McConnell voted for the initial War in Iraq, has supported the "troop surge", and opposed a timetable for withdrawal from the country. McConnell remains one of the strongest supporters of the Iraq War, which he considers a central part of the War on Terrorism.
He holds the view that the violence in Iraq is perpetrated primarily by al-Qaeda and other international jihadists who would otherwise be engaged in terrorist actions within the United States.
In an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper on January 10, 2007 (after President Bush's announcement of an escalation in troop levels in Iraq), McConnell claimed that the war in Iraq was a success because it had prevented terrorist attacks in the U.S. since the September 11 attacks. He warned that if the United States withdrew from Iraq, "the terrorists would come after us where we live."
In 2006, McConnell publicly criticized Senate Democrats for urging that troops be brought back from Iraq. According to Bush’s Decision Points memoir, however, McConnell was privately urging the then President to “bring some troops home from Iraq” to lessen the political risks.
McConnell’s hometown paper, the Louisville Courier-Journal, in an editorial titled "McConnell’s True Colors", criticized McConnell for the hypocrisy of his actions and asked him to “explain why the fortunes of the Republican Party are of greater importance than the safety of the United States.
"We have allowed our nation to be over-taxed, over-regulated, and overrun by bureaucrats. The founders would be ashamed of us for what we are putting up with."
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