I don’t know what to make of this exactly, but John McCain had a sane position on the Iraq War before he got all Alexander the Great on us and came out in favor of a 100 year occupation of the Middle East.
Here’s McCain on MSNBC in January 2005:
“I would hope that we could bring them all home,” he said on MSNBC. “I would hope that we would probably leave some military advisers, as we have in other countries, to help them with their training and equipment and that kind of stuff.”
Host Chris Matthews pressed McCain on the issue. “You’ve heard the ideological argument to keep U.S. forces in the Middle East. I’ve heard it from the hawks. They say, keep United States military presence in the Middle East, like we have with the 7th Fleet in Asia. We have the German…the South Korean component. Do you think we could get along without it?”
McCain held fast, rejecting the very policy he urges today. “I not only think we could get along without it, but I think one of our big problems has been the fact that many Iraqis resent American military presence,” he responded. “And I don’t pretend to know exactly Iraqi public opinion. But as soon as we can reduce our visibility as much as possible, the better I think it is going to be.”
And here he is repeating his opposition to a long-term occupation in November 2007 (video):
When Bush announced the surge in January 2007, McCain wanted to add even more troops than the President. It seems that back then he wanted to aggressively pursue victory in Iraq and then get out of the country. That didn’t make sense to most Americans at the time, if you look at the polling, because it was pretty clear the United States military didn’t have a definition of victory and that peace wasn’t going to be delivered to Iraq by putting more American guns in the country. But at least McCain saw an end to the conflict somewhere on the horizon. Now he wants a costly and probably unproductive occupation that lasts essentially forever.
Conclusion: McCain is not just overly militaristic, he’s getting more militaristic as the decade goes on!