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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 9/29/08

McCain shirks responsibility for start of Iraq War

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Message Larry Toenjes

I am an Obama supporter.  But I was disappointed with his performance in last Friday’s debate, and agree with yesterday’s opinion by Maureen Dowd that “Obama blew his chance for a KO against McCain.”

A critical area where Obama has not landed his best punch is with respect to McCain’s original support of the Iraq War.  One of Obama’s best lines in the debate was when he said “John, you like to pretend the war started in 2007…The war started in 2003."

But this point could be made much stronger by forcibly pointing out that McCain did not just vote in favor of the war, he actively helped sell the war to the American public beginning in the fall of 2002.  McCain was promoting the war when he should have been asking hard questions of President Bush and the intelligence community as to its necessity and wisdom. 

At the behest of the Bush Administration the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq  (CLI) was set up in the fall of 2002 to “press the case in the United States and Europe for ejecting Hussein from power (Peter Slevin, Washington Post, November 4, 2002). Slevin pointed out that at that time public support for the Iraq War was on the decline.  The Administration was frantic to reverse this trend. 

John McCain and Joseph Lieberman were appointed the honorary co-chairs of the CLI, thus lending their weight to its promotional activities.  

Americans do not like being lied to, especially about matters affecting decisions to send young men and women into battle.  I think the Obama campaign is seriously ignoring opportunities to tie McCain directly to doing just that.


In the debate McCain said “The next president of the United States is not going to have to address the issue as to whether we went into Iraq or not. The next president of the United States is going to decide how we leave, when we leave, and what we leave behind.”

However, the American voters in November may have an interest in addressing the issue of why we went into Iraq, and in expressing disapproval of those who used misleading and false information to promote the Iraq War, of those who did not read the full intelligence reports at the time, of those who helped to hoodwink the American people into sending sons and daughters on a futile mission.

McCain is arguing for accountability with regard to the Wall Street bailout plan.  How about some accountability on his support of the decision to go into Iraq? 

The main point is that John McCain did not merely vote for the Iraq War. Rather, he actively worked to mislead the American people into believing that it was a necessary war and that the cost would not be that great. For more detail see

McClellan confirms war propaganda effort, of which John McCain was a cheerleader


McCain, Lieberman and Iraq: ‘Till Death Do Us Part


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Laurence A.Toenjes is retired from the University of Houston ?s Department of Sociology where he was a researcher with The Sociology of Education Research Group. Toenjes received his doctorate in economics from Southern Illinois University.
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