McCain: If I had been elected president in 2000, we might not have gone to war in Iraq

posted at 6:21 pm on July 18, 2014 by Allahpundit

In which Mr. Intervention imagines a more dovish alternate history of the past 15 years, starring himself. Er, is Maverick now … to the left of the next Democratic nominee on the Iraq war?

Here’s what he told Tapper yesterday:

“You’ll find this surprising,” he said, “but I think I would’ve been more reluctant to commit American troops.”…

“If presented with that same evidence today, I would vote the same way,” McCain said of his vote to deploy troops in the country. “I respected and trusted the Secretary of State, Colin Powell. But it’s obvious now, in retrospect, that Saddam Hussein – although he had used weapons of mass destruction – did not have the inventory that we seem to have evidence of. Which now looking back on it, with the benefit of hindsight, (the evidence) was very flimsy.”

If he had been president, McCain said, “I think I would have challenged the evidence with greater scrutiny. I think that with my background with the military and knowledge of national security with these issues that I hope that I would have been able to see through the evidence that was presented at the time.”

McCain specifically cited one of the sources of the faulty intelligence. “The guy named ‘Curveball’ that we were relying on turned out to be some guy in a German prison that was an alcoholic.”

Why didn’t he challenge the evidence with greater scrutiny in his role as senator? He seems to be suggesting that the president has a higher duty of due diligence before putting troops’ lives on the line than the individual members of Congress do when they vote on whether to use military force. I don’t know why he thinks that. Or is he saying that Bush, as commander-in-chief, was privy to certain dubious evidence that Congress wasn’t, which would have set off alarm bells for President McCain but which Senator McCain had no access to? In that case, why didn’t senators have access? A vote as important as an AUMF needs to be fully informed.

Here’s what he said as a candidate in 2000, by the way:

Q: What area of international policy would you change immediately?

A: Our policies concerning rogue states: Iraq, Libya, North Korea-those countries that continue to try to acquire weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them. I’d institute a policy that I call “rogue state rollback.” I would arm, train, equip, both from without and from within, forces that would eventually overthrow the governments and install free and democratically elected governments.

He’s not talking about putting U.S. boots on the ground in Baghdad there, but clearly he had Iraq in his crosshairs — and that was two years before the public amped up to super-hawkishness towards the Middle East after 9/11. Would President McCain really have stuck to fomenting internal rebellion in Iraq rather than bringing down America’s hammer on Saddam? Maybe he would have, but I’m skeptical.

The oddest thing about this, of course, is that Maverick remains a hawk for all seasons to this day, even towards maelstroms like Syria where lesser hawks see no obvious benefit to getting involved. A man who, by his own admission, has been burned by bad intel and dubious foreign actors with their own agendas might think twice about intervening in Syria to help a coalition of “moderate” Sunni rebels that may or may not functionally exist. But no, he’s full speed ahead. Click the image to watch.

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What a flaming ass

john1schn on July 18, 2014 at 6:23 PM

McCain was a candidate in 2000?

Del Dolemonte on July 18, 2014 at 6:23 PM

We would have probably invaded Canada instead.

Flange on July 18, 2014 at 6:24 PM

Click the image to watch.

I’d rather have my fingernails ripped out with pliers.

Resist We Much on July 18, 2014 at 6:25 PM

My friends….

BacaDog on July 18, 2014 at 6:26 PM

McCain: If I had been elected president in 2000,

Well you had another chance in 2008, you fukkin psycho. Really showed your fighting spirit.

arnold ziffel on July 18, 2014 at 6:26 PM

If McCain had not been a casualty of war, he would never have been elected as a politician.

portlandon on July 18, 2014 at 6:27 PM

casualty prisoner

portlandon on July 18, 2014 at 6:27 PM

This is what happens when a senile RINO tries to pander to Jake Tapper…

…he’s a legend in his own mind.

Athos on July 18, 2014 at 6:28 PM

I’d institute a policy that I call “rogue state rollback.” I would arm, train, equip, both from without and from within, forces that would eventually overthrow the governments and install free and democratically elected governments.

A factory for making Shahs of Iran?

unclesmrgol on July 18, 2014 at 6:28 PM

I voted for him, and I am now repulsed by him.

GaltBlvnAtty on July 18, 2014 at 6:28 PM

That man never misses an opportunity to not shut up.

Irritable Pundit on July 18, 2014 at 6:29 PM

This raving lunatic hasn’t ever met an issue or a crisis that he didn’t think invasion or bombing was the answer…except amnesty of course.

sharrukin on July 18, 2014 at 6:29 PM

So glad we don’t have to put up with this geriatric senile old RINO much longer!

azpatriotsdotcom on July 18, 2014 at 6:30 PM

We wouldn’t be there because he, in his infinite wisdom and supreme temperament, probably would have nuked the whole region.

Exit Question… why do we still pay any attention to this man? He’s clearly as off his rocker as Reid is these days.

Ukiah on July 18, 2014 at 6:30 PM

Oh shaddup already you flaming RINO POS.

Key West Reader on July 18, 2014 at 6:31 PM

If you’re just going to make things up John, why not claim you were elected President in 2000? That would be real Mavericky of you.

Flange on July 18, 2014 at 6:31 PM

McCain was a candidate in 2000?

Del Dolemonte on July 18, 2014 at 6:23 PM

Yup

Key West Reader on July 18, 2014 at 6:32 PM

Ok, where was he in 2003? Now he says this 11 years later? Sometimes I think the amnesty shill is losing a few of his marbles.

What really bothers me about McCain’s amnesty shilling is that he changed his view and said he was against amnesty in the election of 2008 in order pull the wool over the R voters. Exactly like Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) who said he was against amnesty and then voted for Rubio’s bill. Is this betrayal just going to be forgiven by the Tennessee voters? It’s imperative that Alexander be defeated on August 7th, check out the news on Amnesty Alexander.

anotherJoe on July 18, 2014 at 6:32 PM

How many dupes are there in Az.?

kpguru on July 18, 2014 at 6:32 PM

I voted for him, and I am now repulsed by him.

GaltBlvnAtty on July 18, 2014 at 6:28 PM

I voted for Palin

KBird on July 18, 2014 at 6:32 PM

Juan McLame – a “Republican” Democrat

Key West Reader on July 18, 2014 at 6:33 PM

“Build the damn fence!”
“Stand up and FIGHT with me”
“Obama would make a good President..nothing to fear from an Obama presidency”.

John McCain

Please go away you convoluted old fool.

Mimzey on July 18, 2014 at 6:34 PM

He’s the biggest hawk in congress. He’d go to war against Canada if they stopped letting us watch hockey.

crankyoldlady on July 18, 2014 at 6:36 PM

Mavericky seems to be more and more a euphemism for senility.

“Whoah, did you notice how mavericky Great Grandma Bessie was at Christmas this year? I didn’t think she was ever going to get down off the roof.”

SoRight on July 18, 2014 at 6:37 PM

Johnny Mac on the Hillary VP train.

BKeyser on July 18, 2014 at 6:37 PM

Senile smack talk. He really needs to just stop.

Johnnyreb on July 18, 2014 at 6:38 PM

And if McCain lives until the 2016 election, he’ll proudly cast his vote for Hillary.

SLUHTHDVS.

Jedditelol on July 18, 2014 at 6:38 PM

This from the guy who wants war everywhere? How bizarre.

Besides, if we are going to play “rewrite political history” I’d like to rewrite the results of the 2012 Arizona Senate election. I’d also like to rewrite the Nancy Boy primary, the birth of Mitch McConnell, the 2008 and 2012 Republican primary and the purchase of the NY Times by the Sulzbergers.

MTF on July 18, 2014 at 6:38 PM

I really hope there is a sane, credible AZ GOP candidate preparing to make a run against McCain in 2016. We don’t need another Hayworth. We need to beat McCain and keep the seat.

Mark1971 on July 18, 2014 at 6:42 PM

And if he’d been elected Jesus, Jerusalem wouldn’t have been sacked!

grrrrrrrrrr, Palin!

Axe on July 18, 2014 at 6:45 PM

And if McCain had been elected in 2008, we might have already gone to war with Syria, Libya, Lebanon, Iran, Yemen, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Algeria… you get the point.

Aizen on July 18, 2014 at 6:45 PM

“You’ll find this surprising,” he said, “but I’m voting for Hillary”

burserker on July 18, 2014 at 6:45 PM

Senile narcissist.

ButterflyDragon on July 18, 2014 at 6:46 PM

Apparently he’s decided he’s going to move to the Left if he ever wants to run again. Few on the Right would vote for him even if Palin sung his praises again and I don’t think he’d ask her for support again. In fact if I were Palin I’d watch out for the old man’s truck wheels.

katiejane on July 18, 2014 at 6:47 PM

Cochran, Reid, McCain. The United States Senility.

davidk on July 18, 2014 at 6:47 PM

Who is this? I don’t believe I know who he is…

ladyingray on July 18, 2014 at 6:48 PM

Says Mr. “Boots on the Ground.”

flataffect on July 18, 2014 at 6:51 PM

Two thoughts:
1. If. If a frog had wings, it wouldn’t wamp it’s ass every time it jumped.
2. Would the world, US, Middle East, humanity, Iraq really be better off if Saddam Husein and his wonderful sons were still in power.

jvermeer on July 18, 2014 at 6:53 PM

Call me crazy……but I sorta believe him. I don’t believe he’s as hawkish as some of his rhetoric.

terryannonline on July 18, 2014 at 6:53 PM

“You’ll find this surprising,” he said, “but I think I would’ve been more reluctant to commit American troops.”…

“If presented with that same evidence today, I would vote the same way,” McCain said of his vote to deploy troops in the country. “I respected and trusted the Secretary of State, Colin Powell. But it’s obvious now…

This is the only part that interested me, that he dared bring Saint Powell into it. Hasn’t Johnny Mac been told that this was all supposed to be blamed on President George W. Bush and Vice-President Cheney?

slickwillie2001 on July 18, 2014 at 6:54 PM

Johnny, time to STFU. Go retire and write your memoirs or something. Get on the CNN pundit list, be an expert commentator on something or other (not that you have any particular talents).

You have become an embarrassment and your record as a POW isnt enough to save your legacy.

HBowmanMD on July 18, 2014 at 6:55 PM

LMFAO!!

Oh, the schadenfreude is deliciously thick…

JohnGalt23 on July 18, 2014 at 6:59 PM

No, show some class like the guy who beat you.

formwiz on July 18, 2014 at 6:59 PM

Watching the video again I think his main point is that knowing what he knows now he wouldn’t have supported Iraq. If he was some super-hawk, um, why would he say that? Hawks like Dick Cheney haven’t said that.

terryannonline on July 18, 2014 at 7:00 PM

What the…? Just retire, already. *shakes head in disgust*

Hill60 on July 18, 2014 at 7:01 PM

Hopefully no one is assuming that John “Build the Dang Fence” is dishonest.

bw222 on July 18, 2014 at 7:03 PM

Watching the video again I think his main point is that knowing what he knows now he wouldn’t have supported Iraq. If he was some super-hawk, um, why would he say that? Hawks like Dick Cheney haven’t said that.

terryannonline on July 18, 2014 at 7:00 PM

20/20 hindsight is a wonderful thing, dontcha think?

This guy is ready to send in the troops at the drop of the hat – and now he’s saying “gee I would have been more cautious”. Really?

Hill60 on July 18, 2014 at 7:05 PM

Click the image to watch

I’d rather set my hair on fire, and then try to put it out with a roofing hammer.

Thomas More on July 18, 2014 at 7:08 PM

The guy who has never met a bomb he didn’t want to drop wouldn’t have invaded Iraq and I have beach front property in AZ to sell.

RickB on July 18, 2014 at 7:08 PM

Call me crazy……but I sorta believe him. I don’t believe he’s as hawkish as some of his rhetoric.

terryannonline on July 18, 2014 at 6:53 PM

Yep you’re crazy.

RickB on July 18, 2014 at 7:10 PM

Washington D.C. slogan: “Producing drain bramage since forever”

Splashman on July 18, 2014 at 7:12 PM

McWho?

InterestedObserver on July 18, 2014 at 7:12 PM

This guy is ready to send in the troops at the drop of the hat – and now he’s saying “gee I would have been more cautious”. Really?

Hill60 on July 18, 2014 at 7:05 PM

Like I said I think his rhetoric is more bellicose than he actually is. If I remember correctly he was highly critical of Bush’s foreign policy in his last years in office. The guy just seems to think he can do foreign policy better than the guy in the Oval office.

terryannonline on July 18, 2014 at 7:12 PM

McCain has become almost as classless and stupid as his bimbo daughter.

Pork-Chop on July 18, 2014 at 7:13 PM

LMAO. Crazy talk

DisneyFan on July 18, 2014 at 7:13 PM

This from the man who has personally recommended the bombing of at least half of the sovereign states around the globe.

“My friends, we should bomb them….my friends…did I tell you I was a prisoner of war before I was a corrupt old man?”

BobMbx on July 18, 2014 at 7:16 PM

Watching the video again I think his main point is that knowing what he knows now he wouldn’t have supported Iraq. If he was some super-hawk, um, why would he say that? Hawks like Dick Cheney haven’t said that.

terryannonline on July 18, 2014 at 7:00 PM

Nobody would support the 2003 Iraq invasion knowing what they know now, so that’s simply his way of saying, “I’m not clinically insane.”

Of course, that’s just his opinion. Mine is somewhat different.

Splashman on July 18, 2014 at 7:18 PM

If I remember correctly he was highly critical of Bush’s foreign policy in his last years in office. The guy just seems to think he can do foreign policy better than the guy in the Oval office.

terryannonline on July 18, 2014 at 7:12 PM

Uh….there was the little matter his presidential campaign, and he didn’t want to be associated with the 30 percenter.

Oh…he lost that election and ever since then he’s been carrying the Lighbringers’ water.

BobMbx on July 18, 2014 at 7:19 PM

We have nothing to fear from Obama’s presidency. Right, you bimbo spawning jackass?

Rix on July 18, 2014 at 7:20 PM

Call me crazy……but I sorta believe him. I don’t believe he’s as hawkish as some of his rhetoric.

terryannonline on July 18, 2014 at 6:53 PM

I don’t think that’s saying much. He’s never met a trouble-spot he couldn’t bomb off the map.

Axe on July 18, 2014 at 7:22 PM

forces that would eventually overthrow the governments and install free and democratically elected governments.

Something about throwing out a government you don’t like, then installing one you do like….doesn’t sound like democracy at all, John.

BobMbx on July 18, 2014 at 7:25 PM

♫ If I were King of the Forrrressssst !!! ♫

viking01 on July 18, 2014 at 7:25 PM

Senility seems to be rampant among old senators.

rbj on July 18, 2014 at 7:25 PM

He’s never met a trouble-spot he couldn’t bomb off the map.

Axe on July 18, 2014 at 7:22 PM

What places has he wanted to bomb off the map?

terryannonline on July 18, 2014 at 7:25 PM

Wooda, cooda, shooda, yadda, yadda, yadda….

PersonFromPorlock on July 18, 2014 at 7:26 PM

What places has he wanted to bomb off the map?

terryannonline on July 18, 2014 at 7:25 PM

Iran, Libya, Syria, North Korea, Georgia, etc. I am sure there are others.

sharrukin on July 18, 2014 at 7:27 PM

What places has he wanted to bomb off the map?

terryannonline on July 18, 2014 at 7:25 PM

Its from Mother Jones, but if you read fast you can get out before you take ill….

BobMbx on July 18, 2014 at 7:30 PM

Iran, Libya, Syria, North Korea, Georgia, etc. I am sure there are others.

sharrukin on July 18, 2014 at 7:27 PM

Can you please show quotes where he called for Iran, Libya, NK and Georgia to bombed off the map?

I find it hard to believe we would have a U.S. Senator that would just recklessly call for countries to be bombed off the map.

terryannonline on July 18, 2014 at 7:30 PM

BobMbx on July 18, 2014 at 7:30 PM

Yeah…..I think Mother Jones is totally blowing things out of proportion. For example on Georgia…..because he “We all Georgians”……..they conclude ” Unspecified aggression toward Russia after invasion of Georgia.” Really? Or he wants a “New cold war” because he said we should rethink our relationship with Russia.

terryannonline on July 18, 2014 at 7:37 PM

I find it hard to believe we would have a U.S. Senator that would just recklessly call for countries to be bombed off the map.

terryannonline on July 18, 2014 at 7:30 PM

Time to get used to disappointment.

Axe on July 18, 2014 at 7:38 PM

This is the guy who wanted American boots on the ground in Libya, right? And he wanted to send sophisticated American weaponry including SAM’s to the Syrian rebels because they were “moderate”, right? This is the guy who actually visited Syria and stood for a photo-op with those moderate rebels. Those same moderate rebels who attacked Iraq and declared a new Caliphate in the middle east. John McCain- living proof of the old saying “There’s no fool like an old fool”.

fitzsweetpea on July 18, 2014 at 7:39 PM

terryannonline does not appreciate criticism or snark directed at the amnesty-loving senator from Arizona.

Jedditelol on July 18, 2014 at 7:41 PM

McCain:

STFU you senile shit!
…I include him with all the Democrats I can’t stand!

JugEarsButtHurt on July 18, 2014 at 7:43 PM

I voted for Palin

KBird on July 18, 2014 at 6:32 PM

We all did.

Judge_Dredd on July 18, 2014 at 7:45 PM

terryannonline does not appreciate criticism or snark directed at the amnesty-loving senator from Arizona.

Jedditelol on July 18, 2014 at 7:41 PM

Honestly I find McCain off-putting….but I sometimes I think him being some sort of “super-hawk” is little overstated. If anyone is a superhawk……I think that would Dick Cheney.

terryannonline on July 18, 2014 at 7:46 PM

Ooookaaay. Now that just screams for a “Miss me yet?” W poster.

There Goes the Neighborhood on July 18, 2014 at 7:47 PM

I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised. It’s clear from McCain’s behavior throughout the Bush administration that he never got over his loss in 2000.

There Goes the Neighborhood on July 18, 2014 at 7:50 PM

We all did.

Judge_Dredd on July 18, 2014 at 7:45 PM

Who’s “we”, paleface?

Splashman on July 18, 2014 at 7:51 PM

Honestly I find McCain off-putting….but I sometimes I think him being some sort of “super-hawk” is little overstated. If anyone is a superhawk……I think that would Dick Cheney.

terryannonline on July 18, 2014 at 7:46 PM

Honestly I find Dick Cheney off-putting….but I sometimes I think him being some sort of “super-hawk” is little overstated. If anyone is a superhawk……I think that would McCain.

And you should, like, totally take my word for it, because . . . uh, next question.

Splashman on July 18, 2014 at 7:54 PM

I bet that guy would make airplane-noises and kkkkk explosions if his job were to toss bags into garbage trucks.

. . . I bet he strafes his macaroni and cheese.

Axe on July 18, 2014 at 7:54 PM

What a useless politician. Is this relic the only DC spokesman? The man is forever in front of a mic.

RdLake on July 18, 2014 at 7:55 PM

The man is forever in front of a mic.

RdLake on July 18, 2014 at 7:55 PM

He does like the spotlight.

terryannonline on July 18, 2014 at 7:57 PM

I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised. It’s clear from McCain’s behavior throughout the Bush administration that he never got over his loss in 2000.

There Goes the Neighborhood on July 18, 2014 at 7:50 PM

“Maverick” was just as mavericky (i.e., narcissistic self-promoter) and RINO-licious back in the 90′s. He voted to confirm Ginsburg & Breyer, and he was preaching against “soft money” (free speech) long before McCain-Feingold actually passed.

What you have seen since 2000 is simply the continuation of a decades-old trajectory towards complete senility.

Splashman on July 18, 2014 at 8:06 PM

Never mind my voting record my friends.

cat-scratch on July 18, 2014 at 8:06 PM

McCain . . . if you would have called out Obama on his babbling nonsense and had not been afraid to challenge his polices simply because he was Black, you may have been president.

rplat on July 18, 2014 at 8:07 PM

I’m not sure why this is a controversial statement. We went to war in Iraq because there was a strong faction within the Bush administration who wanted to go to war with Iraq, even before 9/11.

They used the attacks as an opportunity to invade Iraq.

McCain says he would have looked at the evidence with greater scrutiny. But I really believe that the evidence wouldn’t have been there to be scrutinized. The war didn’t happen because of the evidence. The evidence happened because the administration wanted the war. The decision was already made. The intelligence community just had to build a case for war that the American people would support.

And they did.

Tom_Shipley on July 18, 2014 at 8:15 PM

This is like the coach of the Jets telling the Patriots if you want the AFC to win the Super Bowl you should sit Tom Brady.

The Notorious G.O.P on July 18, 2014 at 8:16 PM

I am so deeply ashamed that I voted for him in 2008. I’m not saying I would have voted for Obama, but I really wish I’d have stayed home.

Rusty Nail on July 18, 2014 at 8:16 PM

Absolutely full of it.

In late 2002, 90% of Americans favored taking out Saddam militarily. That’s the ONLY reason people like Hillary and Kerry voted for it, they were afraid to vote “no.” And McCain wasn’t on the Sunday talk shows saying, “Wait, let’s think about this” either.

Of course, he could just be getting senile.

~~

Remember also, the problem with invading Iraq wasn’t in going in or taking out the Saddam regime. It was mismanaging the occupation. We needed an earlier “surge” to keep the remnants of Saddam’s regime and the Sunni extremists in check.

Except for that period, which took too long to recognize and resolve, Iraq was a success – at least until Obama got his hands on it.

Adjoran on July 18, 2014 at 8:24 PM

I’m not saying I would have voted for Obama, but I really wish I’d have stayed home.

Rusty Nail on July 18, 2014 at 8:16 PM

But for Palin, we all would have stayed home.

Judge_Dredd on July 18, 2014 at 8:35 PM

Bull. Schitt. I guess he’s running for Senate. Again. I swear he is almost as repulsive as Øbama, who I cannot even bear to hear speak, whose voice is so repugnant that I have to mute the volume whenever he opens his mouth.
.
But let us reason together, My Friends. YUUUUUCH!!!!

ExpressoBold on July 18, 2014 at 8:35 PM

I’m not sure why {anything, anything at all}

Tom_Shipley on July 18, 2014 at 8:15 PM

.
Fixed for your ignorance.

ExpressoBold on July 18, 2014 at 8:38 PM

Yeah McCain…….

And if a fish had legs he’d be a beaver….

itsspideyman on July 18, 2014 at 8:44 PM

Bull. Schitt. I guess he’s running for Senate. Again. I swear he is almost as repulsive as Øbama, who I cannot even bear to hear speak, whose voice is so repugnant that I have to mute the volume whenever he opens his mouth.
.
But let us reason together, My Friends. YUUUUUCH!!!!

ExpressoBold on July 18, 2014 at 8:35 PM

He’s using the Mary Landrieu strategy. Betray your base for five years and then when the election comes around be their best friend..

itsspideyman on July 18, 2014 at 8:47 PM

Honestly I find McCain off-putting….but I sometimes I think him being some sort of “super-hawk” is little overstated. If anyone is a superhawk……I think that would Dick Cheney.

terryannonline on July 18, 2014 at 7:46 PM

I’ve always considered him to be lousy on foreign policy. He often takes extreme measures, too strong and too weak and is not a good example of a rational interventionist.

thebrokenrattle on July 18, 2014 at 8:55 PM

This from the man that has championed every dubious conflict in the Middle East from Libya to Syria and now Ukraine. There is a rubber room with his name on it.

Dan_NV on July 18, 2014 at 8:57 PM

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