February 15th, 2008
09:15 AM ET
13 years ago

McCain defends '100 years in Iraq' statement

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/POLITICS/02/14/mccain.king/art.mccain.cnn.jpg caption="Sen. John McCain discussed his presidential candidacy with CNN's Larry King."] WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican presidential front-runner Sen. John McCain on Thursday defended his statement that U.S. troops could spend "maybe 100" years in Iraq - saying he was referring to a military presence similar to what the nation already has in places like Japan, Germany and South Korea.

This week, Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama both took McCain to task for the comments, saying that if he's elected he would continue what they call President Bush's failed policies in Iraq.

"It's not a matter of how long we're in Iraq, it's if we succeed or not," McCain said to CNN's Larry King.

"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."

Full story

Filed under: Iraq • John McCain
soundoff (74 Responses)
  1. Jordan

    10,000 years .. 10,000 years .. 10,000 years

    February 15, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  2. Tom Pistelli

    I watched him on Larry King last night and has seemed to struggle a bit...is this who we want to represent us on the world stage? I really don't think so. I look as his failed policies and pro-immigration stance...it's sickening! What reason do we have to remain in Iraq? No WMD's were ever found, Saddam is dead...I'm sorry, but why are we there?

    February 15, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  3. Patty

    I think people need to quit making more out of McCains statement of 100 years in Iraq. What he is trying to say is we will have some form of military in Iraq like we do in alot of other countries. It was a figure of speech and now people are taking it literally.
    We have military in pretty much all the countries we have helped and fought wars in.
    Maybe if more young people or those who have never been in the military were to go into the armed services they might understand more!
    McCain is your best bet if you want a safe USA.

    February 15, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  4. Sal in Phoenix

    The republicans would rather spend billions on a horrible war they started, and spend more American lives in this war than to put that money to good use in the USA.

    February 15, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  5. Mitch

    Wow, we got a lot of bleeding-hearts here!

    Now why would we want to leave a perfectly good military base in a foreign country when it could come as an advantage in a future conflict? Let’s look reality in the face people; as much as you disapprove, there will be more wars and conflicts in the future whether it is them or us that starts them. "Bringing them all home" would damage our national security tremendously. Don't be so naive, the reason they hate us is because we're the cocky elitist at the top and everybody wants to knock off the guy on top. Bringing all the troops home would just make it that much easier for them to do so.

    I know that you liberals are very smart, sensitive, and intellectual people, but don't let your emotions cloud your logic.

    February 15, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  6. Wildcard

    The problem with Iraq was our attempt to make it into a "capitalist paradise". We went in there and tried to sell off their entire country to private foreign multi-national corporations and Fired everyone who had a job. They expected that the "shock and awe" would create the perfect opportunity to show how "great" a country would be if everything was privatized. Well...they completely misread the people. You can't sell off everything in a country to foreigners and kick everyone out of their jobs and not expect there to be a backlash. Of course people started joining the insurgents. What did they expect them to do? Sit home with their thumbs up their "you-know-what"? Nothing will change in Iraq until we allow the Iraqi people to have their country back.

    February 15, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  7. mike

    1st off I am in Iraq, and as much as I hate it, at least McCain will let us finish this job here. pull out too soon and this will all be for nothing. How about getting all these politicians out of this war and let the Generals run it and finish it! At least with McCain we have that.
    Oh yeah for all of you that didn't Know, McCain has a son in the Marines that just finished another rotation, so yes he would send his own children to fight this war.
    we need the iraqis to stand up .. yes you are right. have you any idea how long we train our soldiers? at least 4 months training for an infantry private.. another 2 to 3 years for an NCO. and you expect these iraqi's to put togeather an army overnight right?

    February 15, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  8. Mike - Iowa

    Show me a winner that quit something. My father raised me to never quit somehting. There is more saitisfaction out completeing something and not getting it absolutely right then there is by quiting. How can you hold your head up if when things get tough you just quit.

    Quiters are Losers.

    February 15, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  9. Rob, NC

    Johnson is 100% right. We as Americans don't understand Islam and feel like its our right to force democracy on the entire world. The Middle East has been in chaos since the beginning of time and we are not going to solve their problems. Staying in Iraq will just result in more American deaths, skyrocketing deficits (especially if tax cuts remain in place), and worse economic conditions at home. McCain is stupid if he thinks Iraq can be resolved through military presence. Groups like Al-Qaeda are grooming little children for terroist activities. So, as the current terroist sects die off, there will be a new generation that takes over that will be worse because they will all be brainwashed that America is the enemy, and a continued US presence over there will perpetuate that notion.

    The Iraqi government has to start defending itself and if it can't , maybe they are better off having a Saddam like dictator running the place. Perhaps that sounds un-American, and trust me, I think he was a horrible person that deserves the fate that he got, but the fact remains that there were no WMDs and Iraq did not pose a direct threat to our homeland security. We should have been in Afghanistan like Obama says working on dismantling Al-Qaeda for good and once and for all capturing Bin Laden and his cronies.

    All Iraq has done is allow for MORE Al-Qaeda groups to sprout up and create more theaters of combat that we have to engage in and continue to push our military to the brink.

    Iraq is turning into another Vietnam every day and its time for us to realize once and for all that we made a mistake and need to get out of there. We can still have a small presence over there as we do in other places, but no more full scale occupation.

    February 15, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  10. Vince Los Angeles, CA

    NW soldier February 15th, 2008 11:15 am ET

    I have been in Iraq, I know what it looks like on the ground there. McCain is correct; if we leave we will be back. Iran will attempt to step in and the place will really become chaos. If you're a middle or lower income family supporting either of the Dem. candidates ask yourself this: How much to you think oil is going to go to if we pull out of Iraq and Iran attempts to step in

    This just shows that you (and McCain) are incapable of thinking outside the box! Why do you think the Dem candidates are heavily advocating alternative fuels?? We MUST get off of oil....PERIOD! The U.S. security is directly tied to our dependance on oil.....IN ADDITION, innovation in alternative fuels will be similar to the dotcom boom and create MILLIONS of new jobs....THAT'S WHY WE NEED CHANGE...THE SAME OLD POLITICS JUST WON'T DO!!!!

    February 15, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  11. Patty

    Those Obama folks do want to live in a fairytale like Clinton said.
    Wouldn't it be great if someone could really do all he says he can do!
    Let's see some solutions to world problems discussed by all candidates. That is what we all want to know. Who has the best format for solving our countries problems and making us strong!

    February 15, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  12. papi

    I voted for McCain eight years ago but he has long since abandoned any of his straight talk and instead has become a mouthpiece for bumbler in the White House. Even though he talks against torture he always comes to support the Torturer in Chief. How can this country afford to support another country like we support South Korea and Japan. Let's hear some straight talk about the complete mess that Bush created and McCain defended and wants to avoid making the difficult decision to get us out of.

    February 15, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  13. Nando, Florida

    MCCRAZY will be the end of us!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 15, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  14. mizzina

    Mr. John McCain. your brains is old and lack reasoning. I have watched you closely. your word "were are succeeding ..." what is it we are succeeding? dead young men and women, sons and daughter, husbands and wives, love ones? tell me. if you had been killed in Vietnam would you have claim success? let Bush and Cheney and yourself since you are such a war hero who know the tactics be on the front lines and succeed. When you went to Irag, how many of the brave soldiers has to risk their lives for you to walk around. and even that tell me if you didn't feel threatened.

    you are missing the point. these are people who don't even care of their own lives so, tell me what is the value of someone's live.

    February 15, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  15. Si Se Puede Texas

    100 year of Bombing. He is all for staying over there forever.

    Thank God we can still afford this war....I mean thank God China still lets us borrow money from them to fund this war.!!!!

    February 15, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  16. Ana in Shanghai

    I live in China. McCain is right. It will weaken America to seem to have lost the war.

    February 15, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  17. Uncle Sam

    Hillary Clinton is a wonderful legislator, Barack Obama an inspiring orator, but John McCain is a great man and the best choice to lead this country.

    February 15, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  18. wait a minute

    We need to invest in alternative energy R & D for the long term to decrease our dependence on foreign oil. You most likely drive a car and use a computer to post your comment. Look around your house and see how much you depend on electricity and oil. We don't even have a working public transportation system unless you live in a big city.

    You can't blame our governoment for fighting for our energy resources, and then you go ahead and use more energy produced from foreign oil. We just cannot have it both ways. The very existence of our forces is to protect our national interests, which is the bottom line.

    We can't change what already happened. If Iran occupies Iraq, it will take more than 4,000 American lives to calm down Middle East as Saudi Arabia doesn't like to be neighbor to Iran. Any unrest in Middle East will upset the foreign oil supply to the U.S. and many other countries.

    I like biking, and I think if the oil price goes up, we will use less oil and it's better for our environment. But do you?

    February 15, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  19. john

    just more business as usual from teh republicans. Business being war and death and and making a profit from it.

    February 15, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  20. Chris, Toledo, OH

    John McCain is destroying America.

    February 15, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  21. Uncle Sam

    Based on the posted comments, it would appear that there is tremendous denial of the global threat that terrorism presents. John McCain understands this, Joe Lieberman understand this, that's why these two staked their respective political careers on it. We underestimate this threat at our own peril. That's not fear-mongering. It's just reality. Wake up!

    February 15, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  22. The DSM IV

    McCain is a nut.

    February 15, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  23. Bruce

    Just a simple question Senator...Did the US win in Vietnam??

    February 15, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  24. Mike, Land O Lakes, FL

    Does he understand the cost of staying in Iraq for 100 years? This is the same guy who said quote "I don't undrestand Economics" I guess the answer is no!

    February 15, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
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