In a recent interview with The Politico, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said that if his escalation strategy for Iraq fails, then he would consider redeployment:
“If this strategy doesn’t succeed, we will have to devise another strategy,” McCain said. “But I have to hasten to add there are no good options.” One of those options, McCain said “is to withdraw to the borders (of Iraq) to try to keep other countries from interfering. Maintaining our bases in Kuwait and other places. There are a lot of scenarios.”
It didn’t take long for McCain to backtrack from redeployment. Last night, in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, McCain said under no scenario would he consider withdrawing troops, even if escalation fails. He said he would only consider it when “we have the situation under control.” Watch it:
In the interview, McCain also said Vice President Cheney was wrong to state that there have been enormous successes in Iraq. McCain claimed he has “bitterly disagreed” with the “failed strategy” for more than three years. In fact, here’s what he said approximately a year ago:
I think the situation on the ground is going to improve. I do think that progress is being made in a lot of Iraq. Overall, I think a year from now, we will have made a fair amount of progress if we stay the course. If I thought we weren’t making progress, I’d be despondent.
COOPER: Is there any scenario in which withdrawing troops would be acceptable to you, or redeploying them?
MCCAIN: Not until we have the situation under control, to the degree that the Iraqi government can exert its influence through most of the country, that you start with the — that you move forward with a political and economic process.
COOPER: So, success is crucial before the U.S. can pull out in any meaningful way?
MCCAIN: That’s my view. And that view, by the way, is held by the majority of experts that I know about the region.
COOPER: Vice President Cheney told Wolf Blitzer last week that there had been enormous successes in Iraq. Is that your belief?
MCCAIN: No. No, it’s not. I think we’ve had a failed strategy which I bitterly disagreed with for more than three years.