John McCain: Town Hall Meeting 07/18/08





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Published on Jul 18, 2008

John McCain
Town Hall Meeting
Warren, MI 07/18/08

AUDIENCE MEMBER: "This is on Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan. We preemptively went into Iraq. And not one terrorist came from Iraq. And now there's Iran. And you made sort of the joke of 'bomb bomb bomb Iran' -- I hope that was a joke. And Osama's still running around somewhere. So, I wonder what your feelings are on preemptively going into countries where we don't really like the leader if they have oil or if they don't have oil And, what you plan to do if you're President on going into Iran, not going to Iran, pulling out of Iraq, not pulling out of Iraq, going into Afghanistan, or ay other countries that you think you want to win wars with, and we lost Vietnam, you said you knew how to win wars, we didn't win there. And I don't know if winning wars is necessarily something that a President wants to do or should do."

JOHN MCCAIN: "Well, thank you, you ask a very profound question and I appreciate it. And I will again not try to give a long response because, because we have other questions but since Americans are in harm's way and Americans have made enormous sacrifice, I think it's worthy and the Iranian threat and the situation in Afghanistan could lead to further greater sacrifices

"I'd like to just say to you very- we are in a dangerous world. There's the threat of radical Islamic extremism, which threatens everything we stand for and believe in. This is an evil sometimes its hard for us to comprehend and they're active in a lot of places in the world, there is some information they try to reestablish cells in the United States of America. Obviously, there's some small success in Europe. It's an evil that's hard to encompass.

"Not long ago, al Qaeda took two mentally disabled young women, put suicide vests on them, and sent them into a market place in Baghdad and by remote control detonated those suicide vests. It's hard for us to encompass how evil these people are. They like to cut off people's heads and put it out on the Internet. [...] They're dedicated to the extinction of everything we stand for and believe in.

"Now, I believe we were justified in going into Iraq based on the fact that every intelligence agency in the world, including the United States of America, believed that Saddam Hussein had nuclear weapons. He'd used them- excuse me- weapons of mass destruction, and he had used them twice before and there's no doubt about his willingness and desire to develop them and use them again. The sanctions were breaking down, American planes were being shot at, there's a multibillion dollar oil for food scandal in the UN, etc. etc.

"But that's a history and that is for historians to argue about and I'll be glad to have that discussion at some academic forum.

"But, we are there. And we went there and we were losing. And we were losing badly. And I went over there early on and saw the strategy and said 'this can't succeed, it's going to fail, we gotta change it.' I was criticized by the Republicans for being disloyal. I said, at the darkest time in my political aspirations for President I said we've got to send 'we've got to Send 30,000 more troops over there.' Everybody- the political pundits and others said the McCain campaign is dead. And, my friends, I would rather lose a political campaign than lose a war. And I said we had to do this new strategy and that is a strategy, it isn't just an injection of troops.

"And they have succeeded. They have succeeded. My friends, they have succeeded. And I'd be glad to give you all the data to back that up.

"Now have we had victory, final victory? No. The al-Qaeda and others are back on their heels but they still are intent on doing bad things. And they'd love to try to resurrect their efforts. And they've still got the Iranians who are exporting the most lethal explosive devices into Iraq that is killing young Americans. And we've still got the Iranians [...] moving forward with developing nuclear weapons. But in Iraq, we have a government that is pretty effective. We have a justice system that is stumbling, and hauntingly moving forward.

"And we have succeeded. I'm not saying we are succeeding- we have succeeded. And we will -- we will- win this war. We will win this war if we don't do what Senator Obama wanted to do -- that's set a date for withdrawal and predicate it on a date and not conditions on the ground."

LABEL: JM MI 07-18 (JR#63) AKG-ClipC

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