Today, John McCain said that it was not too important when American troops came home fron Iraq.
“No, but that’s not too important. What’s important is the casualties in Iraq.”
On a conference call set up by the Obama campaign, John Kerry responded:
For military families, Kerry said: “To them it’s the most important thing in the world when they come home.”
More on the response, after the fold.
Also on Daily Kos: http://www.dailykos.com/story/…
This is not the first time McCain’s made these kind of remarks. In January 2008, he said the same thing:
McCain: ” It’s not American presence that bothers the American people, it’s American casualties, and if Americans are safe wherever they are in the world, American people don’t mind that. So, what I believe we can achieve is a reduction in casualties to the point where the Iraqis are doing the fighting and dying, we’re supporting them, and over time then there will be the relation between the two countries.”
Kerry hit McCain hard on his remarks today that it was not “important”:
Speaking of military families, Kerry said: “To them it’s the most important thing in the world when they come home.”
Kerry also cast the comments as proof that McCain is befuddled about the situation our military finds itself in. “Our generals have made it crystal clear that we cannot sustain our forces in Iraq at this level,” he said.
“Senator McCain, it is important when they come home,” Kerry concluded. “It is important when we can revitalize our military.”
It matters, Senator McCain. It matters to many Americans.
Update I: More from John Kerry
“It is unbelievably out of touch and inconsistent with the needs of Americans and particularly the families of troops who are over there. To them it’s the most important thing in the world when they come home,” he said. “It’s a policy for staying in Iraq.”
“He confuses who Iran is training, he confuses what the makeup of Al Qaedais, he confuses the history going back to 682 of what has happened to Sunni and Shia,” Kerry said.
Keep hitting McCain on Bush’s failed and immoral war.
Update II: John Kerry got right on the occupation back in 2005. He was okay in 2004, and far better than Bush, but he’s been damn good since then:
The country and the Congress were misled into war. I regret that we were not given the truth; as I said more than a year ago, knowing what we know now, I would not have gone to war in Iraq. And knowing now the full measure of the Bush Administration’s duplicity and incompetence, I doubt there are many members of Congress who would give them the authority they abused so badly. I know I would not. The truth is, if the Bush Administration had come to the United States Senate and acknowledged there was no “slam dunk case” that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, acknowledged that Iraq was not connected to 9/11, there never would have even been a vote to authorize the use of force – just as there’s no vote today to invade North Korea, Iran, Cuba, or a host of regimes we rightfully despise.
I understand that as much as we might wish it, we can’t rewind the tape of history. There is, as Robert Kennedy once said, ‘enough blame to go around,’ and I accept my share of the responsibility. But the mistakes of the past, no matter who made them, are no justification for marching ahead into a future of miscalculations and misjudgments and the loss of American lives with no end in sight. We each have a responsibility, to our country and our conscience, to be honest about where we should go from here. It is time for those of us who believe in a better course to say so plainly and unequivocally.
In June 2006:
Kerry and Feingold Amendment (June 2006) proposed the withdrawal of American Armed Forces from Iraq by July 2007 with the exception of a few to maintain security in there.
The first measure was an amendment to a military-spending bill offered by Senators John Kerry of Massachusetts and Russell D. Feingold of Wisconsin, both Democrats. It would have set a July 2007 withdrawal date. But with a majority of Democrats voting “no,” its lopsided defeat was assured.
Only 12 Democrats and the lone independent, Senator James M. Jeffords of Vermont, voted in favor of the Kerry-Feingold proposal.
But Senator Feingold said it was time to tell the Iraqi people that “we have done what we can do militarily” and let them run their own country.
Senator John S. McCain, Republican of Arizona and a survivor of more than five years in a North Vietnamese prison camp, said early in the debate that to embrace the stand of Mr. Kerry – a fellow Vietnam War veteran whom Mr. McCain has called a friend – would be to take “a significant step on the road to disaster.”
Update III: (From discocarp in the comments [on Daily Kos] with his h/t to kitty)
Joe Biden also hits McCain. It’s pile on McCain time, and McCain deserves it:
“Senator McCain’s comment is evidence that he is totally out of touch with the needs of our troops and the national security needs of our nation. I think many of our brave soldiers and their families would disagree that it’s ‘not too important’ when they come home.
“Knowing when our troops can come home from Iraq is vitally important, because the costs of staying with 140,000 or more troops are getting steeper every day: the continued loss of the lives and limbs of our soldiers; the strain on our troops and their families due to repeated, extended tours; the drain on our Treasury – $3 billion every week; the impact on the readiness of our armed forces; and the inability to send enough soldiers to the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the people who actually attacked us on 9-11 have regrouped and are plotting new attacks. It is long past time to refocus our foreign policy on the many challenges we face, not just Iraq.
“Like President Bush, Senator McCain cannot tell the American people when, or even if, Iraqis will come together politically – which was purpose of the surge in the first place. He can’t tell us when, or even if, we will draw down below pre-surge levels. He can’t tell us when, or even if, Iraq will be able to stand on its own two feet. He can’t tell us when, or even if, this war will end.”