Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has spent the last few weeks saying that in order to ensure the stability of Iraq, the United States should be prepared to stay in the country for 100 to one million years. On Sunday, he said he may support permanent bases in Iraq.
President Bush recently signed an agreement for an “enduring” relationship with Iraq, signaling his support for a long-term military presence of unspecified length. But even Bush is queasy at the thought of supporting McCain’s occupation plan.
In an interview with NBC aired this morning, the President rejected McCain’s plan to keep the troops in Iraq for a century or more, saying, “That’s a long time”:
Q: John McCain has been saying on the campaign trail that the American people would accept U.S. troops remaining in Iraq for a hundred years. Do you agree with that?
BUSH: I don’t know if a hundred years is the right number. That’s a long time.
Bush, however, did say he could “easily” see troops in Iraq for the next decade. “It could very well be, but it’s going to be on the invitation of the Iraqi government. … It could easily be that [ten years]. Absolutely,” he said.
With even the President distancing himself from McCain, it’s clear that McCain is even more hawkish than Bush on Iraq.