Reuters ignored McCain's inconsistency about need for Korea-like troop presence in Iraq

››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

Reuters reported that Sen. John McCain "says the United States must stay in Iraq ... and remain there in some fashion in the years ahead as peacekeepers, much like U.S. troops have done in South Korea and Japan for decades," but it did not mention that McCain has been inconsistent on the need for a Korea-like troop presence in Iraq.

In an April 14 article, Reuters reporter Steve Holland wrote that Sen. John McCain "says the United States must stay in Iraq to help democracy take hold in the Middle East and remain there in some fashion in the years ahead as peacekeepers, much like U.S. troops have done in South Korea and Japan for decades." However, the article did not note that McCain has also previously dismissed the need for a Korea-like troop presence in Iraq. As Media Matters for America noted, on the November 27, 2007, edition of PBS' Charlie Rose, McCain was asked by Rose if South Korea "is an analogy of where Iraq might be ... in terms of an American presence over the next, say, 20, 25 years, that we will have a significant amount of troops there." McCain replied, "I don't think so." Rose then asked: "Even if there are no casualties?" McCain replied, "No. But I can see an American presence for a while. But eventually I think because of the nature of the society in Iraq and the religious aspects of it that America eventually withdraws."

By contrast, during a January 3 town hall meeting in Derry, New Hampshire, a participant said to McCain: "President Bush has talked about our staying in Iraq for 50 years -- ." McCain interjected: "Maybe a hundred. We've been in South Korea; we've been in Japan for 60 years. We've been in South Korea for 50 years or so. That'd be fine with me as long as Americans -- as long as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed, then it's fine with me. I hope it would be fine with you if we maintain a presence in a very volatile part of the world where Al Qaeda is training, recruiting, and equipping, and motivating people every single day."

As Media Matters has documented, the media have frequently reported on McCain's attacks against Democrats for purportedly misrepresenting his January 3 remarks without noting McCain's inconsistency on the need for a Korea-like troop presence in Iraq.

From the April 14 Reuters article:

At a time when his Democratic rivals are promising a way out of Iraq, McCain is adhering to a long-held view that the United States is in a war against radical Islamic extremists and that a central battle in that conflict is in Iraq.

He says the United States must stay in Iraq to help democracy take hold in the Middle East and remain there in some fashion in the years ahead as peacekeepers, much like U.S. troops have done in South Korea and Japan for decades.

Now that a troop increase in Iraq that he had recommended has improved security, more Americans are with him and willing to be more patient, he believes.

"A significant number of Americans believe we should come home with honor, not with disgrace and genocide," he told reporters on his campaign bus recently.

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy, War in Iraq
Network/Outlet
Reuters
Stories/Interests
John McCain, 2008 Elections
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