Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain of Arizona may not have been paying the closest of attention last week during hearings on the Bush administration’s Iraq policy.
Speaking Monday at the annual meeting of the Associated Press, McCain was asked whether he, if elected, would shift combat troops from Iraq to Afghanistan to intensify the search for al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.
“I would not do that unless Gen. [David] Petraeus said that he felt that the situation called for that,” McCain said, referring to the top U.S. commander in Iraq.
Petraeus, however, made clear last week that he has nothing to do with the decision. Testifying last week before four congressional committees, including the Senate Armed Services Committee on which McCain is the ranking Republican, Petraeus said the decision about whether troops could be shifted from Iraq to Afghanistan was not his responsibility because his portfolio is limited to the multi-national force in Iraq.