This is stunning stuff. Having convinced a swathe of the press that it was unfair of Democrats to accurately quote McCain as saying he had no problem with American troops being in Iraq for 100 years, he's now back saying it's "not too important" whether or not our troops ever leave Iraq:
Not to put too fine a point on it, but it seems important to Iraqis:
"The Americans are making demands that would lead to the colonization of Iraq," said Sami al-Askari, a senior Shiite politician on parliament's foreign relations committee who is close to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. "If we can't reach a fair agreement, many people think we should say, 'Goodbye, U.S. troops. We don't need you here anymore.' "
And those are the friendly ones, opposition Iraqi politicians have even stronger feelings. Given Iraqi sentiment about this topic, McCain's vision of a long-time but utterly peaceful presence since extremely difficult to realize. It's just really, really, really hard to station your troops where they're not wanted. Meanwhile, amidst his analogies to South Korea and Germany, McCain seems to be missing the part where he explains why making permanent bases our key war aim is a good idea. We maintained our garrison in West Germany because of the Warsaw Pact across the border and you can't understand why our troops are in South Korea without thinking about North Korea.
But what are they going to be doing in Iraq? Fighting Iran? That seems like a recipe for ensuring that Iraq never becomes peaceful and stable, since if our goal in Iraq is to create a platform for anti-Iranian activities then the Iranians would seem to have no choice but to stir up as much trouble as possible.