McCain: I Didn't Mix Up Surge Timeline

Counterinsurgency tactic began before it began, he says
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 23, 2008 8:13 PM CDT
Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.,speaks at a news conference in King's Supermarket in Bethlehem, Pa., Wednesday, July 23, 2008.    (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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(Newser) – John McCain insists that he did, indeed, have his facts straight when he said Tuesday that the US troop surge had made the Sunni Awakening movement possible. Barack Obama’s camp was quick to point out that Sunni tribesman had begun their revolt against al-Qaeda months before Bush announced his plan to deploy 30,000 more troops, but McCain countered by saying elements of what became known as the surge began before Bush’s announcement.

McCain said he had been briefed by Army Col. Sean MacFarland in December 2006, and parts of the new strategy had already been executed then, though troop levels weren't raised until February 2007. “A surge is really a counterinsurgency made up of a number of components. ... I'm not sure people understand that 'surge' is part of a counterinsurgency,” McCain told reporters in a Pennsylvania supermarket.