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Kevin Bonham
13-02-2007, 06:10 PM
This forum is relatively centrist on average (with a rather high standard deviation!) so interested to see what side people fall on with regards the recent spat between Australian Prime Minister John Howard and US Democratic Party declared presidential candidate Barack Obama.

If you don't know what all this is about, you're probably not informed enough to vote on it. Therefore I shall provide no further information at this point. :lol:

Basil
13-02-2007, 06:22 PM
I'm quite sure my answer would be the same regardless of what flavour (political persuasion) PM had taken the stance:

- JH has simply stated his already known policy (as has Obama) so no issue either way there.
- The issue of 'sticking his beak in' is just an exercise in Obama's side using its lungs. An Australian PM may have an opinion - just as the Opposition Leader may have an opinion. It is only because Obama and his supporters don't like what they hear, they reproduce this twaddle. Had JH said 'Long Live The Saviour Obama', the chances of a letter thanking him to stay out of it would be quite small. More likely a photo op and sweet nothings down the telephone line.

As I say, more than certain I would have this stance if the players were flipped.

Aaron Guthrie
13-02-2007, 07:26 PM
For some reason the question to me reads as though one should be supporting a person rather than the argument they have made.

Howard Duggan you are quite sure that your political persuasion has no influence on your opinion in this matter. Why then are you just as sure that other peoples opinions are simply a matter of politics?

Kevin Bonham
13-02-2007, 07:41 PM
For some reason the question to me reads as though one should be supporting a person rather than the argument they have made.

Point taken; changed from "support" to "agree with"; I doubt that affected anyone's vote so far.

Basil
13-02-2007, 08:25 PM
Howard Duggan you are quite sure that your political persuasion has no influence on your opinion in this matter.
Yes.

Why then are you just as sure that other peoples opinions are simply a matter of politics?
Your deduction from my statement is inaccurate. Always a danger in paraphrasing people. You've made an extra leap on my behalf - I assume this was an oversight and not prejudice.

I have said those who are claiming that JH should keep his beak out are playing politics. I have said if the roles were reversed, then those people would be playing politics, too.

I have not said, as you have suggested of me, that "other people's" (this implies a blanket reference) "opinions are simply a matter of politics." I'm sure there many people who are against remaining in Iraq and perhaps against JH generally, who would share my opinion with respect to entitlement for leaders to comment and give their perspective. It's not as if JH's comments were out of the blue sabotage. His opinion is well-known on the world stage and he was merely ratifying it.

In support of my 'beyond party lines' credo, I offer a perfect case in point which occurred in the recent Queensland elections (I am broadly a conservative). The conservative candidate was getting stuck into health, and bashing the incumbent Labor Government, which incidentally I think has done a fine job. The fact is, and was, that western governments of all flavours cop political beat-ups over the state of health and hospitals which are in various states of disrepair around the world.

I renounced the conservative candidate's position as political point-scoring (and his standing in my eyes deteriorated considerably). Especially when as a keen observer of politics over many decades, I have noted that none have effectively addressed the burgeoning health problems that plague western economies and are worse elsewhere.

I do wonder if the roles were reversed and I were denouncing a Labor candidate for point-scoring over health whether I would be accused of political bias :doh: Incidentally, if you were to ask me whether I think George Bush is a wally, I'd say yes. There really is much to be gained from separating the man from the issue.

I hope this clears up more than a few things for you.

$10 bonus HCDs for anyone who spotted the double use of the subjunctive in the third last sentence.

Basil
13-02-2007, 10:10 PM
Well, 7 votes to 1.

Apart from my luminous comments representing the minority, I have had my motives questioned and a suggestion regarding the question itself.

Is there any danger of some dialogue amplifying the majority view from the silent death squad? *joke*

Caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarn
"John Howard shouldn't have re-stated his already known position because ..."

Rhubarb
13-02-2007, 10:27 PM
Well, 7 votes to 1.

Apart from my luminous comments representing the minority, I have had my motives questioned and a suggestion regarding the question itself.

Is there any danger of some dialogue amplifying the majority view from the silent death squad? *joke*

Caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarn
"John Howard shouldn't have re-stated his already known position because ..."How about: the only reason Australia is participating in this illegal war, which has bugger all to do with us, is because we want big ol' Uncle Sam to come to our rescue if we ever get invaded by Indonesia. Therefore, John Howard making any negative comment on America's internal politics concerning the conduct of the war defeats the whole purpose of his toadyism.

Basil
13-02-2007, 10:35 PM
Well, that's a start, Greg. Thanks.


How about: the only reason Australia is participating in this illegal war, which has bugger all to do with us, is because we want big ol' Uncle Sam to come to our rescue if we ever get invaded by Indonesia.
I'm not sure that has anything to do with whether any leader should make a statement about another leader's stance. Blair had similar comments regarding the French PM's stance. Beazley had comments on various SE Asian policies. What's the difference? Are our representatives to self-zipit on China? Come on. That line is a complete non-starter.


Therefore, John Howard making any negative comment
It's a comment. Neither negative nor positive. From George Bush's and his millions of advocates POV, it's a positive comment. From (by some reports) the mainstream Iraqi's POV, it's a positive comment. Certainly it can equally be a negative comment from others' POV. But this is perspective. The comment itself is neither negative nor positive.


on America's internal politics
No. It's the USA's external platform. With global ramifications.


concerning the conduct of the war defeats the whole purpose of his toadyism
Your assessment that his motivation is toadyism is your (popularly held) opinion. It has nothing to do with a leader's right (from any party) to ratify their position. I do assume that you would equally deny Kevin Rudd's right to publicly support Obama.

Can anyone do any better?

Rhubarb
13-02-2007, 11:03 PM
Well, that's a start, Greg. Thanks.
No problem. You asked for a reason and I gave you one.


I'm not sure that has anything to do with whether any leader should make a statement about another leader's stance. Blair had similar comments regarding the French PM's stance. Beazley had comments on various SE Asian policies. What's the difference? Are our representatives to self-zipit on China? Come on. That line is a complete non-starter.Huh? We're talking about the very specific policy on Iraq from a US Democrats presidential candidate, nothing else. I pointed out why it may not be a very good idea for Australia to criticise in this case.



It's a comment. Neither negative nor positive in isolation. From George Bush's and his millions of advocates POV, it's a positive comment. From (by some reports) the mainstream Iraqi's POV, it's a positive comment.
Huh? It wasn't "in isolation". It was a comment in direct response to a very specific policy on Iraq from a US Democrats presidential candidate, nothing else. It was most certainly negative in that context. He said Obama's plan was "wrong". I pointed out why it may not be a very good idea for Australia to criticise in this case.



No. It's the USA's external platform. With global ramifications.It is not "the USA's external platform" at all. It is the internal machinations for what may become external [edit].


Your assessment that his motivation is toadyism is your (popularly held) opinion. It has nothing to do with a leader's right (from any party) to ratify their position. I do assume that you would equally deny Kevin Rudd's right to publicly support Obama.When you say "ratify" his position I wasn't aware that he had already told Obama that he was wrong in such an undiplomatic fashion. Feel free to correct me if he has.


Can anyone do any better?No doubt. Can you?

Basil
13-02-2007, 11:30 PM
We're talking about the very specific policy on Iraq from a US Democrats presidential candidate, nothing else. I pointed out why it may not be a very good idea for Australia to criticise in this case.
OK, we'll have to agree to differ (there's going to be a lot of that). You are differentiating between this and other observations a foreign leader might make. Are you saying that such observations should be select? If Rudd were to speak out specifically on a Chinese candidate's* intention to invade Korea, who you speak out against Rudd's right (or the appropriateness) to do so?


It is not "the USA's external platform" at all. It is the internal machinations for what may become external
Well no debate here. Respectfully you're wrong. The term for such matters is Foreign Policy. Trying to say that any country's foreign policy is internal to them is playing with words. A nation's foreign policy is a global business. After all, you have an opinion on America's foreign policy and so does Kevin Rudd. I ask again, are you in favour of restraining Kevin Rudd's right to speak out on it. Of course not - and nor would I.


When you say "ratify" his position I wasn't aware that he had already told Obama that he was wrong in such an undiplomatic fashion. Feel free to correct me if he has.
I should have said re-affirm. Not ratify. Therefore I was saying (hoped to have said) that all John Howard is doing is saying again a position he is already known to hold.


No doubt. Can you?
I think I have - but for the other side of the debate.

*Chinese Candidate *LMAO*

Rhubarb
13-02-2007, 11:57 PM
OK, we'll have to agree to differ (there's going to be a lot of that). You are differentiating between this and other observations a foreign leader might make. Are you saying that such observations should be select?Exactly. This one is particularly undiplomatic as should Howard win another election and Obama get the Democratic nomination and go on to win the presidency, then you would have the ludicrous situation of Australia supporting the US war on Iraq, when the US is no longer supporting the US war on Iraq (not that I really imagine that John Howard would have too much difficulty weaselling out of that).



Well no debate here. Respectfully you're wrong. The correct term for such matters is Foreign Policy. Trying to say that any country's foreign policy is internal to them is playing with words. A nation's foreign policy is a global business. Well I'll concede that point, but again state that it was unwise to meddle in this case.


After all, you have an opinion on America's foreign policy and so does Kevin Rudd. I ask again, are you in favour of restraining Kevin Rudd's right to speak out on it. Of course not.Before Howard's gaffe, Rudd was only speaking out on it in terms of attacking Howard. After all, Rudd's original comments were to do with Australia's foreign policy (the total and early withdrawal of Australian troops) not the USA's.


I should have said re-affirm. Not ratify. Therefore I was saying (hoped to have said) that all John Howard is doing is saying again a position he is already known to hold.And pissed off a lot of Americans on both sides of politics in the process. And, to point it out again, undermined the whole sycophantic point of engaging in this war in the first place.

I think I have - but for the other side of the debate.In the interests of honesty, I should point out that I 'accidentally' voted for Obama in the above poll but would like to change that to Neither.

Aaron Guthrie
14-02-2007, 12:01 AM
Yes.

Your deduction from my statement is inaccurate. Always a danger in paraphrasing people. You've made an extra leap on my behalf - I assume this was an oversight and not prejudice.

I have said those who are claiming that JH should keep his beak out are playing politics. I have said if the roles were reversed, then those people would be playing politics, too.

I have not said, as you have suggested of me, that "other people's" (this implies a blanket reference) "opinions are simply a matter of politics."

By "other peoples" I meant to specifically refer to whomever you were referring to by this.


It is only because Obama and his supporters don't like what they hear, they reproduce this twaddle.

The grammatical point is not important, but I would be interested to know what others intuition about this are. I specify intuition because I am interested in what people think it means when they read it, rather than what they can argue for with a dictionary or whatnot.

My motivation for positing was that I do not think it is that useful to talk about political bias as an end in itself. If a politician makes an argument with no merit then there is a good argument to be made that they made the argument knowingly just for political gain. But you need to first discuss the argument and show that the argument is bunk. To turn this into a discussion about political bias at this early stage to me seems to be incorrect as the argument has barely even been touched upon yet. I did not find your refutation of Obama's position to be convincing. I should have stated this to begin with and stated why.


JH has simply stated his already known policy (as has Obama) so no issue either way there.

But I thought the issue was the nature of the way in which these things were expressed. I thought the issue was the degree to which our Prime Minister is expected to display diplomatic tact with those he may possibly be working with in the future.

Basil
14-02-2007, 12:09 AM
Exactly. This one is particularly undiplomatic...
While I do support JHs right to speak out if he so chooses (as I would Rudd in my hypothetical), I can't see any benefit in Howard's doing so and have no opinion as to whether it was diplomatic or otherwise. All I can say is that if Rudd were my PM and he wanted to reassert his policy (regardless of whether I agreed with it), I would have no problem with his doing so.


as should Howard win another election and Obama get the Democratic nomination and go on to win the presidency, then you would have the ludicrous situation of Australia supporting the US war on Iraq, when the US is no longer supporting the US war on Iraq.
Odd to be sure. But not relevant to me in the context of this thread. I should imagine that if the USA bailed, then logistics above all else would demand that Australia withdraw.


Before Howard's gaffe, Rudd was only speaking out on it in terms of attacking Howard. After all, Rudd's original comments were to do with Australia's foreign policy (the total and early withdrawal of Australian troops) not the USA's.
Indeed. That is what happened. But it does not address my hypothetical which essentially interchanges John Howard with Kevin Rudd, and Iraq with Korea.

Basil
14-02-2007, 12:24 AM
By "other peoples" I meant to specifically refer to whomever you were referring to by this
I can't really add anything beyond my initial statement. I will reiterate that had JH said "Obama The Saviour is correct and the Coalition forces should withdraw immediately", then the chances of the offended maintaining their indignation would be all but zero. Therefore I conclude that it is NOT that JH said anything on the issue - but rather they didn't like what he said. In short, disingenuous poppycock from the selectively indignant.


The grammatical point is not important, but I would be interested to know what others intuition about this are. I specify intuition because I am interested in what people think it means when they read it, rather than what they can argue for with a dictionary or whatnot.
I'm sorry. I didn't quite follow. Are you asking people to say how they interpreted my statement? If so, then it may be helpful if I clarify. I do so by referring to my answer in the paragraph above.


I thought the issue was the nature of the way in which these things were expressed. I thought the issue was the degree to which our Prime Minister is expected to display diplomatic tact with those he may possibly be working with in the future.
Perhaps I have missed something in the reporting. You and Greg have both alluded to the diplomacy side. Just to clarify for me, is the issue that JH had something to say and what he said, or is it the way in which he said it?

Rhubarb
14-02-2007, 12:45 AM
While I do support JHs right to speak out if he so chooses (as I would Rudd in my hypothetical), I can't see any benefit in Howard's doing so and have no opinion as to whether it was diplomatic or otherwise. All I can say is that if Rudd were my PM and he wanted to reassert his policy (regardless of whether I agreed with it), I would have no problem with his doing so.Again, reasserting one's position is different to Howard's outright criticism in this case, but we've already been through this.


Indeed. That is what happened. But it does not address my hypothetical which essentially interchanges John Howard with Kevin Rudd, and Iraq with Korea.I don't think I saw this hypothetical the first time around as you added it in as an edit after I'd finished responding, but anyway:


If Rudd were to speak out specifically on a Chinese candidate's* intention to invade Korea, who you speak out against Rudd's right (or the appropriateness) to do so? I'm sure you're making some kind of Manchurian Candidate joke here, but I haven't actually read it yet (it's sitting at the bottom of my to-read pile). In any case, this particular hypothetical is irrelevant; I surely don't need to explain why.

Kevin Bonham
14-02-2007, 12:47 AM
9-1 now. Hmmm, I don't think I'll bother running this one on my other, more left-wing forum. ;)

bergil
14-02-2007, 02:16 AM
I voted neither but Howard was a tool for saying “If I was running Al-Qaeda in Iraq”, 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.”

Even if you support that BS he went on to say this “He’s a long way from being president of the United States.”

Trent Parker
14-02-2007, 02:31 AM
Obama sounds too similar to Osama. he wont get many votes. Pull out of the race Obama.....

Basil
14-02-2007, 02:58 AM
“If I was running Al-Qaeda in Iraq”
OMG He didn't use the subjunctive :eh: Certainly perhaps cringeworthy from a home turf perspective. But I doubt as much if we had heard the anecdote from a foreign leader.


I don't think I'll bother running this one on my other, more left-wing forum ;)
Perhaps I should join. A lifetime's worth of friendships and ppl with whom 'to share'


I'm sure you're making some kind of Manchurian Candidate joke here, but I haven't actually read it yet (it's sitting at the bottom of my to-read pile). In any case, this particular hypothetical is irrelevant; I surely don't need to explain why.
I was actually being serious. I'm trying narrow down where the line is drawn in your opinion as to 'selectness' of our leaders being outspoken on the world stage.

The joke was in relation to a Chinese Candidate in a communist regime where *ahem* there is no such thing as a candidate. Well not in practice anyway. A bit like Hussain receiving 108% of the vote in some electorates. True story.

Garrett
14-02-2007, 08:35 AM
Obama is a mormon and as such obviously has a twisted sense of reality. I've given my vote to little Johnny.

zigzag
14-02-2007, 09:13 AM
Obama is a mormon and as such obviously has a twisted sense of reality. I've given my vote to little Johnny.

He is not a Mormon.

He actually belongs to this denomination.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Church_of_Christ

A quick wikipedia search would confirm this.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barack_Obama

arosar
14-02-2007, 10:49 AM
But Mitt Romney is definitely a Mormon.

AR

Garrett
14-02-2007, 10:58 AM
[QUOTE=zigzag]He is not a Mormon.

QUOTE]

You are correct.

pax
14-02-2007, 11:03 AM
Did anyone read Gerard Henderson's diatribe in the SMH?
http://www.smh.com.au/news/opinion/howard-is-undiplomatic-but-correct/2007/02/12/1171128900726.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1

Never one to miss an opportunity to spring to Howard's defense, Henderson trotted out a few favourite right-wing (Fox News) fabrications:

One that Obama was "raised a Muslim". If Henderson has read Obama's books he would know that to be false.

Second that Obama hasn't been associated with much prominent legislation in the Senate. 152 sponsored and 427 co-sponsored bills in the 05-06 congress seems to put paid to that. Several of those were also quite high profile..

pax
14-02-2007, 11:07 AM
On Howard's original point, I seriously doubt that Al-Qaeda will be praying for Obama to win.

After all, the Iraq conflict is the greatest recruitment tool for militant Islam since the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. I reckon Osama is probably a Bush man all the way.

Ian Murray
14-02-2007, 11:18 AM
I find it rather hypocritical for Little Johnny to be urging the US to 'stay the course' and continue adding to the 3000+ young Americans repatriated in body bags, while the small Australian troop contingent stays out of harm's way in (relatively) safe areas, so much so that there have been no Australians KIA to date.

To me it's Vietnam all over again, with the same lessons unlearned. There the body count was 50,000 Americans before the bale-out, leaving the country to its own devices as a short-lived 'democracy'.

With an estimated 100,000+ civilians killed so far, there is no light at the end of the Iraqi tunnel. Sooner or later US troops will be withdrawn, leaving the country and the region to sort out its own balance of power.

Better sooner than later.

pax
14-02-2007, 11:24 AM
Interesting information about the political leanings of Sen. Obama:

http://www.vote-smart.org/npat.php?old=true&can_id=BS030017&npatform_id=69#0

Basil
14-02-2007, 11:25 AM
I propose an addage along the lines of "The greater the reference to a Liberal Government, the less likely the respondents are to remain on topic".

Is there any danger of some dialogue amplifying the majority view from the anonymous death squad?

Caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarn
"John Howard shouldn't have re-stated his already known position because ..."

pax
14-02-2007, 11:41 AM
To me it's Vietnam all over again, with the same lessons unlearned. There the body count was 50,000 Americans before the bale-out, leaving the country to its own devices as a short-lived 'democracy'.

With an estimated 100,000+ civilians killed so far, there is no light at the end of the Iraqi tunnel. Sooner or later US troops will be withdrawn, leaving the country and the region to sort out its own balance of power.


This is what gets me. Howard and Bush keep talking about "victory" and "defeat" in Iraq. But nobody has said what would constitute a victory, or how it would be achieved. What if there is no military solution to the situation in Iraq? What then? Do we keep throwing money and lives at it, because to stop would be admitting defeat?

("we" is used loosely here, as Australia is not yet really throwing lives at it)

Desmond
14-02-2007, 11:44 AM
"John Howard shouldn't have re-stated his already known position because ...""...his breath would be better spent announcing his resignation."

pax
14-02-2007, 11:44 AM
"John Howard shouldn't have re-stated his already known position because ..."

Sorry, was he already on record as saying that Al-Qaeda would be praying as hard as possible for Barack Obama and the Democrats to win?? Really?? Where was that?

Spiny Norman
14-02-2007, 12:43 PM
I voted "neither" ... and I'm about as conservative and right-wing a political creature as you are likely to find. I think our PM seriously misjudged this one.

WhiteElephant
14-02-2007, 01:07 PM
Barack Obama rocks!

Obama for President.

Now if only Arnie was in the race....now that would be a tough choice between Arnie and Obama. :) :)

Watto
14-02-2007, 01:13 PM
Sorry, was he already on record as saying that Al-Qaeda would be praying as hard as possible for Barack Obama and the Democrats to win?? Really?? Where was that?
yes, exactly.

It was an outrageous, stupid statement. He's shown himself to be a canny politician so it's an interesting mis-step ... but he's so emotionally and ideologically in agreement with this war and Bush that I think he lost his mind a bit. No doubt he was just itching to bark 'You can't handle the truth!' ;)

Emotive statements of this nature have often worked for him in Australia (but not so much lately) so I think he wasn't prepared for how it would be received in the US... negatively by some Republicans as well I've noticed.

I have to say I've been enjoying it hugely. :) Howard is a good debater but Obama is definitely not someone to engage in debates with unless you are on very firm ground... lol

Garrett
14-02-2007, 01:23 PM
Have you heard that George Bush is starting to really take global warming seriously.

He's sending 20,000 troops to the sun.

arosar
14-02-2007, 01:23 PM
I reckon Obama will have Howard for brekkie, spit back out and have him for lunch and dinner later.

Anyway, about this closeness between Howard and US: well how about closeness of Australian defence with US? How come we always have to buy American military hardware? Look at this JSF. Unproven technology that will cost a fortune and the initial projects have, I think, already been exceeded. We also bought those useless Seasprites, and these Abrams tanks that will likely never see angry action. Plus there was that undebated decision to purchase heavylift aircraft.

The Australian DoD is a complete joke!! And the pollies who sign off on these deals ought to be locked up.

Does anyone here follow defence matters, btw?

AR

Basil
14-02-2007, 01:42 PM
Sorry, was he already on record as saying that Al-Qaeda would be praying as hard as possible for Barack Obama and the Democrats to win?? Really?? Where was that?

Again we're back to the question of JH's right to comment, or how he he commented. And to me it seems the subtle merging of these two ideas is giving unwarranted impetus to an already emotional subject matter. Isn't this really just another excuse to bash JH and the war?

I'd like to think (of course still open for debate) that I've debunked any criticism of his right to have a say. The whole Rudd speaking out on Korea hypothetical is a good case in point in reverse IMO.

So what we're left with is JH's un statesman like vernacular, apparently. The whole marking a circle, praying for 2008, and so forth.

Now I understand that some people are cringeing at this, but I would be grateful to receive an explanation as to why you are cringeing or outraged. I'd appreciate your keeping to the point (wading through rhetoric about personal beliefs on the war doesn't get me across the line).

As it stands (filtering out the very obvious bias against JH) the only relevant argument I can descern here is "JH's comments were unstatesmanlike". I'll reserve responding to that until I know that that is in fact the view.


Sorry, was he already on record as saying that Al-Qaeda would be praying as hard as possible for Barack Obama and the Democrats to win?? Really?? Where was that?
Jonathan, you are talking about how he said what he said. Is that the issue that you have? I am talking about his right to make the response. We should get that sorted first and discuss them individually if necessary. As it stands, you have used one (the turn of phrase) to argue against my other (his right to say it).

Aaron Guthrie
14-02-2007, 01:55 PM
I can't really add anything beyond my initial statement. I will reiterate that had JH said "Obama The Saviour is correct and the Coalition forces should withdraw immediately", then the chances of the offended maintaining their indignation would be all but zero. Therefore I conclude that it is NOT that JH said anything on the issue - but rather they didn't like what he said. In short, disingenuous poppycock from the selectively indignant.

I don't see what gives you the insight into their minds as to be able to say this. I can just as well say that in the case of John Howard being complementary to Obama the Republicans would have been the complainants. Now from this insight I could conclude that politicians are biased and that they can't keep the focus on the real issue of _______.


I'm sorry. I didn't quite follow. Are you asking people to say how they interpreted my statement? If so, then it may be helpful if I clarify. I do so by referring to my answer in the paragraph above.

I was referring to the point of us interpreting the sentence with "other peoples" differently.


Perhaps I have missed something in the reporting. You and Greg have both alluded to the diplomacy side. Just to clarify for me, is the issue that JH had something to say and what he said, or is it the way in which he said it?
I think it is both. That what he said he said in an inflammatory way such that it has a chance of establishing a good working relationship between them back some steps. Also there is the fact that he is commenting on an election.

Desmond
14-02-2007, 02:05 PM
Isn't this really just another excuse to bash JH and the war?Yes, yes it is. Good, isn't it? I'll be back with hogties etc later.

Southpaw Jim
14-02-2007, 02:09 PM
FWIW, my opinion: JH is entitled to his opinions, we all are.

However, it was entirely inappropriate for him to comment on Obama's policies. This is (perhaps subtly) distinct from criticising the policies of an elected government.

JH is passing judgment on what is, essentially, an internal American political dialogue within the context of a forthcoming election. This dialogue is for the American people to have and for them alone. It is almost certainly giving JH too much credit, but his comments are inappropriate insofar as they may have some influence on the selection of the Democrat candidate, or the election itself. It's an unspoken convention that politicians do not involve themselves in the politics of another country.

Obama's policies are none of JH's business. I'm sure Howard (Duggan) will say that the war in Iraq is JH's business, but I think it's important to consider official roles and protocol here. If JH wants to talk about US foreign policy, then he is (by convention anyway) constrained to commenting on official US foreign policy.

/rant.

Basil
14-02-2007, 02:10 PM
I don't see what gives you the insight into their minds as to be able to say this.
OK, I 've explained it as best I can. Last time coming up. But first, you are again claiming I have an insight when I am claiming no such ability. Please don't make leaps for me.
I am making a deduction on their actions. I really have made this very clear. I am saying:
- People are outraged that JH is making a political statement on another country's candidate's platform.
- The people that are outraged have a commonality in that they also happen to dislike the pro-occupation message.
- If, hypothetically, JH's or Kevin Rudd's comments were anti-occuptaion, then it is most unlikely these people would be outraged.

To try and support my position, I will ask you the same question that is being side-stepped elsewhere:
"If Kevin Rudd were to make a statement speaking out against a Chinese candidate's intention to invade Korea, how would you react?" I am on record as supporting Rudd's right to do so.

Basil
14-02-2007, 02:13 PM
... /rant.
I like it Euro. I largely accept your position (insofar as you make a good point that I can't and don't want to refute). There is much to be said for your protocol/ convention assertion. I don't think JH's 'overstepping' is such a gaffe.

What I continue to fail to understand (or rather be convinced the outrage is genuine concern for protocol) is the heightened levels of indignation for an action that probably fits appropriately as you describe it - the reaction being largely IMO directly related to the degree of loathing one has for the messenger.

pax
14-02-2007, 02:25 PM
Jonathan, you are talking about how he said what he said. Is that the issue that you have? I am talking about his right to make the response. We should get that sorted first and discuss them individually if necessary. As it stands, you have used one (the turn of phrase) to argue against my other (his right to say it).

I have no problem with Howard saying that he believes a US pull-out from Iraq would be a mistake (even though I disagree).

But it was a massive mistake to align the Democratic party and Barack Obama with 'the terrorists'. That could cause serious damage to future relationships between the US and Australia. Moreover, Obama's 'put your money where your mouth is' comeback, effectively highlighted in the mainstream American media the tiny relative size of Australia's involvement in a way that hasn't really happened there or here before. Conservatives and liberal commentators alike have picked up on that, and the resulting discussions are doing damage to Australia's reputation.

Basil
14-02-2007, 02:38 PM
I have no problem with Howard saying that he believes a US pull-out from Iraq would be a mistake (even though I disagree).
Sure. No problems there.


But it was a massive mistake to align the Democratic party and Barack Obama with 'the terrorists'.
Perhaps I have missed a quote from the RH PM. If the 'alignment' is by implication with the "draw of circle" comment, then I think JH's comment is fine. It's the sort style we got from Keating, Churchill and other colourful types, but certainly out of character for dull, conservative JH.


That could cause serious damage to future relationships between the US and Australia.
My guess is that this is a non starter as most on the against side of this debate have already had a stated gutful of our relations with the US. Can't argue closer and further relations depending on the subtlety of the argument. The truth, I suspect is that it is not the US they want distance from, but the Bush admin, and therein lies the selective rhetoric.


Moreover, Obama's 'put your money where your mouth is' comeback, effectively highlighted in the mainstream American media the tiny relative size of Australia's involvement in a way that hasn't really happened there or here before.
Yes it has. Again I think this is rotating and selective rhetoric. Obama doesn't want Australia to put its money where its mouth is. He doesn't want any of the money. I'm sure he also understands proportionate contributions as do others here. The 'money where the mouth is comment' is just another subtle (and entirely irrelevant) bone to throw to a baying and willingly incited audience.

Watto
14-02-2007, 02:49 PM
I like it Euro. I largely accept your position (insofar as you make a good point that I can't and don't want to refute). There is much to be said for your protocol/ convention assertion. I don't think JH's 'overstepping' is such a gaffe.

What I continue to fail to understand (or rather be convinced the outrage is genuine concern for protocol) is the heightened levels of indignation for an action that probably fits appropriately as you describe it - the reaction being largely IMO directly related to the degree of loathing one has for the messenger.
People arenít indignant just because they loathe himÖ canít see US politicians caring enough about Howard to loathe him and theyíve been the most indignant. Itís the reckless lack of diplomacy, the butting into domestic politics and the fact that the Bush alliance is clearly a greater priority for an Australian PM than the much longer lasting Australia US alliance which he loves to talk about.

Me, Iím enjoying it because I loathe him... :)

Aaron Guthrie
14-02-2007, 02:54 PM
I am making a deduction on their actions.
It seems to me you are making deductions based on hypothetical actions.


I really have made this very clear. I am saying:
- People are outraged that JH is making a political statement on another country's candidate's platform.
- The people that are outraged have a commonality in that they also happen to dislike the pro-occupation message.
- If, hypothetically, JH's or Kevin Rudd's comments were anti-occuptaion, then it is most unlikely these people would be outraged.
The third premise is based upon your guess as to what people would do, as such I reject it. Even if I did accept it all you could show is that politicians are politically motivated. This does not address the validity of the argument presented by the politicians. Also as regards your second premise, there have been Republicans which have been critical, so I also reject this premise.

Senator 'flattered' but Howard told to butt out of debate (http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,21216586-601,00.html) "I would prefer that Mr Howard stay out of our domestic politics and we will stay out of his domestic politics," Texas Republican senator John Cornyn said."

I could just as well present this argument (premise one is true, premise two is as true as your premise two, premise three is as true as your premise three.)

-In the lead up to the 2004 election the American Ambassador to Australian made some comments that were critical of the Labor party.
-Those that did not criticize him for these comments were Liberal party supporters.
-If, hypothetically the Ambassadors comments were directed against the Liberal Party then it is most likely these people would be outraged.
Therefore the lack of criticism is politically motivated and the correct thing is to be outraged.

To try and support my position, I will ask you the same question that is being side-stepped elsewhere:
"If Kevin Rudd were to make a statement speaking out against a Chinese candidate's intention to invade Korea, how would you react?" I am on record as supporting Rudd's right to do so.

OK so your argument is not only about the candidate but also about those who support the candidate. I thought we were really talking about the candidate and those directly involved in the campaign with him.

I would react the same way I did to this incident, judge the arguments on their merits.

pax
14-02-2007, 03:10 PM
My guess is that this is a non starter as most on the against side of this debate have already had a stated gutful of our relations with the US. Can't argue closer and further relations depending on the subtlety of the argument. The truth, I suspect is that it is not the US they want distance from, but the Bush admin, and therein lies the selective rhetoric.


The people you are talking about would probably be quite happy to have closer ties to an Obama-led US, so that argument doesn't wash.

But anyway, it's not whether we have 'closer' ties as in doing what they do. The point is that the PM has to be able to get on the phone to the President to discuss an issue of mutual interest (like, I don't know... David Hicks), and not have the phone slammed in his face because of an injudicious slander from several years ago.



Yes it has. Again I think this is rotating and selective rhetoric. Obama doesn't want Australia to put its money where its mouth is. He doesn't want any of the money. I'm sure he also understands proportionate contributions as do others here. The 'money where the mouth is comment' is just another subtle (and entirely irrelevant) bone to throw to a baying and willingly incited audience.

Of course Obama doesn't want more troops. But the point is that he exposed a massive hypocrisy in this whole thing. From the start, Bush has called this thing a multi-national coalition. It is nothing of the sort - it is America in a big way, Britain in a modest way and a whole lot of countries (including Australia) who are there in an entirely token way so that Bush can pretend that this is some sort of multi-national coalition. Nobody believes that anymore, but they all keep up the pretense.

Desmond
14-02-2007, 03:25 PM
Yes it has. Again I think this is rotating and selective rhetoric. Not according to renound political commentator, and generally Liberal-friendly, Laurie Oakes (http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=227177) who says it is he first time America has pointed out the small size of the ozzie contribution, amoungst other things.

Basil
14-02-2007, 03:45 PM
This does not address the validity of the argument presented by the politicians.
The validity of which argument? I don't think anyone has been talking about validity of arguments.


Also as regards your second premise, there have been Republicans which have been critical, so I also reject this premise.
There have indeed been such Republicans. But their reasons may be protocol or political ones, viz your own quote of John Cornyn. My premise (as you well know) doesn't seek to capture the John Cornyns. I have no issue with that style of rejection of Howard at all.


-In the lead up to the 2004 election the American Ambassador to Australian made some comments that were critical of the Labor party.
-Those that did not criticize him for these comments were Liberal party supporters.
-If, hypothetically the Ambassadors comments were directed against the Liberal Party then it is most likely these people would be outraged.

Therefore the lack of criticism is politically motivated and the correct thing is to be outraged.
Yes, you could make that argument and I would entirely agree with it. Recall my Qld politics/ health position?


I would react the same way I did to this incident, judge the arguments on their merits.
???????? There is no argument to judge. Rudd makes a statement on a Chinese Candidate's intention to occupy. Full stop. Aaron you are seriosuly guilding the lilley here. There is either a protocol issue or not. You will either be concerned with his turn of phrase or not.

Now that you have probed just about every part of my motivation and cross-examined my premises and conclusions (a process with which I have been more than happy), may I have your position?

The only area we have addressed so far is my direct question on the hypothetical which I believe you have effectively side-stepped for no valid reason beyond obfuscation for the reason I stated above.

Basil
14-02-2007, 03:54 PM
The people you are talking about would probably be quite happy to have closer ties to an Obama-led US, so that argument doesn't wash.
Hold the phone. You're agreeing with me. And I'm agreeing with what you have said above. And that's my point!

The people would be quite happy to have closer ties. And why not? America and Australia have a lot in common and a deep history.

Developing what we are both claiming ...
The next time a rabble/ person/ commentator mantras "we're too close to America dribble dribble ..." you'll join with me in telling them to "finish university and have an original thought" or correct them and say "no, what you really hate is George Bush - stop confusing the issue, lad".

So the argument does exactly wash. Sparkling gleaming white!

Basil
14-02-2007, 04:05 PM
Not according to renound political commentator, and generally Liberal-friendly, Laurie Oakes (http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=227177) who says it is he first time America has pointed out the small size of the ozzie contribution, amoungst other things.

We are at cross purposes Brian. You are taking 'rotating' to refer to that particular comment being re-hashed on a repeat cycle. It's not what I meant but fair enough conclusion - it can read that way.

When I said rotating, the verb rotate applied to the broader discussion being deliberately made a moving target. I maintain the introduction of the 'degree of assistance' illustrated the 'against' side is not merely content to debate whether Howard should have said what he said and how he said it, but to add weight to their cause, they chucked in a few freebies as well.

Essentially this is what I accused Mike Baron of the other day in Turkish thread. He couldn't/ wouldn't defend the various suggestions, so he chucked the Qld Presidency and HCD irrelevancies on the barbie instead.

So better I should have said 'rotating the focus of the discussion', thereby capturing as many disenfranchised groups as possible.

ER
14-02-2007, 04:28 PM
What? to vote for an American on the expense of the Australian Prime Minister? You gotta be joking mate! :)
Cheers and good luck!

Basil
14-02-2007, 04:32 PM
I don't think that's the point Elliott. The debate goes something along the lines of John Howard said an American candidate's position on Iraq is crappy. Do you think John Howard should have said so? The majority here think he should have said nothing. That much has almost been mopped up and we are agreed on balance (to varying degrees) that he shouldn't have (although a few shades of grey floating around).

What's now being debated here (I think!) is the degree to which people are outraged and whether they are proportionately outraged on the merits of the action - and is the outrage entirely genuine or is it more of a mouth fart at a loathed figure (a free kick).

Aaron Guthrie
14-02-2007, 04:36 PM
The validity of which argument? I don't think anyone has been talking about validity of arguments.
Perhaps I have been incorrect to think that the politicians themselves are presenting arguments to be examined. Let me then say that I think there are reasonable arguments that can be presented on behalf of Obama, and on behalf of Howard. These arguments are in my view what the discussion should be about. The argument you presented against Obama being critical is in my view is invalid and irrelevant. Specifically the argument you presented to me in post 41 which is about motivation and hypothetical actions. Motivation is just an ad hominen, hypotheticals are unsupported inventions. Furthermore to actually show that the motivation you attribute is the correct motivation you have to defeat their position first. The argument should be:
"This person has no argument therefore their motivation is suspect", not
"This person has suspect motivation therefore they have no argument".

Yes, you could make that argument and I would entirely agree with it. Recall my Qld politics/ health position?
I am surprised that you say you would agree with it since my argument's conclusion was on the same issue but was the opposite of your conclusion.
No I do not recall your position on this because I do not follow this board much.

???????? There is no argument to judge. Rudd makes a statement on a Chinese Candidate's intention to occupy. Full stop. Aaron you are seriosuly guilding the lilley here. There is either a protocol issue or not. You will either be concerned with his turn of phrase or not.
There are different ways Rudd could make such a statement. There are different arguments that one could make in relation to this situation that do not apply to the current situation. One could hold diplomacy in high regard, and hold that a political leader should not comment on the elections held in a country other than his own but still hold that in some cases it is justified to break these principles.


Now that you have probed just about every part of my motivation and cross-examined my premises and conclusions (a process with which I have been more than happy), may I have your position?

I don't actually have strong feelings either way. The example I gave in regards the 2004 election was because at that time I felt John Howard should have been critical of the Ambassador. In light of this case I feel that at least he is acting consistently. I do have strong feelings about the difference between a good argument and a bad argument, however.

The only area we have addressed so far is my direct question on the hypothetical which I believe you have effectively side-stepped for no valid reason beyond obfuscation for the reason I stated above.
See above for my response. To expand upon that answer I give you an example of a debate about such a statement-

Person A: Rudd should not have made that comment. The elections of the Chinese people are their own business, not ours.
Person B : But in this case the election of this person would be very dangerous, so it is justified to speak out against this person.
Person A : But in this case our influence would be best made behind the scenes.
Person B : But we are trying to influence the people of China, not the officials.
Person A : But the people will be offended by the comment and so it will influence them in favor of the Candidate.
etc...

Basil
14-02-2007, 04:39 PM
Thanks for the reply Aaron. I won't respond, but only for the reason that our discussions are getting fairly involved and relate more to debate than this issue, which is interesting in its own right, but not for me at the moment.

I have appreciated your input.

ER
14-02-2007, 04:45 PM
Hi Howie
My position as a senior Public Servant would not allow me to expand. So I got the easy (gutless?) way out! :)
Cheers and good luck!

Basil
14-02-2007, 04:45 PM
Who Are The Other 3!?

Desmond
14-02-2007, 04:52 PM
Wasn't concerned about the use of "rotating" at all.

My comment was more directed at this:


Moreover, Obama's 'put your money where your mouth is' comeback, effectively highlighted in the mainstream American media the tiny relative size of Australia's involvement in a way that hasn't really happened there or here before.Yes it has.I believe you are wrong there, and my belief is backed up by the artcile from Oakes to which I linked.

Desmond
14-02-2007, 04:53 PM
Who Are The Other 3!?
I didn't vote the way you may have assumed I did. ;)

Kevin Bonham
14-02-2007, 04:57 PM
Interesting information about the political leanings of Sen. Obama:

http://www.vote-smart.org/npat.php?old=true&can_id=BS030017&npatform_id=69#0

...as of 1998. He hasn't taken the test since then, and Hilary Clinton hasn't taken it at all. Would be interesting to know how many of his positions, if any, have changed.

Basil
14-02-2007, 05:03 PM
Wasn't concerned about the use of "rotating" at all.

My comment was more directed at this:
I believe you are wrong there, and my belief is backed up by the artcile from Oakes to which I linked.

Am I being thick? (Don't answer that). Would you mind spelling it out a little more. I seem to be missing the point.


I didn't vote the way you may have assumed I did. ;)
*looks for a flying pig emoticon* ;)

pax
14-02-2007, 05:10 PM
...as of 1998. He hasn't taken the test since then, and Hilary Clinton hasn't taken it at all. Would be interesting to know how many of his positions, if any, have changed.

Indeed, but it's an interesting look at past views, which could be a more accurate reflection of his true views than what he says in an election campaign!

Desmond
14-02-2007, 06:16 PM
Am I being thick? (Don't answer that). Would you mind spelling it out a little more. I seem to be missing the point.Yes, 'sif, yes, yes. :P ;)

Well your response to my point seems to have nothing to do with my point, so either you completely missed my point or I am completely missing yours. Anyway, it was not a huge thing. The article is worth reading though.



*looks for a flying pig emoticon* ;)I voted for the neither option, although that was before the wording was altered.

Kevin Bonham
14-02-2007, 10:22 PM
My view (belatedly expressed as usual to avoid influencing my own poll until the result looks pretty clear) : I'm not sure what is the ideal strategy for the US to get out of its latest, probably unwinnable, war, but Obama won the debate with John Howard because the point he made goes straight to the heart(lessness) of John Howard's credibility to comment on the matter at all. I am not saying the Australian PM should never comment on policies of US Presidential candidates - I am just saying this particular comment lacked credibility.

As Obama pointed out, Australia's own contribution to the war effort is comparatively token in troop numbers (and it is also token in loss of lives). John Howard is not facing the pressures on US politicians that are created by a significant military death rate. Would Australia have been there if, adjusted for population, we had had, say, 200 military deaths in the conflict? It's all very well for him to say the US needs to stay the course, but unless he's willing to put our forces on the line to the same extent as the US has, his views are inconsistent with his actions.

Aaron Guthrie
14-02-2007, 11:46 PM
I thought this aspect of the Obama response is funny because Howard, by making such a critique, allows Obama to criticize him and Obama took that option. It is funny to me not because Obama's criticism is strong (I think it is a reasonable point not a knock-down one), but because it seems rather ridiculous to be having someone campaigning for president have a debate with Howard.

Garvinator
15-02-2007, 12:03 AM
There was an editorial cartoon the day after JH's comments and it was making the point that someone should remind JH that his opponent at the fed election is Kevin Rudd, not Barack Obama

Garvinator
15-02-2007, 12:09 AM
As Obama pointed out, Australia's own contribution to the war effort is comparatively token in troop numbers (and it is also token in loss of lives). John Howard is not facing the pressures on US politicians that are created by a significant military death rate. Would Australia have been there if, adjusted for population, we had had, say, 200 military deaths in the conflict? It's all very well for him to say the US needs to stay the course, but unless he's willing to put our forces on the line to the same extent as the US has, his views are inconsistent with his actions.
To me, this has been the bottom line for about the last two years. Until recently I thought the only way Labor was a chance to win the fed election was body bags. While this was not occurring, it seemed that Iraq was not going to have any REAL voter impact at the polls (despite what the opinion polls were and are saying about what ppl think of the Irag War).

What has pissed me off ever since the Coalition of the Williing decided to go into Iraq has been the playing with terms ie It is classed as a war on terror, but combatants from the other side to the COTW are called illegal enemy combatants, not prisoners of war.

Furthermore, COTW went into Iraq based on WMD, but none were found. If it is ok to invade another country based on WMD, shouldnt they be invading more countries on the same principle.

Then after no WMD's were found, it was because Saddam Hussein was a butcher and needed to be removed, well then, why hasnt there been action against the Sudanese or Zimbabwe Governments?

Also, I am not sure how the non COTW combatants can be the illegal party when the COTW went in without UN approval. This is not to say that I think anything good of the UN. Just making a point about the playing with terms.

As an aside- isnt this good that the posters can have an almost level headed discussion without it going off into the ditch, which is not the case when antichrist is here :clap:

Kevin Bonham
15-02-2007, 12:13 AM
There was an editorial cartoon the day after JH's comments and it was making the point that someone should remind JH that his opponent at the fed election is Kevin Rudd, not Barack Obama

JH would probably prefer to be facing Obama.

Southpaw Jim
15-02-2007, 07:31 AM
Channel 7's "Sunrise" mentioned this morning in their news spot that Centrebet has Rudd as favourite at $1.80 :lol:

Basil
15-02-2007, 07:32 AM
I diagree. On a number of fronts.


... Obama won the debate with John Howard because the point he made goes straight to the heart(lessness) of John Howard's credibility to comment on the matter at all.
John Howard is a leader of a country involved in the war - to a degree that has been 'negotiated' by the participants. John Howard was commenting on Obama's broad platform and repercussions of withdrawal. To suggest that Obama won the debate because:
- Howard has no part in the debate (just wrong on the facts), and
- The issue of proportionate contribution (dial turning to find a wedge)
just don't wash with me. I accept they do with you.


I am not saying the Australian PM should never comment on policies of US Presidential candidates
OK


As Obama pointed out, Australia's own contribution to the war effort is comparatively token in troop numbers (and it is also token in loss of lives).
This has absolutely nothing to do with the debate between them. That line could be used to gag any comment from any one. It's like saying what would you know about product XYZ, I'm paying for it. It's more proof that the issue at hand is clouded by dial turning of monstrous proportions.

In short, JH made a legitimate observation (with Eurotrash's caveat) that a premature withdrawal policy would be beneficial to those who seek power for themselves in Iraq. The response has been a windmill of dial turning that has captured
- butt out!
- who are you?
- we contribute more - put your money where your mouth is
- that's not very statesman-like

in fact just about any tenuous schoolyard furfie that undoubtedly has played very well to a baying audience (among others).


John Howard is not facing the pressures on US politicians that are created by a significant military death rate.
It's true. He doesn't. His position would be much more difficult if he were. But again more dial turning. This doesn't stop his ability to comment. Are all non-combatants or lesser combatants prevented from voicing an opinion?


Would Australia have been there if, adjusted for population, we had had, say, 200 military deaths in the conflict?
Don't know. Nor do you. Perhaps even JH doesn't.


It's all very well for him to say the US needs to stay the course, but unless he's willing to put our forces on the line to the same extent as the US has, his views are inconsistent with his actions.
More dial turning and prawns on the barbie. You are simply claiming that because JH isn't 'in' to the same degree as the US, JH has no credibility in commenting that an early withdrawal is bad. This falls foul of more tenets than I can count. Again this line defeats JH from ever making comment on this issue. As I have said earlier, it is a convenient line that defeats anyone who has a lesser contribution than the United States :doh:

Basil
15-02-2007, 07:36 AM
Channel 7's "Sunrise" mentioned this morning in their news spot that Centrebet has Rudd as favourite at $1.80 :lol:

I welcome the advent of a federal Labor government, but I'll reserve the rationale for a more appropriate thread.

Desmond
15-02-2007, 07:53 AM
Comments such as Obama's, which are essentially "we are so great, you are so small", cannot be wise. Everyone knows that US could crush Oz like a bug if it wished, but we don't mention it, they don't mention it. If it were a matter of people, we might call it humilty. A matter of nations, we might call it diplomacy.

Spiny Norman
15-02-2007, 08:14 AM
Comments such as Obama's, which are essentially "we are so great, you are so small", cannot be wise.
Sen. Obama has his head up his @rse, as (like most Yanks) he has little idea about any country other than his own.

Example: he claims that Australia would need to send around 20,000 extra troops before he'd think of listening to advice from JH.

Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_size_of_armed_forces

USA has deployed ~140,000 troops out of their total military of 2,270,000 (incl. reserves) ... this is 6.1%

AUS has deployed ~1,400 troops out of our total military of 74,000 (incl. reserves) ... this is 1.9%

Obama clearly has a misconception about the size of our military. If he is measuring our capacity by the size of the USA military/industrial complex, then he's simply ignorant of the facts.

Given that Australia also has had to manage deployments to Afghanistan, East Timor, Solomon Islands, etc, I think we're doing okay. The Yanks get benefits from military "economies of scale "that we don't.

Rhubarb
15-02-2007, 08:46 AM
I was actually being serious. I'm trying narrow down where the line is drawn in your opinion as to 'selectness' of our leaders being outspoken on the world stage. I thought I'd already answered this, but you keep on asking it so perhaps I need to be more direct. Your hypothetical:


If Rudd were to speak out specifically on a Chinese candidate's* intention to invade Korea, who you speak out against Rudd's right (or the appropriateness) to do so?First of all, it's not the right to speak out that is in question; it's, as you say, the appropriateness of doing so.

In your hypothetical, Rudd could criticise the Chinese all he wanted if he disagreed with the invasion of Korea, since we haven't followed China into any illegal wars lately in an attempt to bolster an alliance. (Are you getting an inkling of how irrelevant your analogy is yet?)

Let me explain again:

1. Australia followed the US into an illegal war, which has nothing to do with us.
2. The real reason we did this is because we hope to count on the US in the future if we get invaded (or at least have serious security problems).
3. Therefore, Howard pigheadedly sticking his snout into internal American politics defeats the whole purpose, because it's supposed to be about a mutually bipartisan alliance, not Dimwit Johnny's friendship with Dumbarse Dubya.

In conclusion:
1. You asked for a reason why Howard shouldn't have said what he said.
2. I gave you a reason.
3. You were unable to defeat my argument after I stated it several times.
4. I therefore declare myself the winner of this small part of the debate.

Thanks for playing, Howzer. I now officially sic Axiom and his rabid Possum onto you. :P

Watto
15-02-2007, 08:55 AM
Sen. Obama has his head up his @rse, as (like most Yanks) he has little idea about any country other than his own.

Saw an interesting documentary about him a few weeks ago. He lived in Jakarta as a kid (stepfather was Indonesian) and his father was a Kenyan (not close to him as he left when he was a toddler but he’s explored his heritage) so I think he does know more than the average yank about the rest of the world (apart from the fact that he’s very well educated). As for arrogant comments he might have made, well, Howard started it and Obama hit back… will be interesting to see if he makes more comments in future in the 'we are big, you are a minnow' vein...

I’ve been thinking about the whole political persuasion thing. It’s true that I’m enjoying it because I’m not a fan of Howard but if it was a Labor PM or a Greens senator who suggested that the KKK, for instance, would be gleefully rubbing their hands together in anticipation of a victory by (an intelligent non-extremist) Republican candidate for presidency (for some specific policy he had that was not in any way intended to be supportive of the KKK), I’d think it was stunningly injudicious and I’d be pretty unimpressed.

pax
15-02-2007, 09:18 AM
Sen. Obama has his head up his @rse, as (like most Yanks) he has little idea about any country other than his own.

Obama comes across to me as a thoroughly well informed and intelligent man. He also comes across as a man with his heart in the right place. He made a very compelling speech on the relationship between religion and politics (delivered to an audience of evangelical Christians). You might be interested in checking it out. It is well worth the 40 minute investment:
http://www.barackobama.com/issues/faith/



Example: he claims that Australia would need to send around 20,000 extra troops before he'd think of listening to advice from JH.

He never claimed that 20,000 was some sort of precise proportion of military or population. It was merely an off the cuff comment to a journalist's question regarding John Howard's extremely insulting comments on him. His point is that however you measure it (absolute or relative terms) Australia's contribution is small - it is not Australian lives that are being lost every day in Iraq.

Basil
15-02-2007, 09:29 AM
... but you keep on asking it...
By your own quote, you can see that you said, "you assumed I was joking". I merely said I wasn't. Now you say I am repeatedly asking the question. Naughty Shirty. http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y105/scene66/smilies/spank2.gif


First of all, it's not the right to speak out that is in question; it's, as you say, the appropriateness of doing so.
OK. Most of us are agreed on this now. And healthy to have had one furfie chopped out of the uproar. The picture becomes a little clearer by the day.


Are you getting an inkling of how irrelevant your analogy is yet?
Seriously. This is the first time you have made any such statement or justification approaching this magnitude. The last time we heard from you, you thought the question was a joke. The purpose of the analogy (as stated) was to determine where the line in the sand was drawn on appropriateness. If you don't like the analogy, then we can't use it as a tool to determine such. Perhaps you think I am trying trap you. I am trying to understand your position, or test it.

So let's have a different analogy. Kevin Rudd is PM late this year. Impending US elections and a candidate declares the importance of remaining in Iraq. Rudd speaks out. What do you say about that?


Australia followed the US into an illegal war, which has nothing to do with us.
This, like KB's comments are personal opinions (not universally held or accepted as truth) which would kill any comment on the war by anyone. It is not relevant to the appropriateness issue we are discussing.

2. The real reason we did this is because we hope to count on the US in the future if we get invaded (or at least have serious security problems).
Ditto.

3. Therefore, Howard pigheadedly sticking his snout into internal American politics defeats the whole purpose, because it's supposed to be about a mutually bipartisan alliance, not Dimwit Johnny's friendship with Dumbarse Dubya.
Ditto.

4. I therefore declare myself the winner of this small part of the debate.
Well done ;) You've done very well indeed.


I now officially sic Axiom and his rabid Possum onto you. :P
That's below the belt.

Basil
15-02-2007, 09:34 AM
Referring to Obama ...

His point is that however you measure it (absolute or relative terms) Australia's contribution is small - it is not Australian lives that are being lost every day in Iraq.

It might be helpful if we sort this one individually out as well. Part of the weeding process. In fact there are two issues here:
1) Australia's contribution is small.
2) Australian lives not being lost.

Do either of these statements legitimately prevent JH from commenting? Or is the dial getting a damn good tweak?

Basil
15-02-2007, 09:52 AM
Referring to the 'Illegal War' and all that, probably the most important thing to hold in mind with respect to this thread is that we are NOT talking about the war (the invasion). It's over.

The focus is remaining in occupation and for how long. The time-frame is the only issue.

All those doubled-up with indignation over the war (ummm is that everyone :doh:) and your fanatsy variations for John Howard's motivations for being there in the first place may wish to go and graffiti a wall or stick pins in a voodoo doll or something ;) There's nothing for you here. This includes agitated bears.

Rhubarb
15-02-2007, 10:09 AM
By your own quote, you can see that you said, "you assumed I was joking". I merely said I wasn't. Now you say I am repeatedly asking the question. Naughty Shirty.I assumed it must be a joke, because it was so irrelevant. Okay, even if we don't count this misunderstanding from post #19, you brought up your hypothetical in posts #10, #13, #37, #41. Are you saying this isn't repetition? :confused:


Seriously. This is the first time you have made any such statement or justification approaching this magnitude. The last time we heard from you, you thought the question was a joke. The purpose of the analogy (as stated) was to determine where the line in the sand was drawn on appropriateness. If you don't like the analogy, then we can't use it as a tool to determine such. Perhaps you think I am trying trap you. I am trying to understand your position, or test it.I thought my position had been adequately explained several times.


So let's have a different analogy. Kevin Rudd is PM late this year. Impending US elections and a candidate declares the importance of remaining in Iraq. Rudd speaks out. What do you say about that? I would say that it would be unwise of Rudd, unless he is opposed to our current fawning relationship with the US. Withdrawing Australian troops ASAP, as he has said he will, is a clear enough signal without being undiplomatic.

Spiny Norman
15-02-2007, 10:16 AM
Awwww rats! I was having so much fun too ... thought someone might've at least called me for trolling!

Rhubarb
15-02-2007, 10:18 AM
Referring to the 'Illegal War' and all that, probably the most important thing to hold in mind with respect to this thread is that we are NOT talking about the war (the invasion). It's over.

The focus is remaining in occupation and for how long. The time-frame is the only issue.As now defined by you? :doh:


All those doubled-up with indignation over the war (ummm is that everyone :doh:) and your fanatsy variations for John Howard's motivations for being there in the first place may wish to go and graffiti a wall or stick pins in a voodoo doll or something ;) There's nothing for you here. This includes agitated bears.You can't address my points so you start insulting them. Give it up, Yowie.

Basil
15-02-2007, 10:22 AM
Okay, even if we don't count this misunderstanding from post #19, you brought up your hypothetical in posts #10, #13, #37, #41. Are you saying this isn't repetition?
I was asking of you (twice) and others. The flow of the text clearly shows genuine enquiry and not machine alliteration.


I would say that it would be unwise of Rudd, unless he is opposed to our current fawning relationship with the US. Withdrawing Australian troops ASAP, as he has said he will, is a clear enough signal without being undiplomatic.
OK. Now to what degree would it be unwise. Warranting global uproar? Perhaps not. Just a little unwise.


As now defined by you?
No. JH's comments and this thread do not relate to the war. I am reminding those including you, that reference to the war and it's motivation are not relevant to this thread (on the facts, not because I say so).


You can't address my points so you start insulting them.
Which point haven't I addressed? Which point have I insulted?

Ian Murray
15-02-2007, 10:23 AM
Referring to Obama ...
It might be helpful if we sort this one individually out as well. Part of the weeding process. In fact there are two issues here:
1) Australia's contribution is small.
2) Australian lives not being lost.

Do either of these statements legitimately prevent JH from commenting? Or is the dial getting a damn good tweak?
On the world stage the Australian presence is irrelevant from a military viewpoint (when was the last report of Australians even engaging any insurgents, let alone taking casualties?). We could withdraw our troops this afternoon and militarily no-one would notice.

But it would make a political difference, damaging the US administration's stance that the military involvement is not American but an international effort by a 'coalition of the willing'.

The way I see it, the PM's attack on Obama was for domestic rather than international consumption as part of the current undeclared election campaign. He has tried to grab the high ground over Kevin Rudd, demonstrating his strong stand in the 'war on terror' vis-a-vis Labor's commitment to bringing the troops home. He expected to win brownie points by focusing on his government's perceived strength on national security issues.

However he and his spin doctors got it wrong. The majority of public and media reaction has been negative on his interference in the election process of another country.

He should have backed off early - pushing the barrow further is digging a deeper hole (forgive me for mixing metaphors :) ).

Watto
15-02-2007, 10:25 AM
Awwww rats! I was having so much fun too ... thought someone might've at least called me for trolling!
lol :clap:

Basil
15-02-2007, 10:28 AM
On the world stage...
Ian I agree with everything you have said. Even that JH's motivation may well have been self-serving. I would add that this is a long way from the preposterous dial turning that has been at play.

What I am left with is giving a Panadol to the eye popping self-serving indignants (on account of the degree of outrage, which IMO is way OTT and self-serving itself) :)

pax
15-02-2007, 10:34 AM
It might be helpful if we sort this one individually out as well. Part of the weeding process. In fact there are two issues here:
1) Australia's contribution is small.
2) Australian lives not being lost.

Do either of these statements legitimately prevent JH from commenting? Or is the dial getting a damn good tweak?

Howard, this is politics. There is a big difference between Howard saying
"I believe it would be a mistake for America to set a date on troop withdrawal" and "Al-Qaeda will really be whooping it up if Barack Obama wins the next election."

JH has said words to the effect of the former numerous times, and has not been criticised for commenting (even though many have disagreed with the substance).

JH is well aware of how to make a comment on an issue without making a comment on the individual. In this case, he chose to make a deliberate attack on the individual. It is that attack that has been (almost) universally condemned, not the comment on the issue.

The business of troop numbers does not affect Howard's right to comment on the issue, of course it doesn't - and nobody has actually claimed it does (another Strawman Howard?). It does, however affect Howard's credibility to speak on the matter.

pax
15-02-2007, 10:41 AM
So let's have a different analogy. Kevin Rudd is PM late this year. Impending US elections and a candidate declares the importance of remaining in Iraq. Rudd speaks out. What do you say about that?

Lets expand on this a bit:

a) Rudd says: "The occupation of Iraq is a mistake. It has done nothing but create fertile recruiting grounds for Islamic extremists. This is why I brought Australia's troops home, and this is why the US should do the same."

b) Rudd says: "The terrorists don't want an end to the occupation in Iraq. They will put a big circle around November 2008 and pray as many times as possible for a Mitt Romney victory in the presidential election. Osama bin Laden votes Republican."

Ok, to me a) is ok. b) is not ok.

pax
15-02-2007, 10:43 AM
But even here, there is a flaw in the analogy. See if you can spot it.

Basil
15-02-2007, 10:43 AM
The business of troop numbers does not affect Howard's right to comment on the issue, of course it doesn't - and nobody has actually claimed it does (another Strawman Howard?). It does, however affect Howard's credibility to speak on the matter.
Jonathan. :eek: Pause for effect.

Obama said it himself.

Any other strawmen?

Desmond
15-02-2007, 10:47 AM
Referring to the 'Illegal War' and all that, probably the most important thing to hold in mind with respect to this thread is that we are NOT talking about the war (the invasion). It's over.Of course, who could forget: Bush said they won. I guess the troops are just on holiday.

Basil
15-02-2007, 10:50 AM
WTF??? His comments do not relate to the war?? I'm afraid it has now become impossible to continue this discussion. I refer you to my post #74 ad infinitum. :)

Greg, I assume you have misunderstood me. That alternative that you are unaware that the war in Iraq is over would be too much.

So clarifying. The war on Iraq is over. The invasion. The military action. Thereafter an occupation commenced that has been requested by the Iraqi government. During this occupation, a number of insurgents shell non combative troops. This has been termed a war on terror by most. I think it's best we if accept a genuine misunderstanding as to which war we were talking about rather than focus on whether you believed a war is being fought in Iraq.

To be absolutely crystal, I was saying that your repeated references to Illegal War and Dubya's Motivation For War (being the military invasion) were not relevant to the JH/ Obama thing which is entirely related to the pull-out of the subsequent and invited occupation. The matters are entirely separate.

pax
15-02-2007, 11:09 AM
Jonathan. :eek: Pause for effect.

Obama said it himself.

Any other strawmen?

He said it was "empty rhetoric". He didn't say JH had no right to speak on the matter. Next!

Desmond
15-02-2007, 11:11 AM
The war on Iraq is over. The invasion. The military action. Thereafter an occupation commenced that has been requested by the Iraqi government. Howard, if you cannot see a problem with this, then I believe you are lost.
1. Kill a king and take his country.
2. Prop up a government of your own chosing.
3. Get them to ask you to "please stay dear saviours".
4. Everything is ok.

Ian Murray
15-02-2007, 11:12 AM
Ian I agree with everything you have said. Even that JH's motivation may well have been self-serving. I would add that this is a long way from the preposterous dial turning that has been at play.

What I am left with is giving a Panadol to the eye popping self-serving indignants (on account of the degree of outrage, which IMO is way OTT and self-serving itself) :)
I voted for Obama in the poll that started it all because I think JH was ill-advised in publicly attacking a US Presidential candidate, even as a domestic political ploy.

IMO there would be very few occasions justifying overt interference by a national leader in the electoral processes of a foreign country.

All other considerations (the war on terror, Australian involvement etc) are really off-topic.

Basil
15-02-2007, 01:18 PM
He said it was "empty rhetoric". He didn't say JH had no right to speak on the matter. Next!
Observation & request: Jonathan, you are escalating from discussion to adversorial behaviour. I have only met your bar as you have introduced it, viz Strawman etc.. I hope you desist in the interests of maintaining a proper dialogue.

For the second time, you've missed the point. From the top.
You said:

The business of troop numbers does not affect Howard's right to comment on the issue, of course it doesn't - and nobody has actually claimed it does (another Strawman Howard?). It does, however affect Howard's credibility to speak on the matter.
You have clearly said no-one has claimed troop numbers as an issue.

To which I said:

Obama said it himself
And of course, Obama has made troop numbers an issue. You have failed to follow the dialogue. The quoted issue is troop numbers, not anything else.

In two posts, you have made an obvious mistake twice (which is fine) - misunderstandings can be mopped up, but instead you carry on about dismissing me! Come on, let's pick up the mutual respect baton again.

Basil
15-02-2007, 01:24 PM
Howard, if you cannot see a problem with this, then I believe you are lost.
1. Kill a king and take his country.
2. Prop up a government of your own chosing.
3. Get them to ask you to "please stay dear saviours".
4. Everything is ok.

I can see a problem with it. On many levels.

This refers to the invasion. I'm undecided on where I sit with the invasion. The invasion, as I have said has nothing to do with the topic of this thread, which is about protocol and the timing of withdrawing non combatant troops. The troops are going, we are just discussing when. I don't accept that the coalition interfered with the process of electing the Iraqi government. Neither Blair, nor Bush, nor Howard claims all is good.

As I have never indicated any such stance as the one you cite, wouldn't it have been better to ask me if it were accurate of my position? Putting up such a stance and then saying I'm lost if I support it is hardly becoming of fair discussion. More of a cheapo, don't you think?

I fear you too are letting your personal beliefs on a war get right in the face of this discussion.

Finally, and only for the sake of record (not debate, by me anyway) Hussein was a dictator and it was not his country.

pax
15-02-2007, 01:48 PM
You have clearly said no-one has claimed troop numbers as an issue.
Pardon? You might want to re-read what I wrote. I said it doesn't affect JH's right to speak, not that it wasn't an issue.

Desmond
15-02-2007, 02:15 PM
Ok, I'm not going to reply to most of your post, since I disagree but it is offtopic.
I fear you too are letting your personal beliefs on a war get right in the face of this discussion.It's an emotive topic for many (perhaps most) people in Australia and USA. Impossible to seperate such feelings. In fact, JH was probably trying to harness the emotion to work for him and bring attention to what he thinks is his strong suit. Backfired. Big time.

Basil
15-02-2007, 02:20 PM
Impossible to seperate such feelings.
Well that rather ends things for me with you on this debate if you are unable to do so. I go even further by saying that because of this inability, the reaction by very many is a result of their inability to separate the issues.


In fact, JH was probably trying to harness the emotion to work for him and bring attention to what he thinks is his strong suit. Backfired. Big time.
Yes, I agree with that.

Ian Murray
15-02-2007, 02:33 PM
To introduce an extra off-topic topic, have you any idea how much our token military involvement is costing us (non-taxpaying members need read no further)?

I don't know either, but I do know that military operations are conducted on a user-pays basis. At the end of the actual war, the US billed Australia for $670 million just for the cost of logistic support supplied to the Australian force (including RAAF and RAN elements). That's on top of our own costs in maintaining the force.

Our military involvement in East Timor cost $3.3 billion. Acceptable - we have regional responsibilities as a major Pacific player.

However the principle is stretched to breaking point when we are paying, from a defence budget of $14 billion-odd, much more (presumably) to maintain an unnecessary token force to lend political support to the US incursion in a part of the globe of no strategic interest to us.

Basil
15-02-2007, 02:37 PM
Pardon? You might want to re-read what I wrote. I said it doesn't affect JH's right to speak, not that it wasn't an issue.
That one line which you quote was poorly written. I retract it. Apologies.

My point still stands. And with the loose line cleaned up {now in red}, my criticism of you still reads:

For the second time, you've missed the point. From the top.
You said:

The business of troop numbers does not affect Howard's right to comment on the issue, of course it doesn't - and nobody has actually claimed it does (another Strawman Howard?). It does, however affect Howard's credibility to speak on the matter.
You have clearly said that nobody has claimed the business of troop numbers affects JH's right to speak. {revised text submitted}

To which I said:

Obama said it himself
And of course, Obama has said that troop numbers affects JH's right to speak on the matter. You have failed to follow the dialogue and subsequently dismissed my point when you had made the mistake etc etc..

pax
15-02-2007, 02:38 PM
However the principle is stretched to breaking point when we are paying, from a defence budget of $14 billion-odd, much more (presumably) to maintain an unnecessary token force to lend political support to the US incursion in a part of the globe of no strategic interest to us.

It's a bit of a head in the sand attitude to say that the middle east is of no strategic interest to us!

pax
15-02-2007, 02:41 PM
And of course, Obama has said that troop numbers affects JH's right to speak on the matter. You have failed to follow the dialogue and subsequently dismissed my point when you had made the mistake etc etc..
I disagree. You are placing your own interpretation on the words 'empty rhetoric'. To me, that speaks to the authority of the (JH's) comment, not of his right to make it.

Ian Murray
15-02-2007, 02:49 PM
It's a bit of a head in the sand attitude to say that the middle east is of no strategic interest to us!

Of strategic concern, but way outside our sphere of influence

pax
15-02-2007, 02:53 PM
Of strategic concern, but way outside our sphere of influence

Not necessarily. Even without tugging on GW Bush's coattails, Australian foreign policy can be quite influential in far-reaching places. In my view, Australia has far greater foreign policy influence when no *so* closely aligned with the interests of a superpower.

Basil
15-02-2007, 02:58 PM
Jonathan, I assume you are being genuine in this. I have no reason to suspect otherwise, although I don't understand the difficulty.

I am NOT referring to the words "empty rhetoric". I never have referred to those words. Please no more talk about my interpretation of "empty rhetoric".

I am referring now, and was referring way back in the beginning, specifically to your very clear statement that nobody has claimed the business of troop numbers affects JH's right to speak. You questioned whether I was raising it as a Straw Man.


The business of troop numbers does not affect Howard's right to comment on the issue, of course it doesn't - and nobody has actually claimed it does (another Strawman Howard?). It does, however affect Howard's credibility to speak on the matter.

I answered by saying that Obama has said troop numbers affect JH's right to speak. For instance, when he said "put your money where your mouth is", he was talking about more troops, then more right to speak. He was making proportionate troop contributions an issue.

Ian Murray
15-02-2007, 03:00 PM
Not necessarily. Even without tugging on GW Bush's coattails, Australian foreign policy can be quite influential in far-reaching places. In my view, Australia has far greater foreign policy influence when no *so* closely aligned with the interests of a superpower.

Maybe at times

I am reminded of the opinion of the French premier (or perhaps another politico) at the time of our protests over the resumption of testing at Muraroa:
"Australians are only descendants of criminals. What do we care if they don't like us for six months." Or words to that effect.

pax
15-02-2007, 03:21 PM
I answered by saying that Obama has said troop numbers affect JH's right to speak. For instance, when he said "put your money where your mouth is", he was talking about more troops, then more right to speak. He was making proportionate troop contributions an issue.

Ok, let's put the actual quote on the table:



"I would also note that we have close to 140,000 troops on the ground now and my understanding is tha Howard has deployed 1400.

"So, if he's ginned up to fight the good fight in Iraq, I would suggest he calls up another 20,000 Australians and sends them up to Iraq.

"Otherwise, it's just a bunch of empty rhetoric.''

So where exactly is he denying John Howard's right to speak?

Kevin Bonham
15-02-2007, 04:01 PM
John Howard is a leader of a country involved in the war - to a degree that has been 'negotiated' by the participants.

"Negotiation" is irrelevant. Clearly Australia decides what contribution to the effort it makes, rather than the US saying "Please only send 1.9% of your armed forces, if you send more we won't know what to do with them, and might have to eat them for dinner."


John Howard was commenting on Obama's broad platform and repercussions of withdrawal. To suggest that Obama won the debate because:
- Howard has no part in the debate (just wrong on the facts), and
- The issue of proportionate contribution (dial turning to find a wedge)
just don't wash with me. I accept they do with you.

I did not suggest the former, but I do believe the latter is extremely relevant. JH is not facing the political pressures the US administration is facing over the war. He is not facing them because his contribution is not proportionate. Nor has Australia made a contribution to any war proportionate to that the US is making to Iraq during his time as PM, or even his time in government (this can be taken right back to Fraser).

As such, at best he has only one side of the issue. He can talk as much as he likes about what he sees as the consequences of withdrawing from Iraq, but he appears unable to personally comprehend what it would be like, as a leader, to face the consequences of not withdrawing.


This has absolutely nothing to do with the debate between them. That line could be used to gag any comment from any one.

On the lines of your "card" nonsense, "gag" (a term implying illiberalism where there is none) would be a red card for a certainty. :lol:


It's like saying what would you know about product XYZ, I'm paying for it. It's more proof that the issue at hand is clouded by dial turning of monstrous proportions.

Actually it is more like saying "what would you know about product XYZ, you have never used it in your life?"


Don't know. Nor do you.

The war is electorally unpopular enough in Australia even when virtually nobody from our country is dying in it. Governments supporting the war elsewhere have been getting towelled in elections in recent years. It is a psephelogical no-brainer that if Australians were dying in droves in Iraq we would be out of there.


Again this line defeats JH from ever making comment on this issue.

If his comments showed more sensitivity to the problems that US politicians are facing then he could make a credible comment on the matter.

But if he showed that sensitivity he very likely would not be taking this stance.

Kevin Bonham
15-02-2007, 04:05 PM
Sen. Obama has his head up his @rse, as (like most Yanks) he has little idea about any country other than his own.

Example: he claims that Australia would need to send around 20,000 extra troops before he'd think of listening to advice from JH.

Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_size_of_armed_forces

USA has deployed ~140,000 troops out of their total military of 2,270,000 (incl. reserves) ... this is 6.1%

AUS has deployed ~1,400 troops out of our total military of 74,000 (incl. reserves) ... this is 1.9%

Trolling or not, you're right - Obama's 20,000 is a hyperbolic, ambit figure even on a population basis and the actually equivalent figure would be much smaller.


Given that Australia also has had to manage deployments to Afghanistan, East Timor, Solomon Islands, etc, I think we're doing okay.

The US also has deployments in Afghanistan.

I also think it's significant that while our deployment is 1% of the US's, our death rate is less than 0.1%. I doubt this is because our soldiers are that much better, and assume it is because Australia's contribution to the Iraq war effort is largely in relatively less risky roles. Either that or Australian soldiers as a group have been astonishingly lucky.

Basil
15-02-2007, 05:01 PM
OK, let's put the actual quote on the table


"I would also note that we have close to 140,000 troops on the ground now and my understanding is tha Howard has deployed 1400.

"So, if he's ginned up to fight the good fight in Iraq, I would suggest he calls up another 20,000 Australians and sends them up to Iraq.

"Otherwise, it's just a bunch of empty rhetoric.''


So where exactly is he denying John Howard's right to speak?

The middle sentence clearly makes troop quantity an issue. No argument there, I assume? And in the context that it was said while dismissing JH (who are you boy, butt out), it can only relate back to his right to speak.

You have made the difference between 'right to speak' and 'credibility to speak'. I accept there's a difference in our specific discussion, but there isn't a difference in the context of the global debate. For instance, no-one would be outraged that someone has limited credibility to speak (even though I don't accept JH's lack of credibility as claimed). The whole thrust of Obama's comments is "butt out", it's not your business (no right); Obama is not saying "butt out, it is your business, but you have no credibility".

I will need to go recheck the dialogue from Obama, so please bear with me. I might not get to it until after the club tonight. Thanks.

Basil
15-02-2007, 05:24 PM
John Howard is a leader of a country involved in the war - to a degree that has been 'negotiated' by the participants

"Negotiation" is irrelevant...
Zoming in on 'negotiation' is irrelevant. My point is that Howard is the leader of a country involved in the war. He is well credible to speak on the issue - probably one of the top 50 ppl in the world to speak on it.


Howard has no part in the debate (just wrong on the facts)

I did not suggest the former ...
Yes, you did. Here:

Obama won the debate with John Howard because the point he made goes straight to the heart(lessness) of John Howard's credibility to comment on the matter at all.


but I do believe the latter is extremely relevant. JH is not facing the political pressures the US administration is facing over the war. He is not facing them because his contribution is not proportionate. Nor has Australia made a contribution to any war proportionate to that the US is making to Iraq during his time as PM, or even his time in government (this can be taken right back to Fraser).
OK. I accept your perspective. It's reasonable (no condescention intended), but as we know, I disagree because I say it's irrelevant and you say otherwise.


As such, at best he has only one side of the issue. He can talk as much as he likes about what he sees as the consequences of withdrawing from Iraq, but he appears unable to personally comprehend what it would be like, as a leader, to face the consequences of not withdrawing.
Agreed as to the facts. But I don't feel the issue of his knowing how it feels is relevant. Again this style prevents him having an opinion private schools (he was educated publicly), or on other debates where he has no first hand knowledge.


Actually it is more like saying "what would you know about product XYZ, you have never used it in your life?"
We both know this is semantics. You continue to push lines that prevent all but possibly 8 people in the world having a credible opinion, indeed I might say Sen. Obama as he has never been in this situation :owned:


The war is electorally unpopular enough in Australia even when virtually nobody from our country is dying in it. Governments supporting the war elsewhere have been getting towelled in elections in recent years. It is a psephelogical no-brainer that if Australians were dying in droves in Iraq we would be out of there.
Do you play Twister as well as chess? :) *joke* What a monstrous stretch! There have been many unpopular wars which have both cost and NOT cost governments elections. Further, some wars which as you say were certain defeats, but the government of the day persisted with anyway, on principle (as odd and repulsive as that can seem - luckily I will never be in such a hideous position to make the call).

I'd re-assert the position that I think you are using the word 'war' too loosely. It is an occupation - one that all parties want ended - it's just a question of timing.


If his comments showed more sensitivity to the problems that US politicians are facing then he could make a credible comment on the matter.
Credibility is not related to sensitivity (not in this context). I'm not sure he has been insensitive, but as I have said to Jonathan, I wish to recheck the dialogue in full, first.

Basil
15-02-2007, 06:26 PM
For those that haven't seen the interview (video) that caused the storm, here it is - in context.

Certainly there are no boundaries in the communication age, but I feel it fair to point out that:
a) the comments were made locally, and
b) in response to a direct question

Certainly the issue of appropriateness may exist with some (I'm quite neutral on the matter, but Eurotrash spoke well, I thought), but again I seriously question the extent and the genuineness of the outrage.

http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2007/02/pm_john_howard_.html

Ian Murray
15-02-2007, 06:49 PM
For those that haven't seen the interview (video) that caused the storm, here it is - in context.

Certainly there are no boundaries in the communication age, but I feel it fair to point out that:
a) the comments were made locally, and
b) in response to a direct question

Certainly the issue of appropriateness may exist with some (I'm quite neutral on the matter, but Eurotrash spoke well, I thought), but again I seriously question the extent and the genuineness of the outrage.

http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2007/02/pm_john_howard_.html

Linking to a right-wing blog is a questionable exercise

Here is the direct link:
http://sunday.ninemsn.com.au/sunday/political_transcripts/article_2124.asp

Basil
15-02-2007, 07:06 PM
Thanks. I've never been to that site in my life. It just came up first on Google and I grabbed it. Happier to be represented as you have.

Kevin Bonham
15-02-2007, 07:30 PM
Zoming in on 'negotiation' is irrelevant. My point is that Howard is the leader of a country involved in the war. He is well credible to speak on the issue - probably one of the top 50 ppl in the world to speak on it.

By the same token he is not credible to speak on whether a country making a major commitment in blood to the war should withdraw from it, as that is not his position.


Yes, you did. Here:

Dubious. Saying Howard has no credibility to make a particular comment is a big stretch to saying he has no part of the debate. But the reader can decide what I said ...


OK. I accept your perspective. It's reasonable (no condescention intended), but as we know, I disagree because I say it's irrelevant and you say otherwise.

I think it's relevant because at best he will only have one side of the issue - he can argue the costs of withdrawal but can't balance them against the costs of staying. So he can make a point for one side, but he can't present a useful overall assessment.

It's true that Obama didn't address that point, but did he have to? Was there actually any evidence advanced for it?


Agreed as to the facts. But I don't feel the issue of his knowing how it feels is relevant. Again this style prevents him having an opinion private schools (he was educated publicly), or on other debates where he has no first hand knowledge.

I am referring to his ability to comment on someone else's direction of a war effort, based on his own inexperience in commanding an equivalent war effort. The relevant analogy, then, would be his ability to criticise educators despite not being an experienced educator himself. I suspect valid points against him could be made in that field as well, since his own views on education appear primarily derived from talkback radio and the sillier end of the right-wing commentariat. :lol:


We both know this is semantics. You continue to push lines that prevent all but possibly 8 people in the world having a credible opinion, indeed I might say Sen. Obama as he has never been in this situation :owned:

Senator Obama's stance is not comparable because he is not proposing to resist the public pressure for ending the war. Howard is making a proposal to resist public pressure for ending a war despite never having had to maintain a war in such circumstances himself. There is no equivalent inconsistency in Obama's case. You are trying to dress my comments up as a simple "if you have no experience of an issue you can't comment". They actually refer not to experience of administering an issue, but to experience of administering it in a certain way under specific circumstances, which is different.


Do you play Twister as well as chess? :) *joke* What a monstrous stretch! There have been many unpopular wars which have both cost and NOT cost governments elections.

Sometimes governments are stupid, sometimes oppositions are incompetent. Actually it is possible JH would have been stubborn enough to let hundreds of Australians die in Iraq if it came to that, but electorally it would be exceptionally risky.


Further, some wars which as you say were certain defeats, but the government of the day persisted with anyway, on principle (as odd and repulsive as that can seem - luckily I will never be in such a hideous position to make the call).

Irrelevant. The issue I raised is public belief about the war as reflected in electoral opinion, not victory chances in the war.


I'd re-assert the position that I think you are using the word 'war' too loosely. It is an occupation - one that all parties want ended - it's just a question of timing.

I don't care what the wording is, it still kills people, and lots of them.

The timing needs to be attached to either a timeframe or a specific goal that is acheivable. If there are doubts about the latter there should be a contingency plan for failure. I see little evidence of such a framework from the L-NP Coalition.

pax
15-02-2007, 07:48 PM
The middle sentence clearly makes troop quantity an issue. No argument there, I assume?
Nope.


And in the context that it was said while dismissing JH (who are you boy, butt out), it can only relate back to his right to speak.
That's your interpretation. I don't agree at all.

While John Howard has a right to speak about matters military in Iraq, the troop numbers affect his authority to speak (and I am talking a continuum here). Clearly if Australia had 50,000 troops in Iraq, JH's opinion would matter more.



The whole thrust of Obama's comments is "butt out", it's not your business (no right);
You're putting words into his mouth. He didn't say anything like that.

Anyway, remember that he was merely defending himself from some pretty insulting comments from JH.

Ian Murray
18-02-2007, 10:47 PM
Interesting commentary in this week's issue of The Bulletin:
http://bulletin.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=227186

Spiny Norman
20-02-2007, 06:19 PM
Incidentally:

Ref: http://www.infoplease.com/countries.html

USA population 300M military 2.270M = 0.756% of population in military
AUS population 20M military 0.074M = 0.370% of population in military

USA contribution 140,000 from population 300M = 0.0466%
AUS contribution 1,400 from population 20M = 0.0070%

So "per head of population" the USA contribution is roughly 6-7 times our contribution. That puts a different spin on it I guess.

eclectic
20-02-2007, 06:45 PM
What amuses me is the "strategic" deployment of Australian personnel to minimise casualties and thus political fallout ... :rolleyes:

Ian Murray
21-02-2007, 04:53 PM
Now waiting for JH to lambast Tony Blair after the announced British windback.

The British rationale is that southern Iraq is stabilised and the locals can now take over security. Not so the Australian enclave in southern Iraq, it seems - JH is bolstering the locals with an Oz training team.

Kevin Rudd will have a field day!

Kevin Bonham
21-02-2007, 07:32 PM
Yes, Howard has just had the rug pulled out from underneath him there. I wonder if Rudd had inside knowledge of Blair's intentions.

Garvinator
22-02-2007, 01:32 AM
Yes, Howard has just had the rug pulled out from underneath him there. I wonder if Rudd had inside knowledge of Blair's intentions.
It is looking like Denmark will also be withdrawing their troops from southern Iraq.

I cant help but be cynical by Blair's withdrawal though. Right in time when Prince Harry is due to start serving in the military and has said he wants to go to Iraq.