Peter M Howard ::

cut and run

17May2004 [myth]

Didn't think Mark Latham's call to get out of Iraq was very sensible at first (after all, we - Australia, the US and Britain - made a mess of the place, the least we can do is help rebuild it). But now he's suggesting the US-led coalition get out of there, "handing over security to a United Nations force made up largely of Arab nations", while continuing to fund the reconstruction.

Which is political genius. Not because the US will consider it a viable option (cos they'd lose control of the oil) but because it calls John Howard's bluff - it shows that Labor is willing to consider alternatives that are politically sound and culturally sensitive. And meanwhile, Latham's call has forced the Libs into the unfortunate position of committing to stay there longer (when originally Howard had hoped for "home by Christmas" anyway - in time for a pre-election parade). Robert Hill, Minister for Defence has now said we may be there for three years! Given one of the war's selling points was that it would be in-and-out in a matter of months, admitting this is rather dramatic (remembering that we knew this all along, but getting the Howard Government to admit to anything is near impossible).

Of course, this will all be forgotten now that the head of the Iraqi Governing Council, Izzadine Salim, has been blown up. George, Johnny and Co (and their friends in the media) know just how to twist such an event to their own warped il/logic. I just take hope from the fact that, every time they do distort the truth, they come out just slightly worse for wear...

SMH 16th May 2004

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