On Friday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) raised eyebrows when he implied that the U.S. invaded Iraq for oil by saying at a townhall meeting that his plan for energy independence would “prevent us from having ever to send our young men and women into conflict again in the Middle East.” Later in the day, McCain stumbled while trying to clarify his comment by claiming he was talking about the first Gulf War.
Ironically, one of McCain’s biggest supporters, fellow Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl (R) implicitly criticizes McCain today in a column attacking lawmakers who want Iraq to pay for more of its reconstruction with oil revenues, writing that “we must never make it appear as if we went into Iraq for its oil“:
It’s one thing to ensure that the Iraqis continue to shoulder more of the burden; it’s quite another to punish our troops if Iraq falters in its efforts. And we must never make it appear as if we went into Iraq for its oil.
At a press conference in Arizona today, McCain tried to recalibrate his oil remarks again, this time saying he will make sure that “dependence” on oil “will never be the source or any reason for us to be in a conflict in the Middle East.” Watch it:
As ThinkProgress noted on Friday, McCain’s comments echo the words of former Fed Chief Alan Greenspan, who wrote in his memoir that he is “saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.”