Did John McCain say we should be in Iraq for 100 years? Not really. Charles Krauthammer has the goods:
Asked at a New Hampshire campaign stop about possibly staying in Iraq 50 years, John McCain interrupted -- "Make it a hundred" -- then offered a precise analogy to what he envisioned: "We've been in Japan for 60 years. We've been in South Korea for 50 years or so." Lest anyone think he was talking about prolonged war-fighting rather than maintaining a presence in postwar Iraq, he explained: "That would be fine with me, as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed."
And lest anyone persist in thinking he was talking about war-fighting, he told his questioner: "It's fine with me and I hope it would be fine with you if we maintained a presence in a very volatile part of the world."
What McCain clearly meant is he'd have no problem with a military presence in Iraq similar to what we have in Germany, Philippines, Okinawa, South Korea, etc. But that's not how some are portraying it:
-- "He (McCain) says that he is willing to send our troops into another 100 years of war in Iraq" (Barack Obama, Feb. 19).
-- "We are bogged down in a war that John McCain now suggests might go on for another 100 years" (Obama, Feb. 26).
-- "He's (McCain) willing to keep this war going for 100 years" (Hillary Clinton, March 17).
-- "What date between now and the election in November will he (McCain) drop this promise of a 100-year war in Iraq?" (Chris Matthews, March 4).
Why, even a CNN anchor (Rick Sanchez) buys it: "John McCain is telling us ... that we need to win even if it takes 100 years" (March 16).
Big difference between military presence and war. Krauthammer concludes:
The Annenberg Political Fact Check, a nonprofit and nonpartisan project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, says: "It's a rank falsehood for the DNC to accuse McCain of wanting to wage 'endless war' based on his support for a presence in Iraq something like the U.S. role in South Korea."
The Democrats are undeterred. "It's seldom you get such a clean shot," a senior Obama adviser told Politico. It's seldom that you see such a dirty lie.