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. snowdogg

    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.”

    NO... we shouldn't get involved in a continuing lost cause.

    January 12, 2014 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  2. futureman

    Well said Jim. We have been played long enough by the neo cons, the defense industry and especially the Arab opposition groups. Let the settle their own sectarian religious wars. We have fed enough young American heroes into the maw, And John McCain, go pound sand grandpa!

    January 12, 2014 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  3. Zwei Stein

    Keep the generals out of this. Keep anyone who profits from US involved conflicts out of this. Keep anyone who profits from other nation's conflicts out of this. AND, as far as Gates...what a class-less guy. He's a Republican and a Democrat President has enough confidence in him and his integrity to give him the Sec of Defense position. Knife's him in the back in the end. Lesson hard-learned!

    January 12, 2014 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  4. Jack Flash

    Iraq is a GOP albatross that they think is a medal of some sort.

    January 12, 2014 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  5. Nathan

    So many young soldiers die for nothing............Lone Survivor.....go see it.

    January 12, 2014 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  6. markdonners

    The illegal invasion of Iraq by Bush the criminal psychopath mass murderer was all about oil and US military plus contractors stealing taxes. Didn't work out though, Iraq was supposed to just hand everything over in exchange for a McDonald's greed culture. What it did do was destroy Iraq's infrastructure and create the most brutal guerilla groups. But what else do you expect from America and its clones' foreign policy which is based on criminal rape of resources and mass murder?

    January 12, 2014 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  7. dave

    Sen. John McCain should shut up and retire

    January 12, 2014 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  8. Alex

    Stupid. Iraq is now and independent country and Maliki does what he wants. And certainly he does not want to create more paid Sunni militias which was the main reason of Petraeus' success.

    January 12, 2014 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  9. AEP

    Send McCain back to Vietnam, since we did not win there either!!!!

    January 12, 2014 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  10. Tim

    Gen Betrayus was too busy dipping his noodle into his female staff while working on his legacy book deal; he was leading, he was show-boating, a failure.

    January 12, 2014 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  11. karek40

    Senator McCain has been in Washington so long he should be the poster boy for term limits for both the house and senate. He has lost touch with the American people and doesn't even recognize it.

    January 12, 2014 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  12. Trombonebiker

    Blah, Blah, Blah… Annoying senator and annoying ex-defense head. Of course, the republican Gates would not like Obama. Who cares?

    January 12, 2014 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  13. Shane

    We "helped" 1 million Iraq civis to their graves. Well done America. Not voting for McCain or Obama bolsters my opinion that neither side is better than the other. McCain will beat the war drum until he dies.

    January 12, 2014 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  14. Thomas E

    MISSION ACCOMPL...what the heck?

    January 12, 2014 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  15. pay US debt in teabags


    You and first Lt. Palin need to go over there and staff the trenches.

    January 12, 2014 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  16. khan in chandler

    If we have more oil than we what to do, then how come the prices have not come down yet.

    January 12, 2014 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  17. Nicholas

    And also send his Mistress with him, so that she can keep him cheerful so that he can perform and solve the Iraq problem.

    January 12, 2014 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  18. Used to be a republican but never Again

    Shut up McCain ! After you unleashing that simpleton Palin on us , you have no more room to make any suggestions about anything !

    January 12, 2014 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  19. angryinct

    All the Generals who failed to see the parallels to Vietnam don't deserve to be Generals. The ones who saw the parallels and failed to speak are traitors to America.

    January 12, 2014 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  20. Old Soldier

    Send GEN Petreaus back to do what exactly?

    - Wave a magic wand and make "al Qaeda" disappear?
    - Plan another "surge?"
    - Do a little shopping?

    Someone needs to point out the obvious: John McCain is NOT a gifted military strategist. His cache' comes from the fact that he spent 7 years as a prisoner of war in Hanoi. BFD. He and several hundred others. He was a "maverick" who graduated very close to the bottom of his Annapolis class. He commanded only one military unit . . . a Naval flight squadron which he commanded for a little over a year. He never commanded at the level of O6; never held a staff job on any senior planning staff. Of course, none of this stops the talking heads from treating him like the reincarnation of Clausewitz.

    January 12, 2014 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  21. sassafras

    Send Petreaus back....to do what in a nation that never wanted us there to begin with?

    January 12, 2014 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  22. Russell

    You've got to be kidding, right John? You can't be serious. I think someone should give John McCain a rifle and send him over there.

    January 12, 2014 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  23. pourmonamiJC

    Stay out! You've done enough damage as it is GOP.

    January 12, 2014 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  24. currency1896

    mccain needs to retire the jersey

    January 12, 2014 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  25. County Girl

    Can't we send Mr McCain?

    January 12, 2014 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
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