Monday, June 02, 2008

Australia says bye-bye Iraq

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has praised the hundreds of Australian troops leaving Iraq, but says they were sent there because of flawed intelligence.
His comments come as Australian troops end combat operations in southern Iraq, and prepare to return home.
Mr Rudd dismissed former prime minister John Howard's reasons for supporting the war.
Mr Rudd says the Iraq conflict had failed to prevent terrorist attacks, and that no link between weapons of mass destructon and the former Iraqi regime had been found.

That's from "Australia's PM praises troops leaving Iraq" and it's Australia's ABC and the radio division but there's not an audio link. However, this page contains links to audio and to video, it's entitled "'Over-stretched' ADF led to Iraq troop withdrawal" and from the text report:

Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon says Australia has to withdraw its combat troops from Iraq because the Defence Force (ADF) is over-stretched.
Mr Fitzgibbon says all Australian combat troops in southern Iraq will be home by the end of the month.
He says the number of troops in Iraq was unsustainable.
"Our troops are over-stretched with commitments in East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq," he said.
ADF Chief Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston says he is confident Iraqi soldiers have control of the region.
"Frankly in our part of Iraq in southern Iraq, the mission is complete," he said.
"Our mission was Operational Overwatch and training, and we have finished that mission and I think we can hold our heads very high."

From Nick Squires' "Going to war with Iraq was wrong, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd admits" (Telegraph of London):

In an admission that will make uncomfortable reading in London and Washington, the Labour leader dismissed one-by-one the reasons used by his predecessor, John Howard, to join the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq five years ago.
"Have further terrorist attacks been prevented? No, they have not been, as the victims of the Madrid train bombing will attest," Mr Rudd told parliament.
"Has any evidence of a link between weapons of mass destruction and the former Iraqi regime and terrorists been found? No.

Meanwhile Bully Boy's second lap dog grumbles over it. CNN reports on Australia's former prime minister John Howard:

Howard, Rudd's predecessor, said in Australian news reports that he was "baffled" by the decision to withdraw the troops.
"If I had been returned at the last election we would not have been bringing (troops) home, we would have been looking at transitioning them from their soon-to-be terminated role to a training role," Howard told the Sydney Morning Herald in an interview published Monday.

For the Los Angeles Times, Ned Parker files "Australia ends combat role in southern Iraq:"

The Australian flag was lowered Sunday at the ceremony in Dhi Qar province. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who was elected in November, had pledged during campaigning to end his country's frontline military role in Iraq.
His government has said it will keep several hundred troops in Iraq to guard its diplomats and act as liaisons on security and headquarters functions. It also intends to commit two maritime surveillance aircraft and a warship to help guard oil platforms.
Australia follows in the footstep of other U.S. allies that have ended or drastically curtailed their work in Iraq amid domestic discontent over the war. Poland has announced its intention to end its military presence in Iraq by the end of the year. Spain in 2004 became the first of America's Western allies to withdraw its forces.
British troops in Basra province now serve in a backup role at the request of Iraqi forces. British troop numbers have dropped from 18,000 in May 2003 to 4,000. Italy, which once stationed combat troops, now provides training to the Iraqi national police.
In other violence Sunday, a car bomb exploded in a parking lot near the Iranian Embassy in Baghdad, killing three civilians, police said. A colonel with the traffic police was badly wounded and his bodyguard was killed when a bomb exploded beneath their car in central Baghdad, police said.

Parker also notes yesterday's announced US death.

Yesterday the last of three primaries took place. The location was Puerto Rico. The winners were democracy, the people and Hillary Clinton.

From Lindsey Levin's "Hillary Wins Puerto Rico" (

Thank you for your dedication and hard work -- because of you, Hillary won Puerto Rico!

On the front page of today's New York Times, Adam Nagourney offers "Winning Again, Clinton Ponders Continuing Fight" whose headline pretty much says it all, doesn't it? "Yeah, she won, so what?" So what? She was leading already in the popular vote prior to Puerto Rico, she's only leading more now. We'll note this from the article (as disclosed here before, I know Donnie Fowler and, honestly, were it not for Fowler's quote, Nagourney's trash wouldn't get a link):

"There's nobody taking Hillary's side but Hillary people," said Donald Fowler of South Carolina, a former national party chariman and one of Ms. Clinton's most prominent supporters, referring to her campaign's suggestion that she might seek to challenge the way the party resolved the fight this weekend over seating the Michigan and Florida delegations. "It's too bad: She deserves better than this."

She certainly does. Super delegates are not supposed to 'vote' except on the convention floor.

Below is CNN's tally with "pledged" delegates (awarded from states and caucuses) and "super" delegates.












Unpl. RNC:

Unpl. RNC:

Needed to Win: 2,118

Needed to Win: 1,191

"Super" are only supposed to vote on the convention floor. They shouldn't be considered in the count. The magic number (which is much highter than 2,118) will not be reached by either -- and it's supposed to result from delegates being awarded.

Hillary won 68% of the vote to Barack's 32% in Puerto Rico yesterday (263,120 votes to Barack's 121,458). It's awfully strange how the candidate the media (and the hacks in Democratic leadership) keep trying to shove down the public's throats keeps losing. Barack lost West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana . . . All after he was declared the 'nominee.' Which is your first clue that he's not the nominee and will only become that if he's installed by Pelosi, Coward and Reid this week. He won't become it by winning because he's not winning. The rules and guidelines says this goes to the convention floor. But people like Nancy Pelosi have a real problem allowing a 'silly' thing like democracy to take place.

And if they try to force Hillary out, if they try to stop the process, it will never be forgotten. Not just by Hillary supporters but by comics. The hacks gave Barack more delegates Saturday than Hillary for Michigan. Hillary won Michigan. Barack got more. Hillary won Michigan and Barack took his name off of it. The candidate who chose not to be on the ballot was awarded more delegates than Hillary. From Dana Milbank's "Democrats Come Together To Tear Their Party in Half" (Washington Post):

Arguing for Obama, Rep. Robert Wexler of Florida insisted that his state's delegates should get only half of their votes. This produced a bitter comeback from committee member Harold Ickes, a Clinton adviser, who asked whether Wexler agreed that delegates should be a "fair reflection" of the popular vote.
"Mr. Ickes, you'll have to educate me on what the concept of fair reflection is," Wexler replied, acidly. When another panelist asked what would be wrong with giving Florida its "full vote," a self-impressed Wexler went into a long, table-pounding speech about how "no one in the state of Florida has championed voters' rights more than I."
Representing Michigan, state Democratic Chairman Mark Brewer suggested that Obama get nearly half of the state's delegates -- even though his name wasn't on the ballot. This started the bickering all over again.
"This committee cannot use the results of such a flawed primary to assign delegates," said Obama representative David Bonior to a blend of cheers, boos and hisses.
"Throwing the insult, if you will, at the Michigan primary that it was flawed," committee member Donald Fowler said, "is not appropriate."

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