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May 4, 2008

The “Hundred Years” War

Filed under: Politics — CPav @ 10:05 pm
Tags: , ,

Pay attention, class, ’cause I’m gonna do something here that I don’t normally do: I’m gonna stick up for John McCain. But just for a minute.

Much has been made of the comments that John McCain made during a January 3 town hall meeting, saying that he’d be fine with the US staying in Iraq for fifty or a hundred years. The Democrats have jumped all over the comments, implying that McCain is perfectly willing to stay in Iraq with the situation unchanged for the next century, and have characterized his attempts to clarify the comments as backtracking or flipflopping.

Here comes my defense.

McCain’s explanations are totally valid, and the Democrats are trying to give voters who are unfamiliar with the context of the statements the impression that I’ve described above, that McCain is willing to maintain the status quo for a hundred years. The next portion of his statement from January 3, makes it clear that that’s not what he was saying:

We’ve been in Japan for 60 years. We’ve been in South Korea for 50 years or so. That would be fine with me, as long as Americans, as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed. It’s fine with me and I hope it would be fine with you if we maintain a presence in a very volatile part of the world.

I actually agree with McCain’s statements above. If the situation in Iraq were to become comparable with those in Japan or South Korea, I have no problem with having military bases in Iraq, and staffing those bases.

Here ends my defense.

HOWEVER…

(you had to know that was coming)

The fact that Senator McCain believes, despite all evidence to the contrary, and the fact that absolutely nothing suggests that Iraq is in any way capable of getting itself to the point where it’s socially, economically, and politically stable enough so that “Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed.”

And, for a candidate who’s building a large part of his candidacy on the fact that he’s more savvy in the military and foreign affairs arenas than the other candidates, the fact that Senator McCain would imply that the situation in Iraq is in any way comparable to the situations in those other countries, causes me to seriously question his foreign policy judgment.

The 300 Project: 16/91

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1 Comment »

  1. A few other points are worth noting to distinguish Iraq from South Korea and Japan. In Japan, our presence was initially as a conquerer (like Iraq), but US troops (let alone US civilians) rarely, if ever, saw any violence directed at them; moreover, from shortly after the insertion of US troops onto Japanese soil, the Japanese wanted us their and wanted us to stay, in large part to limit Japan’s need for an active military as many Japanese saw such a military as a prime cause for their involvement in WWII. Furthermore, as the Cold War developed, our presence in Japan was scene as a deterrent both to the USSR and to China. In South Korea, our initial presence was not as an occupying force, but rather, as a force that came to the aid of an ally (much as we came to the aid of Kuwait in the first Gulf War). Since the end of the Korean War (I know, I know — the Korean “Police Action”), the South Koreans have wanted us to remain as a deterrent to invasion by North Korea. Thus, in neither Japan nor South Korea has US presence involved efforts to stop internal conflicts, especially religious- or ethnic-based internal conflict and, in both cases, our continued presence was (is?) in large part a deterrent to outside aggression against allies. Thus, to the extent that we remain in Iraq to deter Iranian aggression against Iraq, then there may be an analogy to Japan and South Korea, but so long as the Iraqis don’t really want us there and so long as our mission involves quelling sectarian or ethnic violence then neither South Korea nor Japan is a valid comparison.

    Comment by Michael Wallack — May 7, 2008 @ 2:56 pm | Reply


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