It’s about time

Media outlets (scroll), political news sites, and other publications are starting to call out Barack Obama on his “McCain wants us in Iraq 100 years” lie – one of the most blatant he’s told this year.

Here’s what Fact Check had to say about the assertions being made about McCain’s “100 years in Iraq remark.” They’re taking on the DNC’s spin of McCain’s comments, but I should point out that what the DNC has been saying is what Obama has said, too:

The DNC’s message portrays McCain as bent on fighting an “endless” war in Iraq.

DNC: We can’t afford four more years with a President who fights an endless war in Iraq. … On the war, McCain scoffed at Bush’s call to leave troops in Iraq for 50 years, saying “Make it a hundred!”

That of course is a serious distortion of what McCain actually said to a town-hall meeting in New Hampshire back on Jan. 3. His actual words are posted in a video on YouTube. Far from advocating “endless war,” he said the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq would be “fine with me” provided that they’re not being killed or wounded. Here’s the full quote:

McCain, Jan. 3: “Make it a hundred. … We’ve been in Japan for 60 years. We’ve been in South Korea for 50 years or so. That would be fine with me, as long as American, as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed. 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 where al Qaeda is training, recruiting and equipping and motivating people every single day.”

It should be noted that both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, despite their frequent talk of withdrawing from Iraq, have said repeatedly that they would maintain at least some troops in a combat role in Iraq for some time, possibly their entire term of office.

There’s little doubt that McCain is less eager than either Clinton or Obama to bring troops home without further suppression of insurgent attacks. But 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.

Even Obama himself hinted here that he knows he’s not being honest:

In a back and forth at today’s press conference, Obama insisted he was not taking out of context McCain’s comments about keeping troops in Iraq for 100 years. Asked if his attack was disingenous, Obama had the following to say:

“I don’t think it’s unfair at all,” Obama said. “John McCain, I mean, we can run the YouTube spot, has said that we will stay there as long as it takes. And if it takes another 100 years, he’s up for that commitment and that implies that there is some criteria by which we would understand how long it takes.

“John McCain has not been clear about what exactly would lead him to decide it’s time to pull out. And so, you know, the problem that we’ve had both with John McCain and George Bush is that there’s no clear definition of success. There never was, and that’s why this has been such a profound strategic error. And you know, I think it is entirely fair to suggest that unless he’s got some criteria where by, at some point, we would be able to pull out our troops. For him to argue that, which he has repeatedly, that any suggestion that we withdraw troops is surrender. That implies that we will be there as long as he thinks it’s necessary for us to be there.”

Obama was told that McCain had said the presence would be similar to what the United States had done with Germany and Japan in World War II. Obama seemed to agree with that notion but pointed to the costs of the war as a reason to avoid that type of engagement.

“Well we’ve been in South Korea for for 50 years,” Obama said, “and he’s used that as an example as George Bush has. And that is decades, and we’re spending $10 billion a month in Iraq right now, which means that John McCain is willing to sign up for the prospect of spending as much as $150 billion or more each year for who knows how long. That is something that the US can’t afford, and I think that is going to be a debate we are going to have in the general election should I be the nominee.”

So when Barack Obama asserts that McCain is “… the one who wants to keep tens of thousands of United States troops in Iraq for as long as 100 years,” ” he is flat out knowingly lying. And he’s doing it because he knows the sentiment in this country doesn’t favor us staying in Iraq with a heavy troop presence long term. That fact makes his demagoguery of McCain’s comments all the more disgraceful.

Barack Obama: Politics as usual you can believe in.

BTW, let’s also not forget that Barack Obama’s chief military adviser and former Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Tony McPeak said the same thing five years ago about staying in Iraq – and he was against the war. This is something I hope the mediots will eventually call Obama on. Hopefully McCain will call him on it, too.

Update: Hopefully this is changing.

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