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September 19, 2004

Comments

Tim Lambert

Well, you know, supporting the US in Iraq has made us a bigger target for terrorists. Apparently you believe that the alliance depends on Australians being too stupid to figure this out for themselves and no American daring to utter the truth.

The Kid

Tim -

Kindly check a calendar - the Bali bombing happened in October 2002, before the Aussies lent us support in Iraq.

And what is Kerry thinking? He says Bush has the wrong alliances, but does Kerry want to ruin whatever alliances the US may still have? Dare we call him irresponsible?

OTOH, I must say that I am relieved to read of bold initiatives like this:

"Let me just say this in the simplest possible terms," Mr. Edwards said. "When John Kerry is president of the United States, we will find Al Qaeda where they are and crush them before they can do damage to the American people."

They've certainly got Bush there, no?

And, to show that a Kerry administration might take a sterner tack on the Pentagon’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, Edwards said a bit later, "We're not going to continue to have people coming in the back door."

TM

Apparently you believe that the alliance depends on Australians being too stupid to figure this out for themselves and no American daring to utter the truth.

Is that apparent? How about, Aussies can figure out whatever they want and do whatever they want (and that is why they have elections) but Americans representing the opposition candidate should not go to other countries and tell them that allying with America is a mistake in order to promote their own political agenda. Politics stops at the water's edge, blah, blah, blah.

Tim Lambert

Politics stops at the water's edge

Oh, is that your point? So the comments by Bush and Armitage and Powell shouldn't have been made? I await your forthright condemnation.

Cecil Turner

Are you saying that a president answering a specific question in an interview (on a proposed course of action by an ally during wartime) is somehow analogous to a private citizen suggesting that alliance is unwise (to score political points during a campaign)? The two obvious differences are: 1) the President has standing (as head of state he's authorized and expected to represent the US and confer with allies); and 2) he's supporting US interests, she was undermining them.

You may find his "interference" in Aussie affairs unwelcome, but he was asked, and wasn't running afoul of the US dictum by playing politics with alliances. Besides, an abrupt pullout (even of a largely symbolic force) would have ramifications for the alliance. (Much as US withdrawal from the South Pacific during WWII would have had--though obviously not as dramatic.) Further, he was obviously speaking from the US perspective, as was his clear duty . . . what weight the Australian people give to his words is of course entirely up to them.

Tim Lambert

Cecil,

1. The question was, of course, agreed to in advance. He made the statement because he wanted to, not because someone asked him a question.

2. The fact that he's the president and she's a private citizen, harms rather than helps your case. Her influence is neglible so it hardly counts as interference in Australia's affairs, while having the President of the USA campaign in favour of one side in the election is pretty obviously interference.

3. Whether Bush's comments were helping US interests or undermining them is a matter of opinion.

4. Kerry's comments were accurate: Australia's involvement in Iraq has made us a bigger target for terrrorists. Bush's were at the least a great exaggeration -- I'm pretty sure that Australia's 250 troops aren't all that is standing between Iraq and chaos.

DaveP.

What you seem to be wilfully missing is that it is NOT acceptable for a candidate for office to undermine administration policy when traveling abroad. National policy is more important than any election, and until recently BOTH parties in America knew this. As a metaphor, while John Lewis ran against Roosevelt on a platform of isolationism, he would have NEVER gone to England and courted the votes of American GIs by announcing that America should "let Europe hang", as the saying was. Kerry has shown himself to be less of a man than Lewis was sixty years ago... but that's no suprise, is it?

TM

I haven't even peeked at the earlier comments (I will in a moment), but I want to know - can I be the first to say "East Timor"?

TM

OK, East Timor - IIRC, Osama mentioned it himself as a reason to bomb Aussies.

Secondly, Tim, I am straining to believe that you are serious.

Having the President of the US interfere in an Aussie election may be annoying to the Aussies, but it is certainly within the President's job description to encourage our allies to work with us.

Secondly, I respect Tim Dunlop's work too (to which you linked), but we all know that the point is the not the 250 Aussie soldiers per se, but rather than the symbolic significance of having another major ally drop out. It is going to be harder to have an honest discussion about this if you cannot drop that pretence.

And, since this point seems to be elsusive, I an NOT criticizing Ms. Kerry for interfering in the Aussie election. I am criticizing her for undermining official US efforts to maintain a troop commitment from a key US ally in wartime, etc.

I'll tell you what - ask yourself the reaction if John Kery himself made her comments, and tell us if you think that would be acceptable here in the US.

My (strong) guess - it would be harshly criticized. In fact, try and picture the headlines - "Aus to withdraw 250 troops; US rotates an additional 250 in to replace them; if one of these soldiers is killed/wounded, send your thoughts to Kerry and his sister".

Cecil Turner

"The fact that he's the president and she's a private citizen, harms rather than helps your case. "

Sorry, Tim, but that's nonsense. Talking to allies (and making treaties, etc.) is part of his job . . . and decidedly not part of hers.

"having the President of the USA campaign in favour of one side in the election is pretty obviously interference."

In the first place, he specified a course of action, not a candidate. In the second, get over it . . . or don't. The adults in your electorate can presumably make up their own minds. I don't think they need you to hold their hands, or filter the information they receive.

"Kerry's comments were accurate: Australia's involvement in Iraq has made us a bigger target for terrrorists."

Yeah, we need to "learn why they hate us." We'll see if that goes over any better with the Aussie voters than it did with Americans.

abb1

Apparently not only Kerry's sister is a despicable traitor, so is the British ambassador to Italy. British Envoy to Italy Stirs Waters with Bush Barb

ROME (Reuters) - Britain's ambassador to Italy has called President Bush (news - web sites) "the best recruiting sergeant" for al Qaeda, Italian media reported Monday.

How dare these people tell the truth? Can't someone stop this abomination once and for all?

capt joe

wow, I didn't know that the BRITISH ambassador to ITALY was an american citizen, because to be a traitor to the US, that would have to be the case. The things you learn on this site.

The Kid

I’ll see your East Timor and raise you a Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), “launched by President Bush in May 2003. Core participants include Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Spain, the UK and the US. More than 60 countries have expressed their support for the initiative.” Or at least that’s how the Aussies describe it here.

What good has it done? “In October 2003, the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and Italy acting under the auspices of the PSI stopped an illegal cargo of centrifuge parts for uranium enrichment destined for Libya.”

Of course, who needs Australia? Little sister is right. Australia should enjoy its position, sheltered in the Pacific, far away from the gathering storm. What does this island nation possibly offer to a coalition designed to “impede illicit WMD related trade to and from states of proliferation concern and terrorist groups”?

“Australia hosted and chaired the second plenary meeting in Brisbane in July 2003, which advanced an operational framework called the Statement of Interdiction Principles. The Statement was formally adopted at the third plenary meeting in Paris in September 2003. Australia also led the first, highly successful interdiction training exercise, ‘Pacific Protector', in the Coral Sea in September 2003. Other PSI training activities include air and ground interdiction exercises.”

The PSI is not UN-sponsored, so perhaps Kedwards will pull us out.

abb1

The things you learn on this site.

Yes, you could learn things. It's unfortunate, though, that you seem to learn things that have never been said while totally ignoring very important things that have. This is not a good way to learn.

Harlan Pepper

This is not a good way to learn.

capt joe smacked you down. Admit it.


Paul Zrimsek

If those 250 troops are too insignificant for the US to worry about, then they're too insignificant for the terrorists to worry about. QED.

bs

Come of it Tim, you've been spanked repeatedly over this phony "Iraq made us a target" argument (masquarading as the "Iraq made us a *bigger* target" argument). Trying it on in a different blog isn't going to change anything.
Of course Iraq made us a bigger target, but only in the sense of a bullseye target positioned one kilometre away from the shooter being moved an inch closer. In real terms its made not one iota of difference to our risk level, we were already a prime target, after all we did (along with others) directly attack Al-Qaeda in its own stronghold. What could have made us more of a target? (unless you want to include Lathams promise to pull out the troops if he gets elected) But you're not going talk about that are you because just about everyone agreed with the attack so there's no political mileage there.
So typical.

Slartibartfast
This is not a good way to learn.

This, from the guy who still hasn't learned that Ted Kennedy is an utter slimebag.

capt joe

So you didn't say "despicable traitor, so is the British ambassador to Italy".

ok, alriiighty then.

I get the feeling that this is how your mind works

News article: Bush discovers cure for AIDS and cancer

abb1: oh, this is a plot to get the Pharma companies loads of cash

News Article update: Cure is to be free

abb1: just as I thought, he is ruining good countries and forcing their poor employees into unempolyment

You know, abb1, I just don't think I will learn anything important from you.

Tim Lambert

OK Tom, in the same vein, are you seriously trying to claim that Australia's involvement in Iraq did not make us a bigger target? The Australian government's own intelligence was:

The Federal Government was warned repeatedly by intelligence analysts before the Iraq war that the conflict would harm the war on terrorism by fanning Islamic extremism and spurring terrorist recruiting.
and
Mr Howard attacked the Federal Police Commissioner, Mick Keelty, when he observed in March that the war had made participants, including Australia, bigger terrorist targets.

All Kerry did was state the fact that Australia had been made a bigger target. A fact that is not exactly a secret. How, exactly, is this undermining the alliance?

And yes, thank you, I'm well aware of East Timor. That makes Australia a target. Iraq makes us a bigger target.

abb1

Well, if he somehow discovered cure for AIDS and cancer, that'd be good, but he would still remain the best recruiting sergeant for al Qaeda - which is what we've been talking about in the thread.

I know, every time you have nothing to say you want to switch to discussing Ted Kennedy's and Laura Bush's car accidents and George Bush's drunk driving conviction, but we already had that discussion. Sorry to disappoint.

Cecil Turner

"All Kerry did was state the fact that Australia had been made a bigger target."

Is "bigger" target like "double secret" probation? They're already willing to kill themselves to take a couple Westerners with them. It's hard to see a qualitative difference in the "bigger target" thing.

Marc

Tim most notably, and most of the rest of you miss the point. Lil Sis Kerry had every right to rally her Democratic breathren down under. Yea you go girl.

She had ZERO business making any political statments while doing so. Whatever her feelings should have been made in private meetings with the possible voters she was wooing. Not splashed across the pages in one of Austraila's largest broadsheets.

But it is interesting the Kerry gene pool is consistent. They all want to undermine US policy thru nefarious means.

capt joe

abb1,

Far be it for me to continue to point out your hyperbole on this, since you are the one who seems to think a British citizen is traitor to the US government.

Everytime someone catching your spinning up another winner of an incorrect analogy, you pretend not to understand. Is your first language English? I only ask because you claim to live somewhere in Europe in a land of milk and honey, low unemployment, high wages, no crime, etc.

But you are confusing me for someone else (Slartibartfast) since I haven't spoken about either Ted or GW's past problems. Another comprehension issue, I assume.

If you are trying for more hyperbole, I would suggest "the best recruiting CORPORAL for al Qaeda" is better since that would be fitting to the current leftie memes about GW.

But replying on topic, I suggest you read Tim Blair who actually lives in Australia on what is really happening there.

abb1

Everytime someone catching your spinning up another winner of an incorrect analogy, you pretend not to understand.

Typical Republican brand of demagoguery: accusing your opponent of exactly what you yourself is doing.

OK, I'll bite: where did I say he is a traitor to the US government?

And what do you want from me anyway? Is anything unclear to you in my comment on the British ambassador? Or you just enjoy clicking on that "Post" button?

Now what?

Lurking Observer

abb1:

You wrote

Apparently not only Kerry's sister is a despicable traitor, so is the British ambassador to Italy.

So, either you meant the British ambassador is a traitor to the United States (the common meaning of using the phrase "so is"), which is nonsensical given his citizenship, OR you meant that the British ambassador is a "despicable traitor" to the UK.

That latter, however, is incoherent, since his criticism of Bush hardly would make him a traitor to the UK. (For that matter, even his so labeling Tony Blair would hardly make him a traitor, merely one who exhibits poor judgement.)

What is unclear to me, at least, is whether it is incoherence or nonsense that drives you?

abb1
What is unclear to me, at least, is whether it is incoherence or nonsense that drives you?

I think it's both of these things, buddy. Plus the dullness and humorlessness. All these things may drive me a little longer, but I don't guarantee anything. But keep 'em coming, by all means.

Paul Zrimsek

Whatever your opinion of the merits of Diana Kerry's remarks, she has no business going to foreign countries to try to undermine US foreign policy. That's Jimmy Carter's job.

abb1

Undermine US foreign policy? It's not possible.

David Blue

"Having the President of the US interfere in an Aussie election may be annoying to the Aussies ..." ? I don't take it that way, and neither his remarks nor those of the American Ambassador nor those of Richard Armitage (who I like) ever annoyed me.

This wasn't interference, it was necessary. If you have allies (and thank the gods you do), you have to show you appreciate them. If you don't, they feel unappreciated. If reporters intent on drumming up trouble ask if you would mind your allies running out on you, you have to say you like them right where they are. This the Americans have done with Australia. That's fine by me. The Americans have done it less with the Poles, and the Poles seem to be a little ticked off that they're not getting much attention. So you have to do this, it comes with the job.

Trying to tip an election so that we cease to support you is something else entirely. I don't think it will have any real impact, but it still annoys me that they tried it. The election is close, and we will be living with the results for a long time, especially if we elect Labor and Latham and screw up an alliance that's lasted fifty years and is now more relevant than ever. Kerry just wants to get elected now. His willingness to screw up our long term for his petty private short-term interest makes me think badly of him.

Also, he (and she) should be boosting America, not painting America as a rotten ally that we should dump. That is a disloyal line to take.

Why is that my business? Because we are allies, and America is much the stronger ally at that. If you lose the war on terror, so do we. And we (all of us together) must win.

We are not equal to the Americans in power, but we are equal to them in honour, as long as we stand up for fundamental Australian values like mateship. And I hope we will in the coming election.

And by the way: "Australia's involvement in Iraq has made us a bigger target for terrorists." Muslim terrorists want us dead regardless. Running out on our real friends in order to be slightly less offensive to people who want to kill us anyway (because of who we are, for being non-Muslims, for East Timor etc.) is a stupid suggestion - and it would only embolden the lunatics.

And this is wrong too. "All Kerry did was state the fact that Australia had been made a bigger target." No. What she did was frame is as the loyal ones and the Americans as bad guys who had irresponsibly exposed us to danger. It was a classic piece of emotional manipulation designed to make us easy to betray our friends - after all, they betrayed us first, right? The sleazy, deliberate manipulativeness of it really ticks me off.

Davud Blue

Aagh - many typos. Preview is my friend.

Anyway, this:

"Australia has kept faith with the US and we are endangering the Australians now by this wanton disregard for international law and multilateral channels," she said, referring to the invasion of Iraq.

was a mean, emotionally manipulative thing to say. It was dishonest. It was contrary to American interests, unless you think having America's allies walk away from it in wartime is a good thing for America. It was not good for Australia's interests, in this election where we will ratify or not ratify Howard's decision for us to do our bit to help the Americans ever since 11 September, 2001. And it irritates me that Kerry tried this little stunt.

abb1

What she did was frame is as the loyal ones and the Americans as bad guys who had irresponsibly exposed us to danger.

Not 'the Americans'. Most Americans are good guys. The Bushies are bad guys. They are Americans too (although sometimes I doubt), but they certainly aren't 'the Americans', Davud.

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