Reprinted from NewsMax.com
Dec. 5, 2006 - Following his pointed questioningof Pentagon nominee Robert Gates at a confirmation hearing onTuesday, Senator John McCain (R, Az) told a prominent pro-Israelthink tank that the U.S. must commit more troops to Iraq, or lose thewar.
"The situation in Iraq is dire," he told theJewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) in Washington,DC. "I believe victory is still attainable. But we will not succeedif we no longer have the will to win."
McCain said that Americans had tired of the war inIraq because they were not convinced we can still win without anintolerable loss of additional lives and resources. "But in no othertime are we more morally obliged to speak the truth to our country,as we best see it, than in a time of war."
That truth, McCain said, was simple. "Withoutadditional combat forces we will not win this war."
History will hold the Bush administrationaccountable for its mistakes in Iraq, he said.
But taking a swipe at the Iraq Study Group, whichis widely expected to recommend some form of gradual withdrawal fromIraq when it releases its conclusions on Wednesday, McCain said that"precipitous American troop withdrawal would make the violence theremuch worse, not better."
Iraq's U.S.-trained security forces "are todayincapable of handling operations on their own," he said. "If U.S.forces begin a pullout, we risk all-out civil war and the potentialfor region-wide conflict.."
He mentioned several tasks that only U.S. troopscan accomplish: clearing and holding insurgent strongholds; providingsecurity for reconstruction; disarming Sunni and Shia militias;training the Iraqi army, and embedding American personnel in weak andoften corrupt Iraqi police units.
"We need to do all these things if we are tosucceed," McCain said. "And we will need more troops to do them."
McCain spoke at a ceremony honoring six U.S.soldiers for their service in Iraq, and was given JINSA' signatureaward named after Sen. Henry M. ("Scoop") Jackson, (D, Wa).
Perhaps best known as the father of the "ReaganDemocrats,"Jackson co-authored the Jackson-Vanik amendment in 1975that helped convince the Soviet Union to allow Soviet Jews toemigrate during the Cold War.
McCain also touched on U.S. policy throughout theMiddle East, in a sweeping speech that established foreign policyguidelines for a potential McCain 2008 presidential run.
On Iran, McCain said that the United Statesmust back "immediate UN Security Council action"to impose politicaland economic sanctions.
"Military action isnÄôt ourpreference"and was "the last option."But "there is only one thingworse than a military solution, and that is a nuclear-armedIran,"McCain said.
The United States needed to "reassure reformersand the millions of Iranians who aspire to self-determination that wesupport their longing for freedom and democracy,"he added.
The United States should continue itsboycott of the Hamas-led government in the Palestinian Authority,because of its ongoing support for terrorism.
At the same time, U.S. support for Israel"should intensifyÄ¶ No American leaders should beexpected to sell a false peace to our democratic ally, considerIsrael' right to self-defense less legitimate than ours, or insistthat Israel negotiate a political settlement while terrorism remainsits adversariesÄô favorite bargaining tool,"he said.
Americans should not be shy in reaffirming thehistoric "moral bond"between the United States and Israel. "We aretwo democracies whose alliance is forged in our common values,"hesaid. "To be proudly pro-American and pro-Israeli is not to holdconflicting loyalties.Äù
In Lebanon, McCain warned that the currentceasefire was "a mere pause in the fighting, rather than its end,"andcalled for the disarmament of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia.
Introducing McCain to a packed ball room ofpro-Israel business executives, defense contractors, and Washingtoninsiders was Senator Joseph Lieberman, fresh from being re-elected asan Independent after losing the Democratic party primary inConnecticut.
Lieberman' glowing tribute to his Republicancolleague did not go unnoticed.
"McCain-Lieberman? There's something tothat,"JINSA board member Morris J. Amitay told the crowd.