It’s incidents like this that make the New Hampshire primary worth the price of admission every four years. On January 3, 2008, John McCain (flanked by Joe Lieberman) waded into a quagmire that now threatens to bring his candidacy to defeat.
Audience member: President Bush has talked about our staying in Iraq for fifty years –
McCain: Maybe a hundred. We’ve been in South Korea, we’ve been in Japan for sixty years, we’ve been in S. Korea for fifty years or so. That would be fine with me as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed…
Since then, Sen. Obama has said, time and again, that McCain supports a 100 year war in Iraq. [Note: Obama was being charitable -- at one point McCain actually said " 'a thousand years' or 'a million years,' as far as he was concerned"].
McCain has responded, time and again, saying he would only stay 100 years in a Korea/Japanese style occupation, e.g., as long as US servicemen were not being killed. Of course, he later repudiated that comparison — then took it up again. But I digress…
McCain, Iraq, 100 years — as long as there are no casualties, no wounded, no KIA. It begs the question: if US servicemen continue to be killed in Iraq, the 100 years will be pushed back … but for how long? In other words, when does this 100 year occupation begin?
Chris Matthews: “John McCain says we will stay there 100 years without getting shot at. When does that commence?”
Pete Hegseth, Exec. Dir. Vets for Freedom: “That’s if we have an Iraqi government that can do the vast majority of the fighting out front.”
Matthews: “Well, when does this 100 years begin?”
Hegseth: “It’s already begun. And 100 years — that statement is misconstrued over and over and over again.”
Matthews: “No, that’s not what he said…He said 100 [years] without casualties. I’m just wondering when we start not getting casualties.”
[Hegseth bows his head and snickers.]
Matthews: “That’s not funny.”
Hegseth: “No, it’s not. But it’s not talking about leaving without any casualties.”
Matthews: “He said no casualties, no wounded, no KIA.”
McCain is caught in a losing proposition — and he knows it. No matter how often McCain claims Obama is distorting what he said, it doesn’t matter. In fact, the longer he fights back the worse it gets (ironic, no?)
By fighting back, McCain simply continues to strengthen the bond between three words that may eventually destroy his candidacy: McCain, Iraq, 100 years.