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McCain Revises Plan to Send Three U.S. Brigades to Afghanistan in Favor of NATO Forces

By Juliet Eilperin
ALBUQUERQUE -- In an interview with reporters aboard his campaign bus, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) modified his assertion today that the U.S. could send three additional brigades to Afghanistan by drawing on troops that were leaving Iraq.

The presumptive GOP nominee, who made his initial remarks in a speech before an Albuquerque audience, told reporters just minutes after the event that he might call on NATO to supply part of the additional troops he hopes to send to the region.

"We need to work that out, we need to have greater participation from our NATO allies, and we need a lot more help from our NATO allies," the senator said. "We need to -- I laid it out in my speech, we need to have strategy, not just an injection of troops. I think that's true of all counterinsurgencies."

Our NATO allies, he added, can provide manpower as well as other resources to help assure victory in Afghanistan.

"I think we need to work with our allies to get increased materiel, command structure reform, assistance in the form of personnel," he said, adding some of these personnel can conduct the kind of "civil military kind of work that we ware doing in Iraq where we are restoring goods and services to the people. There are many areas where our NATO allies can help us, that's one of them."

McCain spokeswoman Nicolle Wallace said later that U.S. troops will compose some of the additional brigades McCain would send to Afghanistan, but not all of them. "Will we contribute? Of course we will," she said.

When reporters noted that both Obama and McCain are putting a renewed emphasis on Afghanistan, McCain dismissed his Democratic opponent as having "no strategy."

"He's just said we need more troops. There is a dramatic difference. He's never been to Afghanistan, he's never been briefed on Afghanistan personally by the commanders," he said, adding that Obama has oversight over NATO operations through the subcommittee he chairs on Foreign Relations. "He's never had a hearing. He's never had a hearing. So I am not surprised that all he has done is said, 'Well, we need more troops.'"

The most "critical" difference between the two candidates, McCain said, is Obama's belief that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are disconnected.

"If we fail in Iraq, it would have meant enormous encouragement to the Taliban in Afghanistan and other anti-American elements and jihadists throughout the region. And so to say, we could have let Iraq fail, as Senator Obama said, Harry Reid announced all is lost, that would have had a devastating effect in my view on our reliability in the region, that the willingness of our allies to cooperate with us in Afghanistan, and so they are connected," he said. "In life and warfare, failure breeds failure, success breeds success. That is just a lesson of history, and Senator Obama obviously does not understand those lessons."

By Web Politics Editor  |  July 15, 2008; 4:17 PM ET
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Oh yes, you have done alot in Iraq. They will pee on you in a year. We have no buisness there, nor do we have the right to change a culture in the middle east that will survive another thousand years.
Wake up, smell the coffe instead of your just fired weapon. And hey, make sure your gun is not loaded before you smell it.

Posted by: justadad55+ | July 17, 2008 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Hopefully McCain and Bush will continue to learn from Obama about how to take care of our National Security.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 16, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse


Obama has said that the continuation of the Iraq War was wrong!

Who was the GULF WAR with?!?!? WHO!? What country was that with!?


Wake UP!

The Troop Surge has worked! And to prove that there are still problems in Iraq, take a look... We can't leave just yet and the Iraqi government should admit that WE have helped...

Maybe Obama in his vast inexperience forgot that Reality is going on! Obama look at the news! Just like he didn't realize that John McCain only makes up 1% of the voting power in the 100 Member Senate! (In regard to his insult to McCain about the last 30 years and our energy crisis)

I am so sick of my country! My country thinks the presidency is about money, fame, and appeasing the public! It's not... The presidency is about continuing America... Not Damning it.

Posted by: Not a Pawn to Obama's Con! | July 15, 2008 9:28 PM | Report abuse

has no one told McGoo we have no divisions, we have no divisions for you. (Hum to "We have no bananas, we have no bananas..).

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | July 15, 2008 8:20 PM | Report abuse

I don't remember seeing any posts about John calling for more troops in Afghanistan, and especially sending three brigades coming out of Iraq to Afghanistan, and before I find them John has had to have a Republican inspiration, which was if we need more troops in Afghanistan some body else oughta do it.

Where to begin? John ought to know that troops coming out of Iraq are supposed to get at least as long at home as they spent in Iraq, so those troops won't be available for fifteen to eighteen months. (Of course they, being already stuck in their service obligations, can be drafted by the Draft dodger in Chief, but policy is supposed to be ...) He also ought to know that there are essentially no troops available even to maintain current troop levels in Iraq, so some of those troops are coming home without replacement because there simply are no replacements. That being so we haven't any troops available for Afghanistan any way. (Experienced War Vet? He apparently can't even count heads correctly.)

Obviously one of his senior moment checkers hauled him aside and reminded him that about the only way we can come up with three more brigades quickly would be a draft, and there just isn't any way to insure that Republicans kids would not get caught in that draft. Calling for three more brigades is therefore calling on Republicans to ante up in the war on terrorism, and THAT HAS BEEN OFF THE TABLE FOR EIGHT YEARS.

So John decides that the principle that other people need to fight George's wars for him means NATO isn't doing its full share. I'm sure NATO appreciates John reminding them of that opinion. He is eight points down in the polls and still feels confident enough about ghis election that he can start ordering our allies around.

Humble it aint.

Posted by: | July 15, 2008 7:59 PM | Report abuse

McCain is following Obama's Afghanistan plan.

McCain totally changed his policy Afghanistan plan. He totally FLIP FLOPPED on this.

Why isn't the media calling McCain on his Flip Flop?

Posted by: Michelle | July 15, 2008 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Senator McCain, Romney is your VP. I see it. Be confident what you feel.

Rest & beach time!!

Posted by: imagination | July 15, 2008 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm...the old "foreign policy expert" is now copying Obama's idea. Let's hope the msm picks up the Flip - isn't just one of many today. Did you hear he also changed his position on gays and lesbians adopting? Another day, another policy stance change for McCain.

How can anyone even consider him being competent to run this country? He's worse than Romney - he changes his positions almost daily now.

McCain is living in the past, old ideas, no solutions.

Posted by: Julie | July 15, 2008 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Senator McCain, just relax and have fun--no need to argue that you "know" better than Senator Obama.

Go back to the original, genuine un-scripted speech delivered without any notes or transcripts.

Time to go for a vacation!

Posted by: imagination | July 15, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

McCain has lost every war he has been in.

McCain was one of the lowest scoring military students ever.

McCain has one of the worst military records one could have - even with the support of his Admiral father. He knows how to act like his father, but has nothing to back it up with upstairs.

McCain has no business experience. NONE. He's never worked a real job. He knows very little about how america works.

McCain couldn't even read this website if he wanted to - he doesn't know how to use a computer. McCain is out of touch with america. He uses servants to attend to all his needs - he lives off his wife's and our money. Even when running for POTUS, he only works 3-4 days a week. Does he even want to be POTUS?!

McCain has only negative value to america as POTUS.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse

When McKrusty reverses course it's "Revision"or "Modification"...when Obama or virtually any Dem revises their positions it's a Flip-Flop

I'm sending Juliet a pair of orange and green McCain flip-flops...(these are actually items for sale on the web).

Posted by: wagonjak | July 15, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Glad to hear that McCain is learning from Obama about National Security.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 15, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

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