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April 28, 2008

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I disagree. The ad says no such thing. If anyone thinks 100 years in Iraq means 100 years of war, it's because there is no end in sight. It's not the DNC's job to provide all the caveats that John McCain decides to tack on to his statement. It's McCain's job.

And in any case, John McCain has never said he'd leave Iraq if the current levels of violence remain high. Quite the opposite - we have to stay there until we "win".

Marshall is right. This fantasy world in which American troops stay in Iraq indefinitely as welcomed guests is not one that demands recognition. If people equate "American troops in Iraq" with "American troops dying in Iraq", it's because they've meant the same thing and will continue to mean the same thing.

Jinchi and lowellfield may be correct that a peaceful Iraq allied with the US is not possible. If so, how should one interpret McCain's support for leaving American troops there 100 years if the country is at peace?

McCain did not say he might leave our troops in Iraq if the country remains at war. It's true that he hasn't said that he wouldn't leave American troops there if Iraq remains in a state of war. His comment simply didn't address the situation that Iraq's war continues indefinitely.

Brendan,

Like the earlier commenters, I really don't think this ad is all that unfair. McCain will not leave until stability and peace are achieved; and then, he wants to stay for an extended period of time. I believe that peace and stability is maybe even decades away; so McCain's position does indeed sound to me like many more years of fighting and dying.

As Hendrik Hertzberg said:
http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/hendrikhertzberg/2008/01/a-hundred-years.html

"But what the context shows, I think, is that yanking that sound bite out of context isn’t really all that unfair. McCain's wants to stay in Iraq until no more Americans are getting killed, no matter how long it takes and how many Americans get killed achieving that goal—that is, the goal of not getting any more Americans killed. And once that goal is achieved, we'll stay.

"He'll see your fifty years and raise you fifty. But the cards are blank."

The question McCain should face in the first general election debate is really this:

Senator McCain, you have said that as long as troops are not fighting and dying in Iraq, you would be content with a 50-year, even a one hundred year presence over there. But how many years, and more importantly, how many casualties are you willing to endure as President to get to that post-conflict presence? Is it the number of years? Is it the number of lives lost? Because at the moment, the casualty rate is small, but it is real and seemingly endless.

What about Iraqis who are being killed or injured? Don't they count?

Would it be fair to say that John McCain would be willing to stay in Iraq for 100 years even if Iraqis continue to die at current levels? Or would that also be unfair?

If it is fair, than I suppose it would also be fair to produce an ad showing explosions in marketplaces (showing Iraqi deaths), with a voice-over about 100 years in Iraq. Right?

And, if they were to remove the captioned reference to American dead, wouldn't that be exactly what the DNC ad is?

Just wondering out loud.

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