Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) today on the Senate floor:
Supporters of this provision say they want a date certain for a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. But what they have offered us is more accurately described as a date certain for surrender — a date certain for surrender — with grave consequences for the future of Iraq, the stability of the Middle East and the security of Americans at home and abroad.
In 1993, McCain’s straight talk sounded much different. Then, he argued that “the orderly way” to stop the U.S. campaign in Somalia was to set a timeline and cut off funds after March 31, 1994, unless the President secured authorization from Congress. From his floor speech:
MCCAIN: …this resolution establishes, in effect, a date certain for a vote on the commitment of United States forces to Somalia…I think we all realize that we have drifted from the use of force to secure humanitarian relief to an open-ended effort at peace enforcement and nation building. …the orderly way to stop it is for the President to present a plan for shaping U.S. withdrawal, set a date for that plan, and have the congress of the United States either endorse or reject such a proposal. [Senate floor speech, 9/9/93]
Several conservative senators still in office — including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sens. Bennett, Bond, Cochran, Domenici, Hatch, Hutchison, Lugar, Specter, Stevens and Warner — joined McCain and voted in favor of cutting funds and setting a timetable.
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