Just when I thought I was getting sick of writing about the events of the primary season, a class assignment recharges my enthusiasm. So, for the first time, cross-posted from class.

Over at Firedoglake, Jane Hamsher says that Senator Joe Lieberman has stabbed Barack Obama in the back. Lieberman recently appeared on Fox News and discussed those two words that have come back to haunt John McCain, “100 years.” Says Lieberman:

If we did what Sen. Obama wanted us to do last year, Al-Qaeda in Iran would be in control of Iraq today. The whole Middle East would be in turmoil and American security and credibility would be jeopardized.

On the specific question of the 100 years, I think that’s an unfortunate example of the way Sen. Obama has used it, of playing political gotcha with a national security question.

Hamsher does not much appreciate Lieberman speaking out against a fellow Democrat, and makes it pretty clear:

This is gold for McCain, having “liberal, bipartisan Democrat Joe Lieberman” standing by his side, trashing Obama on experience and national security credentials.”

For the longest of time, I have considered McCain’s “100 years” statement to be taken out of context. So does McCain, because he’s gone back to clarify the comments. He has explained that he sees a presence in Iraq lasting long after the majority of operations have ended there.

A presence.

Like the one we have in Germany, or in Japan, or in South Korea. You know, in all those places that we have gone to fought over the last 100 years. I know the reason why we have maintained a presence there: stability. Who wouldn’t want to make sure Germany didn’t return to Nazi control after 1945, or make sure Japan didn’t continue fighting after their surrender?

Now, I would argue that a place like Germany or Japan no longer needs our presence. On one hand, I know in the case of Japan, their constitution bars the formation of a military. Yet, I think the time has been long past where these countries are a threat to the U.S.

Likewise, Iraq will need a presence after major military operations are over, if that’s ever the case. Assuming the extremists can be weeded out, and assuming the government of Iraq gets off their kiesters and starts taking control of their country (both huge assumptions), most of our people can be taken out. However, to ensure that someone like Iran is not going to immediately invade, we’ll need some kind of presence there. Whether we’ll actually need 100 years or not is the question that must be asked, but it isn’t one that can be academically debated, I think. However, once the U.S. government sees that things will remain relatively stable, then I think it will be time to fully remove our forces from the country.

So, McCain is not referring to 100 years of the continued military presence and operation we’ve been seeing for the past five years. He refers to ensuring stability, and I think it will be needed. Perhaps it will not take 100 years, but I think it will take several years.

That Obama keeps playing on the “100 years” statement is smart in some ways, and annoying in others. It’s a good way to pull in those who are sick of the war. On the other hand, it smells of the old and dirty politics that everybody hates in this election cycle. The kind of tactics the mainstream media keeps linking with the likes of Hillary Clinton or Karl Rove. Yet, because it’s Obama, he seems to get a pass on it.

Obama has shown he is better than that. It’s all right to question your opponent on something they have said, but to keep bringing it up is annoying to me.

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