Pressed by Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) on what the "endpoint" of U.S. involvement in Iraq should be, Odierno said the goal is a self-reliant, stable government that can protect the country and improve citizens' lives.
"So how long do you think we should be there if those conditions are met?" Webb asked, in an apparent reference to McCain's campaign statement that U.S. troops could remain as a stabilizing force in Iraq, similar in role and number to their presence in Japan and South Korea, for up to 100 years.
Odierno deflected the question. That would be a "policy decision," he said several times.
Webb, a Marine veteran, persisted. "Do you believe that, if those conditions were met, there would be a need for United States military in Iraq?"
"I do not," Odierno finally replied.