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national security « Previous | |Next »
February 17, 2007

The Canberra Press Gallery holds that John Howard's two big trump cards are national security and the economy, and that these provide the bedrock of his support in the nation. However, these are not cast in stone, especially the former. Dripping water on national security can have some effect, since Howard's position on Iraq is whatever the Bush administration's is, and he is locked in the time warp of either being 'f'or the US or for the terrorists.'


That position is difficult to defend because it does not square with the retreat of the US in Iraq to defending Baghdad or the brutal reality on the ground in Baghdad. The hard lines around the Howard 's national security fortress are jagged, chipped, and cracked.

Two cracks that have appeared in the walls around Howard's position are the scary stories about terrorists (eg., David Hicks) aren't resonating like they used to. Similarly with Howard's debating Australia's role in Iraq and when it might end last week in Parliament. Iraq doesn't seem to have the same national security ring about it as before. What is being exposed is that it is more about supporting the alliance with the United States and less about helping the Shi'ite Iraqi Government deal with the Sunni insurgency.

Howard's either you are 'f'or the US or you are for the terrorists' looks an isolated one, when the US House of Representatives rejects President George W Bush's Iraq troop build-up, and by implication, passes a negative judgment on Bush's overall stewardship of the war in Iraq This rejection is a symbolic but politically potent challenge to Bush's unpopular war strategy. A more assertive opposition Congress increasingly places Bush (and Howard) on the defensive.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:26 AM |