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Australian PM John Howard Warns Against Barack Obama for the Fight Against Terrorism

PM Howard says that al Qaeda is praying for an Obama win and it's not because they love his charisma. Obama wants all of our troops out of Iraq by March 2008:

In a strongly worded foray into US politics today, Mr Howard said an Obama victory in the presidential election would be disastrous for the war on terrorism.


"I think he's wrong. I think that will just encourage those who want to completely destabilise and destroy Iraq, and create chaos and a victory for the terrorists to hang on and hope for an Obama victory," Mr Howard said on Channel 9.

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

As expected the Democrats are furious about PM Howard's comments, but he's sticking to them:

Prime Minister John Howard has defended his comments about United States presidential candidate Barack Obama's proposed policies.


The spat erupted when Democrat Senator Obama said he would like US troops out of Iraq by March 2008.

Mr Howard responded by saying that if he ran Al Qaeda, he would put a circle around March next year and pray for Senator Obama to win.

The attack on Senator Obama's plan has upset several US Democrats, including Senator Ron Wyden, who believes Mr Howard is meddling in US politics.

"The most charitable thing you can say about Mr Howard's comment is it's bizarre," Senator Wyden said.

"You know, we'll make our own judgements in this country with respect to elections and Barack Obama's a terrific public servant."

However, Mr Howard says the suggestion he is interfering in US politics is absurd.

Obama responds to PM Howard's comments:

Mr. Obama said Australia had sent 1,400 troops to Iraq, a fraction of the American force.


"If he's ginned up to fight the good fight in Iraq, I would suggest that he calls up another 20,000 Australians and send them to Iraq," Mr. Obama said. "Otherwise, it's just a bunch of empty rhetoric."

I agree with Charles Johnson's assessment at LGF:

Oh yeah. Call the Prime Minister of Australia a chickenhawk.


Now that's presidential.

It's not presidential but it's certainly Democrat-esque.

Update: Pajamas Media has analysis and additional commentary.


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Comments (92)

An excellent example of the... (Below threshold)
epador:

An excellent example of the wonderful foreign policy statements we can expect from Obama. I wonder what he has to say to President Putin?

If we acted on Obama's dema... (Below threshold)
Retread:

If we acted on Obama's demand and got the troops out of Iraq by March 2008, why should we then vote for him the following November?

PM Howard doesn't put his m... (Below threshold)
Lee:

PM Howard doesn't put his money where his mouth us, and make any sort of real commitment to Iraq -- he just postures, poses and prances -- because he knows his constituency won't put up with him if he tries to do otherwise.

Buoyed by a surge in public support - which has Labor leading the Coalition by 58 per cent to 42 per cent in the latest AC Nielsen poll - Mr Rudd accused Mr Howard of a "grave error" of judgment.

"To accuse the Democratic Party of the US of being al-Qa'ida's party of choice ... to accuse the party of Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy and Johnson of being the terrorist's party of choice is a most serious charge," Mr Rudd told Parliament.

The comments were a "reckless act", Mr Rudd claimed, suggesting that Mr Howard's close personal friendship with Mr Bush was clouding broader judgment over the alliance.

The furore over the Prime Minister's remarks suggests that Iraq will feature heavily in this year's election campaign. While national security has been an electoral strength for Mr Howard, Labor strategists are confident of overcoming voter resistance on the issue.

The Coalition meanwhile is planning to attack Labor's decision to withdraw Australian troops from Iraq as an exercise that would damage the US alliance. Mr Howard has forged a close relationship with the US President and many of his senior colleagues.

But his comments on Iraq provoked a trans-Pacific brawl with senior Democratic figures - and even some Republicans - lashing out at the remarks.

He opened a personal slanging match involving senior Australian and US political figures, the likes of which has not been seen since Mr Bush attacked former Labor leader Mark Latham's Iraq policy in 2004.

Even some Republican figures suggested it would be better for Mr Howard to steer clear of the volatile Iraq debate.

"I would prefer that Mr Howard stay out of our domestic politics and we will stay out of his domestic politics," Republican senator John Cornyn said on US television.

PM Howard is nothing more than a Bush butt-kisser. My guess is he's fishing for a nice cushy job at Haliburton, which he will need when Australians run him out of office in the next election.

Howard should spend more ti... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

Howard should spend more time worrying about his own future and not Obama's. New elections will be held at the end of the year, and the Federal party is way down in the polls.

Bush wasn't satisfied with destroying the conservative party in this country, he had to take down Australia's as well.

Howard has a huge jihadi pr... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

Howard has a huge jihadi problem in his country. He's seen the our future, because he's living it now.

Howard is Bush-butt kisser,... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Howard is Bush-butt kisser, then the dems/liberals are nothing but terrorists and mullahs' butt kisser. It seems that the dems/liberals have been doing what the terrorists and their enablers expect them to do. Lee and fellow travellers are doing their part on this forum as expected of them from the terrorists.

Now we know Howard is just ... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Now we know Howard is just another lying politician -- his lips are moving:

Australian Prime Minister John Howard on Monday denied having a political motive when he said terrorists in Iraq would be pr, , ) to become U.S. president. Howard, a steadfast supporter of President Bush in the Iraq war, insisted his criticism of Obama's plan to withdraw U.S. combat troops in Iraq by March 31 next year was in Australia's national interest because Obama's plan would represent a defeat for Australia's most important military ally.

The issue overshadowed the results of a new opinion poll published Monday showing Howard, who will attempt to lead his conservative coalition to a fifth term at elections expected later this year, is lagging badly behind Labor opposition leader Kevin Rudd.

Desperate politicians, making policy based on their desire to get re-elected -- this guys does admire President Bush, doesn't he...

Howard at least sent Austra... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Howard at least sent Australian troops to fight alongside the US. The dems supported the French who stabbed the US in the back.

The liberals are so despicable for attacking any ally who is willing to fight alongside the US. The dems/liberals will support anyone who will do the bidding of the terrorists.

I'm sure Obama is crushed t... (Below threshold)
mantis:

I'm sure Obama is crushed to be losing the "Australian Prime Minister vote." I hear they really come out for the Democratic primary.

Of course, Howard 's disapp... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Of course, Howard 's disapproval will probably help Obama win the Dem primary. He seems to be in tune with the defeatist liberal base.

The liberals are so desp... (Below threshold)
astigafa:

The liberals are so despicable for attacking any ally who is willing to fight alongside the US. The dems/liberals will support anyone who will do the bidding of the terrorists.

How about you, LoveAmerica Immigrant? Are you fighting alongside our troops? What's your war record?

KimHow ironic. Th... (Below threshold)
aRepukelican:

Kim

How ironic. The Dixie Chicks are reviled because they spoke out of school over in the UK when Natalie Maines made her comments about Bush,
while now you delight in the Aussie neo-con's Bush sycophancy as he injects his opinions about an American candidate who is part of our US electoral process.

Somewhere in this is a towering double-standard and, dare we say, hypocrisy.

Of course any foreign interference w/ the American electoral process is to be applauded if it assuages your "Drunk With Hatred Over the '06 Election Outcome."

I'll bet this Aussie wingnut pig's injection into the American political process just soothes your soul.

How ironic. The Dixie Ch... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

How ironic. The Dixie Chicks are reviled because they spoke out of school over in the UK when Natalie Maines made her comments about Bush,
while now you delight in the Aussie neo-con's Bush sycophancy as he injects his opinions about an American candidate who is part of our US electoral process.

And you put great faith in the world leaders opposing Bush, but no so much faith here.

And you call her a hypocrite?
-=Mike

That's too bad. Basically ... (Below threshold)
snowballs:

That's too bad. Basically everyone the west, aside from the dhimmis, were in love with the guy after his speech along side Blair following the London train bombings.

On the other hand, if you guys on the left are going to get serious about Obama, then he had better get used to the criticisms and be able to handle them only slightly better than astigafa ^^.

Showing his gravitas... (Below threshold)
bill:

Showing his gravitas

astifagaHow about yo... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

astifaga
How about you, LoveAmerica Immigrant? Are you fighting alongside our troops? What's your war record?
------------------------------------------------
What is your war record? Is this a desperate attempt to avoid the issue? At least I don't stab the backs of the troops in the field. I don't call them Nazis, occupiers etc... I don't take every opportunity or mistakes they make to smear/slander them. Why do you support the liberals/dems who are taking every opportunity to smear the US military? What is the problems with liberals right on this forum who are attacking allies who fight alongside our troops (at the same time they turn a blind eyes or even excuse the countries like France, Russia who are immersed in the oil-for-food corruption?) Are you honest enough to admit that liberals do not care about the troops?

I'd rather be known as a Bu... (Below threshold)
Jo:

I'd rather be known as a Bush ass kisser, than a terrorist ass kisser as the democrats are.

Anyway, Obama is showing some real diplomacy there already, eh? lol.

Howard knows what the democrats in this country are all about and he's nailed them on it, and they know it.

Bwahahahahahahaha...I love it.

Communist agent-aRep,... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Communist agent-aRep,
Dixie chicks are reviled because they go to a foreign country slandering the US, their own country. Obama is reviled because he openly called for a date of withdrawal. Anyone with half a brain would know that this is really stupid. The terrorists and their sponsors only need for the US withdrawal before making their moves. Again, you are proof that the liberals are behind those who slander the US and against those who fight alongside the US.

Liberals rather bash Bush t... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Liberals rather bash Bush than the terrorists. That 's what despicable about them.

"If he's ginned up... (Below threshold)
Heralder:
"If he's ginned up to fight the good fight in Iraq, I would suggest that he calls up another 20,000 Australians and send them to Iraq," Mr. Obama said. "Otherwise, it's just a bunch of empty rhetoric."

Why, to fill the gaping, sucking hole we leave in Iraq that you plan to create if you win?

His reply to Howard doesn't defend his own position very well...and I find it dissapointing that Obama (or anyone else criticising Howard's opinion) never had anything this sharp to say to Hugo Chavez regarding his various vitrolic rants and raves about our acting President and our country.

Hugo Chavez: Taking advantage of Freedom of Speech.

John Howard: A meddling chickenhawk not entitled to an opinion.


Obama getting off to a rock... (Below threshold)
Jo:

Obama getting off to a rocky start! Even Howard Kurtz criticizes him in his new column.

Hey Barack, San Fran Nan, etc. - it ain't as easy as it looks, is it? Welcome to r.e.a.l.i.t.y. The MSM will try, but they can't cover your ass 24/7. It gets unseemly. They're pretending to be objective journalists after all.

How do you go about "bashin... (Below threshold)
sheesh:

How do you go about "bashing" the terrorists from the comfort of your home, LoveAmerica Immigrant? People with opinions on the internet do not have any influence in goings-on in the Middle East, but do exert at least a modicum of influence on domestic politics and journalism. So yeah, nobody on the left is "bashing" terrorists on blogs, because it's a complete fucking waste of time. Idiot.

And stop referring to people who disapprove of Bush as "liberal", because over 60% of the country disapproves of that piece of incompetent garbage. I hardly think that America is predominantly liberal, but as you seem to suggest the contrary, you are implying that you have a problem with America. Do you, douche bag? Knuckle-dragging 30-percenter to the core, you are.

"If he's ginned up to fi... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

"If he's ginned up to fight the good fight in Iraq, I would suggest that he calls up another 20,000 Australians and send them to Iraq," Mr. Obama said. "Otherwise, it's just a bunch of empty rhetoric."

Uh, Mr. Obama, you're lack of political experience is showing. ...

On a per capita basis 1,400... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

On a per capita basis 1,400 troops from Australia is equivalent of 21,000 from the U.S. as far as a judge of commitment goes. While most Australian troops are not serving in combat rolls, nevertheless they serve in vital functions, which the U.S. would have to fill with it's own troops should Australian pull out.

Regardless of the political climate in Australia, Prime Minister Howard speaks as the head of that nation just as President Bush speaks as head of this nation. With Australia having a fifteenth the population of the U.S., Obama's assertion that Australia needs to send 20,000 more troops to Iraq in order to have credibility is ludicrous. That would be like the U.S. sending 300,000 troops. The fact that Obama didn't realize the absurdity of his contention demonstrates his utter lack of knowledge and experience in foreign policy. The fact that Obama uses the chickenhawk argument to insult the head of state of one of our staunchest allies in the war on terror demonstrates a fatal flaw in Obama's character. Now the only thing I want to know is how Hillary set this up.

I am confused? The Prime mi... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

I am confused? The Prime minister of a another nation interjects his opinion on a candidate for the nomination of a political party. That candidate immediately responds to this charge.

I wish Bush would have immediately responded when the despot leader of Iran started his crap.

Where was this man's interest when whiteguy John Edwards started his campaign with the same position?

I like a candidate who doesn't just sit back when attacked..Obama did not use the word "chickenhawk"
If that is the word that came into your mind kim you should have phrased it that way..
Obama doesn't need the MSM to cover his ass..it seems he he off to a good start doing that for..himself...by the way do you mean his "friends" in the MSM who keep pushing the "Is he Black enough" line?

I am sorry Kim..it was Mr. ... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

I am sorry Kim..it was Mr. Johnson and not you that wrote "chickenhawk"

I am confused? The Prime... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

I am confused? The Prime minister of a another nation interjects his opinion on a candidate for the nomination of a political party. That candidate immediately responds to this charge.

...by labelling him, basically, a chickenhawk. By asking him to send more troops while he plans on yanking ours out.

That is ABYSMAL diplomacy.

Bush never pulled that with Chirac.

Where was this man's interest when whiteguy John Edwards started his campaign with the same position?

Obama is much higher in the polls than Edwards. It'd be like saying "Hey, why isn't Duncan Hunter getting the heat Giuliani is?"
-=Mike

nogo postal:<blockquo... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

nogo postal:

I am confused? The Prime minister of a another nation interjects his opinion on a candidate for the nomination of a political party. That candidate immediately responds to this charge.

It's how he responded, not that he responded.

Where was this man's interest when whiteguy John Edwards started his campaign with the same position?

Playing the race card? Come on.

I like a candidate who doesn't just sit back when attacked..Obama did not use the word "chickenhawk"

No he didn't use the word "chickhawk"...but what do you think it means when he says "Send more troops, if not, shut up because you have no say in this matter." ?

It's the same logic used in the chickenhawk argument.


Did'n we hear all these war... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

Did'n we hear all these warnings last fall that electing Dems would enable the enemy? Why do voters hate America?
Note one..although in danger as is anyone over there Aussies are not listed nor have ever been "combat troops.

Note 2...Edwards made his withdraw beliefs when he announced in December..as for Obama being up in the polls? I would assume Mr. Howard's current election campaign just might put his reading polls way down on his list of things to do...

Sheesh, have you seen the n... (Below threshold)
Jo:

Sheesh, have you seen the numbers of how many disapprove of congress in general?

Seems like americans pretty much disapprove of everyone in DC, which is not unsual.

But nice try. Not.

So wait, when the President... (Below threshold)
mantis:

So wait, when the President has been criticized for not sending more troops to Iraq, that's the "chickenhawk argument?"

With Australia having a fifteenth the population of the U.S., Obama's assertion that Australia needs to send 20,000 more troops to Iraq in order to have credibility is ludicrous. That would be like the U.S. sending 300,000 troops.

Interesting way to look at it. Another way to look at it would be by recognizing that at present the US has about 0.76% percent of our population contributing to the coalition force. Australia has about 0.1% contributing. In order to be at our level, their force would have to be a bit over seven times the size it is now. If they were to equal our forces, as a percentage of total population, they would have a force size a bit under 20,000. Hey, what a coincidence, that's about the size of the Surge that's going to solve all the problems in Iraq!

Seems like a reasonable response, especially considering the vapidity of Howard's comments.

Interesting way to look at ... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Interesting way to look at it. Another way to look at it would be by recognizing that at present the US has about 0.76% percent of our population contributing to the coalition force. Australia has about 0.1% contributing. In order to be at our level, their force would have to be a bit over seven times the size it is now. If they were to equal our forces, as a percentage of total population, they would have a force size a bit under 20,000. Hey, what a coincidence, that's about the size of the Surge that's going to solve all the problems in Iraq!

Seems like a reasonable response, especially considering the vapidity of Howard's comments.
-------------------------------------------------
What has France contributed with all the money they got from the oil-for-food bribery scheme? Surprised that you don't consider Obama 's responses vapid. His open call for a withdrawal by March 2008 is really vapid or stupid. His "chickenhawk" response to Howard is even more vapid or a repeat of a stupid argument from liberals.

BTW, according liberal logi... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

BTW, according liberal logic, any countries that have not contributed forces to Iraq and have been calling for US withdrawals should be able to freely criticize Bush and US policy? Otherwise, any country that send forces to help cannot voice their opinions? IF Howard is a chickenhawk, so what is Chirac or Obama?

Mantis,As of mid-N... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Mantis,

As of mid-November 2006, there were approximately 152,000 US troops deployed to Iraq. With 20,000 more that number would be 172,000. That would be equivilent to 11,467 for Australia, not the bit under 20,000 you cite. Are you saying that we shouldn't respect the opinions of other nations unless they have per capita commitment to Iraq equal to our own? It seems Obama is.

mantis:The logic I... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

mantis:

The logic I'm referring to is:

1) If you are able to serve, and you support the war, you are a chickenhawk if you are not there.

vs

2) If you are able to contribute more troops, and you support the war, you are a chickenhawk if you do not contribute more.

(with the added bonus of - "because I plan to pull all of ours out")

Am I off base or twisting his meaning to compare these two two examples?

Seems like a reasonable response, especially considering the vapidity of Howard's comments.

How exactly is Howard's statement considered vapid? It seems quite logical, actually.

It's also extremely alienating to call Australia "one of George Bush's allies".

Actually, let me revise my ... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

Actually, let me revise my last statement:

"It's also extremely alienating to call John Howard "one of George Bush's allies"."

John Howard: Sent some sold... (Below threshold)

John Howard: Sent some soldiers to Iraq and Afghanistan to help out. Didn't have to. Maybe not as much as the USA, but a contribution nonetheless.

Barak Obama: Wants to pull US troops out of Iraq, regardless of the damage it will do.

And the latter is lecturing the former on how many soldiers he's committed? OK, so if you believe in something, you make sacrifices. I would be fine with more of our soldiers being sent, but not everybody in this country is for it, so he has to balance the desires of all of us. I think Howard's position is a hell of a lot better than Obama's. Basically it's the pot calling the kettle black here.

As for all the people who took upon themselves to bash my country and my P.M. in this comment thread.. our previous P.M. said Australia is the "ass end of the world". Well, you can kiss it.

Obama is an empty suit and ... (Below threshold)
Pete_Bonduant:

Obama is an empty suit and proved it yesterday. It was a ridiculous response. This guy wants to be president of the United States? He better get some thick skin. I love how liberals care what other leaders in the world say about the sitting president but get all angry when a conservative leader mentions what is an abvious fact. Al Qaeda wants the Democrats to win. Iran wants the Democrats to win. Terrorists in Iraq want the Democrats to win. Obama has a plan to withdraw troops by March of 2008. If I were a terrorist I would just lay low until the troops withdraw and then unleash havoc. Thirteen more months until the country is ours! Idiot Obama.

Looks like Canberra is up t... (Below threshold)
CUS:

Looks like Canberra is up to their butts in alligators:

From http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0525/p07s02-woap.html

"The pressures on Australia's military - which includes some 52,000 active-duty personnel and 20,000 reserve forces - are growing. The country was among the first to commit troops to the US-led invasion of Iraq and now has about 1,400 military personnel there - miniscule by US or British standards, but politically significant for Canberra. Australia has also sent 550 troops to Afghanistan, including a special forces task force.

"Another 400 soldiers are in the Solomon Islands, following violence in the wake of a bribery-tainted election last month. Years of civil war and ethnic feuding prompted the Solomons to request an intervention by a large Australian-led peacekeeping force in 2003. The majority of Australia's current force there will be recalled, the government announced Wednesday, but there are other trouble spots that might require assistance."

And a further 800 in East Timor.

As of mid-November 2006,... (Below threshold)
mantis:

As of mid-November 2006, there were approximately 152,000 US troops deployed to Iraq. With 20,000 more that number would be 172,000. That would be equivilent to 11,467 for Australia, not the bit under 20,000 you cite.

Well, I was using a different calculus, now wasn't I? Do try to pay attention. (I was also counting the military + non-military personnel numbers in my percentages; about 210k US, 2k Au.).

Are you saying that we shouldn't respect the opinions of other nations unless they have per capita commitment to Iraq equal to our own? It seems Obama is.

No, I'm saying that if the Iraq war is so crucial in the war on terrorism as Howard claims, and if voting for a politician who advocates redeployment is a vote for terrorism, then doesn't it stand to reason that Australia should be willing to commit more forces to the cause, especially in light of our current Surge strategy?

By the way, responding to someone does not equal "not respecting the opinions of other nations." Can't one disagree and not be disrespecting someone's opinion? Regardless, how was Howard respectful of the Senator's opinion when he basically said Obama is a friend to terrorists. My response to Howard would not have been quite so congenial; it would have been something more like, "Go fuck yourself, guvnah."

While John Howard's support... (Below threshold)
John Irving:

While John Howard's support in the War on Terror is greatly appreciated, I no more appreciate his input on our Presidential elections than any other foreign leader. While our interests may coincide quite a bit with close allies like Australia, they still need to look out for their own interests and let us look out for ours.

mantis:ho... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

mantis:

how was Howard respectful of the Senator's opinion when he basically said Obama is a friend to terrorists.

I understand liberals getting prickly about that accusation, because it gets thrown around alot, mostly just to stifle debate.

Howard didn't say that was Obama's purpose, but rather his plan may well benefit them.

By the way, responding to s... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

By the way, responding to someone does not equal "not respecting the opinions of other nations." Can't one disagree and not be disrespecting someone's opinion? Regardless, how was Howard respectful of the Senator's opinion when he basically said Obama is a friend to terrorists. My response to Howard would not have been quite so congenial; it would have been something more like, "Go fuck yourself, guvnah."
-------------------------------------------------
Then you shouls stop complaining how Bush hasn't been diplomatic enough. For a pres candidate who said sth as stupid as Obama did (openly call for withdrawal by 2008), he should get more flack not less. I don't remember whether Obama raised a ruckus at the confirmation of Patreus, the surge general?

Mantis 's language should have been used towards Obama and not Howard. As heralder pointed out, the liberals don't seem to be exercised about Hugo Chavez, yet they seem to be so exercised about an ally who has been willing to fight alongside the US.

Liberals seem to be quite OK with countries like France who has not contributed forces in Iraq but was immersed in the UN oil-for-food bribery. What did France contribute during the containment of Saddam (no fly zone)? Have we heard from liberals? Their hypocrisy shows.


One more clarification: can... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

One more clarification: can someone show me how liberals have raised a ruckus wrt France, a country that seems to commit to US failure in VN and Iraq after Chirac bash our PRESIDENT, not just one of 100 senators? Did they do and use mantis language towards Chirac? Inquiring minds want to know.

For the record I tend to be... (Below threshold)
marc:

For the record I tend to believe Howard spoke out of turn, however Obama's response was hardly an acceptable one considering his goal is the White House.

Heralder touched on the real issue in Obamas remarks.

Consider, Obama didn't refer to Howard as an ally of the U.S. or an ally of America or the U.S. troops.

Obama refered to Australia as "one of George Bush's allies".

Question Obama, is France and Russia an Obama "ally" or a Bush "ally?"

Did Spain become an Obama "ally" when they turned tail and ran from Iraq?

Pete...over the past few ye... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

Pete...over the past few years I have read folks from the far right(including elected folks)use the phrase "If I were a terrorist"...say what you will about the language of the far left, I don't recall reading where they imagining about being a terrorist.
You are not a terrorist. You would never be a terrorist...so playing "pretend" is not the best way to make a point...
It is like when someone says "if I were President" or if I were a candidate for President"
Of course one does not have to be "something" to be critical..but you won't find me saying
"If I were black, I wouldn't say Obama isn't black enough."..

No, I'm saying ... (Below threshold)

No, I'm saying that if the Iraq war is so crucial in the war on terrorism as Howard claims, and if voting for a politician who advocates redeployment is a vote for terrorism, then doesn't it stand to reason that Australia should be willing to commit more forces to the cause, especially in light of our current Surge strategy?

I don't see what that has to do with his point: will Obama's promise to withdraw all U.S. soldiers from Iraq help the terrorists and assorted miscreants, or will it not? That was Howard's point and I have not seen it addressed. Instead you and Obama attack the man, not the message. Very telling.

There's also a problem with all the calculations about %ages of our population or armed forces. We still have to be able to defend a continent almost the size of the continental US with the soldiers we don't send overseas. Granted we have no land borders which makes it easier, but still not trivial. When the USA has 150k soldiers in Iraq how many are left in the USA? 1 million? More? If we send a few thousand overseas (Iraq, Afghanistan, East Timor, Solomon Islands) we're left with 20 or 30k to defend our country. We also sent ships and planes to the ME at some point although I think they've mostly come back by now.

I don't usually respond to ... (Below threshold)
mantis:

I don't usually respond to jibber-jabber up above, but he/she brings up an interesting point, and quite relevant to this discussion. Patreus, whom he/she calls the "surge general," literally wrote the book on counterinsurgency (pdf), and thus is eminently qualified to take control of US forces in Iraq (and that is why Obama, as with most of the Senate, had no objection to his appointment). The guidelines for counterinsurgency strength given that manual (from December, 2006) are:

Twenty counterinsurgents per 1000 residents is often considered the minimum troop density required for effective COIN operations; however as with any fixed ratio, such calculations remain very dependent upon the situation.

By those numbers, we would need a force of 120,000 combat troops for Baghdad alone, and about 580,000 for the all of Iraq. Now I've heard this argument many times: why didn't those that disagree with the President's strategy oppose the appointment of Gen. Patreus? They didn't oppose his appointment because he is very qualified and deserves the post. The argument, such as it is, makes no sense anyway since it is based on the premise that Bush gets his strategy from Patreus. He does not. Patreus' strategy for counterinsurgency is clearly laid out in that manual, and the Bush surge strategy does not align with that in the least. Patreus is following orders from his commander in chief, and against his better judgement at that. The fact that he does not publicly state as much is a testament to the discipline of the army and the chain of command. He is hamstrung from the start, and the surge, by his own estimation and that of the army, will fail to quell the insurgency.

The question is, if we aren't willing to commit enough forces to do the job, why are we willing to continue? Why prolong a failed strategy?

Do not bore me Nugo Postal.... (Below threshold)
Pete_Bondurant:

Do not bore me Nugo Postal. Answer this question if you can. If the US withdraws from Iraq in March of 2008, without finishing the job..IE the Iraqi defense forces can defend themselves, what do you think will occur? Anwer that question. I would like some reporter to ask empty suit Obama that same question. Howard's country has a stake in this war so he can criticize Obama's juvenile plan if he likes.

By those numbers, we would ... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

By those numbers, we would need a force of 120,000 combat troops for Baghdad alone, and about 580,000 for the all of Iraq. Now I've heard this argument many times: why didn't those that disagree with the President's strategy oppose the appointment of Gen. Patreus?
-----------------------------------------------
Patreus should know the details where the surge needs to be for what area in Baghdad. So I assume he knows exactly what needs to be done. This arg is a moot point.

Patreus is the surge general. That 's why he is appointed by Bush. Bush obviously got some inputs from Patreus. If he doesn't agree with Bush, he shouldn't have accepted the appointment unless you are implying that Patreus is of such a low character that he is willing to accept a position he doesn't believe in.

If the dems are honest, why don't they raised the very question about the troop level you posted here? Why didn't they pick it up directly with him and contradicted him as you seem to imply? Because they know that they cannot have an honest debate and Patreus will show them how empty their arg is going to be.

Hee hee, right on Pete!... (Below threshold)
914:

Hee hee, right on Pete!

If the dems think that he i... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

If the dems think that he is well qualified and deserve it, why did they insist on a resolution the Patreus said that would encourage the terrorists and their sponsors? Obviously they should heed his advice, right? If not, why didn't they pick it up with him? Either way, the dishonesty is clear.

mantis,We... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

mantis,

Well, I was using a different calculus, now wasn't I? Do try to pay attention. (I was also counting the military + non-military personnel numbers in my percentages; about 210k US, 2k Au.).

If you were paying action you would have seen that Obama was comparing the number of Australia troops in Iraq with the number of American troops. You need to compare apples to apples and not try to include the oranges.

No, I'm saying that if the Iraq war is so crucial in the war on terrorism as Howard claims, and if voting for a politician who advocates redeployment is a vote for terrorism, then doesn't it stand to reason that Australia should be willing to commit more forces to the cause, especially in light of our current Surge strategy?

Regardless of how you spin it, it's still the chickenhawk argument. Obama is saying that the PM's criticism of his cut and run plan is invalid unless Australia commits many more troops to Iraq.

By the way, responding to someone does not equal "not respecting the opinions of other nations." Can't one disagree and not be disrespecting someone's opinion? Regardless, how was Howard respectful of the Senator's opinion when he basically said Obama is a friend to terrorists. My response to Howard would not have been quite so congenial; it would have been something more like, "Go fuck yourself, guvnah."

Yes, there can be disagreement without disrespect. I don't see where Howard said or even implied that Obama is a friend to terrorists. Howard is saying Obama's plan is friendly to terrorists. There's a big difference. Howard is criticizing the plan not the man. Obama had a great opportunity to show how he would handle a foreign policy dispute, but he fumbled the ball. Now his lack of knowledge and experience on foreign policy becomes a prime issue. Watch for Hillary to use this fumble to the fullest extent.

I don't see what that ha... (Below threshold)
mantis:

I don't see what that has to do with his point: will Obama's promise to withdraw all U.S. soldiers from Iraq help the terrorists and assorted miscreants, or will it not?

Will it help the terrorists and assorted miscreants? Hard to say without knowing what those terms mean. Please arrange these groups, who are fighting each other and/or the coalition forces in Iraq, into groups (i.e. terrorists or miscreants, other unnamed categories):

Baathists (Fedayeen Saddam, Baghdad Citizens Gathering)
Iraqi Sunni Islamists (Jaish al-Rashideen, Islamic State of Iraq, ar-Rayat as-Sawda, Abu Theeb)
Foreign Al-Qaeda Sunni Islamists
Shiite Militias (Mahdi Army, Abu Deraa militia, Badr Brigade)
Peshmerga

Now many of these groups are present in different regions and are fighting different enemies. You may want to categorize tribally/ethnically instead. You have Shia Arabs, Shia Turkmen, Sunni Arabs, Sunni Turkmen, Sunni Kurds, Foreign Arabs, Foreign non-arabs, and maybe more I'm forgetting. In any case you have a multitude of groups fighting the coalition and fighting each other. Don't forget you have rival factions within the Sunnis and Shias at odds with each other as well.

It seems clear that the Kurds and the Shia who constitute the majority of the Iraqi police forces are helped by the coalition forces (since we help keep Iraqi Kurdistan secure, and our presence maintains the legitimacy of the Iraqi police forces and allows some of them to continue their crackdowns/kidnappings/ethnic cleansing of the Sunni). So those two groups would find things more difficult if the coalition forces withdrew (though any withdrawal would likely maintain forces in Iraqi Kurdistan anyway). As to who would benefit? That's a difficult question, and a more difficult question is who would we want to benefit? Short of the Kurds taking over the entire country, which is ridiculous, there are no attractive outcomes. Going by population and support the Shia, who we are supporting anyway, would probably win out over the Sunni, but it would be pretty messy and not exactly a rout.

Obama's "promise" (not a promise, a proposal), would do one thing for sure, it would get us the hell out of that mess. I don't know who it would help in the end, but I have no doubt that us staying there at current numbers and using the current strategy will not lead to a democratic paradise of cooperation and sectarian amity. If we committed the types of numbers called for by Patreus' counterinsurgency strategy, we could maybe secure a relative peace long enough to form an authoritarian (and probably Islamist) government to maintain control over that ridiculously poorly planned country (thank you, British Empire).

Americans as a whole should... (Below threshold)

Americans as a whole should speak out against and reject foreigners meddling in our elections. Whether it's the French, the Australians or bin Laden himself I don't give a damn what any foreigner has to say about our Presidential candidates. Howard's opinion and preferences are completely irrelevant to me and they should be to everyone else. I can't imagine anyone changing their vote because of what some Australian thinks. How absurd.

The same thing that is happ... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

The same thing that is happening now only our troops won't be there..
Why should we support a government whose Parliament is not even meeting in a time like this? Think about it..they are not even meeting! If we leave the govt will probably fall

We spent how those years in Viet Nam propping up ineffective governments..When we left that government fell..

You argue that more troops and more money be used to..what

This week, House Dems and some Republicans will pass a resolution of non-support for sending more troops...You watch the response of our nation to this...
...As for the support the troops crap...I am sure you are aware of reports published today, that after 4 years we still cannot protect all the humvees...after 100's of billions of $$..Tell those brave men and women riding around at risk that "we support them"

I can't imagine an... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
I can't imagine anyone changing their vote because of what some Australian thinks. How absurd.

It's not what the Austrilian PM said, it's how Obama fumbled such a great opportunity to show how he would handle a foreign policy dispute that will likely cost him many votes. Such fumbles feed the empty suite charge.

Howard's opinion and prefer... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Howard's opinion and preferences are completely irrelevant to me and they should be to everyone else. I can't imagine anyone changing their vote because of what some Australian thinks. How absurd.
------------------------------------------------
Oh, so we don't need allies in this GWOT then? OK, all the criticism towards Bush for not getting allies on board are just partisan attack? Australia is one of the few allies who have consistently willing to fight alongside the US. Oh, for liberals we should give heed to the dictator club at the UN or France?

To nogo postal-"needs no on... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

To nogo postal-"needs no one to cover his ass" but needs a Superdome to cover his ears. (and a barbell tied to his head to keep it from floating off)

So in 2004, foreigners trie... (Below threshold)
Brian:

So in 2004, foreigners tried to influence US elections, and the response from the right was basically STFU. But now, it's OK for foreigners to try to inject an opinion about US elections, as long as it aligns with your opinion. And when a US politician tells him to put his money where his mouth is, that's suddenly an improper response.

And the hypocrisy continues...

Brian, in 2004, the left re... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

Brian, in 2004, the left reminded us how much we can't afford to alienate our allies and we should vote against Bush because of that.

Now, Obama clearly insults an ally --- something Bush didn't do --- and you have no problem with it.

The hypocrisy is on your side.
-=Mike

Nice recap Brian.L... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

Nice recap Brian.

Let's tone this down from "influence" to start.

And "put your money where your mouth is" how he said it, is both a chickenhawkesque (in my opinion) argument as well as a poor reflection on how he plans to handle foreign policy.

I have the same complaint from the left...there's been unbelievable things said about Bush from abroad and you guys can't stop yawning...or agreeeing...yet some criticism about the proposed plans of a Democratic candidate comes around and you guys rally behind him about how inappropraite it was for Howard to have an opinion.

Mike, More precisel... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Mike,
More precisely, the US cannot respond to "allies" like France, who didn't send troop but in cahoot with Saddam to get more of our troops killed.
So for liberals, the way for countries like France to put action after their words is to work more with the terrorists to get more US troops killed so that liberals can call our Iraq strategy a failure? In essense, liberals have no concern about a few allies who have been willing to fight alongside the US. But they have been overly sensitive to the dictator club and the UN and the countries like France.

For the record I never said... (Below threshold)
mantis:

For the record I never said Howard's comments were inappropriate; obviously US policy vis a vis Iraq affects Australian policy and thus Howard is not out of bounds sharing his opinions on the direction of US policy, even if he is jumping the gun quite a bit (and from what I can tell his timing has much more to do with Australian politics than ours). I said they were vapid.

mantis,I didn't sp... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

mantis,

I didn't specifically mean you when I mentioned, "inappropriate". I remember you saying vapid.

I'm referring to the general feeling I'm getting from the other posters here.

What is vapid about pointin... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

What is vapid about pointing the logical conclusion of Obama 's proposal? Anyone with half a brain would do what Howard said. In fact, Obama is vapid in his response. Instead of elaborating on his position, he used a cheap distraction insult. So much for a pres candidate.

Now, Obama clearly insul... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Now, Obama clearly insults an ally --- something Bush didn't do --- and you have no problem with it.

Now, Howard clearly insults 70+% of the US population, and you have no problem with it.

The hypocrisy is on your side.

So in 2004, foreigners ... (Below threshold)
Jo:

So in 2004, foreigners tried to influence US elections, and the response from the right was basically STFU. But now, it's OK for foreigners to try to inject an opinion about US elections, as long as it aligns with your opinion. And when a US politician tells him to put his money where his mouth is, that's suddenly an improper response.

This is just too funny to deserve a response.

MikeC, you nailed Brian again. Loved it.

And "put your money wher... (Below threshold)
Brian:

And "put your money where your mouth is" how he said it, is both a chickenhawkesque (in my opinion) argument as well as a poor reflection on how he plans to handle foreign policy.

Poorer than "you're either with us or against us"? Or "bring 'em on"? Or "dead or alive"? Are you really going to climb on the high horse over someone else's foreign policy rhetoric?

I have the same complaint from the left...there's been unbelievable things said about Bush from abroad and you guys can't stop yawning...or agreeeing...yet some criticism about the proposed plans of a Democratic candidate comes around and you guys rally behind him about how inappropraite it was for Howard to have an opinion.I have the same complaint from the left...there's been unbelievable things said about Bush from abroad and you guys can't stop yawning...or agreeeing...yet some criticism about the proposed plans of a Democratic candidate comes around and you guys rally behind him about how inappropraite it was for Howard to have an opinion.

No, you are completely misrepresenting what has been said. The issue here is hypocrisy from the right, not whether one agrees or disagrees with foreign comments. The right said foreign comments ("meddling", I recall) were inappropriate in 2004, but they're OK now. That's hypocrisy. Whereas the left never claimed they were inappropriate.

Yes, in 2004 many on the left agreed with foreign comments, and today many don't. But agreeing or disagreeing with comments is very different from finding their very existence inappropriate one year and appropriate the next.

MikeC, you nailed Brian ... (Below threshold)
Brian:

MikeC, you nailed Brian again. Loved it.

Hey Jo, do you have anything useful to post anymore, other than your lovefests for MikeSC's manufactured and unsupported facts? You're like a little yapping dog who spontaneously belches out "Bwahahaha" everytime Mike farts. Truly, you were a lot more fun to tear apart when you tried to actually post your own fragile spin on things, rather than pretend that you're part of someone else's.

I'll translate again for Br... (Below threshold)
Jo:

I'll translate again for Brian:

"Dammit, leave me alone. I was enjoying thinking I had won an argument."
Brian


Brian, if I too were unsure about my facts, and my position, I would also hang out at blogs that didn't agree with me. But I don't. I don't have to. I'm confident with my positions. Looks like you are not.

Information could be your friend.

Now jo be a little easier o... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

Now jo be a little easier on "Brian" because you have to know he is "brain" less.

I'll translate again for... (Below threshold)
Brian:

I'll translate again for Brian:
"Dammit, leave me alone. I was enjoying thinking I had won an argument."

No, actually it was more like "Dammit, leave me alone. I was actually having a reasonable debate with rational people who base their position on facts, and yet I keep having to deal with these yapping dogs nipping at the heels of others as if they have some value of their own."

But you were close.

I'm confident with my positions.

Judging from your ability to back them up... not so much.

OK, I'm done with you. Begone.

To help Brian understand a ... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

To help Brian understand a little better:

(1) The left has no problem with foreign countries that contributed no force and even worked with the enemies of America. When these countries criticized the US and George Bush as the pres, the liberals wouldn't have any problem

(2) The left has a problem with one of the few allies who have been willing to fight alongside the US when this ally pointed out the logical conclusion of a stupid proposal by a liberal pres candidate. All of the sudden, insulting an ally is OK with the left.

In real life, we would value people who have been working and putting their action after their words (ie contributing forces and money etc...) more than those who are working with our enemies. But we know that the left doesn't talk about real life. Or their loyalty is questionable.

LoveAmerica, excellent. No... (Below threshold)
Jo:

LoveAmerica, excellent. Now you too have nailed Brian to the wall. And your name is probably soooo offensive to the moonbats in here. Never give it up.

Sweeeeet.

(1) The left has no prob... (Below threshold)
Brian:

(1) The left has no problem with...

Correct, no problem.

(2) The left has a problem with...

Huh? I have no problem with that. Why are you making this up?

Now, to help you understand a little better...

(1) In 2004, the right says it is inappropriate for citizens of foreign countries to criticize our leaders with the intent of influencing a US election.

(2) In 2007, the right says it is perfectly appropriate for leaders of foreign countries to criticize our citizens with the intent of influencing a US election.

My position hasn't changed. Yours has. Got it yet?

(1) In 2004, ... (Below threshold)
Lee:

(1) In 2004, the right says it is inappropriate for citizens of foreign countries to criticize our leaders with the intent of influencing a US election.

(2) In 2007, the right says it is perfectly appropriate for leaders of foreign countries to criticize our citizens with the intent of influencing a US election.

The moral and ethical compass of the Republicans in question swings in whatever direction that will do them the most political good that particular day.

One day they favor free speech - the next day those that exercise free speech are pilloried because "free" doesn't really mean "free" to these conservative Repbublicans -- it means "speech we agree with" to these people instead.

That's the hypocrisy for which they are justly famous, and since they really don't care about matters like integrity, ethics, they aren't going to change. All you can do is point it out - as Brian has done here - and keep pointing it out every time it surfaces

Ask for them to link to their "facts", question the source of their "quotes" -- it's usually a simple matter to expose them.

The American voter has noticed - our allies have noticed -- and the American conservative and Republican voter base is a shrinking breed as a result. Keep asking, keep questioning, and their power grows less every day.

Now, Howard clearly insu... (Below threshold)
MikeSC:

Now, Howard clearly insults 70+% of the US population, and you have no problem with it.

The hypocrisy is on your side.

Obama is 70%+ of the electorate? Wow. I guess our freedom to vote has been curtailed.

Or are you arguing that Obama, if he wins the Dem nomination, will pull down over 70% of the popular vote? Because you and I both know that won't happen.

No, you are completely misrepresenting what has been said. The issue here is hypocrisy from the right, not whether one agrees or disagrees with foreign comments. The right said foreign comments ("meddling", I recall) were inappropriate in 2004, but they're OK now. That's hypocrisy. Whereas the left never claimed they were inappropriate.

Lee, Barney, and puke have done just that.
-=Mike

jhow66 = knee pads in the m... (Below threshold)
slingshot:

jhow66 = knee pads in the men's room & very small schlong

Howard is a Bush sycophant ... (Below threshold)
aRepukelican:

Howard is a Bush sycophant whose son worked for the 2004 Bush re-election campaign.

This Auusie P.O.S. should be told to butt out of the American election process.

Howard is a Bush ... (Below threshold)
Jumpinjoe:
Howard is a Bush sycophant whose son worked for the 2004 Bush re-election campaign.

And John Kerry's sister was campaigning for Howard's rival Latham. Latham pledged to withdraw from Iraq.

And at a time when Kerry said we need to build alliances in the war in Iraq.

Charles Krauthammer said it best here:

The Art Of Losing Friends

The only thing that distinguishes Kerry's Iraq proposals from Bush's is his promise to deploy his unique, near-mystical ability to bring in new allies to fight and pay for the war in Iraq -- to "make Iraq the world's responsibility" and get others to "share the burden," as he said this week at New York University.

Yet even Richard Holbrooke, a top Kerry foreign policy adviser, admits that the president of France is not going to call up President Kerry and say, "How many divisions should I send to Iraq?"

The Art Of Losing Friends

As the Aussies have an Isla... (Below threshold)
epador:

As the Aussies have an Islamic threat as near to their door as Mexico is to ours, who also recognize what a US pullout from Iraq would do to their own security, I think their PM has every reason to comment on candidates who propose policy that would lead to severe security risks to the land Down Under. I believe its foolish for Obama to make public comments about how an ally ought to be strategically managing its troops. It shows what a lightweight he is in foreign policy yet again, a if his setting a March 2008 date for a US pullout wasn't enough.

What's sad is that it takes a foreign power to get the headlines to discredit Obama's foolishness.

I thought Sen. Obama's repl... (Below threshold)
Rick:

I thought Sen. Obama's reply to the brave gentleman from Australia was right on point. Step up.... or shut up! Punk azz mofo! Just how committed are the gentlemen from down under to global white supremacy, anyhow?

My response about Obama's c... (Below threshold)
-S-:

My response about Obama's comments:

While earlier an interesting candidate for a number of reasons, Obama's response to Mr. Howard's significant comments were desperately disappointing. Obama responds with denigrating the source (Mr. Howard as being a purported "ally of...President Bush") while not addressing the actual (and important) issue of national security as impacted by Obama's suggested tactics were he to be President.

Obama's not addressing the issue of national security and is, rather, playing personal politics (his own, on his own behalf) with not only national security (the U.S.'s) but the national security of other nations (in this case, as presented by Mr. Howard on behalf of Australia).

If Obama really does intend to "get along" and be the Mr. Happy Go President, then he should start acting like there's a reality outside of his own issues of smoking and friendships and allies and the like.

I think these comments by Obama are significant in that they reveal him to be petty. Mr. Howard, the nation of Australia, and our own national security deserve better.

Meanwhile, "Lee" assumes he... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Meanwhile, "Lee" assumes he can read the minds of others (in this case, in "Lee"'s case, Mr. Howard's).

This is why (the Left's concluded wrongful assumptions about what others "think" and "know" without much regard for reality otherwise) the Left does not lead, it complains, it fears, it projects, it assists deterioration of relationships, not the building of them.

Brian:Poo... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

Brian:

Poorer than "you're either with us or against us"? Or "bring 'em on"? Or "dead or alive"? Are you really going to climb on the high horse over someone else's foreign policy rhetoric?

For the record, Bush has his foreign policy blunders, he's said things I don't agree with...and in this case so has Obama. Now that I criticize him you try to say I have no right to do so because Bush has said some off-center things in the past?

Nice try.

No, you are completely misrepresenting what has been said. The issue here is hypocrisy from the right, not whether one agrees or disagrees with foreign comments.

Oh, here I was thinking we're talking about Obama and what he said to one of "George Bush's allies".

The right said foreign comments ("meddling", I recall) were inappropriate in 2004, but they're OK now. That's hypocrisy. Whereas the left never claimed they were inappropriate.

Foreign comments are just that, comments. I had no problem with them in 2004, I have no problem with them now. People have the right to talk and to critique.

Yes, in 2004 many on the left agreed with foreign comments, and today many don't. But agreeing or disagreeing with comments is very different from finding their very existence inappropriate one year and appropriate the next.

As you admit, the left is being hypocritical. Many agreed in 2004, and today many don't. This is not to say many on the right aren't hypocritical as well, myself included...just own up to the bias.

I take "[Ron Wyden] believes Mr Howard is meddling in US politics" as saying the the comment should not have been made, and is therefore inappropriate. Agree?

The crux of my point here, Brian, is it seems any amount of slander is ok as long as it's directed at Bush, but an actual critique is made from a friendly country in regards to a proposed plan of a democratic candidate, and the democrats are up in arms.

"slingshit" how is it you k... (Below threshold)
jhow66:

"slingshit" how is it you know where I go? Oh I know you always beat me there. That how you know about the "schlong". lol

As you admit, the left i... (Below threshold)
Brian:

As you admit, the left is being hypocritical. Many agreed in 2004, and today many don't.

You're having a bit of a reading comprehension problem. Agreeing with comment A and disagreeing with comment B is not hypocrisy.

Try again:

"Agreeing or disagreeing with comments is very different from finding their very existence inappropriate one year and appropriate the next."

Just exactly how stupid doe... (Below threshold)
Craig:

Just exactly how stupid does a person have to be to genuinely believe PM Howard's comments about al Qaeda hoping for an Obama victory? I suggest to believe that, one would have to be the sort that genuinely believes "they hate our freedoms".

And why do some among us still hate the French? Because they chose not to believe Mr. Bush's assertions about WMDs, which, incidently, were violently and fatally proven to be lies? It takes a certain kind of "patriot" to continue to support the failed Bush policy in Iraq--the kind that doesn't mind expending a few thousand lives to save face.

Howard's remark was: "If I ... (Below threshold)
RJ:

Howard's remark was: "If I were running al-Qaeda in Iraq, I would put a circle around March 2008 and be praying as many times as possible for a victory not only for Obama but also for the Democrats."

Obama's reply was: "If he's ginned up to fight the good fight in Iraq, I would suggest that he calls up another 20,000 Australians and send them to Iraq, . . . Otherwise, it's just a bunch of empty rhetoric."

I have several problems with Howard's comments. First, he is oversimplifying the issue and using scare tactics (asserting that if we set a withdrawal date, regardless of what other decisions are made to support it, there is no possible outcome but greater chaos than not setting a withdrawal date). He then uses some genetic fallacy to attack the entire Democratic Party based on that rhetoric. i.e., terrorists love this proposal (based on the "slippery slope" scare tactics he presented); the proposal came from Obama, therefore terrorists love Obama; Obama is a Democrat, therefore terrorists love all Democrats. Therefore implying that a vote for a Democrat is a vote for terrorism. Classic.

It seems to me that Howard was not as interested in having an intelligent "foreign policy debate" about the proposal, as he was interested in attacking the Democratic Party.

Obama simply chose not to dignify Howard's politically biased remarks. He accused Howard of using "empty rhetoric" and responded to Howard's rhetoric with some rhetoric of his own. I think it was witty. I don't see how this makes him "unpresidential". He is at least as presidential (or prime-minister-fit) as Howard. I don't know of any political candidate that has not used rhetoric at one time or another.

Howard should stay out of US domestic politics. If he wants to debate a policy issue, he should stick to that issue and not attack an entire party.

Just wondering if Howard w... (Below threshold)
raj:

Just wondering if Howard would say anything like this about Hillary Clinton.

Obama is a fool.I'... (Below threshold)
CaptainReality:

Obama is a fool.

I'm Australian. How are we supposed to take his ridiculous comment.

He says "we want to pull out". We say "that will be bad, and our enemies would want your plan". He says "well, you should contribute more, or shut-up".

BUT, BUT, BUT... YOU SAID YOU WANT TO PULL OUT!!! Why should a country a third the size of California send more troops when the mighty USA (if you get in) wants to pull out.

ARE YOU FUCKING NUTS?!

If that dip-shit gets in, Australia will be strongly rethinking parts of the US alliance. If we make a contribution, and Obama decides that it isn't enough, and actually acts on that sentiment, then clearly, it isn't rational for us to make any contribution.

Never mind our responsibilities in the South-West Pacific, hey Obama? Never mind the fact that the Australian military is overstretched with East Timor, the Solomon Islands, Afghanistan, and Iraq. You want more? As a democratic nation, Australia has another option, which is "hey, fuck you, we're taking our ball, and going home".




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