McCain: Sending More Troops Would ‘Absolutely…Be Terrible’ For Military, Risks ‘Broken Army’

Today on ABC’s This Week, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) acknowledged that his plan to escalate the Iraq war by sending at least 20,000 more troops would “put a terrible strain on the Army and Marine Corps.” “Absolutely, it would be terrible,” he said, “we’re going to be asking people to go back again and again, maybe even extend their tours.” McCain said he “saw a broken Army in 1973” and didn’t want to see another. Watch it:


As ThinkProgress has noted, McCain’s call for escalation would exacerbate the deteriorating situation in Iraq and would only further damage U.S. national security. Here’s at least two reasons why:

1) No troops to send. “Sending more troops to Iraq would, at the moment, threaten to break our nation’s all-volunteer Army and undermine our national security.” McCain suggests enlarging the force to send them to Iraq, an idea that is implausible to carry out over the short-term and would damage the military’s ability to recruit over the long-term.


2) The insurgency would grow more inflamed. “A more visible presence of U.S. troops risks further stoking the flames of the insurgency by feeding perceptions of long-term U.S. occupation among many Iraqis.” The recent effort to increase troop numbers in Baghdad has only increased violence. A recent poll of Iraqis indicated that support for attacks on US-led forces has grown to a majority position — now six in ten — — a number sure to increase if more U.S. troops are put on the ground.

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Full transcript:

MCCAIN: I notice that several retired generals, Gen. Zinni recently, Gen. Batiste, many others have said the same thing I said. Many other observers are in agreement with me. Would it put a terrible strain on the Army and Marine Corps? Absolutely, it would be terrible. We’re going to be asking people to go back again and again, maybe even extend their tours. But there’s only one thing worse, and that is defeat. I saw a broken Army in 1973, and I don’t want to see this Army and military — [Stephanopoulos interrupts.]