By Darryl Mason
Pointing out that President George W. Bush can have moments of confusion about international forums ("APEC/OPEC"?) is not an international scandal. Kevin Rudd is right. What John Howard tried to do to Barack Obama as soon as it became clear he might have a reasonable shot at ending two centuries of mostly privileged white male rule of the White House was far, far worse, and will be a larger and far more noticed footnote in history now that Obama is president.
John Howard was the first high profile conservative to carefully try and link the words 'Obama' and 'Al Qaeda' in the international media, back on February 11, 2007, doing so within hours of Barack Obama announcing he intended to go for the Democratic Party's presidential
Obama's response was tough, and quick :
The conservative leader said on commercial television that Senator Obama's pledges on Iraq were good news only for insurgents operating in the war-ravaged country.
"I think that will just encourage those who want to completely destabilise and destroy Iraq, and create chaos and a victory for the terrorists to hang on and hope for an Obama victory," Mr Howard told the Nine Network.
"If I were running al-Qaeda in Iraq, I would put a circle around March (sic) 2008 and be praying as many times as possible for a victory not only for Obama but also for the Democrats."
Kevin Rudd's response on February 12, 2007 :
"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," Mr Obama told reporters in the mid-western US state of Iowa.
"I would also note that we have close to 140,000 troops in Iraq, and my understanding is Mr Howard has deployed 1400, 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."
"Mr Howard must not allow his personal relationship with President Bush to impact on Australia's long-term alliance relationship with the United States."Of course, Al Qaeda want the wars that have cost the United States tens of thousands of lives, minds and limbs, and more than a trillion dollars, to continue for as long as possible. Bin Laden's announced strategy at the start of the war was to bankrupt the United States through endless war, so Al Qaeda endorsed John McCain :
"I disagreed with the coalition's decision to invade Iraq ... But I have seen it as my role to discuss the future of Australian foreign policy on Iraq, not lecture United States citizens on how they should vote in the upcoming presidential election."
"Al-Qaeda will have to support McCain in the coming election...(McCain will continue the) failing march of his predecessor."
Howard's unprecedented interference in American elections was the first sign to me that he was was full of panic over the majority of Australians, British and Americans rejecting the continuation of the Iraq War and that he was going to lose the late 2007 elections, if he didn't get tossed from the leadership first. It was an extremely stupid thing to do, and a clear sign that Howard was losing his previously razor-sharp political instincts, perhaps from drinking, or a bit of dementia.
Howard's attack on Obama was the first or second story on every American national news broadcast that Sunday night, and both Republicans and Democrat senators told Howard to butt out of their politics. President Bush did not come to Howard's defence, and made no comment on the incident.
Howard's hilarious, but sad, attempts to unfuck his monster fuckup only showed further how much he'd lost the plot :
"...my job is to try and call what I think are the consequences of certain actions against Australia's national interest..."So will John Howard publicly welcome the Barack Obama administration, and will he apologise for his bizarre and utterly false February 11, 2007 comments?
"...if America is defeated in Iraq, it will be a colossal blow to Western prestige and it will give an enormous boost to terrorism and to terrorists not only in the Middle East but in our part of the world and that will not be in Australia's national interest..."
"...if we are out in a year's time it will be in circumstances of defeat."
"Now that would be circumstances of defeat and I know that the consequences of that for the West, its prestige, American prestige and influence in the Middle East, to spur that would give the terrorism in the Middle East, the implications it would have for the stability of other countries in the Middle East and also in our part of the world, the spur to terrorism..."
More sttories on this from February, 2007 :
Prime Minister Advises Al Qaeda In Iraq On Strategy To Defeat America And The West
Howard : Democrat Win In 2008 Presidential Elections Will Spell Victory For Al
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