McCain says US succeeding in Iraq

( AP )- Fresh off his eighth Iraq visit, Sen. John McCain declared Monday that "we are succeeding" and said he wouldn't change course - even as the U.S. death toll rose to 4,000 and the war entered its sixth year.

To underscore his view of the stakes in Iraq, the certain Republican presidential nominee twice referenced a recent audio tape from Osama bin Laden in which the al- Qaida leader urged followers to join the al- Qaida fight in Iraq and called the country "the greatest opportunity and the biggest task."

"For the first time, I have seen Osama bin Laden and General (David) Petraeus in agreement, and, that is, a central battleground in the battle against al- Qaida is in Iraq today. And that's what bin Laden was saying and that's what General Petraeus is saying and that's what I'm saying, my friends," McCain said.

"And my Democrat opponents who want to pull out of Iraq refuse to understand what's being said and what's happening - and that is the central battleground is Iraq in this struggle against radical Islamic extremism," he added. McCain also said Democratic rivals Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton were naive and "dead wrong" to want to withdraw troops.

"We're succeeding. I don't care what anybody says. I've seen the facts on the ground," the Arizona senator insisted a day after a roadside bomb in Baghdad killed four U.S. soldiers and rockets pounded the U.S.-protected Green Zone there, and a wave of attacks left at least 61 Iraqis dead nationwide. The events transpired as bin Laden called on the people of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Saudi Arabia to "help in support of their mujahedeen brothers in Iraq, which is the greatest opportunity and the biggest task."

Despite all that, McCain told reporters: "I don't think I would change the strategy now unless General Petraeus recommended it. I think he's trusted by the American people, the president and by me. And General Petraeus again showed me facts on the ground where the surge is succeeding."

Democrats took issue with his remarks and cast his candidacy as a repeat of President Bush's tenure.

"As Americans mark another somber milestone in the war in Iraq, John McCain continues his pattern of parroting the Bush administration's misleading rhetoric on the war," Democratic Party spokeswoman Karen Finney said in a statement.

In the midst of a western fundraising swing after a week abroad, including visits to Iraq, the Middle East and Europe, the Arizona senator didn't mention the grim casualty milestone or the last weeks fifth anniversary of the conflict as he spoke to veterans and others at a stuffy Veterans of Foreign Wars building during a town-hall style campaign event outside of San Diego.

"I've commented on hundreds of occasions of the sacrifice the great and brave young Americans have made in Iraq and elsewhere in the world in the struggle against radical Islamic extremism," McCain told reporters afterward. He said a bracelet he always wears with the name of Matthew Stanley, who was killed in Iraq, is a symbol not just of his sacrifice but also of Stanley's 4,000 fallen comrades.

"My thoughts and my prayers go out to those families every day," McCain added.

Also left unsaid during the event was the fact that 2007 was the war's deadliest year with 901 American troop deaths. That was when Bush took McCain's advice and sent thousands more U.S. troops to Iraq to quell violence in Baghdad. McCain long had called for such a strategy shift, and he effectively linked his presidential candidacy to the war last year even as public support for it plummeted.

"I'm not painting to you the most rosy scenario but I am telling you, compared to a year ago, before we started this surge, and with this great general, one of the great generals in American history, General David Petraeus , that we are succeeding in Iraq," McCain told his audience.

Asked later if he was offering the war-weary public any different path forward in Iraq than Bush, McCain reached back to the past.

"I'm offering them the record of having objected strenuously to a failed strategy for nearly four years. That I argued against and fought against and said that the secretary of defense of my own party, and my own president, I had no confidence in. That's how far I went in advocating the new strategy that is succeeding," McCain told reporters.

Tajikistan delegation to visit Uzbekistan on May 14
Tajikistan delegation to visit Uzbekistan on May 14
Russian, Tajik presidents to discuss bilateral ties, Tajik-Kyrgyz border clashes
Russian, Tajik presidents to discuss bilateral ties, Tajik-Kyrgyz border clashes
Tajikistan official confirms the death of 19  citizens in the recent border clashes
Tajikistan official confirms the death of 19 citizens in the recent border clashes
Loading Bars
Latest
Latvia eases entry rules for vaccinated travelers
Three rockets launched toward Israel from Lebanon, no damage -Israeli military
Africa's COVID-19 cases surpass 4.66 mln
Over 500 residential buildings razed by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza Strip
Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry issues statement on tension on Armenian-Azerbaijani border
China's Qinghai donates anti-pandemic supplies to Kyrgyzstan
Azerbaijani FM talks tension on Azerbaijani-Armenian border with OSCE Chairman-in-Office
Georgian's commercial banks see increase in number of total loans
Azerbaijani, Russian FMs exchange views on tensions on Azerbaijani-Armenian border
Overseas election headquarters established at Iran’s foreign ministry
Sputnik V approved for use in Republic of Maldives
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens for May 13
Azerbaijan confirms 509 more COVID-19 cases, 1,427 recoveries
COVID-19 cases decrease in 80 Turkish provinces in a week
Tajikistan delegation to visit Uzbekistan on May 14
Gaza death toll jumps to 84 as Israeli air raids intensify
Musk decries bitcoin's 'insane' energy use after Tesla payment U-turn
Azerbaijani president got touched by National leader Heydar Aliyev's words about Shusha (VIDEO)
Azerbaijani president once again says at Jidir Plain in Shusha - Karabakh is Azerbaijan! (VIDEO)
EU countries urged to halt non-essential travel from India
U.S. weekly jobless claims fall
Gaza flare-up further weakens shekel
Georgia increases aviation fuel imports
Iran ready to have closer ties with Saudi Arabia, FM says
Azerbaijan’s import of goods from Italy down
Iran talks insurance data in its mining sector
Turkish ministry discloses volume of cargo handled through Mersin port
Georgia adopts new rule on forest use
Kazakh Senate adopts document on economic relations with Kyrgyzstan, within EAEU
Volume of chemical products exported by Turkey to Azerbaijan disclosed
KazTransOil completes connecting newly constructed sections to Uzen-Atyrau-Samara pipeline
Trade ministry discloses volume of cereals imported by Kazakhstan from Turkey
Russian Bright Way Group to set up pharmaceutical plant in North Kazakhstan
Georgia sees decrease in amount of local small companies
Turkmenistan's Turkmennebit opens tender to purchase of chemical products
Kazakhstan's exports to Latvia decrease
Kazakhstan boosts agriculture goods output
A year ago, different music was played in Shusha, other actions were taking place here - President Aliyev
President Ilham Aliyev meets with journalists in Shusha
Georgia establishes its first avocado farm
Tender for park construction opens in Turkmenistan's Dashoguz region
Trade ministry discloses volume of cereals imported by Georgia from Turkey
Turkey’s export of steel to US soars
UNIDO talks current global projects in Kazakhstan
First VP Mehriban Aliyeva shares footage from gala concert of “Kharibulbul” music festival on her Instagram page (VIDEO)
Power transmission line of Turkmenistan's Mary State Power Plant ready for commissioning
Кazakh Electricity Grid Operating Company opens tender to buy construction materials
Turkmenistan intends to increase pace of oil production
SOCAR to operate exports of Rosneft’s oil products to Ukraine - sources
Trade ministry discloses volume of electrical goods exported by Turkey to Germany
Volume of electrical goods exported by Turkey to Russia disclosed
India Fastest In World To Administer 17 Crore Vaccine Doses In 114 Days: Centre
Azerbaijan’s import of goods from Germany down
Forex reserves surge by $32.29 bn in six months: RBI
How IAF, Navy have pressed transport planes, ships to bring Covid relief to India
India received $83 billion in remittances in 2020: World Bank report
American India Foundation raises $25 million for Covid-19 assistance to India
Vietnam Buddhist Sangha presents medical equipment to India
Lemonade tanks as Texas freeze hits Q1 results
Russia reports over 8,300 COVID-19 cases in the past day
Kazakh, Azerbaijani presidents hold phone talks
AZAL to Trial IATA Travel Pass in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijani president, first lady watch performance of Kharibulbul festival participants (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Georgia sees decrease in revenues from foreign tourism
Azerbaijani president visits Yukhari Govharagha mosque in Shusha (PHOTO)
External merchandise trade of Georgia up
UNIDO, Gov't of Uzbekistan consulting to explore potential project ideas
Italy fines Google $123 mln for abuse of dominant position
Georgia reports 776 new cases of coronavirus for May 13
Armenians destroyed many mosques during occupation of Azerbaijani lands
Turkey’s export of steel to Uzbekistan up
Georgia takes steps to increase availability of agricultural land for farmers
Turkey’s export of ready-made clothes to Iran up
Iran ready to return to its JCPOA obligations, MFA official hints
Azerbaijani ferry delivers modern equipment to Turkmenistan
Turkey’s export of cement to Kazakhstan up
Azerbaijan discloses composition of national gymnastics team for competitions in Bulgaria
Caucasian Muslims Office chairman talks about new mosque in Azerbaijan’s Shusha
Kazakhstan needs to ensure environmental sustainability of extractive industries - UNIDO
Rolls-Royce sticks to guidance for 2021
Kazakhstan unveils value of payments of compulsory vehicle insurance
Azerbaijani people won Second Karabakh War thanks to unity - Caucasian Muslims Office
Turkmenistan takes part in adoption of documents within "Central Asia-China" meeting
Very happy to participate in Khary Bulbul festival in Shusha – Azerbaijani people's artist
Azerbaijan’s import of pharmaceutical products increases
Kazakhstan, France agree on roadmap for economic co-op until 2030
Latest prices for Azerbaijani oil disclosed
RCEP An Unbalanced Trade Agreement: Piyush Goyal
Indian Union Cabinet approves MoU between ICAI, Qatar finance body to develop accounting and entrepreneurship
IEA expects Azerbaijan to raise oil output in Q2
India's Merchandise Exports Can Hit $400 This Year Says Piyush Goyal
Azerbaijan’s average compliance with OPEC+ deal up - IEA
Festive prayer performed at Teze Pir mosque in Azerbaijan’s Baku (PHOTO)
Kazakhstan’s freight transportation operator opens tender for equipment maintenance
Global biofuel production to recover to 2019 level in 2021
More than 4,000 Indians die of COVID-19 for second straight day
Central Bank of Azerbaijan allocates funds to support its website
Snam sees increase in net financial debt
LNG market remains one of highest emitters of carbon globally
Azerbaijani ombudsman appeals to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
All news