The White House announced this week that it “would like to see a lengthy U.S. troop presence in Iraq like the one in South Korea,” where U.S. troops have been stationed for 50 years.
In the face of overwhelming evidence that Americans want U.S. troops out of Iraq, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has baselessly declared that Americans will support a long-term military presence “as long as the number of U.S. casualties can drop to almost nothing.”
“The key to this issue is not American presence, but American casualties,” he told a standing-room-only crowd of about 250 employees at Nationwide Insurance’s offices.
“We have had troops in South Korea for 60 years and nobody minds,” McCain said. “If you stay a long, long time, but have the Iraqis doing the fighting, and your people are back in the bases and away from the firing line, I think Americans would be satisfied.”
All the evidence suggests directly the opposite, that Americans want U.S. troops out of Iraq. Moreover, an ABC News poll this year found that 78 percent of Iraqis “oppose the presence of U.S. forces on their soil“; just one percent of Iraqis “want the US military presence to go on without end.”
This means that, unlike Korea, there is little chance that the U.S. presence in Iraq will be casualty-free. Indeed, “the specter of a permanent military presence in Iraq is widely considered to be one of the most inflammatory incitements to Iraq’s ever-growing anti-American insurgency.”
Of course, even if McCain admits that Americans don’t want to be in Iraq forever, it wouldn’t matter. He has previously proclaimed that he can ignore American public opinion because he knows “what’s best for the security of this nation.”