McCain’s 100 Years Comment: Not a One-Time Gaffe

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Part of the Republican pushback on McCain’s 100 years comment are claims that McCain simply misspoke or is being taken out of context. That’s ludicrous. Here’s video of the moment — he takes the time to elaborate on why he thinks a 100-year long occupation is acceptable. He was given an opportunity to walk his comment back by our David Corn immediately after this event; instead, he said he is okay with troops in Iraq for “a thousand years” or “a million years.”

And he has said some version of this over and over; the instance above is just the most famous example. Here are some others:

McCain on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” 1/06/08: “We’ve got to get Americans off the front line, have the Iraqis as part of the strategy, take over more and more of the responsibilities. And then I don’t think Americans are concerned if we’re there for 100 years or 1,000 years or 10,000 years.

McCain at a Florida town hall event, 01/26/08: “I’d like to look you in the eye and tell you there’s not gonna be any more wars. I’d like to look you in the eyes and tell you that this terrible evil called radical Islamic extremism is defeated. I can’t do that. I’ve got to tell you that we’re gonna be in this struggle for the rest of this century because it’s a transcendent evil.”

McCain in a New Hampshire speech, 1/7/08: “We are in two wars. We are in a greater struggle that is going to be with us for the rest of this century… These young people that are in this crowd, my friends, I’m going to be asking you to serve. I’m gonna be asking you to step forward and serve this nation in difficult times.”

McCain to the Detroit News, 1/3/08: “We’re still in Kuwait since the first Gulf War. If we can continue to show this progress, we could be there for 100 years, for all I know, as long as Americans are not dying. It’s not a matter of American presence; it’s a matter of success so we can beat back this adversary.”

So if you have any Republican friends who dismiss the significance of the “100 years” comment, tell them that it is a fundamental part of John McCain’s foreign policy world view. It is naive, dangerous, imperialistic, and militaristic. And we’ve seen where eight years of that has gotten us.

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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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