Tuesday, 18 September 2007


Maybe it’s time to accept the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group. It's downloadable from


The thrust of the recommendations is to move the emphasis from the military, and towards diplomacy (Recommendations 1 – 7), and to involve the UN (Recommendations 7, 10, 14 & 17). It’s a good read.
Mick Kielty, one of the straightest shooters around was hauled across the coals when he stated the bleeding obvious, that our involvement in Iraq has made Australia more of a target than it was prior to the war. Young marginalized Muslims are taking the notion of Jihad seriously, and there’s a fair chance that sooner or later some ratbag will succeed in killing a lot of Aussies on home soil.
The ISG provides a blueprint to get us out of the quagmire, but I can’t see Bush taking it seriously. If the Americans see themselves as bastions of freedom and democracy, they need to engage in multilateral activity. Bush presents a macho image – he wears flying suits on aircraft carriers – and his diplomacy reflects this. I don’t think he has any of the qualities of a statesman, and is out of his depth. We can be thankful he wasn’t in the Whitehouse during the Cuban missile crisis.

Bush’s attitude reminds me very much of the Yanks I encountered in Vietnam. One GI wanted to punch me because in conversation in a bar in Vung Tau I had the hide to refer to American cars as “Yank tanks”. I have a great respect for American people and their institutions, but a national psyche which is inward-looking and arrogant, and can’t abide any opinion except its own is dangerous. This hubris is not a characteristic of most Americans, but it is a feature of the clique holding power and making policy today.

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