Skip to comments.McCain Bashes Cheney Over Iraq Policy
Posted on 01/24/2007 11:45:44 AM PST by TexasCajun
With his presidential hopes tied to an administration whose Iraq policy he supports but cannot control, John McCain for the first time blamed Vice President Cheney for what McCain calls the "witch's brew" of a "terribly mishandled" war in which U.S. forces are on the verge of defeat.
McCain also for the first time opened the door to the possibility of a U.S. troop pullback to the borders of Iraq should the president's planned troop surge fail.
Although McCain had once lavished praise on the vice president, he said in an interview in his Senate office: "The president listened too much to the Vice President . . . Of course, the president bears the ultimate responsibility, but he was very badly served by both the Vice President and, most of all, the Secretary of Defense."
McCain added: "Rumsfeld will go down in history, along with McNamara, as one of the worst secretaries of defense in history." Donald Rumsfeld served as President Bush's secretary of defense from January 2001 to December 2006. Robert McNamara was Secretary of Defense during the Vietnam War.
McCain has long criticized Rumsfeld, but in July 2004 at a campaign rally in Lansing, Mich., McCain said he had "known and admired" Cheney for more than 20 years and described him as "one of the most capable, experienced, intelligent and steady vice presidents this country has ever had.''
But that was then and this is now, and now McCain is making clear his frustrations with the Bush administration, the Iraqi military and "bureaucratic resistance" in the Pentagon to a troop surge.
McCain said in the interview that the success of the American mission in Iraq "will be directly related to the ability of the Iraqi military to take up responsibilities. Their record is terrible." Also, he said, "There is still enormous bureaucratic resistance (to the troop surge) in the Pentagon, and it bothers me a great deal. The bureaucrats in the military are saying this is a terrible strain on the (National) Guard and the active duty forces, and it is. There is only one thing worse than an over-stressed military, and that's a defeated military. And we are on the verge of that."
McCain said that even the planned insertion of 21,500 new U.S. troops into Iraq, which he supports, may not succeed. "I don't know if this is enough troops or not," McCain said. "I can't guarantee success by doing this."
The Arizona Republican, whose 2008 presidential campaign is well under way even though he has not yet officially announced, is keenly aware of how his support for the Iraq war is making him increasingly unpopular.
"The irony of all this for me is that I am the guy that for three years -- more than three years -- has said, 'You don't have enough troops there! And you are not running this war right! And you've (ital) got (unital) to change!' " McCain said. "And now I find myself the object of scorn because I think we can't afford to leave."
But McCain also said a withdrawal of troops to the borders of Iraq could be an option if the troop surge fails.
"If this strategy doesn't succeed, we will have to devise another strategy," McCain said. "But I have to hasten to add there are no good options." One of those options, McCain said "is to withdraw to the borders (of Iraq) to try to keep other countries from interfering. Maintaining our bases in Kuwait and other places. There are a lot of scenarios." But he also said the current troop surge strategy "has to be given time."
McCain's support for the Iraq war is unpopular with Democrats and Independents and is losing support within his own party, including among some of his fellow Republican senators. Sen. Chuck Hagel, Neb., has called the troop surge "the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam, if it's carried out."
Without naming names, McCain said, "It is ironic that many of my colleagues who are now wavering were those who were down the line in support (of the war) and would come back from Iraq saying that everything is fine and the troops are wonderful and it's the media (that is the problem). And I came back from my first trip saying, 'You better get more boots on the ground! You better change this.' Now I am (ital) hung (unital) with it. It's fascinating!"
"Life isn't fair, as Jack Kennedy said," McCain added with his typical mordancy.
McCain will almost certainly announce his presidential candidacy soon, but he said, "This whole Iraq situation has really diverted most of my attention."
In the primaries, McCain is in danger of being whipsawed between Republican conservatives who think he is not really one of them and Republican centrists who are opposed to the war.
"There are still some elements of the party that are very skeptical about me," McCain acknowledged. "I think also, even amongst Republicans, there is a real concern about my position on the war in Iraq."
He did, however, give a peek at his game plan to gain the White House. "Most people in New Hampshire, South Carolina, Michigan, Arizona, people around the country know me rather well," he said. "It's not as if I am a blank slate out there. Most of them, I think, have confidence that I have the experience, knowledge and background that, even though they disagree with me on a specific issue, they think I will do the right thing. Or at least what I believe is right."
I still will NEVER vote for this loon!
Keyword 'loon' added.
John McInsane begins to inexorably tilt towards the edge of the cliff, with no idea of how far it is to the ground below.
If America puts THAT maniac in the White House, there is absolutely no hope left for this Republic.
Republicans had better get a leader out there for the 2008 race or the Dimocraps will take 100% of House and Senate. SOBs like McCain will never get my vote.
Maybe, instead of primaries, we should have a feat of strength to determine our noiminee.
The feat will be simple, which ever one of them can hang by Bush longest wins it.
Brownback and McCain, Paul, and Hagel are already out.
Rudy, Romney, Hunter, Huckabee, Thompson, and Newt(?) stll have a shot.
This loon is off his meds again.
Well, there went any credibility he had due to his prior military service. Was the "verge of defeat" phrase McCain's or the urinalist's?
Maybe he heard that Cheney will be running for president after all. :)
Good to see everybody pulling together. Iraq's sure to improve.
Pretty much the problem for both McCain and Clinton: if US efforts in Iraq continue without clear success they have no choice but to step up attacks on the Administration while "supporting" the war.
This pretentious 2-faced wolf in sheep's clothing...AAAAaaaarrrggghhhh!
Thanks... I slipped up! ;-)
Up until now I've insisted that we promote the heck out of our favorite candidate for POTUS,and then all pull together for whoever wins the primary.
I withdraw my pledge.
Should enough imbeciles allow this fool to advance to the finals, I will refuse to cast (waste) my vote on him.
Ask yourself one question. Would you trust someone as unstable as McPain with nuclear weapon launch authority?
"This whole Iraq situation has really diverted most of my attention."Is that why you haven't thought up any new schemes recently for limiting free speech? Been busy? But you'll get back to crackdowns on free speech when you get a chance, I trust.
Nice use of hyperbole, oh Insane One.
Never say never Slayer,
What if Mrs. Clinton is the dem standard bearer and McPain is the Repb standard bearer?
Much as I too dislike McPain I just don't think I could vote for or abstain and allow Mrs. Clinton to win.
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