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. Victor Maffei

    Sen McCain, will you get real?!? And soon, please!!!

    January 12, 2014 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  2. Ulan bat

    Have the fireless senator from AZ send there his children and grandchildren of military age first.

    January 12, 2014 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  3. Ulan bat

    *fearless, i apologize 🙂

    January 12, 2014 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  4. Old Timey

    McCain is a little clueless. Hypothetically, if Petraeus was sent back in some other reality, chance are good that he would be arrested and prosecuted. Iraq must stand on its own. Our war there is over.

    January 12, 2014 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  5. rosestool

    the guy just cant let it go.

    January 12, 2014 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  6. PoBoy

    Send Petraeus back to do what, screw his Iraqi aide? McCain needs to retire and go to Iraq himself. Him and Lindsay Graham have never met a war they didn't like, and dsadly one in which the US should not be involved. We're tird of your wars of choice!

    January 12, 2014 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  7. Another Middle East War

    "“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.”

    What makes Senator McCain believe that General Petraeus would want to go? Especially a general without an army. Iraq will probably be split into 3 parts: Sunni, Shiite and Kurds. The Kurds already act like a country in all ways except for a formal split. It is the only part of Iraq that seems to function quite well. The Sunni rebel are probably receiving support from Saudi Arabia either by the Saudi government or by so called private organizations in Saudi Arabia. The Iraqis refused an offer by the US to help them. Time for the Iraqis to learn how to live together without constant warfare.

    January 12, 2014 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  8. t2vodka

    what a moron mccain is. lets go send our troops in to die to help people that just want to kill each other. Do the repubicans know how to do anything but war? They cant even run a war, their wars just keep going and going and going. How does going into iraq defending this country? That is what our millitary is for, the defense of OUR country.

    January 12, 2014 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  9. ky boy

    Need to cleanup our house frist

    January 12, 2014 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  10. sixfootrabbit

    Face it! I only have a high school education, but I could see from the git-go that until all sects are dead, but one, there will be no peace. He who has the most trigger fingers, wins.

    January 12, 2014 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  11. bill n

    It does not matter who you send back when the "rules of engagement" favors the enemy not our soldiers.

    January 12, 2014 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  12. John Tighe

    Has John McCain been right about anything ever?

    January 12, 2014 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  13. HenryB

    No, Petraeus does not go back to Afghanistan. He needs to stay where he is in retirement. These neocons need to get away from foreign policy. They, along with the Dulles brothers of the past have no business telling us what is best for this great country.

    January 12, 2014 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  14. D. Tree

    How is it that Republicans idolize David Petraeus, when he was the one who approved the Benghazi talking points in the first place??

    January 12, 2014 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  15. shehar39

    We knew more about the petraeus affair in 2 days than we do about Benghazi in a year

    January 12, 2014 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  16. Tom

    Dear Sen. McCain,

    We are running out of money, becoming bankrupt in case you didn't notice. We don't have the money to stay in Iraq for the next 100 years which might not even be enough. These people have been fighting since before we fought the British.

    Its ENOUGH senator. Didn't you learn anything from Vietnam? We cannot fight a war of attrition against people who don't value human life.

    January 12, 2014 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  17. Richard

    Obama would rather help is Muslm Brotherhood buddies in Syria.

    January 12, 2014 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  18. WhackyWaco

    The US should stay out of Iraq and pull all troops out of Afghanistan.

    January 12, 2014 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  19. BB

    McCain should go back to Vietnam and see if he can't turn that cluster around in our favor.

    January 12, 2014 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  20. omeany

    Here's a thought let's take those BILLIONS of dollars we spend on these pointless military engagements and start spending this money on what should be more pressing American concerns such as jobs, education, affordable access to college and job training, taking care of poor seniors, homeless, poor, working poor, restoring our crumbling infra structure, etc...

    Let's stop telling ourselves we are the greatest country on earth and actually work to once again be that country.

    January 12, 2014 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  21. dou44

    McCain is as delusional as ever. Patraeus is a war criminal and easily compromised.

    January 12, 2014 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  22. Burka lifter

    That place was stable before we invaded it. Saddam Hussien knew how to keep it that way.
    WEre there abuses? Sure. There are abuses under power in this country too.

    There is NOTHING we can do, nor any amount of money spent that will "fix" that place.

    Let the "water" seek it's own level there.

    Stop getting our men and women killed in places like that, and wasting 100's of BILLION of dollars doing it.

    January 12, 2014 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  23. Keith

    McCain never saw a war that he didn't love. Gotta keep the big bucks flowing to Raytheon, Boeing, Halliburton and the rest of the warmongers in America.

    January 12, 2014 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  24. Dave

    McCain is lost somewhere in time. Iraq was a unjust war and he would have us go back to spend our young soldiers lives and our taxes on people that will fight with each other forever. We need to learn that some people's need a dictator to rule them and to keep order no matter how bad that sounds. McCain also supported by fighting in the Vietnam war ....another war where one side didn't want freedom bad enough.

    January 12, 2014 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  25. mustangvoodoo1

    Senator McCain,
    you state you will NOT send combat troops yet you will send Apache Helicopters. Uhm, who is going to fly them? Combat Troops!!
    I don't think there is an Iraqi that has the brain power to fly such a beautiful yet complex aircraft

    January 12, 2014 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
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