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. Birder

    Maybe we should send McCain.

    January 12, 2014 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  2. Videriquamesse

    Right, Senator McCain, we should immediately redeploy troops to that hellhole in order to support our beloved military industrial complex and the bankers who get rich from the funding of our constant wars of adventure.

    January 12, 2014 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  3. toolate

    Too late to send him back, obama already ousted him for being naughty and having a girlfriend.McCain why don't you ask Obama to go to Iraq and solve all the problems? "hope and change"? – then you McCain can give one of your stomach turning concession speeches again, about how you have accept your position as obama's inferior. you bum

    January 12, 2014 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  4. andrew

    Man..McCain needs to retire and find new Hobbes...Send him back??!! sure..and then we can invade all over again just to show them we're really serious this time....get a grip.

    January 12, 2014 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  5. brsinai

    GEN Patreus was treated poorly by the BHO administration, and was most likely a victim of BHO's NSA policies. I doubt he'd come back, and I doubt he'd be asked to come back.

    January 12, 2014 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  6. Greg in Arkansas

    Is this "song-bird" ever going to stop singing the same old tune?
    So "stay the course" was not good enough, we have to go back?
    How about we raise taxes, start rationing and re-instate the draft if you want to go back to war...?
    Worked in WWII, might work again if we really want to save a country that doesn't really want to be saved...

    January 12, 2014 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  7. Jared

    why don't we send McCain back to Viet-Nam

    January 12, 2014 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  8. Romnesia

    McCain lost all credibility of whom to send anywhere, when he picked Palin as the best V.P. he could find. If that's how he judges competency he needs to retire, he's senile. TERM LIMITS!

    January 12, 2014 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  9. dina

    Petraeus cheated on his wife.Do you think he is reputable as a general? But maybe you think it is ok to cheat on our wife, Sen. McCain.

    January 12, 2014 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  10. Dave - Phx

    What a tool. I say send only the sons and daughters of congressman and corporate CEO's back.

    January 12, 2014 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  11. Me too

    To McCain: Two wrongs do not make a right. Bush made a critical screw up in invading Iraq. By doing that, he screwed up the entire region. There is no going back. We can no longer fix what Bush did. Those people are now going to have to fight their own bloody civil war. The U.S. should not spend another dime or let another American soldier die.

    January 12, 2014 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  12. stephen48739

    Senator John McCain, war monger and arm chair quarterback. War doesn't have to be the solution to every conflict around the world. If he had his way, our country would be at war in every country around the world. Help the refugees in Syria, via the U.N. Send blankets there, not weapons.

    January 12, 2014 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  13. Overt

    This is typical of our politicians. They push what lobbyists want. The people of this country are sick of wars that don't benefit us or endanger national security. In the eight or so years we were in Iraq we accomplished little except to push the country backwards, and that was an enormous task. The wealth of our nation that was transferred to companies like Haliburton and Blackwater could have benefitted our own people struggling in a weak economy and supported public works projects that may have prevented things like the bridge collapse in Minn. It would be nice to see people who pay into the system benefit in their daily lives rather than people who sell death and destruction.

    January 12, 2014 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  14. pjfuchs

    Iraq is not our country. Regardless of whether or not there is unrest within its borders, unless it attacks us we have no authority to bring our equipment or personnel across its borders. McCain is a warmonger.

    January 12, 2014 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  15. Dilip Samuels

    iMAGINE McCain saying send the troops

    Your grandfather is going to pay the bill

    This is the same disgusting GOP that is against raising minimum WAGE aganist healthcare for the vulnerable

    Go hide McCain


    January 12, 2014 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  16. The "....trash" of America

    I don't get it at all. For a decade the America public wanted troops out of both wars. Obama got us out of Iraq, and now the neocons are complaining. If Obama sends support to Iraq, then he gets crucified by the bigots for being a "corrupted war monger".

    You conservatives are pathetic and its showing more and more everyday.

    January 12, 2014 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  17. obawendon

    Poor John McCain, he still can't get over being passed by for President. If you have listened to him these past 5 years he would have had us in every fight around the world.

    January 12, 2014 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  18. 2020

    Gates timing was always on his own interest, he was banking on Obama never get re-elected.

    Gates is wrong, but he didn't see it that way. He never walk in anyone's shoe.

    January 12, 2014 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  19. Tutuvabene

    No, don't send Petraeus back. Afghanistan needs must learn to stand on its own.

    January 12, 2014 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  20. Ray

    Thank God for Sara Palin

    January 12, 2014 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  21. Dennis

    I've got a better idea...Why don't we send Sen.John McCain back to work some miracles in the cesspool of Iraq? He should then be left there.Doesn't he have enough sense to realize that we should never have been there in the first place?

    January 12, 2014 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  22. Bill Davis

    Hey John, you did not win the election......get over it.

    You got the boot

    January 12, 2014 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  23. Bob

    McCain is the biggest war MONGER on the face of the planet. If there isn't a conflict going on somewhere where the American Armed Forces are not there, he will certainly try to get us there. How long is this senile old bastard going to keep sucking on the tit of the American taxpayer. To think he may have been president with the dysfunctional twit in Alaska is more frightening than what Obama has done. We need some sort of moderate in charge and a purge of our entire congressional body. Somebody, please, step up to the plate and be legitimate. Judge Judy, Sanjay Gupta. These people are smart, no nonsense type personalities. Sound weird? Got a better idea?

    January 12, 2014 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  24. Lou45

    Need John Wayne, Black Jack Pershing and Patton for starters.

    January 12, 2014 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  25. Jim

    Ever notice how McCain has all the answers? Not one of his ideas has any real foundation in reality. Petraeus is RETIRED. Not to mention, he has shamed himself and the uniform with his actions. But then, John's Christianity is only as deep as his politics, which is to say not very. It's OK to be an adulterer, but not OK to have health care for all, or to feed and care for those who can't. Yeah, real Christian.

    January 12, 2014 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
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