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McCain Slams Obama on Handling War

Republican presidential hopeful, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks at a town hall meeting in Tyler, Texas, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2008. (AP.)

By Michael D. Shear
TYLER, Texas -- Sen. John McCain mocked Sen. Barack Obama for suggesting at last night's debate that as president he might send troops back into Iraq if al-Qaeda returns to establish a base of operations there following a U.S. withdrawal.

"I have some news," McCain told voters at a rally here Wednesday morning. "Al-Qaeda is in Iraq. Al-Qaeda is called al-Qaeda in Iraq. My friends, if we left, they wouldn't be establishing a base...they would be taking a country. I will not allow that to happen my friends. I will not surrender. I will not surrender to al-Qaeda."

McCain went on to say: "When you examine that statement, it's pretty remarkable."

Obama had answered a question by debate host Tim Russert, who posed the hypothetical situation of a return to Iraq by al-Qaeda after a U.S. withdrawal. Obama said the U.S. would have to return in that case.

McCain's attacks on Obama's answer is the latest in a series of attempts by the Republican to cast Obama as inexperienced on foreign policy. Several months ago, McCain criticized Obama as naive for saying he would meet with Iran's leader.

By Web Politics Editor  |  February 27, 2008; 11:37 AM ET
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McCain "Was Wrong about VietNam", NOW "Wrong About IRAQ"!

When he said the U.S. might stay in Iraq for 100 years, Senator John McCain(R-Ariz.) explained he was referring to the kind of military presence the U.S. has had in Japan, Germany, and South Korea since the mid-20th century.

Does this mean McCain fails to grasp the very different circumstances that caused the U.S. to occupy those countries as opposed to the war on Iraq?

The Axis nations had made aggressive war on America and the U.S. had every right to occupy them after it conquered them. It also had a U.N. mandate to defend South Korea from the aggression of the Communist North. It was America's business to be in those countries. America was defending itself or, as in the case of South Korea, a nation that had been the victim of aggression.But the U.S. is the aggressor against Iraq. Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan called the war "illegal." The preponderant majority of Iraqis, surveys report, want the U.S. to get out now.

by Sherwood Ross

Posted by: rmcnicoll | February 28, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

McCain will stoop to nothing to try to sling some mud. "Basis of operations" means obviously, to any honest thinking person, a place where Al queda is organizing itself. What you have in Iraq is operatives blowing people up -- the basis of operation for Al Quedea is Aghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Europe, Canada, the US, and to to some extent Southeast Asia.

Posted by: johnnormansp | February 28, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

This just shows how worried McCain is about Obama. Just like Clinton, all they can think to do is trash talk Obama and its really pathetic.

Posted by: hellremnant1220 | February 27, 2008 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Barack Hussein Obama
How can we trust this inexperienced senator (4th year in Senate)who is just a smooth talker???and does not have any knowledge of foreign and military policies.He is dead wrong about Al Qaeda or is in denial.
Of course ,as president,he would give us CHANGE!!! after the 9/11 attacks that have seriously destroyed many lives and disrupted our economy.His change would be CUT&RUN or just change!(coin!)
NO THANKS,we got enough change in our pockets!!! We ,Americans ,are at war against Al Qaeda and have made a lot of sacrifice !Let's NOT CUT& RUN!let's finish up Al Qaeda!and make America strong again!

Posted by: daniel9angn | February 27, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

the premise of the story is completely false. Obama did not say he would send troops in. McCain's admission that he didn't even hear the speech before making his comment is a low level attack based on faulty intelligence; seems to be a pattern for the GOP in Irq matters.

Posted by: mike.sloan | February 27, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Is Obama vowing to send troops to Iraq should the need arise? Double Talk, Double Talk, Double Talk! The need is there now and he's vowed to withdraw troops! How inspiring!

Posted by: lking | February 27, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

PhilTR the only person ralph nadar looks attractive to is an undertaker.

Posted by: cowpatti | February 27, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

PhilTr, it is Peggy Noonan. a conservative republican, who said Obama is bulletproof. I don't think anyone would really call her an Obama supporter.You seem to be hinting that you would not vote for Clinton because she is "falling behind" while you view Nader as more attractive. Do you honestly think Nader has a better chance than Clinton who is falling behind? Nader was once a well-known consumer advocate who may attract some protest votes but he lacks the kind of political base one needs to win the White House.

Also, Cyberella, none of the candidates advocate unilateral nuclear disarmament. Please check out Wikipedia on this subject. Obama is committed to strategically take out al-queda. He's not opposed to all wars. He's just opposed to DUMB wars like the one McCain supports in Iraq.

PHLtr, Cyberella, and Ermias.kifle, I invite you all to consider Senator Obama for the first time. Together we can take a bold step to end the politics of cynicism and the politics of fear. If you have lost hope, dare to look it in the eyes once again. Check out The worst that can happen is that your effort will impress the young people who look up to you--the young people who have the same hope you once had.

Posted by: brotee | February 27, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

LOL! Where to begin?

Both Dim Senators agree that they agree. What Debate? The entire stupid episode was about redefining what their Campaign Promotions really meant.

I am left at a loss over who deserves the most shame. The Candidates for NOT addressing anything serious or substantive, the Media for throwing Slow Pitches, or the American People for being so complacent about the entire lack of anything meaningful or insightful!

Now, as examples:

Health Care, or Customers for Insurance Companies? 15 Million Un-insured? Were those Americans being referred to, or the Invasarios? There ARE, @ 15 Million uninvited people, currently abusing the heck out of our Medical Services who do not pay a thing, and have destroyed our Emergency Rooms, and Pediatric/ Maternity Services. If THEY were not included, then the entire plans are WORTHLESS!

Employment, and Labor Law Enforcement?



Folks, I could go on and on.

Banking Deregulation, and it's role in the current Crises?

Venezuela? Iran? Russia?

Please Senator McCain, add on a "Brain".

Get Mitt Romney to be your Running Mate! ;~)

Unify the Base, we have GOT to keep these Congressional Lawyer Clowns OUT of the White House-At all Costs! ;~)

Posted by: rat-the | February 27, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

In time of war you need a warrior hero!

Johnny Mac!

Posted by: bhatttt | February 27, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

What's the point..the McCain FIX is in.
The war BIG MONEY profiteers are on his side..Shameful politics practices going on.
McCains campaign went from zero to 100mph in 5 seconds. It is too obvious and in your face deception.

McCain told Imus that he would, if necessary, sacrifice ``quote First Amendment rights'' to achieve ``clean'' government. If on Jan. 20, 2009, he were to swear to defend the Constitution, would he be thinking that the oath refers only to ``the quote Constitution''? And what would that mean?

Illinois Senator Barack Obama has finally signed the American Freedom Pledge, joining his fellow Democratic presidential candidates in encouraging the restoration of basic Constitutional principles after the battering they have taken during the Bush-Cheney era.
All the Democrats, that is, except New York Senator Hillary Clinton.

There is an ideological battle being waged between the forces supporting globalism and the forces supporting national sovereignty. If you plan to participate in the 2008 presidential election, you will need to answer these questions for yourself: Do you believe in the timelessness of the Constitution, or do you believe that the Constitution has served its usefulness and it's time for another model for government? Are you in favor of international government and more regulation by the United Nations, or do you favor continuation of the institutions that have served the U.S. in the past? Do you want big government with its attendant costs and regulations, or do you favor small government that allows for self direction?

Posted by: JGeranmayeh | February 27, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I am a proud DEMOCRAT, but I will never VOTE for Barry HUSSIEN Obama. (مدرسة)

Hillary 08
Nadar 08

Posted by: ermias.kifle | February 27, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Naive is believing anything the Bush administration said when all evidence pointed to their cynical manipulation of half-truths and exaggeration. Naive is thinking that it would turn out any differently than it did.

McCain should know better then most that when a government lies about the reason for going war and then finds itself defending failed policy with more lies, billions are spent, thousands die and serious damage is done to the national psyche. It's what happened in Vietnam and it's what happened in Iraq. You have to question the judgment of those "experienced" politicians who led us down that path.

Posted by: thebobbob | February 27, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

McCain's behaving like a child. Everyone who's paying any attention at all knows that Al Qaeda wasn't in Iraq before Bush and McCain held the door open for it to come in, and that even now Al Qaeda-identifying forces make up a tiny portion of the anti-government contingent in Iraq. McCain surely knows all that. His rhetoric has all the idiocy of George Bush's; fortunately, Obama knows how to bat that stuff right back in McCain's face.

Obama is entirely correct, nuanced and intelligent on this subject. McCain clearly would send our standing in the world swirling further down the toilet.

Posted by: jonfromcali | February 27, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse


When American no long has nuclear weapons only rogue nations will have nuclear weapons?

Posted by: cyberella | February 27, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

I've followed the boards here for the past month getting more and more depressed with each passing day.

There is so much hatred coming from the Obama camp/supporters that I find repulsive. The thought of voting for Barack now makes me feel dirty. How can someone who attracts such a following deserve my vote?

Barack's camp has been spectacularly successful at manipulating critics painting them as racists. Now his supporters claim he's bullet proof. I see this as a fatal weakness that will be exploited by the Republicans and our nations enemies if he is elected.

I'm anxious about voting for McCain as to me he represents fear, war and hate mongering. None of which is in our nation's interests.

Hillary seems to be falling behind and is likely not to be able to get the party nod.

So each day Nader looks more and more attractive.

Posted by: PhilTR | February 27, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Actually, they are both wrong- Iraq is not our problem, especially with the state of our nation, economically speaking AND Constitutionally as well. Ron Paul has the right direction on this issue:

Martin Luther King, Ron Paul and war:

Posted by: davidmwe | February 27, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Um, John, he was answering a hypothetical question asked by the moderator. If you have a problem with the facts behind the hypothetical question, address your comment to the moderator who asked it and not to the candidate who adequately answered the question.

Posted by: black | February 27, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

McCain, have you been paying attention? Iraqis have turned against al Qaeda because of their vicious tactics (murdering those who don't play along, etc etc). The main reason your surge is working in the first place is that the insurgent militias are cooperating with us in taking out al Qaeda instead of attacking our troops. (Credit is also due to our military leadership for engaging in the local diplomacy of which the Bush Administration is apparently incapable.) So al Qaeda is on its way out now.

What frustrates me is that all this doesn't fit in a sound bite. So most Americans will only hear your oversimplified and patently false argument. Shame on you, McCain, for trying to trick the American people into giving you the opportunity to continue to carry out a war that has wasted our money, our standing in the world, and thousands of American lives.

Posted by: Stefan74 | February 27, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

As an independent, I'm mildly amused at how quickly the Republicans are about the task of dismantling Barack's campaign.

Not to fear acolytes. No less of a luminary than Michelle Bernard, Pres. of the "Independent Women's Forum" pronounced Barack "bullet proof".

There is no way anyone will be able to attack Barack if the criticism can somehow be construed as racism. The attacker will be carefully manipulated into being a racist. That is just too shrewd.

Posted by: PhilTR | February 27, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

McCain is making money hand over fist for his lobbyist friends by keeping the Iraq boondoggle going. His moral compass is stuck up his @$$.

Posted by: dionc9 | February 27, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

John SIDNEY McCain is right on this question (most Americans will come to realize that by November).

Posted by: JakeD | February 27, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

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