McCain: If President, 'I Would've Been More Reluctant to Commit Troops' to Iraq

Barbara Boland
By Barbara Boland | July 18, 2014 | 11:40 AM EDT

"You'll find this surprising, but I think I would've been more reluctant to commit American troops" in Iraq, Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) said Thursday to CNN's Jake Tapper and Ron Fournier of the National Journal at a "Politics on Tap" event in D.C.

Yes, Senator, we would find that surprising, or at least those of us with better mental acuity than Senate colleague Harry Reid (D-Nev.)

For those of us with functioning memories, it's hard to recall a bigger cheerleader of U.S. military action than Sen. McCain.

But McCain went on: "In Iraq in 2003, the Secretary of State, one of the most respected men in America, went to the U.N. Security Council and presented that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. If presented with that same evidence today, I would vote the same way."

"I respected and trusted the Secretary of State, Colin Powell. But it's obvious now, in retrospect, that Saddam Hussein - although he had used weapons of mass destruction - did not have the inventory that we seem to have evidence of. Which now looking back on it, with the benefit of hindsight, (the evidence) was very flimsy," he said.

McCain added: "I think I would have (voted the same way), but I think I would have challenged the evidence with greater scrutiny," McCain said.  "I think that with my background with the military and knowledge of national security with these issues that I hope that I would have been able to see through the evidence that was presented at the time." McCain was a senator at the time, of course.

This is coming from the man who has never met a conflict he didn't think the United States should get involved in.