CANBERRA, Australia (CNN) — Australia’s conservative Prime Minister John Howard said Sunday that victory for Democratic Sen. Barack Obama and his party in next year’s presidential election would be a boon for terrorists.“If I were 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,” Howard said, speaking on “Sunday,” a TV show on Australia’s Nine Network.March 2008 is when Obama has said he would bring U.S. troops home from Iraq, according to legislation he introduced in the Senate.Obama, who represents Illinois in the U.S. Senate, declared his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination in a speech on Saturday in his home state. (Obama makes his announcement Video)Howard — who faces reelection this year — is a staunch supporter of President Bush and committed Australian troops to help the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.Like Bush, Howard has come under increased criticism at home for supporting the unpopular war.
Australia has more than 1,000 troops in and around Iraq, many in non-combat roles.
Obama, campaigning in Iowa, told reporters Sunday he’s flattered that one of Bush’s allies “started attacking me the day after I announced (his presidential run) — I take that as a compliment.”
The Democratic presidential hopeful said if the Australian prime minister was “ginned up to fight the good fight in Iraq,” he needs to send another 20,000 Australians to the war.
“Otherwise, it’s just a bunch of empty rhetoric,” Obama said.
I personally think John Howard was out of line by commenting on a Presidental candidate so let’s make that clear. However Barack Obama needs to study up on Australia. We have that amount of troops due to being a tiny country in comparison to The United States and the United Kindom. According to Wikipedia Australia’s population estimate is 20,555,300, we have 1,000 non combat troops in Iraq. As well as troops in Afghanistan and locally in surrounding Island countries in peacekeeping roles.
I think our troop deployment is fair for our population and while having other commitments and a voluteer Army. While Howard should butt out, Obama should not crticise one of the only countries still supporting this failed war in Iraq.