Australian PM critical of Obama
Prime Minister John Howard of Australia, a strong ally of the Bush administration’s war on terror, has openly criticized Barak Obama’s "plan" to retreat from Iraq (retreat is my word, not Howard’s or Obama’s). He says that such a policy would amount to defeat of the US in Iraq, which would be contrary to Australia’s national interest. It’s a good point, and fortunately Howard has not backed away from it, stating that he refuses to retract what he firmly believes. Good for him. A politician with backbone – something truly rare. Perhaps our political leaders could learn a thing or two from the Aussies.
Naturally, Obama takes exception to this. I’m not sure why. Obama has made it clear that he does plan to withdraw troops immediately should he win the election. And how can he argue the fact that such a withdrawal amounts to defeat for the US? And how could he argue that defeat for the US is not a good thing for Australia, or any other Western civilization? Yet, he seems to resent the implication that he is a defeatist. Well, get used to it Mr. Obama, because that’s what you are. I don’t have a problem with any politician stating their plan clearly, but they should be prepared for fair criticism and prepared to defend their plan - and it seems that Obama has trouble accepting such criticism. So I’m wondering exactly what it is about Howard’s comments that bug Obama? Has Howard stated anything untrue?
What really bothers me about Obama’s response is his below-the-belt shot at Australia’s contribution to the war. Australia is one of the few countries who has stood by us in this conflict. They are one of the few who recognize the importance of victory in Iraq and the vital strategic importance that nation holds in the middle east. They have 1400 troops helping us out. Yes, we have 140,000 – or one hundred times their commitment. But, Australia is a nation of 20 million compared to our 300 million. So, percentage-wise, the troop commitment is comparable. Yet, Obama seems to use the "money where your mouth is" argument and suggests that Howard should commit another 20,000 troops if he believes in the cause so much. I know what he’s saying, and I’m not going to spin the guy’s words around him. However, his comment was in poor taste and I’m sure the people of Australia don’t appreciate it.
It’s just funny how Bush has been harshly criticized for alienating our allies, yet Obama can get away with stuff like this. Maybe in the eyes of the Left "ally" means only those nations that support THEIR policy and oppose Bush’s.