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Bush's surge + the ALP « Previous | |Next »
July 15, 2007

Why doesn't the Australian government do something useful on Iraq and call for the US to rethink its foreign policy, and recognise the virtues of so-called "soft power" and acting through international institutions including the United Nations? Both the Australian public and the Iraqi public want us to leave Iraq. However, both the Australia government and the Iraqi government want us to stay. So we're staying. So much for democracy.

Martin Rowson

Howard and Co could put pressure on Bush, who is a corner being forced to defend his policy in Iraq, after a report on the effectiveness of the "surge" strategy concluded that the military situation had improved but political and economic targets had not been met.The trajectory of horror in Iraq his clear-- the U.S. military is a motor driving the Iraqi cataclysm. But Bush is staying the course. He's locked himself in. As commander-in-chief, Bush calls the shots, and he's not giving an inch to the critics, because he is convinced that Iraq is the central front of the war on terror.

Oh I know that Howard and Downer will never do this as they are neo-cons through and through.They accept America's sense of manifest destiny, and they see the Iraq war as one of liberation rather than conquest--a naked smash-and-grab raid on a sovereign state to allow the foreign power safe and unimpeded access to whatever pickings the plundered nation has to offer.

Presumably, the Canberra neo-cons are in denial. They do not accept that judged even by the lights of Bush's own "war on terror" standards, Iraq has been a spectacular failure. It took a country that had been free of jihadist militants and turned it into their most fecund breeding ground; it also took a country that posed no threat to the United States and made it into a place where thousands of Americans, not to mention many tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of Iraqis, have been killed. If Al Qaeda began as a fringe sect, then it has become, thanks in no small measure to the Bush administration, a global movement able to draw on deep wells of support.

The ALP could speak out, given its tradition of multilateralism. I presume that they support the US's empire of bases" the 700 or more military bases, giant to micro, that the Pentagon has listed as part of the Pentagon's global basing structure. This "footprint" is a way of getting at the nature of imperial power for a country that largely avoided colonies, but nonetheless managed to garrison the globe. Rudd starts from the premise the assumption that the United States should be the dominant force in international relations, accepts that the US is the empire of our age, and he sees the US's post–September 11 imperial mission in a benign light---export of democracy and saving the souls of the subject peoples.

However, doesn't the ALP share the new consensus which holds that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was a calamity, that the presidency of George W. Bush has reduced America's standing in the world and made the United States less, not more, secure, leaving its enemies emboldened and its friends alienated. Thisi does not take any political courage as paid-up members of the US's foreign policy establishment, rail against deception and dishonesty, imperialism and corruption.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:29 AM | | Comments (5)


I see that Bush is saying that there's no surrender to the enemy, which in Bush's mind is the insurgents and al-Qa'ida in Iraq. He added:

"I don't think Congress ought to be running the war. Trying to run a war through resolution is a prescription for failure, as far as I'm concerned, and we can't afford to fail. Congress has got all the right to appropriate money, but the idea of telling our military how to conduct operations, for example, or how to, you know, deal with troop strength, I don't think it makes sense, I don't think it makes sense today, nor do I think it's a good precedent for the future."

Surely Bush doesn't see Congress as an enemy for which there can be no surrender?

what has shifted the Iraq debate in the US is the Democratic Party gaining victory last November in the mid-term elections. The Democrats' strategy is that the politics of Iraq will continue to move in their favour, and so they can use the record of Republicans voting against things such as troop withdrawal in campaign attack advertisements.

With the upcoming Presidential elections the Iraq war is becoming increasingly poisonous politically. The Republicans are breaking ranks for their own survival in the looming presidential and congressional race.

This partisan debate has yet to happen in Australia.

this article by Clark Hoyt in the New York Times is interesting in the light of the earlier Australian versus blog post. Hoyt says:

As domestic support for the war in Iraq continues to melt away, President Bush and the United States military in Baghdad are increasingly pointing to a single villain on the battlefield: Al Qaeda....Why Bush and the military are emphasizing Al Qaeda to the virtual exclusion of other sources of violence in Iraq is an important story. So is the question of how well their version of events squares with the facts of a murky and rapidly changing situation on the ground.
Yet The Australian has a routine of quoting the president and the military uncritically about Al Qaeda’s role in Iraq.

why do you suggest that howard might mold bush's strategy? do you have your hand in howard's pocket? if you can move howard, do you think howard can move bush? not in this lifetime.

why not talk about things close to home, that you can affect?

the creation of 'downtime' is happening here, and it will enter the language much more significantly than 'non-core promise'. people are already disappearing from the streets and you are counting angels on pinheads.

wake up, guys, oz life is shifting into the 'grown-up mode' with police state customs, and bipartisanship morphing into 'ein reich'.

The post was satirical in tone and it was unclear.

I'm suggesting that Australia starts to make the break from the Bush administration just as the UK government has just flagged that it will do.

I was arguing that the Howard Government would and could not do so, but that the ALP could do so--just like the Democrats. But it is unlikely cos they little Americans now in the ALP.