Lord Howard visits the troops

While Prime Minister Howard visits the Australian troops in Iraq – and the media pack breathlessly report the details of the “wildest ride of his life” – he refuses to announce any timetable for withdrawal.

Back on planet Earth, and with increasing reports of civil war on the cards, calls for US withdrawal is growing louder. New York Times veteran John F. Burns reported last weekend that Shiite militias and Shiite and Kurdish-led army and police units, often backed by US and British forces, were themselves launching aggressive measures to tackle the insurgency, including kidnapping, torture and extra-judicial killing. And this would be different from the days of Saddam?

A Western-friendly government in Baghdad is unlikely in the long run. Ask Howard, Bush and Blair how they’d feel about an administration with close ties to “axis of evil” Iran? Howard visited Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari “in his capital, in his office as the democratic prime minister of Iraq”. More than a week since Seymour Hersh published his revelations surrounding American attempts to subvert the January elections, the Australian media continues to ignore the scoop.

I read the story again last night. If anybody, including Howard and his media cheerleaders, truly believe that the current Iraqi leadership was democratically elected, they’re as deluded as believing the existence of WMD.

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