Former Secretary of State Richard Armitage is a good friend of Colin Powell and Kim Beazley. According to the ABC, he says it's OK for Australia to leave Iraq now. But he also inists that the invasion and occupation of Iraq were "the Lords work":
"But these men and women are doing the Lord's work, they're standing up for freedom, they're trying to do the right thing and I for one would be very remiss if I didn't thank the Australian people and the Government for their participation."And he promises that the Australian military will hear about any changes in US policy before the public ever does. From SMH:
Bush's former deputy secretary of state, Richard Armitage, says "it looks to me that the junior coalition partner is very well placed" to keep abreast of shifting US policy. The Australian ambassador to Washington, Dennis Richardson, "owns that town, he's everywhere, he's indefatigable, and your military guys are right in there in Iraq alongside General Casey", says Armitage.And in the same article from Peter Hartcher, we read this strange little bit of news:
"They'll know about any changes in US policy long before it hits the media. Australia has been so helpful and loyal an ally it would be unforgiveable if Australia were not fully consulted."
Washington and Canberra are signing a memorandum to allow Australia to place some officials in the political-military branch of the US State Department.How's that? Australia is going to have officials working within the US State Department? That's pretty unprecedented, isn't it? Sounds to me like an effort to keep all future spin better co-ordinated across the US, UK and Australian governments.
Finally, Aussies might want to take note of this warning:
A former Clinton administration official says: "Your Government made a one-way bet during its 10 years in office and neglected the Democrats. Parties change and governments change and the Australian Government has forgotten that - it has not maintained its ties with Democrats and it is seen as a front-row cheerleader for the Bush Administration. Democrats won't especially hold it against them, but they won't be special friends either."