Shocking Poll Results Reveal The War Weary State Of The Nation
As you chew through the below stats from today's Newspoll on how Australians feel about the War In Iraq, Prime Minister John Howard in general and the PM's virtual non-efforts to ensure David Hicks faces what we know as true justice in a court of law, consider that 'The Australian' newspaper used the following headline to announce these absolutely breath-taking poll results :
Public Loses Heart For Howard's War
Now it's "Howard's War"?
Of course, the majority of Australians are now firmly opposed to it. So now it's time to change the editorial tone.
There was probably no greater champion of the 'War On Iraq' across the entire Australian media spectrum than 'The Australian' newspaper. They weren't calling it 'Howard's War' back when it looked like they were onto a winner.
Here's the poll results :
62% of Australians Oppose John Howard's "handling of the conflict".
Barely 1 in 10 Australians said they "strongly" supported Howard when it came to the Iraq War.
71% said the 'War On Iraq' will affect the way they vote.
56% don't like how their government has treated David Hicks, and less than 3 out of 10 Australians now support Howard on this issue.
Five years without a trial, held in an American torture hell, with no clear proof offered that he has committed any crime at all, eats away at peoples' faith and trust that their government is doing everything they can to ensure that he faces justice, and a fair trial.
47% of Australians said that what happens to David Hicks will affect the way they vote in the elections.
Hear those bells bonging? They be the bells of doom. And they're sounding for John Howard.
Now to that extraordinary headline.
Public Loses Heart For Howard's War
Do ya think the 'The Australian' would be calling it "Howard's War" if it had turned out the way Howard, Bush and numerous columnists and headline and leader writers for 'The Australian' all chimed together that it would, back in the first two months of 2003?
You remember those bright and shining days, don't you?
That was the time when 10 million people around the world marched for diplomacy and against war as a method of regime change and were labelled as "demented" and "treacherous" and "supporters of Saddam" and accused of "giving aid and comfort to Saddam" all over the pages of 'The Australian', for weeks on end.
Almost a million Australians marched against the war. One million out of a total population of 20 million.
The marchers included veterans from World War 2, Korea, Vietnam, the Malaysian Emergency, Somalia, East Timor and the First Gulf War. Walking proudly alongside the thousands of veterans were tens of thousands of children, doctors, lawyers, schoolteachers, off duty cops and politicians, plumbers, shop assistants, CEOs, taxi drivers, nurses, paramedics and firemen.
The media droogs who railed viciously against those who wanted peace instead of corpse-choked war (a war that few respected military, intelligence and Middle East experts, historians and analysts ever believed was likely to produce anything but sectarian violence and a raging insurgency) dreamed of an Iraq so unlike Iraq today it might as well have been another country completely.
A country that is not one where 100 people die every day, on average, from acts of terrorism and where the streets of the capital city are not littered with the corpses of men, women and children who've been shot, bludgeoned, hung, burned, drilled and blown to shreds.
The Iraq War fantasists dreamed of a country where the streets would be paved with oil-gold and where an always crowded public park in the centre of Baghdad would be filled with laughter and song and praise for the Coalition of the Willing, and its leaders, and its soldiers.
Some of them actually believed that by now there would be a memorial to the Coalition of the Willing dead in that park, and a statue of President Bush, and perhaps even one of Donald Rumsfeld (who once grinned at the idea and shrugged, clearly delighted), and a big Wall Of Thanks to regime-overthrowers like John Howard.
Ex-administration officials have revealed that the inner White House actually had made vague plans before the war began for such a park. It was to be called 'Freedom Park', in 'Freedom Square' (where the felled statue of Saddam once stood).
'Freedom Park' in 'Freedom Square' was supposed to become a reality, not in a decade, or two, but by the end of 2003.
There were plenty in the Australian media who believed this nonsense as well. And many of them worked for 'The Australian'. Some still do.
And what do some of those same clowns now say about this war, now they are clearly terrified of being tarnished with the well-bloody brush of this horribly failed experiment that came to the people of Iraq on the tip of hundreds of missiles fired from our warships in the Gulf?
Hey, it's 'Howard's War'.
Now who's cutting and running?
Howard was called 'Coward' before the war, and still is now, but at least he doesn't try and pretend the appalling fallout of the 'War On Iraq' belongs to someone else.
He's claimed the Iraq of today as something of his own making. He's not happy about it. Who would be?
Howard's not fond of admitting his errors (like his claim that the war would "probably" be over in a few months), but he refuses to back down from his mantras that Iraq will become a peaceful, free and democratic nation.
Unlike 'The Australian', who (sometimes gleefully) betrayed a million or more of their own patriots; the people who could see in early 2003 what 'War On Iraq' would actually mean for the Iraqis, and for the rest of the world; the same newspapers who happily ran the crazed fantasies of NeoCon "crazies" who had trouble getting their trash published in mainstream media just about anywhere else in the world, and the very same newspaper who made it their editorial chief mission to beat down, to subjugate, to slander, insult, degrade, trash, and sometimes destroy, any and all opponents of the 'War On Iraq'.
Even if those opponents included conflict-weary World War 2, Korea and Vietnam veterans, along with young children, schoolkids and thousands of Iraqi-Australians.
The 'War On Iraq' will probably cost Howard the 2007 federal election now.
It's hard to imagine anything so astonishingly wonderful happening there in the next six to eight months that will change the mood of the Australian public.
Support for the war, and approval for Howard's involvement and handling of the war has been steadily falling for more than 18 months.
It will continue to fall.
'The Australian' newspaper isn't waiting. They're bailing out now.
"For the Iraq War? What do you mean? We were never for the Iraq War. We're a newspaper of repute. We never take sides. Our mission statement is 'To Keep The Nation Informed'."
How long before the lead editorial in that newspaper reads : 'It's Time, Mr Howard. It's Time To Bring The Troops Home'?
Two months? Twelve weeks?
You will see a variation on those words sometime before the federal election. And it's likely to be sooner rather than later.
One day, maybe five or ten years from now, Howard will visit Iraq and will find a more peaceful and free nation than the killzone it is today.
Many Iraqis will be shell-shocked and grieving, emotionally shattered, but where there just may be something close to peace in their time, a new generation of Iraqis will grow up without the sounds of car bombs detonating across their cities.
Howard will go there and see the future of Iraq, and he will die knowing, that in the end, despite the slaughter, the deprivation and devastation, that maybe just maybe he did do the right thing for Iraq and its people, even if he never fully explored the other options that were available when he decided to tell the Australian Army to get ready for the invasion in mid-2002.
Did Howard do what he believed in his heart was the right thing? Or did he do what Bush told him was the right thing to do? What had to be done? What was going to be done, with or without Australia's help?
You can only take Howard's word for it, that he trusted his heart, and his head, and did what he believed was right.
Anyway, Howard will never appear on Denton to tell you any different.
When Howard visits Iraq, hopefully he won't allow a reporter or photographer from 'The Australian' to tag along on his (eventual) victory lap.
Hopefully he will tell them to fuck off, remembering that dismissive, crippling headline : 'Howard's War'.
And he should tell them to get lost, even if they do promise him a front page headline like this :
'Exclusive To The Australian : Iraq Is At Peace, And Howard Is Happy'
Howard's War, indeed.
And they wonder why Australians have lost respect for the mainstream media?