US Republican presidential candidate John McCain will accuse his Democratic rivals of making promises they cannot keep with regard to Iraq on Monday in a speech that kicks off a week in which the war returns to center stage of the U.S. presidential campaign.
McCain, a senator from Arizona who has wrapped up his party's White House nomination, will claim in a meeting with an audience of veterans that the United States can look ahead to "success in the war", but a hasty withdrawal of troops would go against both U.S. and Iraqi interests.
Democratic presidential hopefuls Barack Obama, a senator from Illinois, and Hillary Clinton, a senator from New York, have promised to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq soon after taking office and both have pounced on McCain for indicating troops could stay there for 100 years.
According to excerpts of his speech, "But I do not believe that anyone should make promises as a candidate for president that they cannot keep if elected," he says.
"To promise a withdrawal of our forces from Iraq, regardless of the calamitous consequences to the Iraqi people, our most vital interests, and the future of the Middle East, is the height of irresponsibility. It is a failure of leadership."
Both Democrats have sharply criticized McCain for his stance on the war. Obama has pledged to start withdrawing troops immediately, and Clinton has said a drawback could begin within 60 days of her becoming president.
McCain is expected to challenge either Obama or Clinton in November elections to succeed President George W. Bush.
The Arizona senator's speech comes ahead of Congressional testimony this week from Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. commander on the ground in Iraq.
All three presidential candidates are scheduled to return to Washington to be present for the testimony.
A lauded Vietnam war veteran, McCain has staked his candidacy on his support for an increase in U.S. troop levels in Iraq, a policy dubbed the "surge."
According to the speech excerpts, McCain will say that the surge is working to bring security to the country and a level of normalcy to the Iraqi people's lives.
Meanwhile in Baghdad on Sunday hospital sources said at least 25 Iraqis were killed and 98 wounded in clashes in the country's capital. Rocket or mortar attacks killed three U.S. soldiers and wounded 31 of them in Baghdad, among the biggest tolls of injured troops faced by the Americans in months.
The Iraq war was once the key issue in voters' minds ahead of the presidential elections, but the souring economy has since moved to the top rung of people's concerns.
Last Mod: 07 Nisan 2008, 16:43