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. gerald

    Senator McCain is an angry old man who has stopped offering positive, constructive criticism since before he ran for President. I certainly hope that he has learned to use email since he lost his bid for President…How pathetic.

    January 12, 2014 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  2. the village idiot

    maybe McCain could find his old room at the Hanoi Hilton and check back in there forever.

    January 12, 2014 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  3. lean6

    The McCain vendetta against Chuck Hagel and President Obama continues. Could McCain ever be more transparent?

    January 12, 2014 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  4. really?

    Never should have taken the well respected General out in the first place. He must not have agreed with Obama and his puppet masters so they got rid of him too. Over 100 5 star Generals, Generals and Majors have left the military because of Obama and his ignorant administration. Bring our dedicated military back – they had the best interest of the USA in mind. Those General and Majors did not make military decision based on politics like Obama and Hilary do/did. They turn my stomach.

    January 12, 2014 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    McCain: We went to Iraq and bombed them for retribution for 9/11 and replaced their leader,and it is now a known fact they had nothing to do with it. Now, you want us to go back in and fix what we destroyed, after promising to re-build them (and failing)? I really think, at this point, you've lost touch with Arabs, altogether. You appear to know nothing about what they want or really care about. The only people who want America to come back are corrupt Iraqi leaders (Shia) who don't want the Sunni's to overrun them. I think it's time to wake up here and smell the shish kabobs. The people do not want an occupied foreign power, meddling–any more than American want an Arabs to come in and do a regime change in Washington–even though Congress is at an all time low rating!

    January 12, 2014 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  6. j savik

    During the worst fighting in WW I, the UK and France wanted to eliminate Turkey or cut her to pieces. They offered independence to territories occupied by the Ottoman Empire. Artificial lines were drawn on the maps which eventually defined the borders of Iraq, Palestine, Syria and so forth.

    These lines did not take into account ethnic and religious differences in the populations and put Kurds, Sunni and Shia together in the state of Iraq and it has taken a century of brutal repression to keep them from killing each other.

    Just let nature take its course. Allow Iraq to become the three states that it actually is.

    January 12, 2014 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    “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."

    No John. Not a good idea.

    January 12, 2014 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  8. David

    really? My friend there are no "5" star generals in the military at this time.

    January 12, 2014 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  9. Isthatso

    Old man, retire. Tired of you pressuring those around you. The government will pay you very well during retirement through our hard earned tax dollars taken out of our hard earned monthly wages. Oh, forget Joe the plumber.

    January 12, 2014 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  10. apetra

    If Al Qaeda is again devoting a significant percentage of its global resource to Iraq, as they did after we defeated Saddam Hussein and his Republican Guard, we again have an opportunity to decimate Al Qaeda, as George W. Bush did, with his brilliantly executed 'surge'.

    We should embrace the opportunity.

    January 12, 2014 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  11. Ruth

    Yes, we should send back a man with poor judgement and lack of impulse control to lead troops in a war zone. Did they already forgot he recognized his shortcomings and resigned from his cushy job? McCain really needs to go, he needs to spend the rest of his day enjoying his retirement and the few years he has left to live.

    January 12, 2014 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  12. Lee Downie

    To "really?"- I don't think any 5 star generals have left the service lately. How 'bout colonels?

    January 12, 2014 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  13. Richard

    REALLY ? : 100 5 Star Generals ???? I don't think so ! Then mention of Majors ??? Majors are 0-4's. Obviously poster never has been in the military nor knows about which he posts.

    January 12, 2014 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  14. Leeroy

    So, they (we) went in, but guns to their heads, they behaved themselves, and we call that success? We did nothing to improve their "Values" system. So, when we took the guns away and came home, they returrned to their ancient Values . . . which includes murdering each other. Amd now we're surprised? And now that they have returned to their ancient Values, some want us to return and repeat the same thing? With Petraeus in the lead . . . after he showed his utter lack of Values? Wow. I suggest we clean-up our own back-yard first.

    January 12, 2014 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  15. bob

    Wasn't Petreaus the one in charge of that CIA mission in Benghazi?

    January 12, 2014 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  16. peterz

    I thought why Obama's lower-hand fighting style has been working because this kind of GOP stories kept going on.
    GOP trying to fight upper-hand but ending up fighting at each other?

    January 12, 2014 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  17. stevetall

    Still a dip.

    January 12, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  18. peterfrohwein

    Going into Iraq was never a good idea. What makes it a good idea now ?

    January 12, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  19. Greenspam

    USA has already completely pulled out of Iraq as of 2012. Why does McCain want us to go back again? That's insane.

    January 12, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  20. Dutchbear58

    They never should have relived McKrystal either one of the best, but can't criticize the idiot at the top who has no clue to what was going and wouldn't listen to the people in the know.

    January 12, 2014 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  21. Larry in Houston

    LOL – well, this IS 1 time I actually agree with the senile one.......LOL – send "be-tray us" to Iraq in the thick of it.....we can let HIM be our "Rambo" over there.....Maybe he will do like Rambo, pick 'em off 1 at a time, at the same time, disguising himself.

    January 12, 2014 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  22. scottoest

    Why do they keep bringing this old crank on all of the Sunday shows every week?

    Also – why are hawks so convinced that David Petraeus is some sort of magical war wizard?

    January 12, 2014 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  23. guessagin

    There are few problems to which McCain cannot apply a military solution.

    Petraeus is compromised.

    Gates is a fool.

    January 12, 2014 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  24. DaveW

    Obama has an agenda that is aligned with those who elected him, not the military-industrial complex. Of course there are going to be entrenched passions that resist his direction as Commander-in-Chief. It's a good sign that there is a healthy level of disagreement between the old guard and the new.

    January 12, 2014 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  25. patw2100

    RINO McCain is wrong. We should the Iraqis kill each other.

    January 12, 2014 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
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