Monday, February 12, 2007

The Obama-Howard kerfuffle

The Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard, has said that terrorists should pray for Barack Obama to be elected President.

While that is unusual in itself for a fellow Western leader to be picking on Presidential candidates, what is more interesting is Obama's response:

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.

He's right. The only two nations that have contributed as much as they can to the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq are the US and Britain. Everyone else has contributed either token forces or small forces that are only a fraction of what they are capable of sending. It almost seems as if Australia and Continential Europe are willing to fight to the last Brit and American to defeat Al Qaeda.

As to the merits of what Howard said, Obama only favors getting out of Iraq. There are good reasons to want to get our troops out of Iraq. There are good reasons to keep them there as well. It's a contentious war domestically and a difficult conflict to resolve within Iraq itself. Obama has said the right things on Iran and North Korea, in my opinion. Willing to negotiate, but military force is not going to be taken off the table.