Cutting the Course

On the fourth anniversary of the Iraq war, Prime Minister John Howard has been forced to clarify his position on the existence of  a plan to cut and run

The Opposition asked John Howard whether he was aware of reports the United States (US) has prepared a plan for a phased withdrawal of troops from Iraq, and whether he had a similar plans for Australian forces.

“The answer is yes, it’s normal for that contingency planning to be made,” Mr Howard said.

That piqued the interest of the Labor leader, Kevin Rudd.

“He stated for the first time that the Government has in place a contingency plan for the phased withdrawal of Australian forces from Iraq,” he said. 

“What is that plan?”

The Prime Minister told Parliament he was referring to the US plan.

The Prime Minister is firm on this. It’s just a contingency plan to cut and run, not the main stay the course plan. And this cut and run plan is the US’s cut and run plan anyway, not our cut and run plan – In fact we don’t have a cut and run plan. Our plan is to stay the course by supporting the US. We are 100% behind the US with this.  In this aspect we are not wavering in any way. 

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C.L.
14 years ago

Howard wasn’t “forced” to do anything. Another hysterical non-story, courtesy of the ABC’s Rudd-huggers. The PM was asked a two-pronged question and answered yes to the first part and, later, clarified what his response was to the second part. This happens in Parliament all the time and always has. (Unless you’re Boy Kevvie – in which case you run off to the press room and avoid telling the Parliament anything).

Now what about some attention on Labor’s Jordan policy (ALP Iraq Policy #137) – which is now in the toilet? And when is Rudd going to tell the nation what his exit strategy for Afghanistan is – what’s the timetable, on what dates will he bring the troops home, when is the job done? He says a Prime Minister waging a war MUST provide this information to the public. Answers please.

On the Iraq situation more generally, the Surge is working and polls show a large majority of Iraqis DO NOT want Coalition troops to withdraw and definitely believe their lives are better now than they used to be. It’s sad to see that surrender advocates are acutally dismayed by this news.

Robert
Robert
14 years ago

The sound of ringshots rang out as I read this post. And it’s heartening Currency Lad has responded to the call.

Upfront on this thread, C.L., let me say it’s remarkable that only your comments from a strong and distinct alternative on Club Troppo step in when the pressure is on: not always but thankfully often enough. It’s not good, for what we wish to share here (at least something of a ranging considered appraisal), that your comments alone press an alternative view. May that be acknowledged.

Rudd, as you say, has a lot of explaining to do. What do we do in the meantime? Until he does?

No doubt others will unpack the details of those few minutes of QT: there is some explaining to do on the part of the PM as well.

Let me attempt to bring to your comments the issue of “forced” [Howard being “forced”], in another considered form. This is not about the ABC, as such, because those few moments in QT have been covered in various media. The “forcing” upon Howard here – and I’m not defending Rex’s post, nor is this merely about Howard – is the force bearing upon the Iraq situation from the general public.

This force equally bears upon Rudd.

In assessing your comments, C.L, an appraisal may be fairly provided that within those comments there’s an absence of acknowledgement of how and where the public may, let alone do, align with the points made.

I imagine, from your comments, you don’t care for such things. The points and the facts, as you obtain them and as you see them, are what is important. Is this so?

If so, can you see there may be a misalignment in the way you present your views from the way they are received? And vice versa?

Rex
Rex
14 years ago

Been out of radio contact. Back now.

C.L. You and I both know that logic long departed the scene when it comes to Iraq and the whole War on Terror thing. It’s been politics trumping logic ever since the Neo-cons started their spin machine whirring back in 2001.

In the past the politics favoured the gung-ho, and that is the game Howard chose to play. All the way into the fray.

Now the political landscape is different because the gung-ho strategy failed utterly. And let’s not pretend that the fate of the Iraqi people is of anything but minor importance to Mr. Howard. His previous treatment of them when they were arriving in boats demonstrates that he couldn’t give a stuff.

So you ask for answers to your specific quibbles. I say that they are irrelevent to the game at hand. By rights the exponents of the failed strategy should be fired by the Australian people, simply because their strategy failed – A CEO of a major corporation could not and should not survive such a disaster with their job intact. The board would be sacked if it didn’t appoint a new leader even if the recovery strategy of the candidate CEO was identical.

In Iraq we are in a situation that is quite simply rooted. The way out of the mess is is neither clear to Howard, nor I’m sure to Rudd. Probably because there is no way out.

That however doesn’t mean that the game of politics stops. It continues, and as a result your quibbles simply don’t matter. They’re too complicated for the electorate to consume in a sound bite, and that my friend is why this post is all about the language, because its the language that wins the politics in this country.

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13 years ago

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