Former Republican presidential candidate John McCain blasted President Barack Obama on the Senate floor yesterday for the commander in chief’s handling of Iraq. “All I will say is that, for three years, the president has been harvesting the successes of the very strategy that he consistently dismissed as a failure,” McCain said referring to the surge which then senator Obama opposed in 2007. “I imagine this irony was not lost on a few of our troops at Fort Bragg today, most of whom deployed and fought as part of the surge.” (Video is here; full text here.)
McCain made the point that Obama’s decision to withdraw all American forces from Iraq has been entirely political, with no consideration from what military commanders have been telling him. “The fact is, the president has consistently called for a complete withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Iraq at the earliest possible date, and he has never deviated from this position as president,” McCain said. “Indeed, he has always reaffirmed his campaign promise to end the war in Iraq and withdraw all of our troops.I continue to believe that this decision represents a failure of leadership, both Iraqi and American … that it was a sad case of political expediency triumphing over military necessity, both in Baghdad and in Washington … and that it will have serious negative consequences for Iraq’s stability and our national security interests. I sincerely hope that I am wrong, but I fear that General Jack Keane, who was one of the main architects of the surge, could be correct again when he said recently: ‘We won the war in Iraq, and we’re now losing the peace.’”
“This is a decisive moment in the history of America’s relationship with Iraq, and with all of the countries of the broader Middle East. This is a moment when the substantial influence that we have long enjoyed in that part of the world could be receding -- in fact, is receding. We cannot allow that to be our nation’s future. We must continue to lead. We must not let short-term political gains dictate our longer-term goals. We must continue working to shape a freer, more just, and more secure future both for Iraq and for peoples across the Middle East -- for it is in our own national security interest to do so.
“Over 4,000 brave young Americans gave their lives in this conflict. I pray that their sacrifice is not in vain. I hope that their families will not mourn the day that their sons and daughters went out to fight for freedom for the Iraqi people. Unfortunately, it is clear that this decision of a complete pullout of United States troops from Iraq was dictated by politics, and not our national security interests. I believe that history will judge this president’s leadership with the scorn and disdain it deserves.”
Whole thing here.