McCain Urges Determination In Iraq Fight, Warns Against Early Withdrawal

Saturday, September 8th 2007, 7:04 pm
By: News On 6

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) _ Republican presidential candidate John McCain warned Saturday that U.S. failure in Iraq would eventually pull America into a ``wider and more difficult war'' in the troubled region.

``To concede defeat as many leading Democrats now advocate would strengthen al-Qaida, empower Iran and other hostile powers in the Middle East, unleash a full scale civil war in Iraq ... and destabilize the entire region,'' the Arizona senator told activists at a state Republican convention.

``The consequences would threaten us for years,'' he added. It ``would eventually draw us into a wider and more difficult war that would impose even greater sacrifices on us.''

McCain later told reporters, ``If we set a date for withdrawal, that's a date for surrender.''

McCain's comments largely echoed his previous remarks on the war: he lashed out at Democrats, criticized earlier mistakes by civilian and military commanders; and asserted the troop increase in Iraq was succeeding.

He evoked Ronald Reagan's struggle against communism, saying the U.S. won the Cold War ``on our terms.''

``The war in Iraq has not gone well and the American people have grown sick and tired of it. I understand that,'' McCain said. ``Like you, I want our troops to come home, but I want them to come home with honor.''

Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, will update Congress next week on the situation in Iraq.