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McCain on Obama and Iraq: ‘History Will Judge This President’s Leadership With Scorn and Disdain’


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Big Peace:

on the floor of the Senate, John McCain (R-AZ), Obama’s rival for the presidency in 2008, pointed out that President Obama had opposed the surge in Iraq that brought victory, and had likely turned that victory into defeat by withdrawing all U.S. troops.

Today, the President of the United States traveled to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to mark the end of the war in Iraq and to pay tribute to the more than 1.5 million men and women of our armed forces who have served and fought there since 2003.

Those Americans deserve all of the praise and recognition they receive. They’ve given up their comfort and safety. They’ve given up less demanding and more lucrative jobs. They’ve given parts of their bodies, and cherished parts of their lives.

They’ve given the quiet little sacrifices that often go unmentioned, but often hurt the most. The anniversaries spent alone. The birth of a child missed. The first steps not seen, and the first words not heard. They’ve given all of that, and always they are prepared to give more. They deserve to be honored by us all.snip

But let me point out a fact that the president did not acknowledge today, which is this:

Our men and women in uniform have been able to come home from Iraq by the tens of thousands over the past three years–and not just come home, but come home with honor, having succeeded in their mission–for the simple reason that the surge worked.

All of this is possible because in 2007, with the war nearly lost, we changed our strategy, changed our leaders in the field, and sent more troops.

This policy was vehemently opposed at the time by then-Senator Obama and now the President of the United States and his senior leaders right here on the floor of this Senate.

On January 10, 2007, the day the surge strategy was announced, then-Senator Obama said–quote–”I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse.”

On November 15, 2007, when it was clear to general David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker, where–and many of us–that the surge was working, then-Senator Obama said–and I quote–”The overall strategy has failed because we have not seen any change in behavior among Iraq’s political leaders.”

Finally, on January 28, 2008, when it was undeniable the surge was succeeding, he had this to say: “President Bush said that the surge in Iraq is working and we know that’s just not true.”

At the time, the president’s [Obama’s] preferred alternative was to begin an immediate withdrawal, and have all U.S. troops out of Iraq by the end of 2009.

I’ll let future historians be the judge of that proposed policy.snip

Over 4,000 brave young Americans gave their lives in this conflict. I hope and I pray that these decisions–made in large part for political reasons–I pray that their sacrifice is not in vain. I hope that their families will not mourn the day that their sons and daughters went out to fight for freedom for the Iraqi people.

Unfortunately, unfortunately, it is clear that this decision of a complete pullout of United States troops from Iraq was dictated by politics and not our national security interests.

I believe that history will judge this president’s leadership with the scorn and disdain that it deserves.snip
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