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. Roger Ogilvy Thornhill

    Does McCain get regular Alzheimer screenings? He seems to make less and less sense as the months go by.

    January 12, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  2. Michael SC

    @Chris, why are you so far apart from the TRUTH?
    The Bush-family has more muslim-friends than Obama ever had.
    Heck, they even work for and with them

    January 12, 2014 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  3. henry wester Rev. MST CAC

    No more involvement in iraq!!!!!!

    January 12, 2014 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |

    to john MCisane There was no al Qaeda in Iraq before your invasion. Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein were mortal enemies.

    In 2006, while Bush was still president, a National Intelligence Estimate found that the war in Iraq increased Islamic radicalism and worsened the terror threat to the United States. Last March, the New York Times looked back on the 10 years in Iraq since Bush invaded with promises of fighting terrorism and bringing a model of democracy that would serve as a beacon for the rest of the Middle East. The paper reported, “The most depressing measure of the failure may lie in the voices of ordinary Iraqis who tell reporters that they wish Iraq could return to the way it was under Saddam, for all its miseries.”

    January 12, 2014 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  5. drake mallard

    Dick Cheney had a different view of invading Iraq in 1994, as evident in this discussion of the first Iraq war, a war where he was the Secretary
    of Defense.

    After you take down Saddam Hussain's government, he asks, "then what are you gonna put in its place? That's a very volatile part of the world, and if you take down the central government in Iraq, you can easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off... it's a quagmire ... if you try to take over Iraq... How many additional American causalities was Saddam worth? Our judgment was not very many, and I think we got it right."

    January 12, 2014 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  6. Henry

    WHY does Chicken Noodle News insist on putting that bitter little troll on their shows all the time?

    January 12, 2014 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  7. CGDoc

    "but added the U.S. can provide other kinds of aid, such as logistics support and Apache helicopters." Of course, because they make the Apache's in Arizona.

    January 12, 2014 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  8. jan

    Senator McCain never met a war or an agressive action he didn't like. If he smells gunpowder, he's off and running.

    January 12, 2014 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  9. PSYmuffin

    Send McCain to Iraq...............he continues to fantasize about being Secretary of Defense...........we can't get rid of this fool. The career politicians will not vote themselves out via term limits. What causes AZ voters to continue elect this war monger anyway? His wife's money? Is he receiving significant funding from the defense industry?

    January 12, 2014 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  10. Blue

    We have given too much to Iraq. It is time for them to step up to the task. McCain, do you stay awake at night thinking up crazy ideas to throw at the President? We just don't buy your opinions anymore.

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

    McCain this is more proof that you are a TRUE RINO. Maybe those years in PRISON have caught up with you???
    SORRY, but you must RETIRE !!!!

    January 12, 2014 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  12. don in albuquerque

    Bwhahaha–Chicken Noodles News. I like that. Thanks for the grins Henry.

    January 12, 2014 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  13. tct

    I rarely agree with McCain, but he's right this time. Petraeus has unique gravitas and trust among the leaders that need mediation.

    January 12, 2014 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  14. Porter

    McCain, are you nuts? Don't you recall your service days. I was there with you in Viet Nam at the time and I damn sure recall what sticking your nose into others' affairs gets you. Leave the sand rats to their own problems. We tried and we obviously failed. Old men always want to send young men to die. Stay out of their business.

    January 12, 2014 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  15. koreel

    If it were up to McCain & Graham, we'd be at war all over the Mideast regardless of what anyone thinks either in the US or the Mideast. In fact, I think they'd probably like to kill everyone in the Mideast by nuking it, but then they wouldn't have anyone left to fight.

    January 12, 2014 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  16. jan

    Even if sending Petraus back to Iraq was a good idea, McCain's suggestion (made to get publicity) is the kiss of death.

    January 12, 2014 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  17. Corporate America

    McCain works for the Military Industrial Complex. He was at the bottom of his graduating class and has been dragging down America ever since.

    January 12, 2014 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  18. dajowix

    We can't keep islamic terrorists out of America. And he thinks we can keep them out of a muslim dominated country. He is senile.

    January 12, 2014 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  19. pTBarnumboy

    More proof that John McCain has outlived his usefulness in the Senate. Iraq was a war that should have never been fought.

    January 12, 2014 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  20. Jules

    Right – first it Petraeus and then it will be troops for him to command. Stay the heck out, let Iraq deal with Iraq. If they let Al Quida in, bomb them. No troops on the ground.

    January 12, 2014 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  21. Jules

    Please remember, Viet Nam started with advisors.

    January 12, 2014 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  22. Nodack

    McCain added, however, he would have "waiting "a little longer than now to release the book.

    I wish I would have waiting a little longer before reading this.

    January 12, 2014 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  23. JackBeHumble

    Has the government of Iraq changed it's position and requested the return of US forces? Last I heard, we asked for legal immunity from criminal prosecution for any acts committed my our troops, and Iraq refused, so we pulled out almost all troops. What has changed?

    January 12, 2014 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  24. fekt

    Hey, maybe he can get a new mistress to cheat on his wife with while he's over there and tell her top secret information like he did the last time. For the record, where is the congressional inquiry into his leaking of classified information to the woman he committed adultery with? Oh, I remember, the GOP have hopes for him as a presidential candidate. He's above investigation.

    January 12, 2014 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  25. Greg

    Why? So, Betray-us can have another affair? Please, the guy cut and paste from counter-insurgency handbooks from the past. He was no Patton or MacArthur. Let the Iraqis figure this out themselves. Had the govt of Iraq (I use the term loosely) let the Sunnis into a power-share, maybe we would not have these problems.

    January 12, 2014 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
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