Our despicable prime minister said “I think that would just encourage those who wanted completely to destabilise and destroy Iraq, and create chaos and victory for the terrorists to hang on and hope for (an) Obama victory“.
That statement is wrong in many ways, firstly the US (with Australian help) has destabilised and destroyed Iraq already. Claiming that removing US troops at this stage will do any further harm is unproven (and except for the Kurdish area extremely unlikely). Trying to link a presidential candidate with a terrorist organisation is the worst type of dirty politics.
Texas Republican senator John Cornyn requested that the Australian government stay out of US politics. It sounds like a reasonable request. But I wonder whether John Cornyn got involved when the US ambassador spoke out against the leader of the Labor party at the last Australian Federal election…
Senator Obama suggested that if John Howard wants to criticise his policies in Iraq then he should first send another 20,000 Australian troops (there are currently 140,000 US troops compared to 1,400 Australians). According to the CIA World Fact Book Australia has a population of 20.3M while the US has a population of 298.4M. If the ratio of serving soldiers was to match the populations then Australia would have 9,500 troops in Iraq. If Australia was to be a full military partner of the US (but scaled down due to the smaller population) and therefore had troops in South Korea, Japan, and Germany then the number of Australian troops committed might be closer to the 20,000 number cited.
But this is no criticism of Senator Obama. For a number that was made up to demonstrate his point that Australia is not pulling it’s weight in Iraq it’s a quite reasonable estimate.
The US Democrat Senator Ron Wyden correctly described Howard’s comment as “bizarre“. This may become a catch-phrase for the Howard regime (as the Bush regime is described as a “miserable failure“).
Johnny seems to think that it’s in his best interests to send Australians to fight a war that has no benefit for Australia (or the US for that matter), but he doesn’t have the guts to do it properly. Fortunately for him the Bush regime understands his position and allows him to send a token force to demonstrate support without the risk of any significant number of casualties or having to conscript soldiers.
This mutual meddling in elections is a demonstration of the way Bush and Howard conspire against the interests of the Australian and US citizens. Both countries need governments that look after the interests of their citizens at home and let the UN take a larger role in world issues.