Barack Obama poorly defended his earlier statements that John McCain “wants a hundred-year occupation” in Iraq. He avoided apologizing for his deception, and accused McCain of failing to say when he’d declare “success” and bring the American troops home.
Here’s a question for Obama, whom I admire: When would he declare the U.S. presence in Europe, Japan and South Korea a “success” and bring those troops home? The answer would be revealing. I’d like to hear it.
McCain had said it would be “fine” if the U.S. stayed in Iraq 100 years, as long as the Americans were not being harmed while they were there. Both Obama and Hillary Clinton have twisted McCain’s statement to say McCain “wants” a century of “war” or “occupation.”
Not been clear. Today, Obama was asked generally to explain his statements about McCain and 100 years in Iraq:
“John McCain has said that we will stay there as long as it takes and if it takes another 100 years he’s up for that commitment and that implies that there is some criteria by which we would understand how long it takes. John McCain has not been clear about what exactly would lead him to decide it’s time to pullout.”
He argued that neither President Bush nor McCain have defined what success in Iraq would entail and that, according to Obama, implies that U.S. troops could remain in Iraq indefinitely.
All right then, Barack Obama, explain why or why not you’d leave U.S. troops in Europe, Japan and South Korea, and what conditions would allow the withdrawal of those troops.
What McCain said. McCain was asked Jan. 3 in New Hampshire about the prospect of the U.S. maintaining a presence in Iraq for another 50 years. He said it was possible Americans would be there even longer. “Make it 100 [years]” or “Maybe 100 [years],” he said. The exact words were hard to make out.
McCain said then:
“We’ve been in South Korea . . . we’ve been in Japan for 60 years,” he continued. “We’ve been in South Korea for 50 years or so. That would be fine with me. As long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed, that’s fine with me. I hope that would be fine with you, if we maintain a presence in a very volatile part of the world where al-Qaeda is training, recruiting and equipping and motivating people every single day.”
We give an extra layer of security to democracies in Europe, Japan and South Korea. Why shouldn’t we do the same for Iraq? That’s a question Obama must answer.