The United States is not occupying Alabama

Conservatives make misguided comparison between the occupation of Iraq and the South after the U.S. Civil War.

Published April 9, 2008 8:06PM (EDT)

The argument for maintaining a decades-long presence for U.S. troops in Iraq invariably leads conservatives to draw a comparison to post-World War II Germany and Japan. It's a fundamentally flawed argument, but it tends to dominate the discourse.

At least Germany and Japan, though, are foreign countries.

RedState, a prominent conservative blog, has been pushing aggressively of late against the notion that John McCain wants the war in Iraq to continue for another century, and urging readers to badger news outlets that get the story wrong. Bill Scher notes today that RedState's new round of talking points, sent via e-mail, includes an untraditional argument.

Clearly McCain was talking about a peace time standing presence ... Someone should ask the Democrats if they think we're still at war with the confederacy, the Germans, and the Japanese given all the standing American armies in the South, Germany, and Japan. (Emphasis added)

Scher asks the only appropriate question: "Having military bases in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina does not constitute a permanent occupation. Does RedState really believe that 140 years after the Civil War, American troops have a 'peace time standing presence' in the American south?"

I'd just add that a recent survey found that nearly 60 percent of Iraqis still believe that attacks on U.S.-led forces are justified.

I'd bet the number is much lower throughout the Southeastern United States. Call it a hunch.

By Steve Benen

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