Opinion: Senator McCut-and-run


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The maverick from Arizona makes a speech:

I have listened carefully to the explanations offered for our involvement in [Iraq]. I do not find them convincing. The fundamental question is, ‘What is the United States’ interest in [Iraq]?’ It is said we are there to keep the peace. I ask, what peace? It is said we are there to aid the government. I ask, what government? It is said we are there to stabilize the region. I ask, how can the U.S. presence stabilize the region? [...] The longer we stay in [Iraq], the harder it will be for us to leave. We will be trapped by the case we make for having our troops there in the first place. What can we expect if we withdraw from [Iraq]? The same as will happen if we stay. I acknowledge that the level of fighting will increase if we leave. I regretfully acknowledge that many innocent civilians will be hurt. But I firmly believe this will happen in any event. What about our allies and worldwide prestige? We should consult with our allies and withdraw with them in concert if possible, unilaterally if necessary. I also recognize that our prestige may suffer in the short term, but I am more concerned with our long-term national interests. I believe the circumstances of our original involvement have changed, and I know four American families who share this view. I am not calling for an immediate withdrawal of our forces. What I desire is as rapid withdrawal as possible.

OK, OK, he was talking about Lebanon and not ‘[Iraq],’ and it was in 1983.


But how about a more recent comment about Iraq?

If you get involved in a major ground war in the Saudi desert, I think [public] support will erode significantly. Nor should it be supported. We cannot even contemplate, in my view, trading American blood for Iraqi blood.

OK, OK, that was August 1990. For more recent McCain views on how the 21,500-troop surge might not be enough, even though it’s exactly what he’s been calling for since at least October, click here.