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"My aspiration is that if we show success in Iraq that our European allies will come in and help out in the myriad of ways necessary to rebuild that tragic, war torn country," he said, making it clear that he was determined to keep US troops in Iraq.
"One of the debates of this election will be if the American people want a candidate who wants to get out [of Iraq] as quickly as possible.
"If we do that then al-Qa'eda wins, we have chaos and genocide throughout the region and they will follow us home. That's been my position - forever," said Mr McCain, who will battle either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama for the Democrats in November's presidential election.
Despite the political risk of placing support for an unpopular war at the core of his campaign, the senator and Vietnam War veteran will not be diverted from his course or his support for a continued heavy troop presence.