Once a stalwart supporter of the Iraq War, Senator John McCain finally conceded it was a mistake – and he holds himself among those who are to blame.
The confession comes in McCain’s memoir, The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights and Other Appreciations, where he says the war “can’t be judged as anything other than a mistake, a very serious one, and I have to accept my share of the blame for it”, as reported by Politico.
McCain’s concession comes as a shock to many, considering his history in supporting both the invasion and ongoing operations.
McCain became, in fact, the first supporter of a “surge,” years before Bush and other Republicans did. “I came out of the Vietnam War convinced that frankly we could have won, and we had it won,” he told me in 2014. “Just as I believed we had the Iraq conflict won after the surge—and for which I sacrificed everything, including my presidential ambitions, that it would succeed.”
Vox notes that McCain remained committed even after American support for the war had weathered and waned:
“Securing ever-increasing parts of Iraq and preventing the emergence of new terrorist safe havens will require more troops and money,” McCain said then at an event with the American Enterprise Institute. “It will take time, probably years, and mean more American casualties. Those are terrible prices to pay. But with the stakes so high, I believe we must choose the strategy with the best chance of success.”
Time and American casualties were not the only costs of the Iraq War: Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives were lost in the carnage as well.