Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) has a simple response to those who accuse him of always advocating for war: Tell me when I’ve been wrong.
“It seems to me whenever our country is faced with a situation of going into war [or] not going into war, you seem to be one of the first and loudest voices for for taking a position of going into war,” the caller said.
The caller further said McCain’s own history as a decorated veteran should have made him less eager to use US military force abroad.
“And it seems ironic to me that a man that has been through so much, seen so closely the horrors, … that you would take that position,” added the caller.
McCain responded by saying he and another foreign policy hawk, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), had been “right every step of the way.”
“I will defend my record of what I advocated that the United States needed to do,” McCain said. “You tell me where I’ve been wrong sir and then I will admit that maybe I have felt that we need to use American power too often.”
McCain went on to list a series of international crises he said were the result of President Barack Obama’s unwillingness to project strength overseas.
“We are now facing a direct threat to the United States of America. It didn’t have to happen. It’s not like hurricanes or earthquakes. It was not an act of God. It was a failed, feckless foreign policy. We are watching Ukraine being dismembered by Vladimir Putin. We are seeing the aggressive China in the Far East. We are seeing the least United States influence than anytime in my lifetime and lots of bad people are taking advantage of it,” he said.
McCain is well-known in political circles for his advocacy of aggressive foreign policy to combat threats across the globe. Mother Jones once ran a story illustrating this with a map that was titled “All the Countries John McCain Has Wanted to Attack.”
However, McCain said his foreign policy views were at least partially vindicated by his staunch support for the 2007 surge of US forces in Iraq. He claimed this proved his views on the situation there were prescient.
“The surge succeeded sir. People can say it didn’t, they can argue about it. But I was there and on the ground and we had the situation stabilised. And I said we had to leave a force behind to stabilise Iraq — and we didn’t. And I predicted when we didn’t what was going to happen,” he said. “And I’m predicting to you right now, if we don’t leave a stabilizing force behind in Afghanistan, we will see the same movie again.”
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