SYDNEY, Australia, Nov. 24 — Australia’s prime minister, John Howard, one of President Bush’s staunchest allies in Asia, suffered a comprehensive defeat at the hands of the electorate on Saturday, as his Liberal Party-led coalition lost its majority in Parliament.
He will be replaced by Kevin Rudd, the Labor Party leader and a former diplomat. “Today Australia looks to the future,” Mr. Rudd told a cheering crowd in his home state, Queensland. “Today the Australian people have decided that we as a nation will move forward.”
Mr. Howard’s defeat, after 11 years in power, follows that of José María Aznar of Spain, who also backed the United States-led invasion of Iraq, and political setbacks for Tony Blair, who stepped down as Britain’s prime minister in June. -- from the New Duranty Times
This outcome was predicted at Jihad Watch on March 27, 2007. Here is that post, edited slightly for clarity:
"One is that the Howard government has been seen to be bending over backwards to please the Americans, and this coincides with a huge increase in anti-war sentiment (given too that the pretexts for the Iraq war, WMD and al-Qaeda links have been shown to be pure BS)." -- from a reader
One more reason to get out of Iraq. For others, who are the most natural allies of the United States, may lose power -- and only because they have embraced, in a folie a deux, the mad Bush policy of remaining in Tarbaby Iraq. The Howard government is likely to lose, and if it does, it will be in the main because of the war in Iraq, which is unpopular -- and rightly unpopular, because it makes no sense.
It makes no sense because no one has explained how a unified Iraq, an Iraq in which Kurds remain, will come about. Those Kurds will not acquiesce to having only autonomy under Arabs who have mistreated them, and will if given a chance continue to mistreat them (as Arab Muslims do everywhere to non-Arab Muslims, in North Africa, in the Sudan, even in the camps of Afghanistan). No one has explained how an Iraq will develop in which somehow the Sunnis acquiesce in the Shi'a possessing real power, and permanently (whatever plausible "oil-sharing" arrangements are agreed to under the watchful eyes of the Americans, and which can be torn up just as soon as they leave). No one has explained how such an Iraq, if it does come about, will further the larger interests of Infidels.
It is depressing to see the Howard Government imperiled, as it has the right views on Islam, but the wrong views on Iraq. (The wrong views are based on a failure to study the matter independently, or based on a desire to trust or support Bush coute que coute, no matter how nonsensical his policy. They are based as well on the humanly understandable, but still unacceptable sticking to a policy just because in so doing, one is sticking it to people one cannot stand--the Australian equivalents of Cindy Sheehan, or Jane Fonda, or others of that dismal ilk.)
The Howard Government doesn't have to go down with the S. S. Naufragium, Bush's sinking ship of foolish state. It should support the worldwide attempt by Infidels, in any way, to fend off the attacks of Islam -- whether it be by publishing those Danish cartoons, or raiding this or that mosque, or changing immigration policies, or seizing assets of this or that phony Muslim charity, or bombing Iran's nuclear facilities, or demanding an end to Jizyah payments by Western governments. (Those governments take their own taxpayers' money and giving it to Egypt, to Pakistan, and to the "Palestinians," who are merely the local Arabs. Renamed, they have become the obvious shock troops of the Lesser Jihad -- the first one, but hardly the most important one -- against Israel.)
Bush has done such damage to the cause of the Infidels, in his stubbornness and confusion. And he is even causing damage to those who are America's natural friends abroad, but who, as with the Howard government in Australia, have hitched their wagon to the wrong, most idiotic, star.
There are so many things about Bush and Tarbaby Iraq to infuriate the clear-headed resisters of Islam and its adherents -- including a few American generals who, now leaving or about to leave the military, will, one hopes, let Bush, and his obstinate and self-defeating policy, have it. With both barrels.
[Postcript, November 25, 2007]: By the time its election was held, Australia had only 500 troops left in Iraq. Not enough to make any difference. So they were there as a symbol. But as a symbol of what? A symbol of the Howard government's commitment to Bush, to "fighting them over there so that we wouldn't have to fight them over here, etc." But they were a symbol, to the Australian electorate, of an unacceptable obstinacy, a commitment that made no sense. There were other issues between Howard and Rudd, but had the former, a year or two ago, announced that he was determined to remove all of the Australian contingent from Iraq, and if he had accomplished this, say, by this past summer, showing that while he was firm on the threat of Jihad, and would tolerate no nonsense in dealing with Muslim threats within Australia, nor would, it is clear, Peter Costello, his likely successor in the party, he would have put the Iraq mess behind him which in the end helped to drag him down. Similarly, any Republican candidate for the President who continues to insist that "we are winning in Iraq" -- a new, and entirely implausible notion, still based on the wrong idea of what constitutes, for America, "victory in Iraq" --and that he will keep troops there, or more than a handful, unaware of how the squandering of men, money, and materiel, for goals that are both unattainable, and the wrong goals -- will very likely lose. And if he loses, and the American forces leave (as they should) Iraq much more quickly -- ditching Maliki is not miching mallecho -- the other responses of the American government to the world-wide Jihad, including ways to deal with the Money Weapon, campaigns of Da'wa, and demographic conquest -- not to mention domestic legislation to deal with an internal threat, are -- as it seems now -- all likely to be enfeebled. There is always room for Hope -- here, scoot over so she can sit right down here -- that some political figures, in both parties, who should know better, will come to their senses in time.