When asked a direct question from Matt Lauer on whether he had a better estimate on when the troops in Iraq could come home, John “100 Years in Iraq” McCain said this morning: “No. But that’s not too important.”

Oh really? My cousins are back from Iraq now but god knows how our family prayed for their safe return everyday that they were over there. And they were there a long time. Troop deployments have been extended past the normal amount to 15 months in some cases. As of Apr 2007, Time Magazine reported (emphasis mine):

The truncated training — the rush to get underprepared troops to the war zone — “is absolutely unacceptable,” says Representative John Murtha, the Pennsylvania Democrat and opponent of the war who chairs the House Appropriations defense
subcommittee. A decorated Marine veteran of Vietnam, Murtha is experiencing a sense of déjà vu. “The readiness of the Army’s ground forces is as bad as it was right after Vietnam,” Murtha tells TIME. Even Colin Powell — a retired Army general, onetime Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and Bush’s first Secretary of State — acknowledges that after spending nearly six years fighting a small war in Afghanistan and four years waging a medium-size war in Iraq, the service whose uniform he wore for 35 years is on the ropes. “The active Army,” Powell said in December, “is about broken.”

If the Army has been broken by the un-ending deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, how can John McCain say it’s not too important to bring the troops home? What about our national defense and “homeland security” which, if you believe Colin Powell, is at serious risk?

The majority of Americans want the ill-considered, unnecessary and Treasury-draining war to end. Too many families are struggling with loved ones deployed in harm’s way for too long. African-Americans serve at disproportionate levels in the Armed Forces and so this impacts our community even more. Write in the comments if you know someone personally whose been sent over there or had a relative sent to Iraq. And let us know if they came back and under what conditions. My first cousin told me that her daughter, my second cousin, was forced to suspend a successful career when called by the Navy Reserve, passed out from heat exhaustion in Iraq and also had to take her gun with her everywhere — even to the bathroom.

Even the Iraqis don’t want the US to be in Iraq for 100 years:

“High-level negotiations over the future role of the U.S. military in Iraq have turned into an increasingly acrimonious public debate, with Iraqi politicians denouncing what they say are U.S. demands to maintain nearly 60 bases in their country indefinitely. . . . ‘The Americans are making demands that would lead to the colonization of Iraq,’ said Sami al-Askari, a senior Shiite politician on parliament’s foreign relations committee who is close to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.”

In the meantime, here’s what some leading Democrats had to say about “Not Too Important” “Where’s My Cane?” McCain:

Governor Howard Dean:

“Senator McCain is wrong. One of the most important questions in this campaign is when and how Senator McCain would bring our troops home from Iraq. Senator McCain stubbornly refuses to acknowledge that the American people do not want our brave troops in Iraq for 100 years under any circumstances. They want a president who will end the war responsibly.”

Senator Harry Reid:

“McCain’s statement today that withdrawing troops doesn’t matter is a crystal clear indicator that he just doesn’t get the grave national-security consequences of staying the course — Osama bin Laden is freely plotting attacks, our efforts in Afghanistan are undermanned, and our military readiness has been dangerously diminished. We need a smart change in strategy to make America more secure, not a commitment to indefinitely keep our troops in an intractable civil war.”

Senators Joe Biden and John Kerry:

“Senator McCain’s comment is evidence that he is totally out of touch with the needs of our troops and the national security needs of our nation. I think many of our brave soldiers and their families would disagree that it’s ‘not too important’ when they come home.

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