US Republican presidential candidate John McCain attempted to distance himself from President George W. Bush administration's war policies on Monday as he addressed an assembly for the Memorial Day.
"As we all know, the American people have grown sick and tired of the war in Iraq," the Arizona Senator and Vietnam War veteran told hundreds of veterans and their families at a ceremony in Albuquerque, New Mexico. "I, too, have been made sick at heart by the many mistakes made by civilian and military commanders and the terrible price we have paid for them."
US President George W. Bush (R) and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain shake hands after a meeting at the White House in Washington March 5, 2008. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
McCain, who is the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has been trying to limit negative influence on his bid for the White House by Bush administration whose public approval rate was badly dragged by the five-year Iraq war.
But he opposed to his Democratic rivals' plan to withdraw all 155,000 US troops in Iraq as soon as possible, saying it could only "strengthen al-Qaida, empower Iran and other hostile powers in the Middle East, unleash a full scale civil war in Iraq that could quite possibly provoke genocide there, and destabilize the entire region as neighboring powers come to the aid of their favored factions."
During a speech in Columbus, Ohio, earlier this month, McCain said that all US combat troops would leave Iraq by 2013 as al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden is terminated and threat from the Taliban in Afghanistan diminished in his presidency, if possible.
He conceded that he cannot make the change alone but should outline a specific governing style to show the accomplishments it can achieve.
McCain voted to authorize Bush administration to launch the Iraq war and backed a decision last year to send a further 30,000 troops to Iraq to halt an increasing violence in the country.
According to a poll by Washington Post-ABC News in March, nearly two-thirds Americans said that the war was not worth fighting and fewer than half think that the United States is making significant progress restoring civil order in Iraq.
The Iraq war, launched on March 20, 2003, has consumed US taxpayers billions of US dollars and nearly 4,000 US troops' lives. It was also cited as the main reason for the country to suffer from the economic woes and the deteriorated international image.
(Xinhua News Agency May 27, 2008)