Helen Thomas, one of the last genuine journalists in Washington D.C., reports that Repblican candidate John McCain is predicting a "100 Years War" if he's elected to the US presidency. Thomas writes:
If Americans want to continue the Iraq War, then Sen. John McCain - the apparent Republican presidential candidate and relentless hawk - is their man.
It seems McCain was not kidding when he said the U.S. might have to remain in Iraq for 100 years.
At a town meeting in New Hampshire, McCain was told that President Bush had indicated the possibility of U.S. forces staying in Iraq for 50 years.
“Make it a hundred,” McCain responded.
Presumably McCain means that still would be with a volunteer U.S. Army because even the “straight talking” senator would not dare to suggest that a military draft would be needed to carry out his grand imperialist plan for Iraq. Not if he wants to get elected.
Hmm. Recent estimates for the cost of the war (to the US only) put it variously at $1.3 trillion (according to Congress's Joint Economic Committee), at least $1 trillion (according to the Congressional Budget Office), and between $1-2 trillion according to Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz (who factors into his calculation the interest on the debt incurred to finance the war). Considering the apocalyptic pronouncements about the near-future US economy lately bruited about, I'm having a difficult time imagining what life in the US might be with 100 more years of this war. (100 years is a bit more concrete than the "Endless War Against Terrorism" of Mr. Dick C, but because of its concreteness, 100 years sounds a lot more ominous than a vague "endless," which could be-- and probably mostly is-- taken by most of us as mindless hyperbole.) And of course as Thomas points out, an important catch for imagining 100 more years of the US's occupation of Iraq is that of nailing a source for the necessary cannon fodder.
It's doubtful the US will be able to find a heavy enough stick or sweet enough carrot to re-assemble a "Coalition of the Willing" of sufficient size to keep the occupation going. So how is McCain imagining this 100 Years War will work in practical terms? Even more mercenaries (meaning: even more debt, not to mention lawlessness and violence)? Or the reinstatement of the draft (this time for both men and women)? Or should we assume that he's strategizing before thinking, as the Neocons who got us into this war so notoriously did?
You've gotta wonder.