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The Boston Globe

Opinion

JEFF JACOBY

The world has lost respect for the US

DEMOCRATS JEERED when John McCain told a New Hampshire audience during the 2008 presidential campaign that he would be glad to see US troops remain in Iraq for decades, even a century, once the war was over. “We’ve been in Japan for 60 years [and] in South Korea for 50 years,” he said. A similar long-term stay in a postwar Iraq, buttressing allies and providing stability in a volatile region, would “be fine with me as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed.”

McCain’s political foes had a field day with that. Though he had plainly been speaking of a friendly peacetime presence, Democrats hammered him as an insatiable warmonger. Then-Senator Barack Obama claimed the Arizona Republican was “willing to send our troops into another 100 years of war in Iraq.” Howard Dean, the Democratic Party chairman, declared: “McCain’s strategy is a war without end.” In a TV ad aired by MoveOn.org, a new mother, playing with her baby boy, told McCain that if he was counting on using her little Alex as cannon fodder in Iraq, “you can’t have him.”

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