Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has spent the last few weeks saying that in order to ensure the stability of Iraq, the U.S. should be prepared to stay in the country for one hundred to a million years. Yesterday, he said he may support permanent bases in Iraq.
But in the early stages of the war, he repeatedly told the American public that the U.S. military presence in Iraq would be short. In fact, on December 14, 2003, he excitedly declared, “This is a mission accomplished.”
Highlights of McCain’s false assurances:
— I think the victory will be rapid, within about three weeks because I think Saddam Hussein is very weak. [MSNBC, 1/28/03]
— I believe that this conflict is still going to be relatively short. [NBC, 3/30/03]
— It’s clear that the end is very much in sight. … It won’t be long. It, it’ll be a fairly short period of time. [ABC, 4/9/03]
— Listen, my friend, we’re going to be there for five or six years. A little straight talk. [Hardball, 2/25/04]
Reporters questioned McCain on his “hundred year” analogy this weekend, but McCain became defiant, ignorantly equating the culture of Iraqis to those of the Japanese and Kuwaitis. He testily retorted, “Give me a break.” Time’s Ana Marie Cox adds:
His campaign insists that the reason he becomes so hyperbolic is to hammer home the point that our time in Iraq will stop being a controversy once the killing stops. Sure, he’s right about that — and that’s why he mentions Japan, Germany and Kuwait when rebuffing criticism. … What frustrated me yesterday was his refusal to engage on what it would take to make the transition from an occupying force in a country torn by civil war to something less intrusive… and also to address the mixed feelings that Iraqis greet the prospect of perpetual American presence.