When it comes to getting U.S. troops out of Iraq, Sen. John McCain was for the idea before he was against it.Although McSame has criticized Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for advocating troop withdrawals from Iraq, even in the absence of a clear U.S. “victory” (he decried it as a “failure of leadership”), he himself has endorsed curtailing the U.S. occupation there. As Think Progress reported last November:
Three years before the Arizona Republican argued on the campaign trail that U.S. forces could be in Iraq for 100 years in the absence of violence, he decried the very concept of a long-term troop presence.
In fact, when asked specifically if he thought the U.S. military should set up shop in Iraq along the lines of what has been established in post-WWII Germany or Japan--something McCain has repeatedly advocated during the campaign--the senator offered nothing short of a categorical “no.”
“I would hope that we could bring them all home,” he said on MSNBC. “I would hope that we would probably leave some military advisers, as we have in other countries, to help them with their training and equipment and that kind of stuff.”
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has long supported a 50-year troop presence in Iraq--or the “South Korea model”--set forth by President Bush and Gen. Petraeus. “We have had troops in South Korea for 60 years and nobody minds,” he said in June. On the Charlie Rose Show in August, McCain said the Korea model was “exactly” the right idea.Think Progress has the video here.
Yesterday on Charlie Rose, McCain changed his position, arguing that the Korea-like presence is not an “analogy” he would use for Iraq. Recognizing the “nature of the society in Iraq,” McCain suggested that Iraqi opposition to a permanent U.S. occupation may make the South Korea model implausible:
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.
UPDATE: Does it surprise anybody to learn that McCain can’t even keep his story straight on whether or not he approved of Bush’s silly banner proclaiming “Mission Accomplished” in Iraq five years ago? It shouldn’t.
READ MORE: “McCain Flip-flopped Four Times on Iraq Regarding Staying 100 Years,” by John Aravosis (AMERICAblog); “McCain Is the Right’s Trojan Horse,” by Arianna Huffington (The Huffington Post).