U.S. Ties Haunt Howard

Posted on Tuesday, February 20 at 10:23 by jensonj
That response hit a raw nerve. For all Howard's tough talk about the importance of Iraq in the global fight against terrorism, Australian troops have suffered not a single death from enemy action. The contingent of 1,400 troops in the region is mostly kept well away from trouble spots. The fact is that it is there for political, not military, purposes. The war has not attracted the same opposition here as in the United States or Britain. But Howard's attack on Obama has made it clear that the Australian leader is out of line not only with Democrats, but also with many Republican voices. A second issue has been feeding resentment — the detention at Guantánamo Bay of a young Australian, David Hicks, who converted to Islam and was accused of fighting for the Taliban when he was arrested in Afghanistan five years ago. Public opinion has at last forced Howard to lean on Washington to put Hicks on trial before a military tribunal. The case has revealed Howard's eagerness to put relations with Bush ahead of an Australian citizen's right to a fair trial. Howard has also been a close ally of the United States in refusing to sign the Kyoto protocol on carbon emissions and, like the Bush administration, was until recently in denial of the human causes of climate change. But a severe drought has enabled Labor to shift voter concerns from security to the environment. http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/02/19/opinion/edbowring.php

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