Australian PM John Howard yesterday:
"There is no fundamental change in American policy. I know that for a fact."Er, Johnny? The Dems are calling for a pullout by the end of 2007. And Rummy has been defenestrated. What bit don't you understand?
And here's Howard on the 7.30 Report last night:
KERRY O’BRIEN: But the bottom line is that in the end you took a decision on poor information; no matter how many people believed in it or not, you took a decision on poor information. Iraq, by almost anybody's calculation, is now a mess. That makes it a mess of your making?Well, if that's not political commentary, I don't know what is! And if the Iraq War has not "fatally or very badly damaged the prestige of the United States around the world", I don't know what has.
JOHN HOWARD: But, Kerry, the judgment I've got to make now is, is it in the interests of the coalition – the West, America, Britain, Australia and other countries - to withdraw in circumstances of defeat and retreat, and the answer to that is emphatically no.
KERRY O’BRIEN: You've made that point a number of times, but my question is, this is a real dilemma for you, for George Bush and Tony Blair, a real dilemma, knowing when to get out of Iraq, Iraq now being in a mess. Is that not a dilemma of your own making?
JOHN HOWARD: Kerry, I'm not going to engage in political commentary, I'm going to tell you what my policy is and my policy is to be part of a coalition that does not leave Iraq in circumstances where it is seen as a defeat for the West and a boost for the terrorists. That is the most important responsibility I have at the present time. The Australian people will make judgments about any claimed dilemmas I have; the Australian people will pass a judgment. I would expect the Australian people to think very carefully about a Prime Minister or a government that took part in an action that fatally or very badly damaged the prestige of the United States around the world.
It's time for Australians to tell John Howard that we want an independent Australian foreign policy plan in Iraq, including a clearly defined exit strategy.
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