2011
11:42 AM ET
10 years ago

McCain on sending troops to Africa: Be careful

Washington (CNN) – Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona on Sunday questioned the president’s recent order to send American troops to central Africa, saying the move could put the United States on a slippery slope.

“I worry about, with the best of intentions, that we somehow get engaged in a commitment that we can't get out of,” McCain said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

This week, President Barack Obama ordered about 100 U.S. military personnel to aid in the hunt and removal of Joseph Kony, head of the Lord’s Resistance Army, better known as the “LRA.”

In a letter sent to House Speaker John Boehner, Obama said the group "has murdered, raped, and kidnapped tens of thousands of men, women and children in central Africa" and "continues to commit atrocities across the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan that have a disproportionate impact on regional security."

The president said the troops will not use force unless acting in self-defense.

While McCain acknowledged that a humanitarian crisis is taking place in the region, he chided the Obama administration for acting without the approval of Congress and warned against getting too involved.

“I remember Somalia. I remember Lebanon,” McCain told CNN’s Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley. “We’ve got to be very careful about how we engage. This slippery slope thing could happen there.”

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

Filed under: Africa • John McCain • President Obama • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. lynn

    McCain is good for his word, criticize Obama at every opportunity and make sure he's a one term president. Not jobs or the economy, really how stupid of the Democrats to hope for anything else. The Republicans don't give a damn, just keep up the constant drum beat of get rid of Obama.

    October 16, 2011 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  2. vic , nashville ,tn

    True color of Sen. John McCain . He is so picky . He will send our troops to Middle east in the name of humanitarian crisis but no for Africa

    October 16, 2011 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  3. Jon in Pgh

    WOW...there is the pot calling the kettle black...getting involved in something that we can't get out of(Iraq)...OLD MAN YELLS AT CLOUDS.

    October 16, 2011 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  4. Tony 140

    Please tell me what the reaction would be if BUSH DID THIS? Here we have a case of a President who has never carried a sword – but sure likes to use it. Shame on him if he put our nation's finest in harm's way for political reasons. Another indication that he has no concept of the essence of real leadership.

    October 16, 2011 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  5. Rick McDaniel

    America doesn't know, how to keep their noses out of other people's business.

    October 16, 2011 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  6. Steve in Denver

    You have a h3!! of a nerve giving such advice after you and 82 other senators were so obviously derilict in your duties to investigate what the shrub was telling you and the world in 2002-2003. You and 82 other senators have no grounds to advise in any way whatsoever on foreign policy; you blew it in 2003 and 4,500 Americans have paid for your incompetence. And before I'm accused of partisanship, yes, Hillary Clinton is in the same boat, and will never get my vote for it.

    October 16, 2011 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  7. thomas

    “Every time I made a serious mistake politically – and I’ve made them – it’s been when I’m tired,” McCain said !

    John needs the Do Not Disturb logo embroidered on his necktie !

    October 16, 2011 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  8. portland tony

    While Senator McCain is right about getting involved in foreign conflicts, it's absurd to fault the President for not running the deployment of a couple hundred soldiers to central Africa through Congress . By the time they voted, yea or nay, the bad guys they are looking for would either be retired or leading politicians in their native countries.

    October 16, 2011 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  9. Dare Taiwo

    Sending US troops to East Africa is a suicide mission. The terrain of Africa will make it difficult for the US troop to function effectively. President Obama knows this. He is just looking for an opportunity for a full military engagement. But he needs to realize that unlike the desert topography of the Middle East and North Africa, East, Central, South and West Africa are tropical regions covered with forests and glades. Senator McCain fought in Vietnam, so he knows how slippery it is to fight in the tropics.
    Another question I need to ask is why wouold a US Presideny send US troops in harms way in a country governed by a Dictator? Yoweri Museveni overthrew a democratic goverrnment almost three decades ago. He has ruled Uganda with iron fists since then. I guess Mr Obama's motivation is Oil.

    October 16, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  10. w l jones

    Well well Africa is a continent and not a country so that make a lot of different. Enough said.

    October 16, 2011 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  11. Tucson Matt

    My Senator is losing it. It's like opposite day, every day. We aren't exerting America's power in the middle east and Obama is too timid. Now the opposite in terms of Africa, it's absurd. Come on Senator, you can't have it both ways.

    October 16, 2011 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  12. Jacoba

    Well done Obama! America is part of the world community and getting rid of the LRA makes sense in the long term; it won't take much to get rid of these murderers and the USA will certainly have a reason for this. LRA is hardly Somalia – they're a bunch of bandits who rape women and children and pillage the poor. They have few weapons and no brains – a walk in the park for the USA.

    October 16, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  13. joseph

    The LRA is vile and need to be stopped. The people of DR + Congo + Uganda have been begging for international intervention for years. It took hundrers of thousands of Americans pushing congress to get a bill passed that commited the president + congress (last year) to find this decision. McCain is not telling the truth here (shocker). Look up the history of this decision and how a bunch of kids made it happen... (invisiblechildren(dot)org). This should be a proud moment for America.

    October 16, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  14. Larry

    Do you remember Lybia? You couldn't get U.S. troops there fast enough. You berated Obama for not getting involved fast enough.

    October 16, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  15. Little Jimmy Truth

    Say hello to Blackhawk Down 2.

    October 16, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  16. pitdownman

    Didn't he criticize Obama for not doing more in Libya?

    October 16, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  17. Abraham

    Why is the US sending. Troops to Africa now? Why are we not eliminating Mugabe? He is a criminal, a murderer and a brutal dictator. Why? Why? Why? We do not need to go anywhere. We can use the drones and kill people anywhere in the free world. MC Cain does not know what he is talking about. get him out of office and make room for people with a brain which he does not have. By by Mc Cain go to sleep.

    October 16, 2011 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  18. MS

    Where was all of this caution in the Republican party when we sent troops to Iraq?

    October 16, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  19. once upon a horse

    I am thinking that if the president came out and decided not to send any troops over there, then McCain would be critical on that as well. Nothing new here folks.

    October 16, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  20. joshan

    when he says b careful he is making an excuse to blame obama if something goes wrong in the future.he will claim it good when the troops are succesful

    October 16, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  21. Nah

    tucson: "We aren't exerting America's power in the middle east and Obama is too timid. Now the opposite in terms of Africa, it's absurd. Come on Senator, you can't have it both ways."


    The positions are reconcilable, even if you disagree with them. Finishing the job in the middle east is a wholly different issue from not getting involved elsewhere in the world.

    Hence, you can be criticized for being timid when you have live troops on the ground in the middle east, while you can also be criticized for putting more troops in harm's way somewhere else when the troops do not need to be there.

    October 16, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  22. blue

    President Obama knows what he is doing. Sen. Mc Cain knows only to try and bring our President down. If he needs only 100 soldiers, beleive me he knows that is all that he needs. He has done more for our country than any person that I can remember.

    October 16, 2011 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  23. Lake effect

    People yell and complain about us messing in others business but how would you like it if your innocent families where the ones being raped, killed, and kidnapped. Then you might change your way of thinking. As for Mccain, he does not have much of a leg to stand on.

    October 16, 2011 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  24. Lt. W

    Iraq isn't a slippery slope, Senator? Afghanistan?

    October 16, 2011 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  25. Dale

    Things are winding down in Afghanistan and Iraq contractors need a new war that's what this is all about.

    October 16, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
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