January 12th, 2014
10:50 AM ET
9 years ago

McCain: Send Petraeus back to Iraq

(CNN) – President Barack Obama should send David Petraeus, a retired four-star general who ran the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, back to Iraq to help deal with the growing unrest in the country, Sen. John McCain said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

The Arizona Republican also weighed in on a new book by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, saying he would have waited a bit longer to release the book, which offers a blistering critique of the Obama administration.

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On Iraq, McCain said the country is not a lost cause and argued the United States can still offer assistance to help quell the renewed violence that’s rocked the country in the last year.

Why Iraq is in turmoil

The 2008 GOP presidential nominee said he opposed sending combat troops back to Iraq, but added the U.S. can provide other kinds of aid, such as logistics support and Apache helicopters.

“I would suggest perhaps sending David Petraeus and Ambassador (Ryan) Crocker back over there,” McCain told CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley. “(Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri) Al-Maliki trusts them.”

Petraeus has largely stayed out of the limelight since he resigned from his post as CIA director in November 2012 following an affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell.

Crocker was the U.S. ambassador to Iraq from 2007 to 2009, before becoming the ambassador to Afghanistan. He left the latter position in 2012 due to health reasons.

McCain also said if he were in Gates’ position, he might have waited a little bit longer to release a memoir about his role as defense secretary. The book, which includes strong criticism of Gates’ former boss, Obama, is set to release on Tuesday.

The Arizona Senator described Gates as “one of the finest public servants I have known” and said the book “surprised all of us who know him, and he’s decided to really kind of let loose.”

McCain added, however, he would have waiting “a little longer than now” to release the book, titled “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War.”

“But I also respect his ability to voice his views any time he wants to,” McCain said.

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

Filed under: Iraq • John McCain • Robert Gates • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (362 Responses)
  1. Don

    McCain is a war monger like Chaney and Bush.
    Let those people kill themselves and maybe when they get to the depths of ruin and suffering they will stop fighting.
    These militant have no money. no job, no future, no hope and they are promised 72 virgins.
    What I want to know is, who is arming and supporting these militants? That's the people we need to drone.

    January 13, 2014 06:40 am at 6:40 am |
  2. JohnJ

    Democracy CAN NOT win in Iraq (or Afghanistan for that reason) as long as religion is the driving force in the region. Face it...religion makes you stupid.

    January 13, 2014 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  3. bdby

    Maliki made his bed, now let him lay in it with Iran. No support, advice, soldiers nada should be sent to this country.

    Good riddance.

    January 13, 2014 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  4. Morerightwingblather

    Sure. Petraeus and Crocker had it all figured out in Iraq and Afghanistan. Right.

    January 13, 2014 07:08 am at 7:08 am |
  5. The Analyst

    First: McCain continues to act like an idiot, or pretends to be one. I agree with the prior post of Jim Rome, wars are about money wasted by governments paying for overpriced services to troops in the way of ammo, guns, medical servces, maintenance, repairs, special protection. Every time there is a war the companies participating print $$$. The war really benefit companies servicing the army, not even the army itself. Getting people to support the war is the best act of marketing ever seen in any society. Jim Rome you are correct 100%

    January 13, 2014 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  6. Allen

    What? He resigned his commission to prevent being charged under UCMJ on Adultery charges as well Conduct unbecoming of a Officer . A guilty on either would ruin his Military pension. As the whole world was made aware of his involvement.

    January 13, 2014 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  7. Dan

    Rather a curious statement for McCain to say to "send Apache helicopters" ....considering the Apache helicopter was originally manufactured in Mesa AZ.

    January 13, 2014 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  8. Bob

    Send Petraeus back to what, John? We've already left that country. We ain't goin back in. We've been there, done that and lost 4000 men and women to those nutty people and their ongoing civil wars. Bush sent them in and they did a quick job of defeating the Iraqi army but left the country to be looted and to start a civil war. Bush should have then taken them all out but didn't and tried to democratize the country. Bad idea. Shiites and Sunnis will never agree and will fight to the death

    January 13, 2014 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  9. Pure Propaganda

    I'm sure most people understand that this is pure propaganda.

    What most people don't understand is that it doesn't matter what you think, they will make polls saying "Most of Americans say we should go back to war with Iraq" even though no such poll exists.

    The fact that some people still think the Iraq war was for anything other than oil is BEYOND ME, I am also offended, as an American, that fellow Americans would insult the Iraqi people... See, here's the thing, if you believe any of the bullcrap supporting wars, YOU are the stupid one.

    January 13, 2014 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  10. rs

    Mind you, as insane as Mr. McCain's statement is (well, and it is), the Republican Party yesterday in Arizona voted to censure him for being too much like the Democrats (!?!)

    Proof, the Republican Party is Plan 9 from Outer Space (or some other insanity).

    January 13, 2014 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  11. rs


    I agree with McCain. We created the mess in Irag and we have a responsibility to the people of that country to help fix it. While we lost nearly 5000 soldiers, several hundred thousands of Iragees lost their lives and their country and economy were thrown into chaos. General Petraeus is most experience General we have. Let's get him back on the job.
    I agree to a point. We broke Iraq, if we could we should fix it. But how? They get 8 hours of electricity a day- they need new infratstructure; they are in a mdst of an urban civil war- how do you fix that?; we killed (at the very least) 125,000 Iraqis- we can't bring them back; they have 2 million refugees spread across the ME; the list goes on and on.

    Given our last insertion there cost $2 trillion (and please remember Bush said the war "would pay for itself"), how do you propose we "fix" Iraq? Make it the 51st state and hope FEMA has enough funds?

    January 13, 2014 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  12. McShannon

    David Petraeus is retired let him be. John McCain must realize that apache helicopters require American pilots and hundreds of Americans supporting those helicopters, bad idea John. War has not resulted in peace anywhere in the Mideast. John McCain must realize that we know that the weapons manufactures lobbyist are pressuring for more war. Are you afraid of losing some of that lobbyist money you sold your soul to John?

    January 13, 2014 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
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