We have a winner! Give Joe Klein a cigar!
He has identified the essential nonsense of McCain's complaints that his "100 years in Iraq" comments have been taken out of context.
The context is the problem!
Even if we accept his explanation that he was advocating a non-combat military commitment like that in South Korea, Germany or Okinawa, it's still a stupid statement. Iraq is not Okinawa. Nor is it South Korea. Al Qaeda had no right (obviously) to murder American civilians, but lets not forget that they did so in response to our military presence in the middle east. 100 combat free years is not going to happen. It just isn't that kind of place.
Yes, it's true that Japan, Germany, and North Korea had to be beaten militarily before we got to the point where we could have a peaceful military presence. But we have already beaten Iraq militarily.
We are five brutal, grinding, deadly years into this occupation, which is a longer time than it took to defeat both Japan and Germany in World War II, and longer than it took us to conclude the "hot" portion of the Korean War.
So saying in essence "I don't have a problem keeping troops in Iraq for 1oo years as long as they aren't fighting and dying" is either stupid or it's intentional obfuscation. Take your pick and vote accordingly.