Howard : Democrat Win In 2008 Presidential Elections Will Spell Victory For Al Qaeda
Howard's Attack Aimed At All US Democrats
By Darryl Mason
In a bizarre, venom-splashed attack on US presidential candidate Senator Barak Obama yesterday morning, the Australian prime minister, John Howard, first imagined what he would do as leader of Al Qaeda, and then offered the following advice to the terrorist group that has killed thousands of American citizens and troops in the past six years :
"I would put a circle around March 2008, and pray, as many times as possible, for a victory not only for Obama, but also for the Democrats."Howard's astounding comments (echoing comments made against Democrat presidential candidate John Kerry by US President George W. Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney in the months leading up to the 2004 presidential elections) came only hours after Senator Barak Obama announced he would pull US combat forces out of Iraq if he became president of the United States.
Senator Obama fired back, stating that John Howard should send 20,000 Australian troops to Iraq to help win the war, if he believed his own words and wanted to avoid a hypocritical stand :
"I think it's flattering that one of George Bush's allies on the other side of the world started attacking me the day after I announced [my candidacy]," Senator Obama said.
"I would also note that we have close to 140,000 troops in Iraq and my understanding is Mr Howard has deployed 1,400.
"So if he is...to fight the good fight in Iraq, I would suggest that he calls up another 20,000 Australians and sends them to Iraq, otherwise it's just a bunch of empty rhetoric."
In Parliament this afternoon, the prime minister attempted to claim that his comments were only aimed at Senator Obama, though clearly he was talking about all Democrats who foresaw a US troop pullout in their portfolio should they win the 2008 presidential election, including Hilary Clinton.
Under persistent questioning by Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd, the prime minister launched into near incomprehensible ranting about how his Obama comments were all about "Australia's interests". He claimed that a US defeat in Iraq would spell big trouble for Australia and the region, appearing to go against his former claims that local terrorist threats were unrelated to the Iraq War.
Many Australians are wondering today whether prime minister, John Howard, has "lost it." "It" being his previously razor-sharp political instincts and his ability to rarely put a foot wrong when it came to international politics.
Howard's attack on Obama are widely viewed in Australia as yet another major error by Howard, who claimed last week that "the jury is still out" when it came to the link between climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. He later corrected himself in Parliament, though he clearly did not want to do so. Long derided as a global warming denier, Howard now says he is a climate change "realist".
Howard's damaging errors of the past seven days are causing huge displeasure in the coalition government (though few have stepped forward to publicly criticise the prime minister, so far), placing his position as leader of the coalition under threat.
Howard has long maintained that he would remain leader of his party as long as the party wanted him to remain leader. If the coming federal election was delayed until 2008, Howard may find himself learning the harsh reality of those claims.
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John Howard's recent remarkable failure to maintain his rarely dented visage as a political behemoth come as fresh polls reveal both Howard and the government he leads are losing favour and popularity amongst the Australian electorate, at near record rates of decline.
Howard is clearly rattled, by the failure of the War On Iraq, and his fading popularity. More Australians now prefer Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd as prime minister than John Howard by a margin of some 16%.
The prime minister was clearly hoping to give his American allies, President Bush and the White House administration, an opportunity to infer, as Fox News has already done, that Senator Barak Obama has some kind of sympathy with Islamist terrorism because his father was a Muslim. Obama has repeatedly stated that he supports the War On Terror and that he is a Christian.
In all, Howard's comments are damaging to the Australian-US alliance, as this alliance is about decidedly more than simple allegiance to President Bush.
How John Howard expects to have an open and honest relationship with the Democrats should they win the 2008 presidential elections, after openly stating such a victory would be praised by Al Qaeda, is anyone's guess.
MORE UPDATES TO FOLLOW.....
Howard Steps Up Attack On Obama
US Democrats Say Howard's Comments "Bizarre"
Howard Vs Obama Over Iraq Dominates US News
Obama To Howard : Send 20,000 Troops To Iraq Or Shut Up