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McCain's misplaced boast: 'I predicted what was going to happen in Iraq'

John McCain initiating a debate on his Iraq predictions really isn't a good idea.
U.S. Sen. John McCain
U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) talks with reporters after briefing by military officials about the prisoner exchange that freed Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl at the U.S. Capitol on June 10, 2014 in Washington, DC.
It's hardly a secret that the Sunday shows extend invitations to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) with almost comical frequency. Yesterday, however, CNN's Candy Crowley took a moment to explain why.
As her latest interview with the senator was just getting underway, the host said, "Senator McCain, lots of people, when we have you on, often say, 'Why do you have him on so often?' And we say because he answers our questions, because he expresses his views quite clearly."
I suppose that's true, though this seems to set an awfully low bar. There are 534 other members of Congress, nearly all of whom were elected after answering questions and expressing their views clearly to voters. As of yesterday, only two House Republicans have received more Sunday-show appearances. That's 532 members of Congress that have received fewer invitations.
Nevertheless, when it came time for the Arizona Republican to express his views quite clearly, Crowley asked whether there's anything President Obama could do on foreign policy that McCain might approve of. The senator said he supported "a number of things" the president has done -- he didn't specify -- before immediately condemning him again.
"If I look at the world in January of 2009, and I look at the world today, I can tell you this, Candy. It's very, very different. And I believe that's because, when the United States of America withdraws from leadership from the world, it creates a vacuum, and bad things happen.
"And, by the way, I predicted what was going to happen in Iraq.... This is turning into, as we had predicted for a long time, a regional conflict which does pose a threat to the security of the United States of America, and launching three strikes around a place where a horrible humanitarian crisis is taking place, meanwhile, ISIS continues to make gains everywhere, yes, is clearly very, very ineffective, to say the least."
I can appreciate why McCain seems like an easy target -- perhaps too easy -- for ridicule, but so long as he's going to boast about the value of his Iraq "predictions," while being praised for the "clarity" he brings to foreign-policy debates, it's probably worth revisiting the senator's abysmal track record.
As Rachel recently noted on the show, following a round of McCain interviews on U.S. policy in Iraq, "Let the record show, John McCain was wrong about Iraq and the war in Iraq, in almost every way that a person can be wrong about something like that. He was wrong about Saddam having weapons. He was wrong about how long the war would take. He was wrong about how big the war would be. He famously said that as far as he was concerned, he thought that maybe Saddam sent the anthrax attacks. John McCain was wrong about whether there might ever be any trouble between Sunnis and Shia in Iraq."