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One Story, Three Ways: the Candidates on McCain's "100 Years" Comment

One Story, Three Ways: the Candidates on McCain's "100 Years" Comment

Presidential candidate John McCain was on Larry King last night, and the subject of his controversial comment about the future of US involvement in Iraq came up. I'm sure you've heard it — John McCain's "famous 100 years statement." Every campaign has referred to it (some almost constantly) with varying degrees of . . . context? You be the judge. Here's the original statement, as delivered:

I'm sure just watching the video unleashes a pretty passionate response of your own. To see how the candidates are interpreting the statement for themselves,


Barack Obama said this in his speech following his victories in last Tuesday's Potomac Primaries:

When I am the nominee, I will offer a clear choice. John McCain won't be able to say that I ever supported this war in Iraq, because I opposed it from the beginning. Senator McCain said the other day that we might be mired for a hundred years in Iraq, which is reason enough to not give him four years in the White House.

Hillary Clinton said this at the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner last week:

Voters certainly won’t have any problems seeing the differences. Senator McCain wants to keep troops in Iraq for 50-100 years. I will start bringing them home within 60 days of becoming president of our country.

I don't know about you, but I find the words "wants to" and "mired" are pretty . . . interperative? Value-laden? Out of context?

Here's John McCain's explanation to Larry King:

It's not a matter of how long we're in Iraq; it's if we succeed or not. And both Sen. Obama and Clinton want to set a date for withdrawal — that means chaos, that means genocide, that means undoing all the success we've achieved and al-Qaeda tells the world they defeated the United States of America. I won't let that happen.

What do you think? Was McCain's original statement a poor choice of words? Is it proof that he's a war-mongering business-as-usualler? Or is it a realistic look at the aftermath of foreign involvement run amock?

Join The Conversation
trésjolie1 trésjolie1 9 years
A fair point wackdoodle. But if you look at deployment on this scale I would like to balance those numbers by the fact that we have 950 soldiers in Belgium, 310 soldiers in Greece, 110 soldiers in Australia and 73 soldiers deployed in Norway, and so on. I wouldn't say that they are ruling or in control of those countries. U.S. troops in former Yugoslavia are not in charge of the area, the UN is.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 9 years
The US does still in fact have troops stationed in Bosnia - 413 military personnel stationed there. And 151 stationed in Kosovo. And 117 in Slovakia. 650 in the Czech Republic. The troops in Bosnia and Kosovo are part of the Nato stabilization forces - the others are not. All of this info is readily available and up to date per the Defense Department - and can be found here On, this site will tell you darn near everything from how many missiles we have to where our carriers are, to when an incursion begin and ended and how many troops remain after the fact and whether they are at a military base or "otherwise engaged". It will also give you some idea if if have BlackOps situations occurring.
sweetrae80 sweetrae80 9 years
Hillary will begin to bring the troops home in 60 days- that means that literally a handful of troops could leave every in 60 days. I don't think that her statement means that ALL of the troops would be brought home in 60 days. I think that Hillary would keep the troops there longer than Barack; but I think that both would have a very gradual withdrawal. I think that both of the Dem candidates still have an interest in an American presence in Iraq, just as McCain does. I just think that the Dem candidates are careful not to use words like "occupancy" and "Empire" when they are describing their visions for our future in Iraq.
CitizenSugar CitizenSugar 9 years
Hi guys! This is definitely an subject people feel very strongly about--but let's try to keep opinions directed at topics instead of each other. Thanks! Have a great weekend :)
trésjolie1 trésjolie1 9 years
Yes Verily, you read it right, I said nothing of abandoning our overseas bases. I enjoy discussion, with conservatives and democrats alike, but I find it hard to respond to your comment, kh61582.
peepshow peepshow 9 years
"As president, one of Hillary's first official actions would be to convene the Joint Chiefs of Staff, her Secretary of Defense, and her National Security Council. She would direct them to draw up a clear, viable plan to bring our troops home starting with the first 60 days of her Administration. " That's from
peepshow peepshow 9 years
Whoops- sorry kids, the computer's a little slow and I'm not patient.
peepshow peepshow 9 years
All troops out in 60 days... it's absolutely impossible logistically. Anyway- From my understanding-they've said they want a PLAN for troop withdrawal in 60 days. The 'plan' could be, pull out 100 at a time over the next 10, 20, 30 years.
verily verily 9 years
I am apparently not reading the same comments as you, kh61582. I do not see tresjolie suggesting at all that she wants the US to abandon all of our bases. No one has said they will get all the troops out in 60 days. Hillary Clinton stated that she will BEGIN pulling out troops within 60 days of being elected at a projected rate of one to two brigades a month. That's hardly a sudden pullout. Please get your facts straight before flaming others.
kh61582 kh61582 9 years
Tresjolie the problem is with people like you. You would have us abandon all our bases in other countries. It is in our nations interest to keep up a presence. It's called being an Empire and there's nothing wrong with that. It's called being a powerful nation and if Osama or Hilary get into office our strength in the world will diminish quite a bit. And yes, your candidates have absolutely said they will get troops out within 60 days but I would be very surprised if they actually did it. Also, you and others like you need to understand that the U.N. is a corrupt and completely useless organization. All they would ever have us do is talk talk talk. It would be wonderful if talking could accomplish everything but sometimes all it does is buy your enemies time.
trésjolie1 trésjolie1 9 years
Nobody has said we will be out in 60 days.
trésjolie1 trésjolie1 9 years
The U.S. have troops in Germany and South Korea not because the countries are unstable but because is serves our military. They are now used as fueling stations and intelligence offices etc., and if there were any altercations with for instance Russia, North Korea or China they would be upgraded and used as missile stations and air bases intended for war use. If you are to use this as an example to voters then you should be upfront with what you are talking about, since most American have very limited knowledge about what precisely their military does abroad. There are no U.S. troops in Bosnia; there are U.N. troops mainly in Serbia, and they govern the area Kosovo. Kosovo is a region that now is pressing it's own independence with more support than ever, and hopefully they'll get a status as their own country soon. Kosovo albanians are not a slavic people unlike Serbia (and Slovenia, Poland, Slovakia, Russia and so on), and have been severely suppressed and victim of ethnic cleansing for decades and especially under the Slobodan Milocevic regime in the nineties. To make the situation more complicated there are still a lot of Serbians living in the Kosovo area, and they are very vulnerable to hate crimes and ethnic cleansing themselves as revenge for what happened to the Kosovo Albanians. Which is why the U.N. are protecting both sides. In Serbia there is a long tradition of negative nationalism, supported by Russia who have fiercely dismissed any formation of a Kosovan state. The EU and the UN is mostly in favor of a further slit up the Balkans, and give the Kosovo Albanians their own country borders. Again, U.N. not U.S. troops. Now I think both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama is pushing for extensive presence of UN on permanent basis in Iraq, while removing our combating troops safely. The biggest problem we are currently facing in Iraq is that more soldiers are needed every minute, but there are none left, so they extend the period of time they are out in the field from 6 months to 9 months or more and ship them out over and over again. To say there have been a slowdown in recruiting in the military is an understatement, and we are working the troops that do survive to the absolute extreme. There seems to be two choices; one is to leave Iraq responsibly, the other is to issue a draft. Which one do you want?
jvpdc jvpdc 9 years
Senator McCain is the one being realistic, and the one acknowledging the real challeneges we face and potential consequences if we don't face up. It was clearly an off-handed comment he probably regrets, but the sentiment is a reality. And for Barrack Obama to say Senator McCain wants to be "mired" for 100 years means he doesn't listen, or he only hears what he wants to hear. I thought he was going to change the way politics and Washington operate? Doesn't seem like he's doing that in this case.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 9 years
And? We are not even fully out of Bosnia so what's the big deal here. We never completely pulled out of Germany after WW2 and as he said we never left Japan after WW2 either. This is not new. What is new is that the US was the aggressor in the matter and now has to deal with the lasting and dirty repressions being vilified instead of as a hero like in the past. I was thinking about something similar thing morning walking to work. I saw a bumper sticker that said "bring the troops home now - everyone out of Iraq!" And I thought what if every coalition force just pulled out of Iraq now, what would happen to the women, children and men who have no weapons, no military, no stable police force and no way of protecting their own country from other old adversaries. Kuwait would invade Iraq as would Iran and probably Syria and every other opportunist country there would rape and pillage the land, its resources and people. And it would be our fault. We started this mess, we created a group of people who both hate us but need us for protection and survival and we would truly be tyrants if we abandon them without any protection. We should however step back and let them establish whatever type of government they wish to establish regardless of whether we approve or not. If Iraq can establish a stable government and self govern, establish its own military and protect itself again them with get out. But we cannot be making the decisions for them and telling them what and how to do it - when we f*ed it up to begin with.
JovianSkies JovianSkies 9 years
It's more realistic than saying that we'll be out of there in 60 days, that's for sure.
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