Afghanistan: McCain’s Biggest Flip Flop

A transcript from Meet The Press on October 21st, 2001 was brought to light today by Daily Kos blogger slinkerwink. In it John McCain makes the argument that we first needed to achieve victory in Afghanistan prior to any war with Iraq. He points out that he believes taking out bin Laden, the Taliban, and restoring the Afghan government should take precedence over war with Iraq. This is the same policy advocated by Barack Obama who John McCain accuses of being naive and out of touch on foreign policy.

RUSSERT: Would you have any problem expanding President Bush’s orders to the CIA to go after Osama bin Laden to include Saddam Hussein?

LIEBERMAN: Well, I leave that to the president. But as a matter of principle and morality, of course not.

RUSSERT: Senator McCain?

MCCAIN: I think Joe’s right.

And I would just like to add one additional point. I believe that we will succeed. We will endure in Afghanistan. We will take out bin Laden, and we will take out the Taliban. And then we’ve got a major challenge of a stable government, but…

RUSSERT: How long will that take?

MCCAIN: I think the longer we give the impression that we’re there for, the shorter it’ll be. Because, as you quoted from articles earlier, they think they can outlast us. I don’t think they can this time.

RUSSERT: Do you believe the American people will continue to stay with that campaign?

MCCAIN: Absolutely, and I think the president is doing a great job in leading America and making us aware of the challenge we face.

But I think the real crunch is going to come after Afghanistan is settled and then we have to address the other countries, including Iraq.
That’s where the coalition may not be so strong. That’s where people like the Saudis and the French and many others may have real reservations.

And so, we’re going to have to be steadfast. And again, the president will continue and, I think, very eloquently stated, countries that harbor these terrorist organizations will be held responsible, so it’ll be their choice, not ours. It’ll be their choice.

RUSSERT: But after Afghanistan, you’d have no problem going after Saddam Hussein?

RUSSERT: Senator Lieberman, should we include Iraq as a military target in this war against terrorism?

LIEBERMAN: Well, of course, I feel that so long as Saddam Hussein is in power in Iraq, the United States is in danger. And I think if you look at the words of the president’s statement to Congress, again, the war against terrorism, it says, we’re not going to be safe until we rid the world of people who have the capacity and the intention to strike at civilians to achieve political ends.

There is some evidence to suggest that Saddam Hussein may have had contact with bin Laden and the Al Qaeda network, perhaps even involved in the September 11 attack. That raises my suspicions.

But the more important point is, we know that Saddam would like to do us the worst kind of ill. We know that he has worked on chemical and biological weapons and, in fact, has used them against his own people and against the Iranians. In my opinion, therefore, Saddam is a terrorist.

And, therefore, we should–it should be a centerpiece of our policy after we finish the business in Afghanistan and bin Laden to end that regime. It begins for me by supporting the Iraqi opposition, the people within Iraq that want to get rid of him. But then, ultimately there has to be an American and, I hope, allied military component to that. Because as long as Saddam is there, our lives are threatened.

RUSSERT: Would you have any problem expanding President Bush’s orders to the CIA to go after Osama bin Laden to include Saddam Hussein?

LIEBERMAN: Well, I leave that to the president. But as a matter of principle and morality, of course not.

RUSSERT: Senator McCain?

MCCAIN: I think Joe’s right.

Read More at strategy08.wordpress.com

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: