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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Obama gets "two Pinocchios" from the WaPo

Hillary picked up four of them for her Tuzla lie and now the WaPo bestows two on Obama for the "McCain wants a 100 year war in Iraq" distortion:

You know, John McCain wants to continue a war in Iraq perhaps as long as 100 years."--Sen. Barack Obama, Lancaster, PA, Town Hall meeting, March 31, 2008.

The charge that John McCain wants to wage a "100-year war" in Iraq has become a recurring theme of the Obama campaign. The candidate has made the claim several times on the campaign trail, as has Susan Rice, one of his top foreign policy advisers. McCain has never talked about wanting a 100-year war in Iraq. But he has talked about a prolonged U.S. military presence in Iraq, similar to the stationing of U.S. troops in Germany after World War II or in Korea after the Korean war.

Take a look at what McCain actually said in Derry, N.H., back in January. Cutting off a questioner who talked about the Bush administration's willingness to keep troops in Iraq for 50 years, McCain said "Make it a hundred." He then mentioned that U.S. troops had been in Germany for 60 years and in Korea for 50 years, and added, "That's fine with me as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed." [editor's note -- transcript added for context]

Questioner: President Bush has talked about our staying in Iraq for fifty years…
McCain: Maybe a hundred. Make it one hundred. We’ve been in South Korea, we’ve been in Japan for sixty years. We’ve been in South Korea for fifty years or so. That’d be fine with me as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed. Then it’s fine with me. I would hope it would be fine with you if we maintain a presence in a very volatile part of the world where Al Qaeda is training, recruiting, equipping and motivating people every single day.

Democrats seized on McCain's remarks. At one time or another, both Obama and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton have said that the presumptive Republican nominee is willing to fight a 100-year war in Iraq. When challenged about this claim on Monday, Obama referred journalists to the YouTube version of the Derry Townhall meeting. But the YouTube clip does not back up his case.

Whether the war in Iraq is actually winnable is a separate question. But there is a difference between fighting a war and occupying a country. World War II lasted for nearly six years (3 1/2 years in the case of the U.S.), but there is still a significant U.S. troop presence in Germany.
Actually, McCain has not been entirely consistent on his thoughts about a long-term U.S. military occupation of Iraq.
Interviewed on the Charlie Rose show last November, he rejected the Korea/Germany analogy.

ROSE: Do you think that this -- Korea, South Korea is an analogy of where Iraq might be, not in terms of their economic success but in terms of an American presence over the next, say, 20, 25 years, that we will have a significant amount of troops there?

MCCAIN: I don't think so.

ROSE: Even if there are no casualties?

MCCAIN: No. But I can see an American presence for a while. But eventually I think because of the nature of the society in Iraq and the religious aspects of it that America eventually withdraws.

A more honest line of attack for the Democrats against McCain would be his support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, whether or not he has a clear strategy for winning the war, and the feasibility of a long-term occupation of a Muslim country by the United States. Instead of attacking him on these grounds, they have twisted his words, by claiming that he "wants" to fight a 100-year war.

Simply put, Obama and his surrogates aren't being intellectually-honest. Now he's backed off the idea of staying in Iraq for a long time, but he still stands firm on the fact we need a presence in Iraq to help ensure that radical Islam doesn't use Iraq as a base of operations. Barack and Hillary have both stated they'd leave Iraq, and begin such a withdrawal as soon as they entered office. This isn't a smart move, given the success of the surge.

The WaPo isn't being honest about what sort of strategy McCain has. He was in favor of the influx of troops for the surge, and he'd be willing to send in more if things started to take a wrong turn. He plans on staying on offense rather than defense. We were attacked on 11 September by al Qaeda, and radical Islam has set it's sights on trying to force us to run from Iraq. That doesn't appear to be happening anytime soon. McCain won't prosecute this war the way Bill Clinton did (by treating acts of war and aggression as law enforcement matters), nor will he turn a blind eye to our enemies.

Good for the WaPo in taking on those that choose to distort the record of what was said. The rest of the media refuses to address this, and they give Barack Obama a pass every time he or his surrogates speak of it. At least someone has the intellectual honesty to confront the truth.

Publius II


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