In an interview on NBC’s Today Show, host Matt Lauer asked Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) about his support for the war in Iraq. Noting that violence has decreased in Iraq, Lauer asked if McCain has a better “estimate” of when he would withdraw troops from the country. “No, but that’s not too important,” McCain responded:
Q: A lot of people now say the surge is working.
McCAIN: Anyone who knows the facts on the ground say that.
Q: If it’s working, senator, do you now have a better estimate of when American forces can come home from Iraq?
McCAIN: No, but that’s not too important. What’s important is the casualties in Iraq. Americans are in South Korea. Americans are in Japan. American troops are in Germany. That’s all fine.
McCain’s comments reflect a deep misunderstanding of the priorities of the public. Sixty-eight percent of Americans oppose the war; 62 percent believe the next president should “try to end the Iraq war within the next year or two, no matter what.”
Q: Will your support be there for however many U.S. troops are required?
McCAIN: Yes, and the fact is we are winning in Iraq.
For McCain, there is no end in sight in Iraq, but that’s “not too important” to him.
Josh Marshall writes, “Get a good look. Within a day or so he won’t have said it.”
,Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) remarks:
McCain’s statement today that withdrawing troops doesn’t matter is a crystal clear indicator that he just doesn’t get the grave national-security consequences of staying the course — Osama bin Laden is freely plotting attacks, our efforts in Afghanistan are undermanned, and our military readiness has been dangerously diminished. We need a smart change in strategy to make America more secure, not a commitment to indefinitely keep our troops in an intractable civil war.
,Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) adds: “I think many of our brave soldiers and their families would disagree that it’s ‘not too important’ when they come home.”