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McCain Answers Obama on Iraq in New Mexico Town Hall

At a town hall that just concluded (orchestrated masterfully to rebut the speech Obama gave this morning) John McCain said, "Barack Obama is directly contradicting statements he made regarding the surge in Iraq. Today we know the surge is succeeding."

McCain went on to say of Obama's statement before he heads off to Iraq:

Sen. Obama is departing soon on a trip abroad that will include a fact-finding mission to Iraq and Afghanistan. And I note that he is speaking today about his plans for Iraq and Afghanistan before he has even left, before he has talked to Gen. Petraeus, before he has seen the progress in Iraq, and before he has set foot in Afghanistan for the first time. In my experience, fact-finding missions usually work best the other way around: first you assess the facts on the ground, then you present a new strategy.

McCain didn't mince words on his thoughts about this plan, "he has it exactly backwards. It is the success of the surge that shows us the way to succeed in Afghanistan. They are not disconnected. Success breeds success."

To see the fiery conclusion to his remarks,


Asserting that Pakistan's sanctuary of terrorists must end, McCain went on to say that the US has to convince Pakistan that this is their fight too.

He concluded boldly:

I won't bluster and I won't make idle threats, but understand this: when i am Commander in Chief, there will be no where that terrorists can run and no where they can hide. I will get Osama bin Laden and I will bring him to justice. . . let me conclude by saying, in wartime, experience and judgement matter. They matter. In my entire life, nothing has been more important than the security and well-being of the country that I love.

The speech was followed by a sparky Q&A where he showed the flair we've come to expect from the context he really shines.

Which speech grabbed you this morning? Did McCain sufficiently answer Obama's "major policy address?"


Join The Conversation
True-Song True-Song 8 years
" And I note that he is speaking today about his plans for Iraq and Afghanistan before he has even left, before he has talked to Gen. Petraeus, before he has seen the progress in Iraq, and before he has set foot in Afghanistan for the first time. " So what? Like riding around, surrounded by security in heavily fortified zones is going to give you new insight,
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
Ok, this just isn't worth arguing with you. You are an idealist. Good luck with that.
Fo-show317771 Fo-show317771 8 years
Mainly because he's discussing major key issues ahead of time... while McCain feeds off of his ideas and key statements...and flips to the opposite point of veiw.... This opperation is not successful-No opperatin of war is successful. Thats a lesson McCain should've learned fighting in Vietnam'
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
Which is negative? The fact he was criticizing a successful operation, or that he got caught flipping?
Fo-show317771 Fo-show317771 8 years
Its negative critism!
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
chirp chirp chirp chirp
hausfrau hausfrau 8 years
What are your thoughts on that hullabaloo about Obama taking down the criticism of the surge from his website?
Jillness Jillness 8 years
I do feel that Obama had the focus on Afghanistan long before McCain said anything about it. Just my perspective though, but I am being sincere. I don't see that article as saying the whole of Obama's plans are off target. First, one of the main sources said that they can't gauge either candidate's plan with out the full details, not just the generalizations they were given. Second, I have also heard reports on NPR where they interview different soliders, and some agree strongly with Obama and some with McCain. While I do give a lot of credibility to their opinions, I see that they are pretty varied. Last, I think that what the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has had to say is pretty important. While there might be many things we want to accomplish, there are varying degrees of importance. Right now, as Mullen said, we can't accomplish everything that we want to. We do not have enough resources. While I don't doubt that soldiers want to complete their mission in Iraq 100%, it is possible that higher ups in the forces see a larger view, not just of Iraq but of the United States international vulnerabilities as a whole. I think that sometimes people in the thick of accomplishing one goal might have a less clear view than someone who sees the global priorities, and not just regional. Just my opinion though. It will be interesting to see how Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan evolve over the next few months.
hausfrau hausfrau 8 years
Jill it might show that that one aspect has been on target though its not like its exclusively his idea, as lilkimbo pointed out on another thread. However the whole of his plans are pretty far off target when it comes to the withdrawal. ABC news just did a great piece on that, hopefully the link won't get flagged -
Jillness Jillness 8 years
I don't necessarily think of it as Cause and Effect (Obama with Bush Pakistan policy). But I do think it shows that Obama's military instincts have shown to be pretty on target.
stiletta stiletta 8 years
I am not ready to concede that the Bush administration is taking cues from Obama quite yet. I think since the Taliban installed itself in Pakistan the US has been attempting to find ways to strike at them but it's a difficult diplomatic problem. If Pakistan is seen as a pawn of the US, they'll face attacks by Al Qaeda, which has a huge presence there.
Fo-show317771 Fo-show317771 8 years
Jillness Jillness 8 years
One thing I do have to point out is that Obama has called for more troops in Afghanistan and Pakistan for some time now, and has said that because there are so many troops in Iraq we haven't been able to accomplish that. His opinion has been verified by Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who said that additional troops were needed in Afghanistan but too many were tied down in Iraq to make that happen. Now McCain is calling for more troops in Afghanistan. To me, this shows that: 1.) Obama's thoughts months ago have been shown to be accurate. 2.) The military leaders agree with Obama in this area. 3.) McCain is now agreeing to what Obama has said for some time. The Bush administration has also followed the idea that Obama put forth in the Democratic debate (that he was grilled for), when he said that if he had actionable intelligence, that he would strike targets in Pakistan. Since that debate, the Bush Administration has done exactly that.
Jillness Jillness 8 years
Agreed! :)
hausfrau hausfrau 8 years
Jill I agree with you. I think the problem is that as the violence has moved to Afghanistan, our troops haven't moved with it. We need to be much more nimble than we have been.
Jillness Jillness 8 years
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said that we don't have enough troops over in Afghanistan. Also, I have heard many reports by officials like Casey who say that the troops are under supplied. I would hope these issues could be resolved. I also think it is important to engage Pakistan, and their lack of cooperation when it comes to not letting these groups have a place to organize. This outpost was very close to Pakistan.
hausfrau hausfrau 8 years
Ok I see what you mean Jill, though I disagree about it getting stronger. One of the articles I read had a military officer who pointed out that it may not be that their getting stronger, just that they are changing tactics - ie. not relying on IEDs because we've gotten so good at finding those. But then this begs the questions, ok so they change tactics and now they are attacking us from places like mosques... so what are we supposed to do? In my opinion, the first thing we should do is change the rules of engagement.
Jillness Jillness 8 years
Since the article I read called it a base 3 times, I thought they were correct. I appreciate Cabaker's clarification, because it is really important to make sure the facts are right. IMO, I still think the attack was a HUGE deal...especially when you remember that a prison was overthrown not too long ago. They are organizing and they are strategizing. It looks like the military's warnings that they have been getting stronger for the past 3-5 years hasn't been a lie.
Lynne Lynne 8 years
In Jill's defense, the original article on Yahoo calls it a base, with a link to a newer article referring to it as an outpost. I think her point is still valid, especially where the article points out that it was the deadlist attack on US forces in Afghanistan in 3 years. Reading through, it is quite a disturbing event. Here are links to both:
hausfrau hausfrau 8 years
Journalists write articles, journalists are not in the military. The military is in charge of logistics in this war. They say outpost. I beleive them. I'd be happy to argue further but I'd love it if we could do it on just one thread!
KrisSugar KrisSugar 8 years
Jillness had a great point, but I am glad Cabaker clarified. I too thought a "base" was a pretty big deal, and was a little confused. i mean wow, a whole base? I understand now.
Jillness Jillness 8 years
The article I read yesterday called it a base 3 times (I had to look so I knew what to call it). Odd!
hausfrau hausfrau 8 years
That wasn't supposed to. But personally I'd rather have an accurate depiction of an event than not.
stephley stephley 8 years
That doesn't really lessen Jillness' 'organized, strategic, calculated' point does it?
hausfrau hausfrau 8 years
Just an FYI - a base has hundreds, perhaps thousands of troops. An outpost is much, much smaller usually with fewer than 200 people.
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