Today, Time Magazine published an interview with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) that it conducted aboard McCain’s campaign airplane. Reporters James Carney and Michael Scherer described McCain as “prickly” and “at times, abrasive” during the course of the interview.
Carney and Scherer noted to McCain that the Iraqi government is calling for a deadline for U.S. troops to withdraw from Iraq even though McCain’s previously stated definition of “victory” — “a peaceful, stable, prosperous democratic state” — has not been achieved. The Arizona senator dismissed their characterization of the situation, saying that Iraq is “a peaceful and stable country now”:
Q: Some members of the [Iraqi] government have made it clear in the last month or two that they might want to withdraw before complete stability, before totally secure borders, before some of the completeness of victory as you described. Is there any change, do you think there is some wiggle room there because what you described with Petraeus was an end point that was rather complete — a peaceful, stable country.
MCCAIN: Its a peaceful and stable country now.
Here are some examples (from just this month) of McCain’s so-called “peaceful and stable” Iraq:
— August 9: A suicide car bomb in Tal Afar killed at least 25 people.
— August 24: A suicide bomber killed 25 people, including women and children, in Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib district.
— August 27: A suicide bomber killed 28 and wounded 45 in Iraq’s Diyala province.
Moreover, while U.S. troop deaths in Iraq reached their lowest point since the beginning of the war last month, they are on the rise again. According to icasulaties.org, 20 U.S. military personnel have been killed so far this month in Iraq — up from 13 in July.
But this isn’t the first time McCain’s assessment of the security situation in Iraq has been off. Last May he said the northern city of Mosul was “quiet” despite the fact that a car bomb had killed three and wounded nine there the very same day.