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. g

    Macain wants more Americans to die for nothing .Iraq is Iraq been fighting tribal wars for 1000 years

    January 12, 2014 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  2. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    You want to send them back by themselves ??????? I don't think that's a very good idea.

    January 12, 2014 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  3. Chuck

    Let Iraq solve its own problems.

    January 12, 2014 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  4. Don

    John, Why don't you go back...and stay there...please?

    January 12, 2014 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  5. Donnie the Lion

    Insane in the McCain Brain

    January 12, 2014 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  6. Bertha

    Don't know that many Ameicans will support this nonsense!

    January 12, 2014 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  7. VJ

    Thanks to W for creating vibrant Iraq..... Kudos to W and Cheney... McCain has become old, please don't run for office in 2016 or 2018.

    January 12, 2014 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  8. Stupid Obama!

    Destroying the Middle East with total lack of caring!

    January 12, 2014 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  9. TeaMack

    “I would suggest perhaps sending David Petraeus and Ambassador (Ryan) Crocker back over there,” I would suggest sending nobody, and get our interest back on native soil, and america's unrest, due to lack of employment opportunities.

    January 12, 2014 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  10. Malory Archer

    Yeah, no thanks.

    January 12, 2014 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  11. Graydon

    No more iraq or oversees anywhere obama

    January 12, 2014 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  12. Wayne

    The current situation only exists because the Bush administration invaded Iraq for no valid reason in the first place.

    January 12, 2014 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  13. PuzzledInPeoria

    Further proof that politicians don't actually THINK nowadays before they open their mouths.

    January 12, 2014 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  14. aj

    Aren't you happy this buffoon is not the president?

    January 12, 2014 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  15. Peace

    Does McCain think when people die they come back? Why can't he go there himself? He knows how to fight wars as well.

    January 12, 2014 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  16. Gurgyl

    Are you crazy? Why? Why not we send you? Dump there and come back for good, take that Lindsey graham too with you. Those Muslims take care of you....

    January 12, 2014 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  17. are122

    Maybe Petraeus should go back. It's not like he caused a traffic jam in New Jersey.

    January 12, 2014 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  18. max cady

    McCain has never missed a chance to start a war, or promote one.

    January 12, 2014 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  19. Tony

    Send McCain back to Vietnam.

    January 12, 2014 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  20. lcleejr1356

    McCain is for war but votes against out troops getting benefits or does not vote.

    January 12, 2014 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  21. Guitartrooper

    Send Bush and Cheney. It was there idea to begin with.

    January 12, 2014 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  22. carlin123

    I'll send the General back if you pick up a gun and go with him coward.

    January 12, 2014 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  23. Terry

    How about no American lives, money or aid of any form to any thirdworld hole.

    January 12, 2014 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  24. lcleejr1356

    McCain constantly wants war yet either votes against our troops getting benefits or does not vote.

    January 12, 2014 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  25. Larry

    Man he is so out of touch I think he must live in a bubble somewhere. Both of the guys he wants to send are either sick or retired or both. They probably spend time on his porch in their rocking chairs talking about the good old days when they were fighting wars on the other side of the planet and reducing the poor male population of the U.S.A. McStupid – take your war mongering, worthless, rich, stupid ass back to Arizona and watch the sand shift for the rest of your days -leave governing to the Democrats. OK with me if you head for the wrong pile of sand and end up in the middle east.

    January 12, 2014 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
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