John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump's America fights back Mellman: Trump can fix it GOP strategist Steve Schmidt denounces party, will vote for Democrats MORE called on his Democratic rivals to tell the truth about the Iraq war to the American people.

McCain has been criticized by Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaObama: Are we a nation that rips families apart? Another chance to seek the return of fiscal sanity to the halls of Congress Colombia’s new leader has a tough road ahead, and Obama holdovers aren't helping MORE, Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump mocks 'elites' at campaign rally Trump backs down in rare reversal Election Countdown: Family separation policy may haunt GOP in November | Why Republican candidates are bracing for surprises | House Dems rake in record May haul | 'Dumpster fire' ad goes viral MORE and the Democratic National Committee for saying that he is willing to keep troops in Iraq for "100 years." McCain's campaign has pushed back against the Democrats' attack, saying that the Republican was referring to a U.S. force in Iraq similar to the non-combat American presence in South Korea since the end of the Korean War.

McCain himself fired back at his Democratic rivals in a speech Monday before the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Kansas City, Mo:
"The American people deserve the truth from their leaders. They deserve a candid assessment of the progress we have managed to make in the last year in preventing the worst from happening in Iraq, of the very serious difficulties that remain, and of the grave consequences of a hasty, reckless, and irresponsible withdrawal. If we are honest about the opportunities and the risks, I believe they will have the patience to allow us the time necessary to obtain our objectives. That honesty is my responsibility, and it is also the responsibility of Senators Obama and Clinton, as well as Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress."

Read McCain's whole speech here.

McCain also opposed a troop drawdown, putting him at odds with Obama and Clinton, who have called for a timetable to bring home combat forces.

"To promise a withdrawal of our forces from Iraq, regardless of the calamitous consequences to the Iraqi people, our most vital interests, and the future of the Middle East, is the height of irresponsibility," McCain said.

DNC Chairman Howard Dean called McCain's attacks "irresponsible."

"Responsible leadership means being honest about your plans for the future, not hiding behind empty rhetoric and shallow attacks," Dean said.