Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has spent much of the past week attacking President Obama's response to the militant insurgency sweeping through Iraq, pointing to the lack of a U.S. presence in the region as a factor in creating an environment more vulnerable to insurgent advances. On Thursday, McCain called for the resignation of Obama's national security team and rebuked Obama for calling the withdrawal of troops from Iraq a "victory."
McCain's current attacks on Obama's Iraq response don't completely line up with the Republican senator's past positions. Either McCain has selective memory, or his objection to labeling the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq a "victory" appears to be dependent on who is declaring the victory.
A tweet from McCain's account in 2010 stated, "Last American combat troops leave Iraq. I think President George W. Bush deserves some credit for victory."
Last American combat troops leave Iraq. I think President George W. Bush deserves some credit for victory.
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) August 19, 2010
HuffPost's Ryan Grim preserved McCain's "victory" tweet, in case it were to disappear from McCain's account.
While it could be the case that McCain forgot about his 2010 "victory" proclamation, it is worth noting he managed to recall a statement from 2011 where he warned Obama of the risks of removing U.S. forces from Iraq.
As the situation in Iraq has worsened, McCain has been joined by other Republicans in chastising Obama's hesitancy to involve the U.S. in the conflict, as Politico reports. In addition to hitting Obama over the removal of troops from Iraq, GOP hawks have been pressing for increased assistance to the Iraqi government with their defense. Obama has said that the U.S. will need to provide some means of support as Iraq defends against the Islamic militants, but has ruled out sending troops.
As Paul Waldman of The Washington Post notes, there is reason to take McCain and other Republicans' criticism of Obama with a grain of salt: they were often wrong about Iraq when the case was being made for the invasion of 2003. MSNBC's "All In With Chris Hayes" put together a video compilation of John McCain being wrong on Iraq.