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McCain Derides Obama's National Security Thinking

By Michael D. Shear
JACKSON, Miss. -- Sen. John McCain derided rival Democrat Barack Obama as having no experience with the history of warfare, saying the lack of knowledge explains Obama's attacks on McCain's Iraq positions.

Obama has criticized McCain for saying America could end up staying in Iraq for 100 years, rejecting McCain's explanation that he meant an extended troop presence long after the active fighting was over and casualties had ended.

On the plane flying back to Washington, McCain told reporters that Obama's continued criticism on that issue reflected a "fundamental misunderstanding of history" and a basic lack of knowledge about the military.

"In all due respect, he does not understand the elemental, fundamental elements of national security and warfare," McCain said. "Because that's exactly what we did in Korea. That's what we did after World War II. That's what we did in Kuwait after the first Gulf War."

He went on to say that Obama "has no experience or background in any of that." And he said the American voters will eventually conclude the same. "They'll understand, if they don't now, that he has no experience or background on these issues."

In a sharply worded response, Obama spokesman Bill Burton said it is McCain who has "consistently misunderstood" national security issues.

"Barack Obama doesn't need any lectures from John McCain who has consistently misunderstood American national security and the history of the Middle East in arguing for an invasion and 100-year occupation of a country that had nothing to do with 9/11," Burton said. "Instead of spending trillions of dollars on permanent bases that the Iraqis don't want and that won't keep the American people safe, Barack Obama will end the war in Iraq and finally press Iraq's leaders to take responsibility for their future."

By Web Politics Editor  |  March 31, 2008; 11:04 PM ET
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