Sen. McCain on Iraq: We won the conflict, lost the war
Senator reflects on US decision to invade ten years ago
- Duration 6:44
- Date Mar 18, 2013
Senator reflects on US decision to invade ten years ago
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But back foxnews.com live on Mike Emanuel sitting in today it's a great pleasure to welcome to the show.
The horrible senator from Arizona John McCain joining us live from Capitol Hill and senator thanks for a few minutes of your time I'm curious what your thoughts are here we are ten years after the start of the Iraq War.
Well I'm having many emotions about it in any thoughts about -- smoke and I say that we.
Grieve for the families of those who lost their loved ones and we will always be grateful for their service and sacrifice I think we could've done better by them.
I think that first world.
The entry into the war -- -- predicated by the testimony of general Colin Powell.
When he told the -- UN Security Council in the nation with the director of CIA sitting behind him that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction have turned out not to be true.
Then of course.
When the strategy was an utter failure and some of us argued for change we did have this surge thanks to General Petraeus -- his leadership.
And we basically won the conflict.
But we lost the war because of our rapid and complete withdrawal.
From Iraq without leaving a residual force that is directly because.
The president United States policy said he wanted out of Iraq and so that's one of the reasons why you're seeing such.
I'm certainly in Afghanistan.
Was it a it was it beneficial to have Saddam Hussein.
No longer threatening.
The Arab world and the United States of America I think that's true.
But at the same time I think -- so badly mismanaged for several years.
That unfortunately we lost some American blood and treasure that we otherwise could've avoided.
Senator -- new Gallup survey says 53% of Americans think it was a mistake the Iraq War.
Do you think that might change over time depending on how.
You know memories fade or or or how the Middle East turns out years from now.
Well I think with the hindsight of history it's usually about a quarter century that goes by before we get a proper assessment.
Of the conflict about -- I don't think historians who will dispute the fact that.
Americans were not told the truth about.
The weapons of mass destruction which -- -- intelligence failure.
On our part.
And that is made some Americans very angry second -- From 20063.
Was badly mismanaged and number of us said look you gotta fire Rumsfeld you've got to have a new strategy.
And that is.
That that's hard to rationalize why we.
-- -- handle that conflict so badly.
They did win that General David Petraeus in his.
Strategy succeeded and we left Iraq.
-- success in his general Keane says she was a when the architect of the surge we won the war and wants a piece because Iraq is unraveling as we speak.
Senator you spent your youth wearing the uniform putting your life on the line in a controversial war in Vietnam.
What do you wanna say to the young men and women who have worn the uniform in this generation they don't make the policy but they are.
Tip of the spear executing the policy.
What about these warriors and the job they've done over the past decade.
That's been tremendous.
I'm proud of my generation.
Proud of of our greatest generation of World -- II.
But I could make you a strong argument that these young men and women are probably better trained better -- smarter.
And more dedicated perhaps in any generation and I don't mean to diminish.
Any of their predecessors but they are really really professional and good.
And it's part of it has to do was an all volunteer force.
And so all I can say to them is that down.
They fought in normal cars and they win and too far away places many -- had never even heard certainly.
Places like Anbar Fallujah.
And emotional -- Kirkuk.
And they thought and they left some of their comrades behind.
But I believe they came home with honor.
As we look at our policy going forward.
Lessons learned in terms -- you and your colleagues on Capitol Hill in terms of as we look at other.
Hot spots in the world like Iran Syria North Korea.
Lessons learned in terms of Iraq in terms of future.
I'm afraid we -- I'm afraid we learned the wrong lesson there is a isolationists.
And -- will -- from to fortress America attitudes it's on both sides CIA analysts very strong here in the Republican Party.
Why people are quote were -- I understand why they don't want American boots on the ground anywhere.
And I'm not saying that's necessary I am saying.
And in Syria today.
We are seeing a blood letting of enormous consequences.
What if we were able to get rid of Bashir aside in the words of general Mattis ahead of our Central Command.
Would be -- greatest blow to Iran.
Than in -- -- in the last 25 years the centrifuges are spinning in Tehran.
The north Koreans are now threatening the very United States of America there's upheavals all across the the Arab world and into Africa.
While we -- sequestration.
Are reaching a point.
Where the commandant of the Marine -- said that half of this units would be unable and I'm ready to deploy.
We have learned the wrong lessons and I clear fear greatly.
That we will pay a very heavy price for.
These across the board cuts that are taking place which is affecting our ability to defend this nation.
And I say to my colleagues who think this is fine talk to some of the men and women who are serving.
And they'll tea among other things that they deserve a better deal than what congress and the president has given.
Senator John McCain thank you sir for your service thanks for giving us few minutes of your time and wish you wonderful days here.
Thank you for -- -- to be with.