Foreign Policy Blogs

McCain attacked for saying US troop withdrawal from Iraq "Not important"

McCain Interviewed on NBC's The Today Show 
John McCain's Interview on NBC's The Today Show (YouTube excerpt)

If you’ve had any contact with the media this week, I’m sure you haven't been able to escape comments made about John McCain's interview on NBC's The Today Show. 

As I’m sure you all can tell by now, I have no plan on voting republican in the next election.  But I have to admit that what the media is doing to Senator McCain isn't fair.  Many people, including those uploading clips to YouTube, are cutting McCain's comments off to imply that he is simply unconcerned with the troops.  As my father (a military man and a republican) is always saying, McCain understands the plight of the US military more so than most people in this country, given his history as a prisoner of war during Vietnam.  I believe that when he says that the most important effort we should be making in Iraq is to minimize US casualties, he has a very valid point.  Our troops are not coming home tomorrow; therefore our first priority should be keeping them as safe as possible.  As the Senator continues, he states that the US has stationed troops in many countries with very few or no casualties.  And if we remember World War II correctly, nation rebuilding in Germany and Japan was achieved with the help of the Allied military. 

 As a liberal, I have criticisms of McCain.  Obviously, he is forced to back George W's policies, but does this also mean Bush's cowboy-style, over-militaristic attitude?  He also brags about advocating for the troop surge before Bush did.  This makes me wonder if he really does understand the military; many troops were not even getting the time off that is mandated by military doctrine prior to the surge. 

Another important criticism I have of McCain is his habit of misspeaking.  Obviously, troop numbers in Iraq should be important, and probably are important to the Senator.  When we listen to the rest of his comments, we begin to understand that he does not truly mean that a withdrawal is not important.  But once again, he phrased his comments the wrong way; the same thing happened with his “100 years in Iraq” comment.  After the past seven years, do we really want another president who constantly sticks his foot in his mouth? 

Click here for the full interview (on more topics than just Iraq).



Jennifer Bushaw

Jennifer Bushaw holds an MA from the University of Chicago in Middle Eastern Studies with an emphasis on policy. She focused her research, including her Thesis, on modern Iraq and the Iraq war. She also has a Bachelor's in History from the University of Michigan. Jennifer is currently working as an Investigative Research Associate for a security advisory and management firm in Chicago, Illinois.

Areas of Focus:
Iraq-US Policy; Security; Coalition Operations;