John McCain: Early US Pull-Out From Iraq Will Cause 'Genocide'




 
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Boots
 
March 14th, 2008  
Team Infidel
 
 

Topic: John McCain: Early US Pull-Out From Iraq Will Cause 'Genocide'


London Daily Telegraph
March 14, 2008 By Alex Spillius, on board the Straight Talk Express in New Hampshire
On the eve of his first overseas visit since becoming the Republican nominee, John McCain has warned that an early withdrawal of US troops from Iraq would lead to "chaos and genocide across the region".
While adopting a more conciliatory tone to US allies than George W Bush, the man he hopes to succeed in the White House, the Arizona senator will take his uncompromising message on the war to London, Paris and the Middle East next week.
In a free-ranging interview on board his newly refurbished bus The Straight Talk Express in New Hampshire, Mr McCain said he would ask Britain and other allies for patience on Iraq.
"My aspiration is that if we show success in Iraq that our European allies will come in and help out in the myriad of ways necessary to rebuild that tragic, war torn country," he said, making it clear that he was determined to keep US troops in Iraq.
"One of the debates of this election will be if the American people want a candidate who wants to get out [of Iraq] as quickly as possible.
"If we do that then al-Qa'eda wins, we have chaos and genocide throughout the region and they will follow us home. That's been my position - forever," said Mr McCain, who will battle either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama for the Democrats in November's presidential election.
Despite the political risk of placing support for an unpopular war at the core of his campaign, the senator and Vietnam War veteran will not be diverted from his course or his support for a continued heavy troop presence.
"Unlike the years of frustrating we are succeeding and as the American people feel we are succeeding they will tolerate this conflict.
"I understand am public opinion, but I will stay with this strategy because I would much rather lose a campaign than a war. And I believe we would lose the war if we withdrew," he said.
A Pew Research Centre poll yesterday provided encouragement for the senator, finding that 53 percent of Americans now believe "the US will ultimately succeed in achieving its goals", up from 42 per cent six months ago. The senator was visiting snow-covered New Hampshire to say thanks for the January 8 primary victory that set him on the path to the nomination, and to kick off his bid proper for the White House.
At a town event in Exeter he said his priority as president would be the defence of the nation. His overseas visit, though taken under the auspices of the Senate armed services committee, will boost his commander-in-chief credentials while the Democrats continue their drawn-out battle for the party's nomination.
He will go to Jordan, Israel and Paris, where he will see Washington's new favourite foreign leader Nicolas Sarkozy.
It is likely to include a stop in Iraq, which he has visited half a dozen times since the 2003 invasion. "These trips focus your mind," he said, adding: "But obviously we want to look at how we are doing, what the leaders are doing and talk to the troops. There is nothing like being on the ground. I wish more members of Congress would do it."
For all his campaign trail rhetoric about "chasing Osama bin Laden to the gates of hell", he confessed that an earlier visit Pakistan's tribal areas brought home the challenges of tracking the al-Qa'eda leader.
"I went to Waziristan once and it gave me a much better understanding of how difficult it is to get Osama bin Laden. When you see the terrain and the people that have controlled it for 1,000, 2,000 years…I really learn from these trips."
His overseas hosts are likely to receive McCain statesman rather than McCain the stump-speech maker.
Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, is likely to receive thanks for continued British support in Afghanistan, mixed with some fears that the withdrawal of UK troops from combat in southern Iraq is endangering security, allowing armed factions to stake out territory.
"With all due respect I remain concerned about the situation in Basra. There are different factions that have taken over certain areas in Basra city and province. Everybody knows that, it's not a secret, and General Petraeus is concerned too," he said of the US commander in Iraq.
"I respect the decision the British government made and the British people made and I am grateful for the things they have done. I look forward to working together in other areas, particularly Afghanistan," he added.
The Prime Minister can expect a friendlier encounter than his meeting with Mr Bush in the summer, when the imminent British pull-back to Basra airport had prompted a chill in the Special Relationship.
Mr McCain will also visit Tory leader David Cameron, a big admirer. Despite his abiding commitment to the war, either Mr Cameron or Mr Brown would find a McCain administration more pro-European and more nuanced than George W Bush's on Iraq and the war on terror.
President McCain would also close the US detention centre at Guantanamo Bay and bring the US into line with European thinking and action on climate change, which he firmly believes in.
The 71-year-old former naval pilot, who was tortured during the five years he was held as a PoW by the North Vietnamese, is a staunch opponent of torture and would not tolerate the practice of "water-boarding" detainees - which creates the feeling of drowning - that has been countenanced by Mr Bush.
"We would never torture another person and we would comply with the Geneva Conventions," he said, displaying the plain-speaking that endears him to voters of many descriptions.
 


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