DNC: McCain Consistently Wrong on Iraq

WASHINGTON , April 8, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker testifying before Congress today and tomorrow, John McCain and his campaign continue to put politics ahead of a responsible way forward...


McCain Asserted Withdrawal From Iraq Would Prompt Al Qaeda Take Over. "Al Qaeda is in Iraq . It's called 'Al Qaeda in Iraq ,'" McCain told his audience during a town hall in Texas . "My friends, if we left, they wouldn't be establishing a base," he continued, "They'd be taking a country, and I'm not going to allow that to happen. I will not surrender. I will not surrender to al-Qaeda." [New York Times, 2/28/08; NPR, 2/27/08]

Gen. Odom: Idea That Al Qaeda Would Take Over Iraq is "Utter Nonsense." "The concern we hear the president and his aides express about a residual base left for al Qaeda if we withdraw is utter nonsense," said former NSA director Lt. General William Odom in congressional testimony. "The Sunnis will soon destroy al Qaeda if we leave," Odom told the Senate, "The Kurds do not allow them in their region, and the Shiites, like the Iranians, detest al Qaeda." McCain's erroneous statement also provoked a swift response from Time's Joe Klein , who declared that " John McCain continues to fight a different war in Iraq than...the U.S. military." [Time, Swampland, 2/27/08, www.time-blog.com/swampland/2008/02/mccains_iraq_fantasia.html ; Hearing of Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 4/2/08]


McCain: If We Leave Iraq, They Will Follow Us Home. During 2007, McCain repeatedly said on the campaign trail that "If you read Zarqawi, you read bin Laden, you read Al Qaida, they'll tell you, they want to follow us home," and that "If we leave Iraq , there will be chaos, there will be genocide, and they will follow us home," McCain warned during a South Carolina campaign stop. [GOP Debate In SC, 5/15/07; Associated Press, 4/27/2007]

REALITY: No One Credible Believes "They Will Follow Us Home." "Many military and intelligence analysts say the U.S. presence in Iraq - and elsewhere in the Middle East - is what really upsets the terrorists and mobilizes their base. 'There's no national security analyst that's really credible who thinks that people are going to come from Iraq and attack the United States , that that's a credible scenario,' said retired Army Lt. Col. James Carafano , a specialist in international security threats at the conservative Heritage Foundation." [National Public Radio, 4/30/07]


McCain: Iraqis are "Going About Their Normal Lives." During his March 2008 trip, "McCain said he thought that the situation in Iraq was improving. 'People are going about their normal lives,' he said." [The Guardian ( London, UK ), 3/20/08]

REALITY: March Actually Saw RISE In Baghdad Attacks. Soon after McCain's visit, a military report conclude that "After an overall decline in attacks against civilians and American and Iraqi security forces in Baghdad over the past several months, the number more than doubled in March from the previous month, according to statistics compiled by the American military in Baghdad ." There were 631 attacks in March 2008 , up from 239 in February [New York Times, 4/8/08]


First, McCain Claimed He Could Safely Walk Around Certain Baghdad Neighborhoods. "McCain's latest problem began before he left for the region, when he told Bill Bennett on the radio that 'there are neighborhoods in Baghdad where you and I could walk today.' After Michael Ware of CNN's Baghdad bureau accused the senator of living in 'Neverland,' McCain charged that it's reporters who are living in a 'time warp of three months ago.'" [Newsweek, 4/16/2007]

Then McCain Was Forced to Admit He "Misspoke" When He Failed to Mention His Massive Security During Baghdad Market Trip. "Wearing a bulletproof vest and surrounded by 100 soldiers in Baghdad's central market, McCain said: 'Never have I been able to go out into the city as I was today.' Headlines soon after called his statements 'propaganda' and a 'magic-carpet ride.'" Chastened, McCain issued a half-hearted apology a few days later, saying he 'misspoke." [Washington Post, 4/7/2007]