On February 4, 2007, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) predicted that “in the case of the Iraqi government cooperating and doing what’s necessary, we can know fairly well in a few months.” Four months later, however, there “has been little or no progress in achieving” key political benchmarks in Iraq, including a lack of “new laws governing the sharing of Iraq’s oil resources.”
Appearing on ABC’s This Week yesterday, McCain reversed course from his previous prediction, instead offering that never in his “wildest dreams” would he expect Gen. David Petraeus “to come back and say ‘everything’s fine now,’ just a few months after we’ve adopted a new strategy.” McCain added, “I regret that now September seems to be a magic moment.” Watch it:
McCain said, “General Petraeus is not happy with saying [in] September we have to know exactly whether we are going to stay or go.” But he neglected to mention that the September deadline was originally set by Petraeus, along with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker. Now, both he and Petraeus appear to be angling for more time.
McCain is hardly a credible messenger to be asking for more patience. In 2003, McCain said that “conflict” in Iraq would be “relatively short.” In 2005, he claimed that “a year from now, we will have a fair amount of progress [in Iraq] if we stay the course.” In 2006, after being forced to apologize for his previous claims, McCain went on to predict “we’re either going to lose this thing or win this thing within the next several months.” Three months ago, he said it was “our last shot” at success.
McCain should focus his “regret” on the fact that he been wrong at every turn in the Iraq disaster.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: So your timeline, though, for this surge strategy is much shorter.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN: Unfortunately. Unfortunately it’s much shorter, because I read the polls. I know what American public opinion is. And I regret that now September seems to be a magic moment.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Isn’t it?
MCCAIN: Ah, perhaps politically. Not as far as I’m concerned, militarily. Nor Petraeus either. General Petraeus is not happy with saying [in] September we have to know exactly whether we are going to stay or go.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you expect him to come back and say we need more time.
MCCAIN: I don’t know what he’s gonna say. I’m hoping that he would come back and say that we’ve achieved a certain measure of success to give us some hope and optimism. I’m hoping that can happen. But not in my wildest dreams do I expect him to come back and say “everything’s fine now.” Just a few months after we’ve adopted a new strategy. That would be crazy.