McCain Speaks In New Mexico On War, Tuition Costs

This story was written by Hunter Riley, Daily Lobo

Republican presidential candidate John McCain discussed U.S. involvement in the Middle East and suggested students should join the armed forces or the Peace Corps to pay increasing tuition prices during a visit to Albuquerque on July 16.

Before giving the floor to audience members for questions, McCain spoke about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

McCain said he supports sending more troops to Iraq and Afghanistan.

"It is precisely the success of the surge in Iraq that shows us the way to succeed in Afghanistan," McCain said. "I know how to win wars."

McCain said the United States violated one of the cardinal rules of military operations - unity of command. He said complete

power should be given to the top commander in Afghanistan, instead of it being spread between three military commanders and NATO.

McCain also said the Afghan army would need to grow as the Iraqi army did in order to aid American troops.

"(The Iraqi people) added over 100,000 security forces to their measure," he said. "It is time for the Afghanis to do the same thing."

McCain said the cost of adding more troops to the Afghan army should not be paid with only American tax dollars.

McCain said he is proposing to build a trust fund with U.S. allies to support an increase in the Afghan army.

"Insecurity in Afghanistan and the drug issue is the world's problem, and the world should share the cost," he said.

When asked about rising tuition costs, McCain said students can join organizations such as the Army or Peace Corps. He said these programs would become more popular as more people enroll in them to pay for college.

One of McCain's local supporters is Rep. Steve Pearce. Pearce attended the event and spoke about what McCain has to offer New Mexicans.

Pearce said McCain is trying to bring the parties back together so that there isn't such a drastic divide between Republicans and Democrats.

"McCain can offer New Mexicans honest advice, and he recognizes that our nation faces hard times," Pearce said. "Sen. McCain can offer New Mexicans and U.S. citizens a solution."

Protesters gathered outside the Hotel Albuquerque, touting peace and better treatment for veterans.

Tessie Swope, a member of both the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations, said McCain does not understand middle class issues.

"Barack Obama comes from a middle class family, so he knows what the middle class are going through," Swope said.