Here's a link to the Register's editorial Sunday on the fifth anniversary of the misbegotten war in Iraq, and realikstically there is no decent end in sight. People laugh at McCain saying he wouldn't mind if we were there for 50 years or even 100, but I suspect he reflects what many in the foreign-policy "community expected and wanted out of the deal. Early on Stratfor.com said the real purpose of the invasion was to establish permanent bases in Iraq so we could have a forward presence in the Middle East but not in Saudi Arabia. Even the dimmest knew, though neocons and other ignorant war-whoopers deny it, that the presence of U.S. bases in Saudi Arabia, home of the two holiest sites in Islam, was a special burr under Osama bin Laden's saddle and one of the reasons for the 9/11 attacks, and would remain a spur to terrorist attacks as long as they remained there.
Of course they didn't count on the insurgency, having been beguiled by the Cheney-neocon meme of being greeted as liberators and neglected to look into the homework the State Dept. and others had already done. The sheer carelessness of the commitment still rankles me. All those connected with starting the Iraq war deserve to be im peached and/or tried for treason, but of course it will never happen. Now the occupation of Iraq serves the purpose policymakers feared the bases in Saudi Arabia would serve, of attracting jihadists, "blooding" them in actual combat and insurrection, and training them to wreak havoc when they return to other countries.
To give McCain his due (not that he really deserves it), he wasn't talking about 50 years of active combat, but envisions things settling down and the U.S. keeping a garrison of U.S. soldiers there, much as we have in Korea, Germany and Okinawa. It's a stupid idea, but at least it's not endless combat, which even he must know would be disastrous (I think).