Sen. John McCain says the United States has vastly improved its ability to combat terrorists than it had when al-Qaida suicide attackers hijacked planes and killed thousands on Sept. 11, 2001.
The Arizona Republican said on “Fox News Sunday” today that he is proud of the 9/11 Commission and the protections it has provided against terrorist attacks.
“I think we can be proud of the fact that there’s not been another attack on the United States of America,” McCain said on the 10th anniversary of the historic tragedy. “I’m not a great fan of commissions, but I think the 9/11 Commission . . . did a very fine job, and they gave us a blueprint. I wish we had followed all of their recommendations.”
He said he supports the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and that the United States made the right decision at the time. Whether those wars were “mismanaged” or “underestimated” are issues that historians will judge, he said.
“I don’t think that we should ever forget that these attacks originated in Afghanistan,” he said, adding, “I don’t think you’re going to see the United States of American in another war in that part of the world.”
McCain brought up the incident at Abu Ghraib and said the torture of prisoners by members of the U.S. military “hurt us a great deal and did provide a propaganda tool for our enemy, including al-Qaida, and I regret that.”
The advancements the previous and current administrations have made in combating an enemy that employs terrorist tactics and commits murder are to be applauded,” McCain said.
“I think we have a very different and vastly improved capability to combat this enemy that we had 10 years ago,” he said.
McCain opposes President Barack Obama’s plan to withdraw 30,000 troops from Iraq next year and said the move will not serve the best interests of the United States.
“There is no military person that doesn’t believe that we need a residual force in Iraq far in excess of the size that apparently is being planned,” he said. “You can’t lead from behind in this country. There is a perception in the world, rightly or wrongly, that the United States is in the decline, and that we’re, in many ways, withdrawing to fortress America. We can’t afford to do that.”
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