TONY JONES: This is Henry Kissinger’s point. He says, “Victory over the insurgency is the only meaningful exit strategy.” Could you possibly pull Australian troops out if the insurgency is still strong?
JOHN HOWARD: Tony, I’m not going to tie the foreign policy of this country to an interpretation of an article written by a very esteemed person whom I respect a lot. I’ll just deal with the current realities and you asked me “What is a benchmark?” A benchmark to me is the Iraqis being able to stand up. That’s what we’re trying to do. We’re seeing their security forces get better all the time. Our troops in Al-Muthana, whose dispatch the Labor Party opposed, are amongst other things training the Iraqis so they can stand on their own two feet and provide for the security of their own country. Now that’s tremendously important.
If Howard and his merry Liberal cabal are getting their values from the likes of Kissinger – need some reminding of his blood-stained record? – the current debate over Australian values gains much needed perspective.