More headlines: John McCain on War & Peace

(Following are older quotations. Click here for main quotations.)

1999: US cannot be neutral in situations like Kosovo

In early 1999, the situation in Bosnia, Serbia, & Kosovo became more complicated and violent. Milosevic had conducted a kind of holocaust against the ethnic Albanians through massacres, gang rapes, and forced marches. McCain was extremely vocal in his criticism of the way Clinton was handling the problem, by getting the US more deeply involved in the internal strife in Kosovo, but, even now, he did not believe the US should remain neutral in a conflict that was being played out in the middle of Europe
Source: Man of the People, by Paul Alexander, p.189-190 Jan 19, 2004

Kosovo an example of feckless photo-op foreign policy

This administration is poll driven and not principle driven. We didn’t have to get into Kosovo. Once we stumbled into it, we had to win it. And this administration has conducted a feckless photo-op foreign policy for which we will pay a very heavy price in American blood and treasure. You have to have a concept of what you want the world to look like. Our interests and our values lie in how we are going to bring this world into the next century and call it, again, the American century.
Source: Phoenix Arizona GOP Debate Dec 7, 1999

Fighting was based on polls and photo-ops

“This administration has conducted a feckless, photo-op policy with no concept of what they want the world to look like,” said McCain. He said President Clinton “stumbled” into the fighting there and conducted his policy in an “immoral fashion” by making decisions based on voter polls. “ I won’t take a poll,” said McCain, “I will act in America’s best interest,” he said.
Source:, “GOP Arizona Debates” Nov 22, 1999

Distrust Milosevic, and Verify

Milosevic’s word is not his bond. We will have to monitor his compliance with the terms of the agreement very closely. We should adhere to a variation of an old Reagan maxim: distrust and verify. NATO’s leaders must retain the political will necessary to resume full-scale operations should Milosevic revert to form and violate the terms of the agreement. NATO must be prepared to instantly punish even small violations of the accord or else risk losing in peace the goals we went to war to secure.
Source: Los Angeles Times “Distrust Milosevic” Jun 6, 1999

Authorize Clinton to send in ground troops in Kosovo

The Senate took up debate today over authorizing President Clinton to use all means necessary to win NATO’s fight for Kosovo. A bipartisan resolution was championed by Senator John McCain, [who said], “If we lose this war, the entire country and the world will suffer the consequences.” Mr. McCain’s resolution [includes a] clear call for the use of ground troops if necessary to achieve victory in the conflict.
Source: New York Times, 5/4/99, p. A13, col. 6 May 4, 1999

Support the overthrow of “rogue states”

The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is the clearest danger we currently confront, [especially] in rogue states such as Iraq, North Korea and others. The US [should support] indigenous and outside forces that desire to overthrow the odious regimes that rule these states. Call it rogue state rollback if you will. If you commit to supporting these forces. don’t abandon them to the mercies of tyrants whenever they meet with reversals as the Administration did in the north of Iraq.
Source: “Position Papers” 4/30/99 Apr 30, 1999

Supported deployment in Bosnia; supports it in Kosovo

[Public support for NATO] will soon disappear if the US and its NATO allies cannot come to an agreement on when they should act in mutual defense of each other’s interests outside Europe. I supported the President’s decision to deploy US forces to Bosnia I will, with several important reservations support our involvement in Kosovo if we reach some agreement to do so. But I am in the minority on that issue. Most Americans cannot see the connection between our security and Mr. Milosevic’s crimes.
Source: “Position Papers” 4/30/99 Apr 30, 1999

Higher price for security due to earlier idle threats

We twice informed Milosevic that NATO would use force to compel his cooperation in a settlement should he refuse to cooperate voluntarily. [Then] we simply moved the deadlines, and thereby, gave Serbia and the Kosovars good reason to doubt our sincerity. [The US] should never give its word insincerely. We should never make idle threats. These failings ensure that the price we ultimately pay in blood and treasure to defend our security will be greater than if we had honored our commitments.
Source: “Position Papers” 4/30/99 Apr 30, 1999

Important to win, important for US to be superpower

McCain spoke of the war now winding down in Kosovo, saying, “It’s important that we win, important for NATO and important for the US. I always ask those who think we shouldn’t be a superpower, who then would you like to be a world superpower? . China? Luxembourg?”
Source: Boston Herald, p. 39, col. 1, by Rachelle Cohen Jun 10, 1999

Other candidates on War & Peace: John McCain on other issues:
GOP: Sen.John McCain
GOP V.P.: Gov.Sarah Palin
Democrat: Sen.Barack Obama
Dem.V.P.: Sen.Joe Biden

Third Parties:
Constitution: Chuck Baldwin
Libertarian: Rep.Bob Barr
Constitution: Amb.Alan Keyes
Liberation: Gloria La Riva
Green: Rep.Cynthia McKinney
Socialist: Brian Moore
Independent: Ralph Nader
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Page last updated: Feb 08, 2010