Veterans Respond to McCain's "Obama Wants to Lose" Remark

While Barack Obama spends the week in Afghanistan and Iraq, speaking to throngs of cheering troops and diplomats, John McCain is accusing the likely Democratic nominee of wanting to "lose" the war in Iraq. Here's what he said today:

MCCAIN: It seems to me that Senator Obama would rather lose a war in order to win a political campaign.

It looks to me like desperation brought on by Maliki's endorsement of Obama's plan is starting to settle in -- especially considering that not many Americans and even fewer Iraqis look at Iraq in terms of winning and losing anymore.

But the question, then, becomes this: If McCain thinks Obama wants to lose in Iraq, and thousands of troops support Obama's policies, does this mean that McCain thinks those troops want to lose in Iraq?

Let's take a look at some math we all learned in first-year algebra for a possible answer:

The Transitive Property: If a = b and b = c, then a = c.

Of course, I know this might be an "unsound application" of the mathematical property, but still. What's McCain really saying here? Personally, I fought with everything I had in Iraq and Afghanistan -- to win. And based on my experiences, I believe Barack Obama has proposed the most prudent policies on Iraq so far -- as evidenced by the support he's getting from the American people and the Iraqi government. So for John McCain to disparage Senator Obama by saying he wants to lose is to imply that I wanted to lose as well. And, frankly, that's insulting. I would expect more from a fellow combat veteran like John McCain.

Anyway, as an "unsound application" of algebra or not, I'm not the only Iraq and Afghanistan veteran who's feeling insulted by John McCain's remarks today. Here's how some of our members at VoteVets.org feel:

As a veteran of a fifteen-month combat tour in Iraq at the height of the surge, it is incredibly offensive to see John McCain make off color remarks about Senator Obama's view on Iraq, claiming he "wants to lose" there. By bolstering his political rhetoric, he forgets that many veterans of the war in Iraq would like to see a reallocation of forces to Afghanistan to combat genuine threats to our national security. Would John McCain be so cavalier to say that I want to lose in Iraq, a place where many of my friends left their lives and limbs?

Alex Horton
Austin, TX
Iraq veteran
Army
2006-07

Senator McCain's comments represent the radical anti-troop, anti-veteran rhetoric his campaign has become known for. I went to combat, and I saw first-hand the damage the failed policies of George W. Bush and John McCain have caused to our American troops. I wonder if this eye-witness knowledge means that I want to lose as well.

Richard Smith
Huntsville, AL
Afghanistan veteran
Army
2007-08

The message of "losing" being offered by Senator McCain is a lie. There is no compelling United States interest in Iraq that is worth the treasure and time that our nation has been asked to pay. The police action in Iraq has done nothing other than to show the world that America is weak and afraid--of admitting mistakes. In this case, over 4,000 men and women have died because of the cowardice and lack of integrity of our political leadership.

Senator McCain has to stop following this folly. He has to show strength and admit that the strength of America is in its willingness to champion reason over fear. There is no possible cost-benefit analysis that can justify the abandonment of the War on Terror in Afghanistan and Pakistan in order to police a sovereign state that no longer desires our presence.

George Zubaty
Louisville, KY
Iraq and Afghanistan veteran
Army
2001-02 and 2003-04

To suggest that Senator Obama wants to "lose" in Iraq is outlandish, thought I can't help but notice that Senator McCain has no problem with the fact that we continue to lose ground every day in Afghanistan--the real War on Terror.

Brian McGough
Ashburn, VA
Iraq and Afghanistan veteran
Army
2001-02 and 2003

To say that Barack Obama wants to "lose" in Iraq is completely beyond acceptable standards of political discourse. For Senator McCain to impugn the loyalty and patriotism of a sitting United States Senator while he is overseas to gain some short-term political leverage is beneath the dignity of the office which he holds. This is an act of political desperation and moral cowardice. John McCain should be ashamed of himself and immediately apologize.

Terence O'Rourke
Portsmouth, NH
Iraq veteran
Army
2006-07

I am very disappointed to hear another combat veteran like Senator McCain say that Senator Obama wants to "lose" the war. When I served in Afghanistan and Iraq, our objective was to win the War on Terror and we always gave it 100 percent. His statement today is very insulting to me and all the others who continue fighting the war today.

Peter O'Brien
Boston, MA
Iraq and Afghanistan veteran
Army
2001-02 and 2003-04

I served proudly for 15 months in George Bush and John McCain's war of aggression. By saying that my preferred candidate for president, Barack Obama, is somehow treasonous by supporting the Iraqi people's desire for us to leave, Senator McCain is saying that I am as well. I guess the only other way to be a good American in McCain's eyes would be to stay in Iraq for 100 years so we can "win."

Rick Hegdahl
Bellevue, WA
OEF and OIF veteran
Navy
2002-03 and 2005-06

I don't know what Senator McCain is talking about. How is staying in Iraq for 100 years winning, while responsibly removing our military from a sovereign country--at their request--losing? Wasn't leaving the whole point?

Ernesto Estrada
San Francisco, CA
Iraq veteran
Marine Corps
2003

Leaving aside for a moment the fact that Senator McCain has yet to clearly define what victory in Iraq looks like for the United States, it is extremely discouraging to hear such divisive rhetoric coming out of what Senator McCain promised would be a campaign "on the issues." During my time as a soldier and now as a civilian, I have never doubted that anyone on either side of the political spectrum has wanted anything less than the complete success for our troops. It is so unfortunate to see Senator McCain adapt the old tactic of baselessly calling a political opponent's patriotism into question as a campaign tool.

Neil Riley
Ashburn, VA
Iraq and Afghanistan veteran
Army
2002-03 and 2004-05

Lose in Iraq? It seems to me that the more the U.S. and Iraq discuss withdrawal, the more the violence subsides. And that's not losing. To be honest, there's only one place we're truly at risk of "losing," and that's Afghanistan--a place to which John McCain refuses to devote proper attention.

Peter Granato
Washington, DC
Iraq veteran
Army
2003-04

To say that Senator Obama wants to lose in Iraq is, in fact, saying that the majority of this country wants to lose. To suggest that every person who has been critical of the Bush-McCain policy favors losing the war is beyond reprehensible and absurd.

David Brignac
Baton Rouge, LA
Afghanistan veteran
Army
2006-07

This type of insulting nonsense will not go unnoticed or unchallenged by the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who've fought in both John McCain's war in Iraq, and in the other war in Afghanistan. Either way, something tells me that John McCain would never say the same thing to any of our faces.

Also available at VetVoice.