During an interview on Morning Joe Friday morning, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) predictably placed the recent flare-up of ethnic violence in Iraq at the President’s feet. The Senator claimed during the interview that the Iraq War had been won by the United States, but President Obama screwed up the victory by pulling out troops in 2011. Per McCain’s logic, the United States should have kept a residual force in Iraq indefinitely, mainly to secure the America’s ‘victory’ there. McCain also stated that the United States should have an indefinite presence in Afghanistan. Finally, Sen. McCain called for the entire national security team in the Obama Administration to be fired.
Below is video of McCain’s interview, courtesy of MSNBC:
Obviously, if you are going to have McCain on your show, you know he is going to blame anything and everything on President Obama and then claim that the answer to any problem is more boots on the ground. In this instance, a smug and condescending McCain constantly pointed out that “we had won the war,” but it was that darn Obama and his promise to not keep our troops in the country forever that screwed it all up. McCain constantly insulted the members of the show’s panel that asked him questions, namely Mike Brzezinski and the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein (thankfully, Joe Scarborough wasn’t on set) for having the temerity to ask him if he was advocating for indefinite troop presence in the Middle East and what exactly he meant by victory in a war.
The most pointed exchange was between Stein and McCain. After McCain had gone round and round with Mika, claiming multiple times that we won the war in Iraq but that we should have kept a “residual force” there, Stein followed up with a few questions. Stein wanted to know McCain’s definition of victory. He also pointed out to McCain that the United States trained and propped up a large Iraqi army, investing $25 billion into the Iraqi government’s military force. Essentially, shouldn’t the Iraq government, with a much larger military force than that of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) insurgents, be responsible for the security of their own nation at this point? Considering the large investment made by the US into the new government’s infrastructure, and the insistence from Iraq that American troops eventually leave, should the President have still kept a large American presence in the country with no end date?
Instead of answering the legitimate and tough questions from Stein with thoughtfulness, McCain sneered at Stein and called him “confused” and proceeded to rattle off the same tripe that he had just unloaded on Mika minutes before. Essentially, in McCain world, American troops need to be in every corner of the world ensuring ‘peace.’ We need to start wars and never let them end. McCain brought up that the US has troops stationed in Japan, Korea and Bosnia, so it makes absolute sense for there to be a continued military presence in Iraq. (You have to love how he conveniently left out Vietnam.)
Of course, those are all vastly different situations than Iraq. With Japan, they were defeated in World War II. Per the treaty they signed, they are no longer allowed to maintain a military. With China, North Korea and Russia all within close proximity, and Japan becoming a trusted ally, it has been imperative to have military bases there. As for Korea, the United States was involved in the Korean War there in the 1950s. The result of the war was a division of the peninsula between two factions that are still at odds with each other. To assist our ally South Korea, American troops are stationed there. Finally, with Bosnia, the mission was organized by NATO. Due to it being an international peacekeeping mission, the United States has committed a certain number of troops to assist with finding war criminals and maintaining stability.
In regards to Iraq, an agreement was reached in 2008, prior to Obama being sworn in as President, that American forces would permanently leave by the end of 2011. McCain knows this, he knows that this agreement was waiting for Obama when he stepped into office, yet he continues to blame the President for losing the victory or something. The fact is, the United States agreed to build and prop up the current Iraqi government and military force. This cost the United States $25 billion and was supposed to allow Iraq to become self-sufficient. Anything that occurred in the country after our departure was on the current Iraq government and its military force.
The thing is, there is a lot of upheaval in the Middle East now, and it likely will continue for decades, if not longer. American intervention is not going to make things peaceful there. Obviously, our large-scale military operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan helped create the increased turmoil to begin with. By starting a war in Iraq, we basically destabilized the region. The same goes for the ongoing war in Afghanistan. McCain thinks the only way to fix the broken pieces created by our wars of choice is to have a large military presence in the area forever.
The fact that McCain ended the interview by calling for the firing of every member of Obama’s national security team shows the real impetus behind this latest temper tantrum from grumpy John. The man is still bitter about losing to Obama in 2008. He can’t let it go. Therefore, any upheaval in the world, McCain will claim it was totally preventable if Obama would have just been on the ball and ready to send troops. He is constantly going on TV and claiming that he ‘predicted’ such and such outcome. He is nothing but an angry man who feels that he was denied his opportunity to be President. However, based on the fact that he would have committed the United States to endless military intervention across the globe, we should all be very glad he got trounced in 2008.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).