Monday, February 12, 2007

Obama fights back against Howard

By Michael J.W. Stickings

As The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting, Obama has responded to Australian Prime Minister John Howard's recent claim that al Qaeda must be rooting for Obama and the Democrats to win in '08:

US presidential hopeful Barack Obama has blasted as "empty rhetoric" Australian Prime Minister John Howard's attack on Senator Obama's plan to bring US troops home from Iraq.

The 45-year-old senator waded into a major foreign policy row just one day after formally announcing his candidacy, telling Mr Howard he should dispatch 20,000 Australians to Iraq if he wanted to back up his comments.

"I think it's flattering that one of George Bush's allies on the other side of the world started attacking me the day after I announced," Mr Obama told reporters in the mid-western US state of Iowa.

"I would also note that we have close to 140,000 troops in Iraq, and my understanding is Mr Howard has deployed 1400, so if he is... to fight the good fight in Iraq, I would suggest that he calls up another 20,000 Australians and sends them to Iraq.

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

It is indeed. And I'm with Ed Morrissey (who once again proves he's one of most thoughtful conservatives around) on this: "Even Our Friends Should Butt Out Of Our Politics."

Whether or not Howard should be a friend is another matter. (On that, I'm sure Ed and I disagree. I do not have "tremendous admiration" for Howard; indeed, I have little to no admiration for him at all.) On this matter, he should just shut up.

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