1. What do you think it is? Bush Week? (…Thus the expression bush week is used ironically by someone who suspects they’re being made the victim of a scam or prank…)
2. If your mates want to put their heads in a gas oven, does that mean you should?
The PM’s mother probably said both of those, but here we are, as you may see in Rocco’s cartoon from today’s Sydney Morning Herald.
We’re in Iraq for US, says PM as Bush flies in
THE need to maintain a close alliance with the United States was reason enough for Australia to keep its troops in Iraq, John Howard said yesterday as his Defence Minister, Brendan Nelson, said the soldiers were “angry” about Kevin Rudd’s plan to bring them home early.*
The US President, George Bush, made a surprise visit to Iraq last night, landing at an air base in Anbar province west of Baghdad, before his scheduled arrival in Sydney tonight for the APEC summit.
Mr Howard, seeking to portray Labor as being opposed to the alliance for pledging to withdraw combat troops if elected, said it was in the national interest to stand by a friend.
On the other hand we have of course said PM in March 2003: “Any action that’s taken against Iraq must of course stand or fall on its own merit according to the strength of the arguments that are engaged.”
That is the reason above all others why I passionately believe that action must be taken to disarm Iraq. Not only will it take dangerous weapons from that country but it will send a clear signal to other rogue states and terrorists groups like Al Qaeda which clearly want such weapons that the world is prepared to take a stand.
There’s also another reason and that is our close security alliance with the United States.
Seems to have moved from footnote to body text since, doesn’t it? Of course that what happened was a clear signal to Al Qaeda, among others, to participate on the ground in Iraq, where they were hardly to be seen before 2003, seems to have gone down the memory hole. See I don’t have a memory and Did you see John Howard on The 7.30 Report tonight? — not to mention When obstinacy becomes reality deficit, who is “weak and gutless”?
* I can quite understand that many over there would feel that there is a job they would like to see through to the end, whatever the pros and cons of our having got into it in the first place. However, compare Andrew Denton’s interview with two Australians who’ve actually been there, one in the military, the other as a security contractor. (I missed it due to marking Trial papers.)
…Do you form strong bonds with these people?
GORDON TRAIL: Absolutely, you know. You, you Australians ah have a lot of empathy for ah the downtrodden and ah knowing that in their country they need some help so it if would occur in Australia, you know, your neighbour or your the person over the back would jump the fence and give you a hand. And that ex, you know goes with our Australian defence force.
ANDREW DENTON: Paul, you believe that the Americans ah have failed to win in the battle to win the hearts and minds. How have you seen attitudes change from Iraqis towards Coalition force?
PAUL JORDAN: Well I, look I guess that ah when we um, when I was embedded with the, the Americans during the war, I guess we were ah the war went for 21 days, and the final days there we drove to Baghdad and ah and fought the whole way along this six lane freeway, ah to get up to the area ah near Abu Ghraib prison in fact, which is where we stopped. And um, and the first part of that travel as we crossed the, ah the Euphrates, and started moving up the freeway, it was surreal. It was like ah VE day. These people were coming out of the homes and waving flags. But it wasn’t too many weeks later that the same little old ladies were clapping and cheering when those humvees were blown up and American soldiers were killed.
ANDREW DENTON: What happened? What?
PAUL JORDAN: Well they, look they had the initiative, they really had it, and I think from a war point of view, as, as terrible as wars are, it actually, they did a pretty good job of that war. But they, I guess the, the first element was the looting taking place. Allowing the looting to, to, to begin was a mistake because they didn’t stop at looting government offices, they then started looting their neighbours property, so consequently people wouldn’t go back to work. So because they were home defending their properties, and because they didn’t go back to work the, the power stations weren’t running and the water wasn’t running so there was no power, there was no water in the city. Um then it pushed on to the Americans dissolving the government, I would argue that if somebody came into this country and they took away our government, they took away all council ah they took away the military, the police, the ambulance the fire brigade ah, and we had no power or water, what would we do?