McCain and the 100 year occupation

Watch Senator McCain come out in favor of keeping our troops in Iraq for 100 years:

This is precisely the kind of talk that hurts the situation in the Middle East. No matter how benign McCain’s intentions may be, I doubt there any many people on the planet, let alone in Iraq, who would welcome a 100 year U.S. military presence.Polls seem to bear that out pretty well. Only 1% of Iraqis questioned in this 2007 D3 Systems poll support an unending American military presence.The American public is a little more divided, but a decent majority (about 60%) want us to have most of our troops gone by 2009 regardless of the situation in Iraq.

That’s partly why this McCain quote is so baffling. It’s can’t possibly be a popular position here, outside of a few insanely pro-military folks, and defense contractors. It could very well irreparably harm our image in the Middle East if he were elected President. We would, in effect, be behaving almost exactly as Bin Laden had predicted in his attempts to recruit more people to his cause.

As for more mundane concerns, this could definitely be trouble for McCain if he is the Republican nominee. The mainstream press seems to be ignoring this story for now in favor of nothing but biased political horse-race coverage (it’s a sad state of affairs, but unsurprising given the sad state of our media), but the Democrats could conceivably bring this McCain quote into the spotlight when it could hurt him the most.

11 Comments

  1. Cameron

    No need for hysteria. Military presence is fine. It’s troop deaths that’re bad. We’ve been in Korea for what? 50 years? And in Germany and Japan since WWII. Hell, I think we even still have troops in the Phillipines. And ya know what? The very act of having troops somewhere isn’t bad in and of itself. So just take a deep breath and relax. It’ll be ok.

  2. Chris

    This isn’t like the South Korean situation. It would be similar if we had North Koreans threatening us with suicide bombers because we were occupying their holy lands and stealing their regional resources.

    As for having troops in the Phillipines, why should we have them there if they aren’t actually providing security? Isn’t that just a tremendous waste of tax payer dollars?

  3. Ian

    Like Cameron says, we do have military bases all over the world. I think the idea is if we had to go to war anywhere in the world, we would likely have a base close by. I think the bases are just those left over from when we actually were at war in those regions, so the investment has already been made. The only real difference between a base in Iraq and a base in the US is that you have to get the soldiers from the US to Iraq. Otherwise shouldn’t it be the same upkeep as everywhere else? There’s a difference between having bases and occupation.

    And also, while I’m not saying I support occupation, I will say I don’t give a damn what Bin Laden says or predicts and how we relate to it. We can’t let him dictate our policy by having us just not do what he says. While I agree, people will see us doing what he predicted, I would hope that they would be able to form their own opinions about the situation and how to handle it. Pat Robertson predicts terrorism over here, and if it happens, the majority of Americans probably won’t be lining up to listen to what he says.

  4. Chris

    I agree that we shouldn’t let Bin Laden dictate our policy. But if we’re actually interested in reducing terrorism, we should be keenly aware of what motivates Muslims. And I think it’s up to those who want bases left in Iraq to make the case that increased risk of terrorism is worth whatever we’re accomplishing by staying there.

  5. Cameron

    The desire for more raw materials is what motivated Imperial Japan’s expansion. Doesn’t mean we rolled over and said, “Gee, let’s keep selling them oil and scrap metal so they won’t attack us.” Understanding is fine. Giving in to our enemies isn’t. Sometimes people are just being assholes.

  6. Chris

    Isn’t our desire for raw materials driving our entire presence in the Middle East?

  7. Cameron

    I think you missed my point. And for the love of god, if you can deliver on the blood for oil humbug, then you could be president. Oil is more expensive now than ever. So blood for oil sounds fine with me.

  8. Chris

    I got your point that some people are just being a**holes, but my counter point was that we could very easily be Japan in your analogy. There are legitimate reasons to be concerned with our actions in the Middle East.

  9. Ian

    If people want to die fighting to drive the US out of the middle east, let them. If people want to die out in the desert protecting the US, let them. I support the idea of freedom to choose what you want to do. Me personally? I think fighting for the cause of a nation is borderline retarded. How many nations have come and gone from this world? What makes any piece of land any more special than another? Get over it. How many soldiers died fighting for Rome, or fighting to bring Rome down? Rome fell anyways, and probably would’ve on its own. What a waste of life.

  10. Chris

    There’s some worth in fighting for a way of life, or to protect your family and friends. Otherwise, I agree, fighting for the abstract idea of a nation is sort of silly.

  11. Ted

    dude what is happening to your blizzog
    [I took care of it – Chris]

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] In early January, I wrote about McCain’s desire to see American military forces in Iraq for 100 years. The senator has yet to run away from these comments, no matter how damaging they might be to perceptions of the U.S. in the Muslim world. Wednesday on ABC he went a step further. “The U.S. could have a military presence anywhere in the world for a long period of time,” said McCain. Great. […]

  2. […] Check out the original John “100 Years in Iraq” McCain post (with video) on this subject. […]