Crikey’s Royal correspondent Barry Everingham writes:


More
rumblings at Yarralumla; this time the viceroy Michael Jeffery offering
expert advice on military tactics in Iraq. He is well qualified to do
this – his record in the Vietnam conflict was unmatched and earned him
a Military Cross. He is urging the United States to change its tune in
Iraq and adopt counter-insurgency tactics which he says won the Malayan
and Vietnam wars.

But John Howard’s fingerprints are all over
the vice regal statement – with more Australian troops on the way and
with the invaded country out of control the last thing Howard wants is
casualties among our forces.

Howard knows dead soldiers will not
win elections. George Bush won’t allow photographs of the flag draped
coffins containing his casualties to be shown publicly; there’s no way
Howard could hide similar tragedies from the Australian public.

Having
almost usurped the viceroy’s role, is the prime minister now using
vice-regal toes to dip in the water and gauge the opinion of his friend
and mentor, the president of the United States?

Peter Fray

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