100 YEARS….Matt Lauer asked John McCain this morning if he now had a better idea of when U.S. troops could come home from Iraq. “No,” McCain said, “but that’s not too important.”

100 years redux? Actually, yes, because McCain said exactly the same thing he said the last time he got in hot water over this: he’s OK with keeping troops in Iraq forever as long as it becomes as peaceful as garrison duty in Okinawa or Germany. Unfortunately, in typical McCain style, that’s where he stops. He never explains how Iraq is going to be fully pacified when a large and growing majority of its residents are outraged at the idea of a long-term U.S. presence. He just doesn’t get the Catch-22: he wants Iraq to become Okinawa Jr., but as long as we’re there the violence is never going to stop and Iraq will stay Iraq. Casualties will never be reduced to zero.

And there’s a broader question anyway: even if casualties did drop to zero, would we really want a long-term neocolonial presence in Iraq anyway? Why? To protect the oil? That was pumping just fine before we were there. To fight al-Qaeda? They’re in Pakistan. To ensure a presence in the area? We already have bases in Afghanistan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and elsewhere. How the hell many do we need?

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