OPPOSITION leader Kim Beazley tonight demanded Prime Minister John Howard reveal whether he planned to send reinforcements into Iraq if the latest troop deployment was insufficient.Or failing that, please reveal whether or not there really was someone atop the grassy knoll, and what did you know and when did you know it!?!
For crying out loud, this is getting seriously tiresome. The Dutch have done a runner, and the Japanese don’t look like they can fight their way out of a paper bag.
Mr Howard has doubled Australia's military commitment in Iraq but Mr Beazley warned the extra 450 troops may not be enough to protect Japanese engineers in Iraq.The Australians, who will go in Iraq in 10 weeks' time, will replace 1400 Dutch soldiers - two of whom were killed during their deployment in the relatively peaceful Al Muthanna province.Yeah – well, it seems the poor old Japanese have entirely lost their wartime splendour. Personally, I’d be asking old Junichiro why the hell they can’t send a few of their own, but then again, maybe we have. And maybe they did. And maybe the Japanese engineers said, ‘Ahh, thanks but no thanks – we trained with those guys and we know what they’re like. . .’
Idle speculation, of course.
"I have a very serious question mark over where this policy is going to take us," Mr Beazley told ABC television.Into Iraq? Just a guess.
"450 troops are replacing 1400 - that was the number that the Netherlands had doing essentially the same task.Ahhh. Nope - I'm not going there . . .
"Our troops are good, probably better than just about anyone else's, but that's a very, very small number in comparison to the numbers that they had.Okay, Kim, so – do you want more or less? I can’t quite work it out.
Mr Beazley said Australians should not be protecting engineers rebuilding war-torn Iraq and should not be training Iraqi security forces.Well – that pretty well leaves nothing, then. But let’s watch Kim do a little more digging:
"No, I don't think that is the way our engagement should go," he replied when asked if Australia should help in security training.And you were waiting for him to say it, weren’t you? It was bound to happen: the magical ‘quagmire’. Can someone please give these guys a thesaurus.
"I'm saying we shouldn't put the 450 in for any of the purposes that have been outlined for them.
"I'm not saying it because I wish the Iraqis ill, I'm not saying that we should pull out all Australians and simply leave them to stew in their own juice, and I'm not saying we shouldn't have commitments to them in regard to economic aid.
"But I am saying that we are being drawn into a quagmire here where 450 in the end may not be sufficient."
I saved the best for last (of course).
Mr Beazley said Australian troops should be in the local region rather than in Iraq.Whaaaaaa? First he’s saying we should not pull out, and then he is saying we should pull out. Is anyone else confused here? But while we’re on the subject of the local region, anywhere special in mind, Kim (what, with all that fuss when just a few of our guys went over to help the Indonesians)?
Now he’s got me really curious. . .