"You know, Sen. McCain said the other day that we might have troops (in Iraq) for 100 years..."
Hillary Clinton on Tuesday, January 15th, 2008 in a debate in Las Vegas.
That's no typo, 100 years
Clinton's account of McCain's position rings true. The Arizona senator was an enthusiastic supporter of President Bush's surge and opposes a timetable for troop withdrawal. He was somewhat glib about the issue during a Jan. 3, 2008, town hall meeting in Derry, N.H. When a voter asking a question made the point that President Bush raised the possibility American troops would be in Iraq for 50 years, McCain interrupted by saying, "maybe 100."
McCain went on to note the United States has maintained a military presence for decades in such places as Japan and South Korea. He said he supported such a commitment in a global hot spot like Iraq where al-Qaida continues to wield influence and recruit followers — as long as there aren't American casualties.
McCain expanded on those thoughts three days later during an appearance on NBC's Meet the Press, asserting that most Americans share his views. "We have a base in Turkey. We have a base in Japan, Germany. We've had bases there. It's not American presence that bothers the American people, it's American casualties," McCain said. "And if Americans are safe wherever they are in the world, Americans — the American people don't mind that. So what I believe we can achieve is a reduction in casualties to the point where the Iraqis are doing the fighting and dying, we're supporting them, and, over time, then it'll be the relation between the two countries."
McCain skirted questions about what kind of troop levels are acceptable in coming decades.
Because McCain unabashedly entertains the possibility of an open-ended military commitment in Iraq — with little more than a proviso that American personnel should not come in harm's way — we rule Clinton's statement True.
Published: Wednesday, January 16th, 2008 at 12:00 a.m.
Sources:John McCain, Town Hall Meeting in Derry, N.H. , Jan. 3, 2008
Meet the Press, Transcript, Jan. 6, 2008
Sen. Hillary Clinton presidential campaign Web site, Iraq Plan
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