I haven't started paying much attention to the presidential race, but I was impressed with how Sen. Barack Obama handled harsh criticism from Australian Prime Minister John Howard regarding his position on Iraq.

Obama, who gave a speech opposing the war in 2002, has introduced a bill to prevent President Bush from increasing troop levels in Iraq and to remove U.S. combat forces by March 31, 2008.

On Sunday, the conservative Bush ally played the terrorists-love-Democrats card on a news program, singling out Obama in particular:

If I were running al Qaeda in Iraq, I would put a circle around March 2008, and pray, as many times as possible, for a victory not only for Obama, but also for the Democrats

In response, Obama called his bluff:

We have close to 140,000 troops on the ground now and my understanding is that Mr. Howard has deployed 1,400. So, if he's ginned up to fight the good fight in Iraq, I would suggest he call up another 20,000 Australians and send them up to Iraq.

That puts the issue exactly where it should be, given Howard's dire prediction of catastrophe for Australia and the West if the U.S. withdraws. If the war's so important, why hasn't Australia sent more than a token commitment of troops?

-- Rogers Cadenhead

Comments

Barack Obama is a very worthy candidate, but he doesn't have a chance of winning the Democratic nomination. I respect him even more for the way he responded to Howard's chickenshit pronouncement.


 

Howard has no right medling in US issues, he is fighting for his job and he knows he is losing it may be he should concentrate on that or as Obama said increase his troop level, walk the talk buddy.


 

A few things you missed, and the media missed.

1) Population of the US: 300 million
population of Australia: 25 million

20,000 additional Aussies is a much bigger committment for them than it is for us

2) Australia has fought at our side in every conflict since WWI, including Vietnam. What Howard doesn't want to see is his troops hung out to dry, as they were then

3) Australia has thousands of troops deployed in various places in the Pacific, doing work that would otherwise fall on - wait for it - the US.

The media is oblivious to all of those points, and especially to the third. Try Google.


 

This is what's known as a logical fallacy.

Statement: The bad guys in Iraq would prefer a Democrat wins in '08, and one who insists on removal of US troops before the election would be ideal. True.

Response: If you're so excited about the war, send more of your own troops. Cute, fallacious non-answer.

I know liberals are rubbing their nipples raw over this, but it's exactly the kind of thing that will get Hillary the nomination.


 

"1) Population of the US: 300 million
population of Australia: 25 million

20,000 additional Aussies is a much bigger committment for them than it is for us"

25 is 1/6th of 300. 140,000/6 = 23,333.
What was your point, again?


 

My point was that 20,000 is a bigger stretch for them than for us. You also conveniently left out the fact that they are deployed in various locations in the Pacific (and in Afghanistan)


 

What Howard doesn't want to see is his troops hung out to dry, as they were then

Where are you finding that in his ham-handed statement that terrorists root for Democrats? All I see is the kind of empty rhetoric that led to a Democratic sweep of Congress. Calling your political opponent soft on terrorism doesn't make you hard on terrorism.

If Howard was serious about the consequences of losing the war, he'd prove it by joining the "surge."


 

I'm Australian (living in NZ) and I am constantly astounded at Howard's amazing ability to extract the most political capital out of any situation, no matter how fucked up, and people have always underestimated his ability to do so.

He joined the US invasion against the will of the people, who turned out in record numbers to protest (and be dismissed as trendy lefties), and without anything resembling due process in the parliament (basically it was presented as a fait accompli).

If this latest bullshit posturing really does gain him extra cred in Australia (hard to believe), then I am deeply embarrassed for my countrymen.


 

25 is 1/6th of 300. 140,000/6 = 23,333.
What was your point, again?

25 is not 1/6 of 300. 25 is 1/12 of 300.

140,000/12 = 11,666.

"Careful kids, study hard or you'll end up in Iraq. Or worse yet, make an ass of yourself in Internet forums." - John Kerry


 

We are completey and intelligently aware of just what is going on in
this world.

We would advise the Australian Prime Minister, to keep his mouth shut; regarding the politics in the USA.

We know, who is, moving him.

He is leading the Australian people down a primrose path.

They know it. He will be defeated.

l


 

Of course terrorists root for Democrats. They say as much regularly. And I'm sorry, but most Dems are demonstrably soft on terrorism by virtue of believing it's either imagined or created by Bush, or by believing that it would go away if we'd just stop poking it. It's the Global Warming of foreign policy ideas: the fantasy that Bush created something that's been going on for millenia is laughable, but you just can't convince some people otherwise.

Obama should understand that while Bush's numbers are low, and as constantly as the major media bombard us with how terribly it's going over there (anyone seen a positive Iraq story during the last 3 years?), the American people don't want to just walk away. They understand that their government is not the only one trying to spin Iraq, and those with memories know what happens after our military drops in for an inconclusive visit and leaves suddenly: A lot more people than ever would have otherwise die in a hurry. Even some of the kids remember the last time it happened, right there in Iraq. But the older ones of us remember millions in Southeast Asia after we followed the peace movement's lead and left Vietnam. You know, to save lives. I'm not saying 4,000, or 50,000, or even twice or five or ten times as many American lives are worth millions of strangers' lives halfway around the world. Not for me to say. But let's be serious about the costs involved. Bodycountwise, walking out of Iraq will make going in look like a brisk round of Candyland.

Anyfart, Obama has to have a better answer than "out by March '08," even if it's hypnotic circular gibberish that he'll renege on immediately after the inaugural. And even more importantly, the correct way to answer something like what Howard said is smiling graciously but with a tiny bit of wry twinkle in your eye, like you just saw a kid try to put a lollipop in his mouth but it slipped and ended up on a dog turd. Like you want to laugh but you're not going to, out of respect. People don't like snippy, not even from Obama. That's why Taylor Hicks is the American Idol and Katharine McPhee is known as McCunt, at least in the queerball AI hangouts I frequent (don't worry, Kat: I got the McPheever, bad). The average person is, well, average. They want stroking, chin-chucking, smiles and laughter. They don't want scolding, scowling, podium-pounding, or finger-wagging.

The midterms, thrilling though they must have been for some, weren't an indication of a sea change in American opinion about the consequences of walking away from Iraq right now, especially on a timetable. Those horribly average Americans still harbor silly ideas about not running away from a fight when people who are demonstrably evil need killing. Watch Hillary, she knows.


 

Obama should understand that while Bush's numbers are low, and as constantly as the major media bombard us with how terribly it's going over there (anyone seen a positive Iraq story during the last 3 years?), the American people don't want to just walk away.

According to who? In January, a Pew Research Center poll found that 59 percent of Americans favor a timetable to leave Iraq.


 

In reply to this nonsensical verbosity by Uncle Mikey:

Your sophomoric attempt at verbal pyrotechnics is a wasted effort. I'm probably the only one who read the whole thing (I need a drink, now).

There was nothing snippy about Obama's remarks, whether they were rhetorically correct or not.

Barack Obama can talk circles around this sad excuse we have for a 'leader', one who is ethically and intellectually challenged, doesn't know history or geography, and can't parse a sentence in American English on his own.


 

Why, oh why, do people so easily accept that any statistic posted on the internet as fact, especially when fact-checking would be so easy. The official population estimate from the Australian bureau of statistics is less than 20,800,000. See here for an up-to-the-minute estimate. This is also in line with the CIA's estimate and other estimates. Argue all you want about the math to determine Austalia's "fair share" of troops to commit to Iraq, but it's meaningless if you are starting with what was appearently someone's random guess as to Australia's actual population.


 

The White House most probably sent John Howard the script, telling him exactly what to say. He's so far up Bush's ass that he walks around in a brown haze.

The whole Iraq war is a mistake. The US has made the world a scarier and more dangerous place because of it. A lot of Americans wouldn't agree, but then again, by the looks of things, a lot are starting to agree. The rest of the world's dislike for the US is simply growing by the day. I am not talking about American people, the general population, but the government and its bullshit wars on terrorism and non-existent weapons of mass destruction. Talk about getting the wool pulled over your eyes. Just get the hell out of there, stop invading other countries. And don't go and start something with Iran either. The rest of the world wants it over.


 

According to who?

According to the eventual Dem nominee. Watch Hillary, she knows. Poll numbers can be deceiving, and not everyone who lost in '06 was a proponent of the war.

The US has made the world a scarier and more dangerous place because of it.

Just like Reagan did, right? Don't poke that bear, it'll go away by itself. I'm sure the see-no-evil method will bear lovely fruit, Diego. Seems to be working in Somalia and the Sudan.

Vince, you're far too naked to make any sense of any of this. Visualize swirled pants, find them, and put them on.

Also, I have a mama joke, but don't want to insult anyone. Is there anyone here whose mother could be considered promiscuous, and upon hearing a mama joke about how promiscuous one's mother is, would be chagrined? Perhaps one about portliness instead?


 

Don't poke that bear, it'll go away by itself. I'm sure the see-no-evil method will bear lovely fruit ...

You're arguing against a position that none of the Democratic presidential candidates has taken. We fought a war against Al Qaeda's Islamic extremism by overthrowing a secular dictatorship with no ties to Al Qaeda. Outside of the Kurdish territory, the result to this point is a weak, hopelessly corrupt democratic government where Al Qaeda and other Islamic extremists flourish.

The difference in policies here isn't between action and inaction -- it's between competent actions and incompetent ones. There's a reason that none of the Republican candidates will be running as Bush's "successor." His war is a disaster.


 

Thanks, Uncle Mikey. That helped me recover from the retinal burn I got from reading your bit. I thought you wrote "plants" at first (like I said, retinal burn)). Even though I am naked (I write better that way), I like plants better than pants.


 

Personally, I can't vote Republican anymore. They have been totally co-opted by religious fanatics and they don't seem to be able to be financially responsible.

As for Iraq, I personally feel that we need to stay, since we caused the current situation. That said, I feel the President should be impeached.


 

Uncle Mikey has all the Rethuglican "talking points" down pat as issued daily by Rush(not my drugs)Lamebrain and all the other Rethug experts. Perhaps Uncle Mikey can help the cause by enlisting and joining Bush's effort in Irag.


 

In his response to Prime Minister John Howerd, Barack Obama (BO) has shown his infantile manner for problems solving - i.e. if your so concerned about it then why don't you solve the problem - and this begins to give us a more in depth view of what BO is made of. If important men and women of the past had used BO's problem solving technique they may have responded to their issues like this:

1) Abraham Lincoln: It is really important to the Slave owners that they be able to continue to own slaves, force them to work and when necessary beat them into submission. The slave owners want this so much, so let them have what they want.

2) Christopher Columbus: They said the world is flat; but I have reason to believe the world is round. I would like to find out for sure; but it's an impossible task. Let someone else find out...what difference does it make anyway?

3) Winston Churchill: If anyone else out there really, really wants to be Prime Minister of England, at this time of war, I will step aside and he/she can take over.

Fortunately for us all, these men were real men, with character, who had foresight and changed the world for the better.


 

Obama nailed what seems to be Howard's underlying philosophy: "We are letting the Americans fight them over there, so we don't have to."


 

Obama is an ass who can't keep his mouth shut. G W Bush does not respond to criticism from foreign leaders; especially allies.


 

Dems of old, dems of new. Vapid "Peace Now!" rhetoric has existed as an attack tool against Republicans in power since the Civil War. Loud mouth dems don't give a flying shit about the middle east, or America for that matter. They simply care about amassing as much power as possible. Not to say that Republicans aren't guilty of the same thing, just saying that contemporary democratic rhetoric is silly, childish, and factually incorrect.


 

In the suppossed land of the free and home to democracy, why does someones comments about your politicians wind up so many of you in the US?

If our prime minister (like him or not) raises concerns about the impact an American initiative will have on the rest of the world, I say good on him. He stands up and is counted. Obama is being dismissive, unappreciative and disrespectful.

For those of you trying to do the math before:
Population of USA @ 280,000,000 - 140,000 troops = .05% of the population.

Population of Australia @ 20,000,000 - 1,400 troops = .07% of the population.

Per capita we have a greater exposure to this stupid war, but at least Howard is prepared to stay until we (being the great allies) fix the mess by at least giving the Iraqis a chance.

Obama is obviously willing and happy to allow the country of Iraq to fall into total chaos by the withdrawal of troops and then let another cycle begin over there. Obama, good on champ - you thought it through very well!


 

(Disclosure: while I'm rabidly conservative compared to most around here, I have nothing but love and respect [and let's face it, an unquenchable sexual longing] for the proprietor of this site. He's smarter than I am, more educated than I am, and has probably spent more time mastering the details of most topics we disagree on. Frankly I imagine we don't really disagree on all that much when you get right down to it, but I have a good time being the dickhead's advocate around here, as long as Rogers doesn't mind.)

Rogers you ignorant slut. I'm arguing against Diego's point in a silly fashion, and you correctly point out that no major Dem has specifically endorsed isolationism, but when Nancy Pelosi says "not our fight/sectarian violence/if the Iraqis can't get it together on their own then fuck 'em" in whatever form she chooses that day, it's not a terribly different sentiment. That said, I don't think that's really what's driving her policywise, but in the end it doesn't really matter.

Maybe we shouldn't have gone, but that's not the same as "we should leave right now." I'm not happy with Iraq either, but I'm even less happy about making an even worse hash of it from this point on. I have yet to hear any convincing argument for pulling out on a timetable other than public opinion seems to favor it. Laverne and Shirley was the top-rated TV show for like 10 years, but that didn't make it art. Neither does a pathological aversion to war make good foreign policy. Think Neville Chamberlain.

And disaster is a strong word without a historical context. Gallipoli was a disaster. The Dieppe Raid was a disaster. The Bay of Pigs was a disaster. Even the training exercise at Slapton Sands was a disaster. And not finishing the first time in Iraq was a huge disaster. The current Iraq war is a relatively long one in which relatively few casualties have occurred. If some bad experiences, slower-than-expected results and the further possibility of a negative outcome are enough to chase us off, then maybe liberals are right. Maybe nothing's worth fighting about, not even genocides everybody said would "never again" happen on the UN's watch. I just hope they can find a way to convince the rest of the world of that.

I don't think pulling out on a timetable is a competent action, it's an attempt to rebottle a genie that won't fit. Addressing the current conditions and presenting a solution that won't make things exponentially worse might help, but "we gotta get outta there quick" doesn't seem like a real solution to anything but poll numbers.


 

Do your math right, aussie lad!


 

Hey Aussie Lad -

Regarding your statement, and I quote:

"For those of you trying to do the math before:
Population of USA @ 280,000,000 - 140,000 troops = .05% of the population. Population of Australia @ 20,000,000 - 1,400 troops = .07% of the population. Per capita we have a greater exposure to this stupid war, but at least Howard is prepared to stay until we (being the great allies) fix the mess by at least giving the Iraqis a chance."

You seem to be a bit math challenged yourself. 1,400 troops out of 20,000,000 people is .007% of the population, not .07%

Therefore, Australia has a very significantly LESS per capita exposure to this "stupid war."

Put another way, GWB has sent 1 out of every 2000 US citizens to the war, and PM Howard has sent 1 out of every 14,285 Aussies.

I am no BO supporter, but he made a damn good point, and JH should stick to his own problems rather than continuing to brown nose GWB for no apparent reason.


 

The percentage of Americans that want to leave Iraq on a timetable is irrelevant. We live in a Republic, not in a direct Democracy - and the Democrats aren't about to vote to cut funding, either. If they were, they wouldn't be arguing over a non-binding resolution whose sole result is to give hope to our enemies - hope that another few car bombs will drive us out.

Here's what you want to ask: Say we do what Obama wants - out by a date certain in 2007 or 2008. What do you suppose will happen in Iraq after that? Will the Sunni powers sit idly by as Iran gains influence in Iraq? Or, the other way around - will Iran sit idly by as the Sunni powers work to restore the hegemony of the Sunni minority in Iraq?

We can't go back to 2003 and call "do over". By entering Iraq, we've changed the dynamic. You can argue over whether that was advisable, but you know what? It's utterly irrelevant, because we don't get to start over. We are where we are, and a precipitous withdrawal will lead to regional war. We get significant oil from that region, and our trading partners get much (or most) of it from there. A regional war will not be positive for the price of oil (meaning, the price of everything else, as oil prices impact the entire world economy).

If we do leave precipitously, things will get a whole lot worse - there, here, in Europe, and in Asia.


 

I remember quite well the 'Domino Theory' of how if we withdrew from Vietnam, the rest of Southeast Asia and beyond would fall like a stack of dominoes to the Communist menace, and the People's Republic of China would gain ascendancy in Asia as a Communist overlord.

Well, it didn't happen, did it? And irony of ironies, China is gaining ascendancy in Asia as a capitalist power. Vietnam itself is rapidly expanding a capitalist economy.

So many pups here, who should follow the example of the Chinese, and listen to the wisdom of their elders.


 

If we do leave precipitously, things will get a whole lot worse - there, here, in Europe, and in Asia.

So what's your plan exactly, Jimmy? Run our terrorist training seminar in Iraq for another decade or so, and then leave precipitously? In case you haven't noticed, things have been getting a whole lot worse for a whole long time already, with a whole lot of our soldiers there.

Really, there's so much stupid in your 4 short paragraphs, I don't know where to begin. But let's take the big one, this whole regional war canard. Of course Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iran are going to sit out a civil war in Iraq, because they see what's happening to us. Do you really think there's a single leader, in any Middle East country, who's thinking, 'If those Americans leave, I'm going to go in. Yep, I want to occupy Iraq for my side of the Sunni/Shia slaughterfest. I want to send my cut-rate army against insurgents who've been holding their own against the best-trained army in the world. That sounds like a brilliant idea.'? Pardon my French, but that's Grade A delusional bullshit. They're going to sit on the sidelines and throw in weapons, and try their damnedest not to get personally involved. And these countries know selling out allies; just ask the Palestinians. Anyone with a lick of sense realizes this, which unfortunately, is a completely non-intersecting set with the people running the war.

This whole cycle of watching the various disasters predicted should we leave, first chaos, then civil war, instead unfold because of our presence, only to be followed by predictions of even greater disaster, is getting old. Continuing on, should Bush start a regional war, I'm guessing Jimmy will come in and predict a global thermonuclear war* if we abandon that war.

* Gratuitous Wargames reference. Congrats, Rogers.


 

MIKEZ ...thanks for the math lesson smarty pants. Forget about the quantity mate, we are about quality here. Most of the Aussies in Iraq are SAS which is the highest trained lethal combat units in the universe that do very specific work. Like ninjas, the SAS are mere shadows in the night that get the job done very quietly, silently. So, when you start comparing troop numbers you need to consider this, compare apples with apples and oranges with oranges...ok, for you MIKEZ, compare bananas with bananas. nudge nudge. smiles.

RPaine
Sydney


 

Our armchair warrior Prime Minister doesn't make a big point of noting that most of our troops are positioned in southern Iraq, away from the main sectarian violence. Howard seems obsessed by the idea of painting himself into a corner with GWB and implying that the democrats have a cheer-squad in al-qaeda(sp?), which is particularly stupid given that the democrats basically run congress at the moment. The majority of Australians do NOT agree with the constant skirmishes that Howard seems to love launching us into. Half of our country came out to protest against war in Iraq and Howard pinned such eloquent labels as 'mob' and 'rabble' on tens of thousands of peaceful demonstrators disagreeing with his views. Howard insists that we're there to protect Australia's interests - uh, would that be interests in our wheat sales, John? If the US were to announce next week they were withdrawing troops in a month's time, watch how fast John Howard would announce that Australia had decided 'independently' to withdraw. Our PM's pomposity is a joke.


 

The Australian Prime Minister ought to keep out of our presidential politics. Even in our worst moments as a nation, we never publicly expressed a preference for, or objection to, a prospective national leader of another country where there is an open and free vote. I guess Mr. Prime Minister is worried about his reelection. That's where his head should be.... not in our business!


 

RPaine -

Your tongue HAS to be firmly planted in your cheek, is it not? Cause if you are serious, I would suggest you pick up a newspaper to get a sense of how your highly trained lethal combat SAS is doing over there.

Mike Z
San Francisco

"MIKEZ ...thanks for the math lesson smarty pants. Forget about the quantity mate, we are about quality here. Most of the Aussies in Iraq are SAS which is the highest trained lethal combat units in the universe that do very specific work. Like ninjas, the SAS are mere shadows in the night that get the job done very quietly, silently. So, when you start comparing troop numbers you need to consider this, compare apples with apples and oranges with oranges...ok, for you MIKEZ, compare bananas with bananas. nudge nudge. smiles.

RPaine
Sydney"


 

MIKE Z -

John Howard is absolutely correct.

By the way, I am both an American citizen and an Australian citizen, so I speak for both, and have knowledge of both places.

Here is the real issue that we should all be looking at mate! Aren't you concerned with the fact that Barack Obama (BO) himself studied in a Madrassa (Radical Islamic School, where you only need one book - the KORAN - to learn everything you will ever need to know in life, and where all of the suicide bombers come from) when he lived in Indonesia (the world's most populous Islamic Nation)? So of course BO doesn't want the USA to win in Iraq. Obama is NOT actually loyal to America. Things are not always what they appear on the surface, are they?

Barack Obama's sudies places him in the same exact ilk as Osama bin Laden who also studied in a Madrassa. You see, to study in a Madrassa the youth must pledge loyalty to the Madrassa and be converted to Islam; and as we all know, it is not permitted for a Muslim to Apostate (change to another religion), for to do so is punishable by DEATH. SO, IS BARACK OBAMA REALLY A MUSLIM IN DISGUISE, OR HAS HE REJECTED ISLAM AND BECOME AN APOSTATE.

*****THIS IS THE REAL QUESTION TO ASK BO BEFORE JUMPING ON HIS HATE THE AUSSIES BANDWAGON*****


 

"The Australian Prime Minister ought to keep out of our presidential politics. Even in our worst moments as a nation, we never publicly expressed a preference for, or objection to, a prospective national leader of another country where there is an open and free vote. I guess Mr. Prime Minister is worried about his reelection. That's where his head should be.... not in our business!"

You're kidding right? Telling others not to comment on your presidential politics? How about the US stay the hell out of other people's countries? Making up lies about weapons of mass destruction and then invading a country. Going back through time with the US meddling in other country's affairs, whether it be publicly, or secretly through agencies like the CIA. Look at South America through the Nixon era (and well before and after his era). "Bay of pigs?" I'm sure there are many more examples I could dig up, should I choose to.

So you have plenty of worse moments as a nation than speaking out about another country's politics. Such as invasion, killing innocent people. Don't drag the rest of the world down with you.

Again, this is in no way anything against the US public, just the war mongering politicians.


 

People also seem to have forgotten (or the Americans probably didn't even know because their media is so incompetant) that the US interfered with our elections last time, (it was all over the papers here) when they spoke out against then Labor leader Mark Latham. And they actually said it'd be a victory for the terrorists. Sounds VERY familiar, doesn't it?

Dubya dismisses Latham: timblair.spleenville.com

You can talk about the rights and wrongs all you like, but why all the hypocrisy? Either BOTH the Howard govt. and the Bush govt. are wankers who interfere with the political process of other countries, or that's fair game.


 

Hi all

John Howard is looking older and more stupid every day. I for one can't wait until he is removed in elections due later this year. Thankfully, this is looking more inevitable every day, hence cheap stunts like this one.

Several years ago, your US ambassador to Australia, and our former Opposition leader Mark Latham, both put their fat feet in it by interfering in each other's local politics. Both were rightly castigated by all and sundry over here. You would have thought Howard would know better after seeing this.

But as we all know, the man can't say sorry to black Australians for our genocide of their population, locks up children in immigration gulags, and detests cultural diversity. If he had been a US president, John Howard have ignored the social fallout from slavery and the settlement of native American lands by saying, "It's all in the past now, so why be negative?" He'd lock Mexicans and other southern Americans - men women and children alike - in prisons without trial for years when they illegaly crossed the border in search of freedom, and he'd have tried to deliberately squash hispanic and native American culture in favour of a bigoted, rednecker, apple-pie monotony harking back to the Eisenhower era.

So there's no doubt he has a problem with Mr Obama (all power to Barack, a breathe of fresh air he is too). After all, the man is everything he hates - proof of the REAL American dream finally coming true.

BTW - best of luck in getting the President of your own choice, even if it isn't Obama. We'll do our best to do likewise.


 

"I remember quite well the 'Domino Theory' of how if we withdrew from Vietnam, the rest of Southeast Asia and beyond would fall like a stack of dominoes to the Communist menace, and the People's Republic of China would gain ascendancy in Asia as a Communist overlord."

Hmm. You seem to have forgotten "Holocaust II, the re-run" in Cambodia, and the fall of Laos. Thailand didn't go, but two other nations did - and the Soviets felt emboldened enough to start pushing hard (Afghanistan now is a direct result of Soviet and American actions post-Vietnam). There were dominoes, for anyone who was paying attention - and millions of deaths, as well. You do remember the "boat people"?

I don't have a grand answer, but I do know that a precipitous withdrawal is not the right one. That path will lead to a regional war in the middle east, and it will lead to the deaths of millions. I have no idea how far or wide it will go - it could stay mostly in Iraq, with proxy war between the Saudis and Iran - it could precipitate the fall of nations like Egypt to newly emboldened religious radicals. It could be something in between. What I do know is, the trouble won't magically end if we leave. Right now, we are providing an unsteady cork on the problems in that area.

If we leave, it'll be Pandora's box, the sequel.


 

You got to hand it to someone who can simultaneously argue that things in the past are irrelevant because they already happened, and that he can pull whatever we wants to believe out of his ass about the future, because it hasn't happened yet. Credibility is just a word when you've got none, after all.

Well, Jimmy, perhaps you didn't notice this, but yesterday Bush held a press conference to try to justify starting a regional war. That's right, your completely deranged predictions about withdrawal are actually Bush's Plan B should we stay. So, given that, should our troops hang around and wait for this administration to fabricate a compelling reason to attack Iran too? We're not the unsteady cork, Jimmy; we're the ones shaking the bottle. And this administration's current and future plans are both 'more shaking'.

I don't have a grand answer, but I do know that a precipitous withdrawal is not the right one.

No, you see, what you're lacking is not 'a grand answer', but actually 'any semblance of a clue whatsoever'.

But really, don't be so modest. Having no plan beyond hanging around forever shooting Iraqis is actually, in point of fact, a kind of plan. Admittedly, it's the most idiotic plan that I've ever heard of, but hey, it's a plan. And it's what yours is until you think of a better one.


 

A little history lesson:

When Ronald Reagon was president, He "won the cold war" by basically forcing the Soviets to spend ever larger percentages of their domestic budget on the military to the point their economy collapsed.

This is what this war is doing to us now. All the billions that have been spent in Iraq by the Bush crime family in this illegal and immoral war could have been spent here to provide our less fortunate citizens with proper healthcare, education and employment.

The terrorists DO NOT want us to leave because they know that Bush and his cronies will just keep throwing good people and money at them until our economy collapses like the former Soviet Union.


 

Hi,
After reading through the posts and this article in general, I can pick out some really good points. (Yes some bad math's calculations as well.)
In my opinion this war was a bad idea to start with. September 11 was not only a bad day for America but it was a wake up call to the whole world in general. (Sep 15 GWB instructs pentagon for possible war on Iraq 3 days after 11). GWB through the next months pushes and pushes for the war to start, (state of union speech jan29 2002) "I will not wait on events, while dangers gather".

(Terrorism... It is not a phenomenon, we know what it is and its affects are well known to all. War can be described as one country fighting another. Terrorism is brought on by human actions and is usually planned by groups. Declaring war, "on terrorism", was just a nice word for justifying a war on Iraq. Iraq is a country not a terrorist organization. There are terrorist living amongst all countries, do we declare war on our own country. Numbers aside, Australia went in this war to support America on terrorism. You shouldn't make comments on a country for its support with troop numbers especially when this country stood by you when international pressure was on high. Remember this is an American war and 1400 of Australians finest troops are in Iraq ready to support American soldiers at any time.

I am enlisted in the Australian Army reserve unit and if called to duty I will serve Australia by supporting this war. John Howard didn't disrespect America he disrespected Obama. Obama instead of biting his lip, or attacking John Howard, attacked our contribution and support. John Howard has put his own political career at risk by going to this war and even if he wanted to send 20 000 troops through the appropriate channels there will be little chance of approval been granted. Better to have little then none. To complain about 1400 Australians lives as well as political support in what I believe to be an unjustified war shows nothing more then disrespect and ungratefulness for a country that has respected and stood by America in many of its wars taking on many causalities of its own on the way. Australia went into East Timor we didn't get 1400 troops but did we complain or compare statistics. America was stretched that year and Australia knew a job had to be done and done it.

The world was watching Australia as it supported America with even the Terrorists laughing at our support, but did we hinder, did we back down? With other country's pulling out Australia stood by America in its time of need for support. Australia stood by America giving it enormous political gain internationally. Obama's statement has become very political, and has tarnished Australia's reputation and support as a result. Should Australia have gone in the first place? Our reputation now tarnished and as Americans believe the war is near its end are Americans becoming ungrateful for Australian help?

Invading Iraq was a quest sort out by BUSH, who represents America. There was not enough intelligence to go to war in the first place and the war strategies have proven to be a result of poor planning, wasting money, poor management and it is sad because it has resulted in a large number of casualties for American soldiers and Iraq civilians. Intelligence would have been a better weapon then mass bombings and a swift invasion. This invasion has killed more innocent civilian lives then September 11 has.
Peace keeping is one thing as in East Timor, but declaring war is another. John Howard has been faithful to America in supporting the war. The remark on John Howard to send a further 20 000 troops is ridiculous when if elected Obama would be planning to withdraw his troops anyway and shows again the carelessness and disrespect for Australian support. I would hope American's would be grateful that if in need there sons and daughters have additional support and firepower which will save American lives. Grateful that in applicable cases where bullets are differed to Australian troops rather then American sons and daughters. For an upcoming leader to make such a mark for his own political gain shows carelessness, disrespect and an uncaring approach to what he says and shows me his true character. Pride is a weakness. John Howard was attacking Obama and his remarks on pulling out of iraq, not American politics or suggesting that Americans should stay in Iraq. Obama's careless response may have affected the credibility of Australia, its ally, its friends, its supporter. If America leaves Iraq, it will leave the country in civil war, and will insight even greater terrorism. NOT WALK THE TALK BUDDY, FINISH WHAT YOU STARTED, DON'T LEAVE A BLOODBATH BEHIND YOU, DON'T WORRY THE AUSSIES WILL BE BY YOUR SIDE UNTIL THE END!

" Never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.
One ought never to turn one's back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half."
Sir Winston Churchill


 

I like how cons say they are tough on defense when they are the ones constantly decreasing funding to our national defense forces. The "Coordination" that was supposed to happen on all levels of government has yet to materialize. Just ask any police captian in our major cities. Second, when did Iraq have those great meetings with Osama Bin Laden and his cronies. If most of you did research you would find that Bin Laden and Islamic Fundamentalism movement was not looked highly upon in Iraq. Second noticed once Sadaam was overthrown Iran got some massive balls. The point I am making here is their was not domino effect until we overthrew Sadaam. We created it! Iran feared Iraq way more than they fear us, because Sadaam was crazy. Second if the bush admin was soooo tough on terrorism why OSAMA BIN LADEN STILL ALIVE? Remember the lessons of 9/11 Al Qaeda is our Enemy not some crackpot in a country with no means of attacking us. The reason the Dems seized power in congress was because the fear mongering and empty rhetoric that the Republicans used stopped working.


 

Good point mate.. no ones looking for bin laden that why he not found... America probly knows where he is anyway.. get what you mean mate..


 

War in Iraq has escalated. The President has sent more troops and poured in more money. Simultaneously terrorism has been on the rise. This is what a Republican president has done and now a Democrat candidate wants to reverse the policy and hopefully reverse the situation. How is that promoting terrorism Mr Howard?


 

Kelly, he did not say it was promoting terrorism. Leaving Iraq would mean a loss for America. It would mean that 1000's of your troops died for no cause. All your leader is doing by pulling out troops is creating an unstable country in which terrorism will thrive. At least with sudam the country had some sort of order. Leave Iraq now you will leave it in cival war.
With open oil fields and free reign you will create a hostile breading ground for terrorism. America cant keep going into countriesl like vietnam blowing the shit out of it and leaving. Morally You must re build and finish what was set out to be done. This is an american war an Australia is there to support you. Dont blame howard when the Bush Government is running the show. John howards just telling the truth if you dont like it, dont blame him, its not his fault!


 

Good God RPaine, I thought _I_ was a conservative. I cant stand Obama, but I never thought to equate him with Bin Laden. I think thats a little over the top, and I believe that whole Madrassa thing was discredited as Hillary Clinton rabble rousing nonsense (another worthless Democrat candidate.) Also I dont think there is any anti-Australia bandwagon. You guys and the Brits are the only friends we have any more. Even the Canadians hate us.


 

G'day,
The quality of the troops is important as well.
Beacause america has such a large army troops might might be more inclined to call up support, where as because the australian army is smaller, our training can be more effective.
Take it in weapons for example.Australians prefer to fire small amounts of ammo at the target.Americans pour larger amounts of fire in.Therfore civilians can be hurt.Which just angers the enemy.
If you look at it, some of the most peaceful provinces are those under australian control.
Also our army is stretched to the limit.There are massive attempts to recruit more diggers.
So we can not send more.
BUT I AGREE.JOHN HOWARD SHOULD THINK ABOUT HIS ELECTION.NOT YOURS!


 

Et voila.


 

I was always interested in taking a long vacation in Australia, but when their PM is trying to sound like our VP during the 04 campaign then I'll have to go somewhere else.

My feelings toward Australia has diminished, until this PM is out of office or issues an apology to the US and Obama.


 

I have always been interested in taking a long vacation in Australia, but when their PM is trying to sound like our VP during the 04 campaign then I'll have to go somewhere else.

My feelings toward Australia has diminished, until this PM is out of office or issues an apology to the US and Obama.


 

1. Domino theory in south east asia was propelled by ideology made within this century which was not a common factor to all population there even at that time, which by the fact resulted to bringing in capitalism against collectiveness (better education and technology did it)
On the contrary middle east domino theory is propelled by religion embedded for hundreds and hundreds of years of traditions and cultures (its who they are and what westerns are)
History tells us over and over that millions and millions died and fought in the name of religion mask by politics (hints: history of war and violence in middle east)
2. I agree with James Robertson(2007-02-15 opinion) and Barking Dog (2007-02-15 opinion),like is education is a key to this
3. policy vs policy
re: resulting in repercussion:
'Its not our war Policy' and 'whats popular opinion to get us power vote Policy' VS 'Lets get the whole world involve with resolution and act on it because this has a world repercussion like we are seeing it now with greenhouse effect Policy' VS 'God has authorize this sanction Policy (blank cheque being claim by both Terrorist Cell Co-op Group VS Capitalist Consortium Group)
4. Let's not forget the clich (because their so real that it became trivial) of:
'Opinions are like a-hole everyone has one','Finding happiness in misery is not happiness' and 'Sharing kills Greed'
5. As for this tread, Obama has not presented any positive alternative replacement to the misery to all people involve and are going through or going to go through as a result of would be action. Though I'm not a Howard fan the validity of causing vulnerability, fear and panic to moderate Iraqis and all other nationalities in the populace is not a great feeling to be going through now, especially the planning for better middle east and global co-existence another key element against Islamic fanatic terrorism


 

Obama and Hillary are lip service of their own (counting on emotive political appropriateness) and has yet to prove a solid proof on how are:
- their realistic implementation to their policy
- do they have the backing of the fragile economy (consider - global and local repercussion to disastrous aftermath to their actions or risk management)
- questionable local and global impact their going to cause (200+ million people to lead) (whether we like it or not US leads the power struggle and everyone is in it) to leadership and resolving world crisis
GWBush jr is a lost cause. Chenney has repress talent. Condolice Rice is a politically correct for emotive popularity hand ventriloquist's sesame st. puppet to medium so you should feel guilty if you criticize her, she does not realise the magnitude of her damage of her so uselessness. Same goes to UN Kofi Annan though he is worst, his actually trying to be something his not with his bad leadership, deluded religious and third world mentality attitude which he should be accountable for deaths and economic hardship of lives say the Balkans, middle east, Africa impoverish population, racial divisions and disarray of world governments and etch. It is only due to western leaderships that we seem to avert the world from further disasters.
If Al Gore could make money and the same time lead the world against nature (his going to cool the global warming (got the oscar to prove it)), guess US should vote him in, "Trinity, his the one" (quote from Matrix).


 

I dont understand why Americans would be so upset by comments made by John Howard about Barack Obamas plan to withdraw US forces from Iraq. He did this publicly and it is common sense that terrosits will want American troops out of Iraq to show they have beaten America. If we start the fight we have no choice now but to stay and finish the job.

I think Australia has a right to make comments about US domestic politics. After all your own CIA removed the Whitlam government from office in 1975 because it was not in "American interests". Or maybe you conveniently forget, or are not even old enough to remember, that America has done more than make comments about Australian domestic politics in the past.

As for troop numbers, your army is so badly trained and incompetent (rape, murder, torture,......yes incompetent) that 1,400 Australian troops would be about equal to 140,00 American troops. The first American deaths in the 1991 Gulf War were caused by your own people before any fighting even started, and nobody will ever really know how many Americans have been killed by Americans in this war!!!! We try not to kill our own soldiers, or those on our side, so we really dont need to send so many.

So instead of being angry about what has been said by the Australian Prime Minister, you might want to think how lucky you really are to have a country like Australia that will still stand with America when it is in need.


 

True, John Howard SHOULD stay out of people's business, but what would happen if he didn't? David hicks would still be rotting in Gitmo (even though we still don't know if he deserves it). And visitor, i'm sorry if our and your countries political history has averted your tourist desires. maybe if you came here you would see that we rarely listen to anything this idiot says anyway.

and by the way: seeing how many troops we have deployed in places other than iraq is futile: obama and howard are talking about troops in IRAQ. leave east timor, fiji and the other places out of this.


 

Maybe you should look at American history as to why people outside the US dont trust amercian motives, after all the Bush family supported Adolf Hitler, the american government has a long history of suporting lunitic dictators as long as they promised to crack down on the communists. this includes american support to osama bin laden, Pol Pot, Idi Amin etc. This also includes working behind the scenes in to change the australian government in the 70's. Strangely enough this is when John howard got his first cabinet post, after the CIA backed sacking of the Whitlam Government. Of course he like the us governemnt they made his career.


 

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