Thursday, March 01, 2007

John McCain Says Americans' Lives Have Been Wasted in Iraq War

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Democrats are now calling for McCain to apologize:

Republican presidential contender John McCain, a staunch backer of the Iraq war but critic of how President Bush has waged it, said U.S. lives had been "wasted" in the 4-year-old conflict. Democrats demand the Arizona senator apologize for the comment as Sen. Barack Obama did when the Democratic White House hopeful recently made the same observation.

"Americans are very frustrated, and they have every right to be," McCain said Wednesday on CBS'"Late Show With David Letterman.""We've wasted a lot of our most precious treasure, which is American lives."

McCain, who repeated his assertion that U.S. troops must remain in Iraq rather than withdrawing early, made the "wasted" remark after confirming to Letterman what has been clear for at least a year or more -- that he's in the running for the 2008 Republican nomination.

"I am announcing that I will be a candidate for president of the United States," he said — and added that he would officially enter the race by giving a formal announcement speech to that effect in April after a visit to Iraq.

Hours after the taped appearance aired, the Democratic National Committee called on McCain to take back the "wasted" lives remark.

"Senator McCain should apologize immediately for his callous comments," said Karen Finney, a DNC spokeswoman. "How is it that John McCain now believes American lives are being wasted, yet he so stubbornly supports the president's plan to escalate the war in Iraq and put more American lives in harms way?"

It's true that Barack Obama also said American lives had been wasted in this war, but there's also a difference: Obama made his remarks in the context of his vocal criticism of the war in general, which he has consistently said was unnecessary and based on lies. McCain has been utterly opportunistic in his public statements about the war, and he keeps changing his position. McCain loudly supported Pres. Bush's escalation of the war, and just as loudly opposed the Democrats' idea for a nonbinding resolution opposing the troop increase.

So where does he get off now, saying that "America has wasted a lot of our most precious treasure, which is American lives"? He's just trying to play it both ways -- keep the votes of right-wing Bush- and war-supporters; and get support from liberals who oppose the war. Obviously, it won't work. But more to the point, where is the outrage from the usual suspects on the right when a major Republican candidate for president says the same thing that a major Democratic candidate for president says, and is skewered for?

UPDATE: McCain has apologized. And Obama is a class act:

Obama, for his part, gave the Republican a pass when asked about McCain's comments at a Senate news conference on an unrelated matter.

"As somebody who had the same phrase in a speech, I think nobody would question Senator McCain's dedication to our veterans," said Obama, the Illinois Democrat. "We have a duty to make sure that we are honoring their sacrifice by giving them missions in which they can succeed ... I'm positive that was the intent in which he meant it. It was the same intent I had when I made my statement."

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